Tuesday, November 28, 2006


The Harem-problem

Now this is the kind of blogging you can only afford once you got married, and this for pretty obvious reasons. Recently I started to clean up my hard disks and I stumbled on some files I produced when I was some younger. A while ago I was a student at Ghent University. This is where I eventually got my academic degree in computer science. Being a Belgian university we got plenty of maths to train our brain cells during the sparse sober moments as a students. As for the other moments we were, well, some drunk sitting in a bar ('t Kofschip, 't Kapelleke and den Delirium). Nipping our beers every now and then, we had endless discussions on sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. On a few occasions the discussions shifted towards, how else could it be, mathematics. When sitting in a pub you get to see a nice girl passing by every now and then, which, combined with maths and beer has led to the following problem: How many women does a man need to have to be able to, you know, do it every day of the month, and this with a probablility of let's say 95%. It's a classical student problem which was quickly called the Harem-problem. Although it sounds like a funny problem that found it's creation in a pub, it made up for a pretty big mathematical challenge. The result of which can be found here. So, still 3 to go I'd say.

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