Red and Blue Marbles


You have two jars, 50 red marbles and 50 blue marbles. You need to place all the marbles into the jars such that when you blindly pick one marble out of one jar, you maximize the chances that it will be red. When picking, you’ll first randomly pick a jar, and then randomly pick a marble out of that jar. You can arrange the marbles however you like, but each marble must be in a jar.

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    Say we put all the red marbles into JAR A and all the blue ones into JAR B. then our chances for picking a red one are:

    1/2 chance we pick JAR A * 50/50 chance we pick a red marble
    1/2 chance we pick JAR B * 0/50 chance we pick a red marble

    You would try different combinations, such as 25 of each colored marble in a jar or putting all red marbles in one jar and all the blue in the other. You would still end up with a chance of 50%.

    What if you put a single red marble in one jar and the rest of the marbles in the other jar? This way, you are guaranteed at least a 50% chance of getting a red marble (since one marble picked at random, doesn’t leave any room for choice). Now that you have 49 red marbles left in the other jar, you have a nearly even chance of picking a red marble (49 out of 99).

    So the maximum probability will be :
    jar A : (1/2)*1 = 1/2 (selecting the jar A = 1/2, red marble from jar A = 1/1)
    jar B : (1/2)*(49/99) = 0 (selecting the jar B = 1/2, red marble from jar B = 49/99)
    Total probability = 74/99 (~3/4)

    rahul Guru Answered on 17th July 2015.
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