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Finding Winners

Problems and tasks from a variety of sources intended to illustrate the way mathematics arises in life and work.



Mile Run. Given data on men's and women's records for the mile run during the twentieth century, project the course of future records. Is it likely that a woman will ever break the men's record?

Tie Breaker. Given the complete record of a soccer league that ended in a three way tie, devise a fair means of determining who should be crowned champion.

Playoff Series. Use simulation, backed up by probability calculations, to see how the length of a playoff series affects the chances of a weaker team pulling off an upset by winning the series.

Fair Competition. Consider a simple game in which two players alternate tossing two die. Player A gets a point if the product is even; player B gets a point if the product is odd. Is this game fair? If not, what change in the rules or in the scoring system might be made to make it fair?




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Last Update: 12/29/98