In probability theory, a stochastic process (), or sometimes random process (widely used) is a collection of random variables; this is often used to represent the evolution of some random value, or system, over time. This is the probabilistic counterpart to a deterministic process (or deterministic system). Instead of describing a process which can only evolve in one way (as in the case, for example, of solutions of an ordinary differential equation), in a stochastic or random process there is some indeterminacy: even if the initial condition (or starting point) is known, there are several (often infinitely many) directions in which the process may evolve.
In the simple case of discrete-time|discrete time, a stochastic process amounts to a sequence (mathematics)|sequence of random variables known as a time series (for example, see Markov chain). Another basic type of a stochastic process is a random field, whose domain is a region of space, in other words, a random function whose arguments are drawn from a range of continuously changing values. One approach to stochastic processes treats them as function (mathematics)|functions of one or several deterministic arguments (inputs, in most cases regarded as time) whose values (outputs) are random variables: non-deterministic (single) quantities which have certain probability distributions. Random variables corresponding to various times (or points, in the case of random fields) may be completely different. The main requirement is that these different random quantities all have the same type. Type refers to the codomain of the function. Although the random values of a stochastic process at different times may be statistical independence|independent random variables, in most commonly considered situations they exhibit complicated statistical correlations.
Familiar examples of processes modeled as stochastic time series include stock market and exchange rate fluctuations, signals such as Speech communication|speech, sound|audio and video, medicine|medical data such as a patient's Electrocardiogram|EKG, Electroencephalography|EEG, blood pressure or temperature, and random movement such as Brownian motion or random walks. Examples of random fields include static images, random terrain (landscapes), wind waves or composition variations of a heterogeneous material.

In probability theory, a stochastic process (), or sometimes random process (widely used) is a collection of random variables; this is often used to represent the evolution of some random value, or system, over time. This is the probabilistic counterpart to a deterministic process (or deterministic system). Instead of describing a process which can only evolve in one way (as in the case, for example, of solutions of an ordinary differential equation), in a stochastic or random process there is some indeterminacy: even if the initial condition (or starting point) is known, there are several (often infinitely many) directions in which the process may evolve.
In the simple case of discrete-time|discrete time, a stochastic process amounts to a sequence (mathematics)|sequence of random variables known as a time series (for example, see Markov chain). Another basic type of a stochastic process is a random field, whose domain is a region of space, in other words, a random function whose...