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Picking numbers (Posted on 2015-07-17) Difficulty: 3 of 5
Bernardo randomly picks 3 distinct numbers from the set (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9) and arranges them in descending order to form a 3-digit number.
Silvia randomly picks 3 distinct numbers from the set (1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8) and also arranges them in descending order to form a 3-digit number.

What is the probability that Bernardo's number is larger than Silvia's number?
Source: AMO

  Submitted by Ady TZIDON    
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Solution: (Hide)
We can solve this by breaking the problem down into cases and adding up the probabilities.

Case 1: Bernardo picks 9. If Bernardo picks a 9 then it is guaranteed that his number will be larger than Silvia's. The probability that he will pick a 9 is 1/3.
Case 2: Bernardo does not pick 9. Since the chance of Bernardo picking 9 is 1/3, the probability of not picking 9 is 2/3.
If Bernardo does not pick 9, then he can pick any number from 1 to 8 . Since Bernardo is picking from the same set of numbers as Silvia, the probability that Bernardo's number is larger is equal to the probability that Silvia's number is larger.
Ignoring the 9 for now, the probability that they will pick the same number is the number of ways to pick Bernardo's 3 numbers divided by the number of ways to pick any 3 numbers.
We get this probability to be 3!/(8*7*6)=1/56
Probability of Bernardo's number being greater is (1-1/56)/2=55/112
Factoring the fact that Bernardo could've picked a 9 but didn't:
2/3*55/112=55/168

Adding up the two disjoint cases we get 1/3+55/168=
37/56=.6607 the answer.

Comments: ( You must be logged in to post comments.)
  Subject Author Date
re(2): Solutionpuzzlesrfun2015-07-29 14:16:10
re: SolutionCharlie2015-07-29 10:22:14
Solutionpuzzlesrfun2015-07-28 20:27:31
re(2): Analytical Solution (spoiler)Steve Herman2015-07-18 21:34:15
Solutioncomputer solutionCharlie2015-07-17 15:11:20
re: Analytical Solution (spoiler)Charlie2015-07-17 15:08:32
SolutionAnalytical Solution (spoiler)Steve Herman2015-07-17 13:10:26
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