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29-Jul-2016 23:55

We can be pretty confident that about 500,000 of the coins will make it to the second round, about 250,000 would make it to the third, and so on.

Even though we can’t predict the outcome of an individual coin, we can predict the collective outcome with a high degree of certainty.Our confidence in the outcome is high enough that if we know the rate at which each round was played (say once a day, or once a week) we can count the number of coins still in play to determine how long ago the game began.Any coin that makes it to the second round has a 50% chance of making it to the third and so on.Even if a coin makes it to the 10th round (meaning it landed on tails ten times in a row), it still has only a 50% chance of making it to round 11.

On the whole, however, we can say some things about the outcome.While it is (remotely) possible that all the coins survive the first round, that isn’t very likely.