The Birthday Problem
Question 10 from Checkpoint 14.2 (Page 72)Ace Ahead STPM Text –
Mathematics (T)Third Term – Statistics1
st
August 2013If a year is taken to have 365 days, including 29
n
< ≤
peoples, show that the probability that at least two peoples
Solution
The probability that at least two peoples have the same birthday could
bedetermined effortlessly if the probability that
all birthdays are unique is
known
. Thisis due to the fact that, instead of saying at least two people has the same birthday; itwould be
rather liable to express the situation as
someone shares his/her birthday with at least someone else
.Hence, if the probability that all birthdays are unique is denoted by
( )
P
A
, thenthe probability that someone shares his/her birthday with at least someone else
canbe easily computed through the employment of
complementar y event
, which is
P1P
AA
= −
.If a person
(Person 1 in this case) is
selected at random from the sample of
n
peoples, and in order for all
the birthdays are unique,
Person 1’s
birthday could fallon any one day out of 365 days. Or, in other words, there are 365 possible days
forhis/her to get born. Subsequently, if the second person (Person 2) is selected atrandom after Person 1 is
chosen, then there are 364 possible days remaining to
bePerson 2’s
birthday in such a way that all
birthdays are unique.By assuming that
the selection of people from the sample of
n
peoples whosebirthday s are different is
independent
, then the total
probability is equal to
theproduct of the probabilities of each of the events occurring. In order to determine
ageneral term for
( )
P
A
, it would be much easier to consider a
sample of 30 peoples for
2
The Birthday ProblemBy Stephen, P. Y. Bong (1
st
A
can be
described as
30
independentev ents, then it
could be computed and
tabulated in Table 1 as shown:Table 1:
Computation of probability that all birthdays are unique from a
sample of 30 peoplesNumbe r of peopleselect ed,
i
Number of possible daysremaining,
X
i
( )
P365
X A
=
1 365 365/3652 364 364/3653 363
363/365
could be expressed in terms of factorials:
( )( )( )( )
303030
3653643
63336 P36
As a result, if the sample consists of
n
people, then the probability that at least
twopeoples have the same birthday is given by