27 Oct 2013

Ants on a Triangle

Puzzle Problem :

There are three ants on a triangle, one at each corner.
At a given moment in time, they all set off for a different corner at random.
What is the probability that they don’t collide ?


Let the three ants are A, B, C.
There are two cases when they will not collide, 
the one is when they all move clockwise and the other is when they all move anticlockwise.
They will collide if any two ants move towards each other, at the same time the third ant can move in clockwise or in anticlockwise. so for each pair there are 2 such cases. 
And there are 3 pairs possible (A,B), (B,C) and (C,A).
So total 3*2 = 6 cases when they will collide.
So probability that they will not collide is 2/(2+6) i.e. 1/4

Total number of cases = 8

A->B, B->C, C->A
A->B, B->A, C->A
A->B, B->A, C->B
A->B, B->C, C->B
A->C, B->C, C->A
A->C, B->A, C->A
A->C, B->A, C->B
A->C, B->C, C->B

The non-colliding cases are :

A->B, B->C, C->A
A->C, B->A, C->B

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