This book provides a rigorous, comprehensive introduction to the finite Markov chain imbedding technique for studying the distributions of runs and patterns from a unified and intuitive viewpoint, away from the lines of traditional combinatorics. The central theme of this approach is to properly imbed the random variables of interest into the framework of a finite Markov chain, and the resulting representations of the underlying distributions are compact and very amenable to further study of associated properties. The concept of finite Markov chain imbedding is systematically developed, and its utility is illustrated through practical applications to a variety of fields, including the reliability of engineering systems, hypothesis testing, quality control, and continuity measurement in the health care sector.

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