The aim of this monograph is quite modest: It attempts to be a systematic exposition of all that appeared in the literature and was known to us by the end of the 20th century about the Laplace distribution and its numerous generalizations and extensions. We have tried to cover both theoretical developments and applications. There were two main reasons for writing this book. The first was our conviction that the areas and situations where the Laplace distribution naturally occurs is so extensive that tracking the original sources is unfeasible. The second was our observation of the growing demand for statistical distributions having properties tangent to those exhibited by the Laplace laws. These two "necessary" conditions justified our efforts that led to this book. Many details are arranged primarily for reference, such as inclusion of the most commonly used terminology and notation. In several cases, we have proposed unification to overcome the ambiguity of notions so often present in this area. Personal taste may have done some injustice to the subject matter by omitting or emphasizing certain topics due to space limitations. We trust that this feature does not constitute a serious drawback-in our literature search we tried to leave no stone unturned (we collected over 400 references).
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