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The birthday problem 
19990419 

From Gordon Cooke: How do I explain the rapid rise in the probability that at least two people in a group of n have the same birthday. We have derived the formula for p(n) and have graphed it and have seen how the results are counterintuitive. At around n=23 p(n)=.5 and at n=50 p(n) is very close to 1. It does not help to simplify the problem (eg use months instead of days) because then our intuition does correspond more closely to reality. Is there some way we can see how the probabiltiy of a "collision" increases with n? It makes me think of data storage problems and hash tables in computer science. Answered by Harley Weston. 


