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### Re: Spooky math problem

by (anonymized user) (Curate)
 on Aug 30, 2005 at 13:39 UTC ( #487756=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Spooky math problem

Another approach:- There is some additional information needed. 1) The smallest size per digit you are capable of writing the numbers, 2) the largest envelope size you are capable of acquiring, these collectively limit the number of digits the remaining number can have. For the sake of argument lets call it D. If the numbers in envelopes are M and N, with M being the one handed to you, then the probability that N < M is p=(M-1)*10^(-D). Because D is arbitrarily large, p is arbitrarily small.

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Re^2: Spooky math problem
by tilly (Archbishop) on Aug 30, 2005 at 17:17 UTC
First of all, no additional information was needed.

Secondly you are implicitly assuming a probability distribution on the numbers in the envelopes, namely that it is evenly distributed among all possible numbers that could be written on the pieces of paper. This assumption is both wrong and unnecessary.

Thirdly note that the technique must work no matter what pair of numbers happen to be in the envelope. Creating a technique which will work for 90% of the pairs that you think could be there won't cut it. It has to be all pairs.

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