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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

th

February, and there are

n

( )

136

5

n

< ≤

peoples, show that the probability that at least two peoples

have thesame birthday is

( )

365!1365

365!

n

n

−−

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

sample of 30 peoples for 2 The Birthday ProblemBy Stephen, P. Y. Bong (1 st

2

The Birthday ProblemBy Stephen, P. Y. Bong (1

st

August 2013)

instance,

instead of

n

people. Therefore, if

( )

P

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

X A = 1 365 365/3652 364 364/3653 363 363/365
X A = 1 365 365/3652 364 364/3653 363 363/365
30 336 336/365Total ( ) ( ) 3653 6 5 303

30 336

336/365Total

(

)

(

)

3653

6

5

303

3633

6

3653643

  • 63336 PP3

65365

i i ii

X AA

= =

= = =

∏ ∏

⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ = = = ∏ ∏ In terms of simplicity, ( ) 30

In terms of simplicity,

( )

30

3653643

63336 P36

5

A

=

3653643 63336 P36 5 A ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ =

could be expressed in terms of factorials:

( )( )( )( )

303030

3653643

63336 P36

5365!365!

365364

363336

335334

  • 3331 3 6

5

3 0 !

3

6

530!

3353

3433

  • 3 1

3653 6

5364363

336 365!3

  • 6 5 3 6 5 3 0 !

A

⋅
 

⋅
   
 

⋅
 

=

 

   
⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ = ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ ⋅
∵

As a result, if the sample consists of

n

people, then the probability that at least

twopeoples have the same birthday is given by

(

)

( )( )

)

( )(

P1P365!P

1

w

h

e

r

e

1365

(

S

h

o

w

n

)

3

65365!

n

AAAn n

= −=

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