Unique Cards

October 20th, 2008 by Potato

Wayfare and I just had a rather monumental life experience, for which we received numerous lovely (and generous) cards of congratulations. What I found incredible was that we received somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60 cards, and there were only two pairs of similar ones. I’m amazed at how many unique cards there were, and since I doubt all of our friends and family conspired to pick different cards, it must mean that there is an extraordinary number of cards out there on the market.

I figured I’d geek out and do a quick combinatorics calculation to figure out how many that implies, however I find I can’t recall how to do the math any more. It’s kind of a sad point that I’m passing the halfway point in my PhD and I can’t remember how to do a high school math problem without opening up a book or Googling it.

So, even with just 59 unique cards, one can pick a set of 58 in 59 unique ways if no repetitions are allowed. However, repetitions are allowed, which leads to something like 10^80 possible combinations. I still can’t think of how to figure out how many cards that implies are on the market, but it does seem to tell me that it was pretty extraordinary that people chose such unique cards! It also makes me a little sad about where my math abilities are going to.

One Response to “Unique Cards”

  1. Rez Says:

    I don’t know the answer, but a coworker received about 50 cards and all were unique. He found it curious that you received any repetitions at all.