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 ?

See Solution : Ants on a triangleSolution 1:

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

Solution 2 :

Consider the triangle ABC. We assume that the ants move towards different corners along the edges of the triangle.

Total no. of movements: 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

Non-colliding movements: 2

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

(i.e. the all ants move either in the clockwise or anti-clockwise direction at the same time)

So probability of not colliding = 2/8 = 1/4

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Son of god says

Yes 1/4 is right… Each ant can move in 2 ways. There are 3 ants.. Hence, total number of combinations = 2x2x2 = 8. They won’t collide if they all move in same direction (all clockwise or all anticlockwise) I.e., 2 ways. So req prob = 2/8 = 1/4. ðŸ™‚

Ishan Majmudar says

even i am getting 1/3 ..got only 6 paths…they are as follows

ab bc ca

ab ba ca

ab ba cb

ab bc cb

bc ac ca

ca ba ac

Ankit Jain says

this answer is wrong… correct answer is 1/3

Vamsi says

how??