I recently came across a question that required logic and coding skills to solve. It went a little something like this:
Let there be a stick of length 1. Pick 2 points uniformly at random along the stick, and break the stick at those points. What is the probability of the three resulting pieces being able to form a triangle?
Interesting i thought. I do enjoy these types of challenges, and had fun trying to solve this problem. It took me a while to understand that the longest side (or one of the longest sides in the case of an isosceles triangle) had to be smaller than the sum of the 2 smaller sides. In pseudo code a triangle would be possible IF:
Length of longest side < sum of other 2 sides, which is true IF
Length of longest side < 0.5 (half the length of the stick)
When i saw (in my mind’s eye) me breaking a stick in half and folding it so that both pieces overlap, it became obvious that i needed one of the pieces to be longer and then break that piece into 2 pieces of any length to form a would-be triangle. As a side note, i have been hoping to create my first gif for a while and this might be a useful one to animate a stick being broken into half, folded over and then one half growing in length and then breaking into 2 and forming a triangle.
I turned to the statistical computing language R to solve my problem, knowing i could randomly draw values from a uniform distribution with the runif() function.