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Topic: Distance Problem (Read 773 times) 

Wonderer
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Distance Problem
« on: Apr 28^{th}, 2007, 7:16am » 
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Given a staight line with length L. Two points A and B are selected randomly on that straight line. Question: What is the probability that the distance between A and B (AB) is less than L/4? Please provide walkthrough.


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Grimbal
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Re: Distance Problem
« Reply #1 on: Apr 28^{th}, 2007, 7:31am » 
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7/16

« Last Edit: Apr 28^{th}, 2007, 11:47am by Grimbal » 
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Icarus
wu::riddles Moderator Uberpuzzler
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Re: Distance Problem
« Reply #2 on: Apr 28^{th}, 2007, 7:40am » 
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Switch the problem around a little bit: Consider the line to be infinite. Instead of choosing 2 points on a line segment, we choose 3 pointsets. Each set consists of points continuing indefinitely in each direction, all equally spaced at a distance L apart. One set is your point A, translated repeatedly by L. The second is your point B and its translates. The third, call it D, consists of the endpoints of your line segment, and all their translates. Since each endpoint is a translate of the other, this is the same as picking a single point and its translates, like A and B. Why do this? Because it allows you to reorder the picks: Pick A first, B second, and D last. The probabilities are the same. If we now cut back to a single segment, we discover that the original problem is equivalent to: Given a line segment of length L, choose two points B and D at random in it. What is the probability that B is within L/4 of an endpoint, and that D is not between B and the nearer endpoint? This is an easier question to approach. [edit] the problem with being verbose. someone slips in with an easier solution while you are still putting yours together![/edit]

« Last Edit: Apr 28^{th}, 2007, 7:42am by Icarus » 
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"Pi goes on and on and on ... And e is just as cursed. I wonder: Which is larger When their digits are reversed? "  Anonymous



