Exercise 4.1Z: Appointment to Breakfast

From LNTwww

Chancellor candidates – breakfast in 2002

Ms. M. and Mr. S. are known to meet often for a joint breakfast:

  • Both promise to come to such a meeting on a certain day between 8 am and 9 am.
  • Further,  they agree that each of them will arrive in this period  (and only in this period)  on  "good luck" 
    and wait up to fifteen minutes for the other.


  • The exercise belongs to the chapter  Two-Dimensional Random Variables.
  • Use the minute of arrival time as the time in the following questions: 
    "Minute = 0"  stands for 8 o'clock, "Minute = 60"  for 9 o'clock.
  • The exercise arose before the 2002 German Bundestag elections,  when both Dr. Angela Merkel and Dr. Edmund Stoiber wanted to become the CDU/CSU's candidate for chancellor.
  • At a joint breakfast in Wolfratshausen,  Ms. Merkel renounced.  The later election was won by Gerhard Schröder  (SPD).



What is the probability  $p_1$  that the two will meet when Mr. S. arrives at 8:30?  Give reasons for your answer.

$p_1 \ = \ $

$\ \%$


Which arrival time should Ms. M. choose if she does not actually want to meet Mr. S.,  but still wants to keep to the agreement made?
What is the probability  $p_2$  that Ms. M. and Mr. S. will meet?

$p_2 \ = \ $

$\ \%$


Which arrival time should Ms. M. choose if she not only wants to avoid a meeting as much as possible,  but also wants to minimize the waiting time?

$\rm minute \ = \ $


What is the probability  $p_4$  for a meeting in general,  that is,  if both actually appear on "good luck"?

$p_4 \ = \ $

$\ \%$


(1)  If Mr. S. arrives at 8:30,  he will meet Ms. M. if she arrives between 8:15 and 8:45.  Thus the probability:

$$p_1 = \text{Pr(Mr. S. meets Ms. M.)}\hspace{0.15cm}\underline{=50\%}.$$

"Favorable area"  for meeting

(2)  If Ms. M. arrives at 8 a.m.,  she meets Mr. S. only if he arrives before 8:15.

  • If Ms. M. arrives at 9 a.m.,  Mr. S. must arrive after 8:45 a.m. so that they can meet.
  • The probability of meeting is the same in both cases:
$$p_2 = \big[\text{Min Pr(Mr. S. meets Ms. M.)}\big]\hspace{0.15cm}\underline{=25\%}.$$

(3)  Of the two arrival times calculated in  (2),  9 o'clock  $(\underline{\text{Minute = 60}})$  is more favorable,
      since she – if Mr. S. is not there – can leave immediately.

(4)  The probability  $p_4$  is given as the ratio of the red area in the graph to the total area  $1$.

  • Using the triangular areas,  one obtains:
$$p_4=\rm 1-2\cdot\frac{1}{2}\cdot\frac{3}{4}\cdot\frac{3}{4}=\frac{7}{16}\hspace{0.15cm}\underline{=\rm 43.75\%}.$$