(data structure)

**Definition:**
A *finite state machine* with probabilities for each transition, that is, a probability that the next state is s_{j} given that the current state is s_{i}.

**See also**
*hidden Markov model*.

*Note:
Equivalently, a weighted, directed graph in which the weights correspond to the probability of that transition. In other words, the weights are nonnegative and the total weight of outgoing edges is positive. If the weights are normalized, the total weight, including self-loops, is 1. After [Leda98].*

Author: PEB

Named after Andrei Andreyevich Markov (1856 - 1922), who studied poetry and other texts as stochastic sequences of characters.

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Entry modified 23 January 2006.

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Cite this as:

Paul E. Black, "Markov chain", in
*Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures* [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 23 January 2006. (accessed TODAY)
Available from: https://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/markovchain.html