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Set nibbling

Best Answer m00li, 02 May 2014 - 11:50 PM

Spoiler for irreducible
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#1 bonanova



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Posted 02 May 2014 - 10:45 AM

From the set of integers {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10} I randomly choose an element, say 3. I subtact 3 from 10, getting 7.

Now I have the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}. I choose another element at random, say 5. I subtract 5 from 7, getting 2.

Now I have the set {1, 2}. I randomly choose one of these elements, say 1. I subtract 1 from 2, getting 1.

Now I have the set {1}. I randomly choose one of these elements. It turns out to be 1. I subtract 1 from 1, getting 0.

Now I have the empty set.

Each step took away a nibble, leaving a smaller set.

This example nibbled a set of 10 elements down to zero in four steps.


Starting with a set of p elements, what is the expected number n of nibbles required to empty the set?


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#2 m00li


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Posted 02 May 2014 - 11:50 PM   Best Answer

Spoiler for irreducible

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