Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Birthday Paradox

Over the years, many people taking classes in probability have asked me about the Birthday Paradox. I wrote up something about it here while I was working on generating random numbers which should be unique. Since I prefer to do as little work as possible, I save a lot of time by using the excellent Mathematica to calculate everything.

(If you are too lazy to click any link, the paradox arises from trying to answer this: To have a 50% chance that at least two people in the same room have the same birthday, how many people must be in the room? The answer surprised so many people that it is called the Birthday Paradox.)

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