[RC5] Birthday Paradox

John Ragland tachyon at icom.net
Sat Mar 21 12:35:07 EST 1998


On Fri, 20 Mar 1998 20:36:57 -0600 (CST), Joe Zbiciak wrote:

>If you jump to four people, the probability of collision continues to
>climb, this time to 5.89% -- you can pair four people six ways, so you
>get 6 * 1% for each pairing, minus the redundant combinations.  For
>five people it jumps to 9.65%... and so on.  The key here is that as
>you add people to the mix, the number of combinations in which you can
>pair them goes up exponentially.  So, the likelihood that at least two
>share a birthday also goes up, nearly along the same curve, at least
>until the redundancy overtakes the combinatorial explosion in pairing.

This problem seems comparable to calculating the chances of packets
colliding in a network.
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