# The Phone Special

Jonathan Sterling 11 February 2008

Contents
1 Introduction 2 If Ingred calls Johnny, what is the probability they will talk that day? 3 The equation, PItJ∪JtI (x), or probability that Johnny and Ingred talk given x, the probability of returning a call 3.1 3.2 Development of the function PItJ∪JtI (x) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . On the value of x in PItJ∪JtI (x), given that the probability of talking was 85% . . . 3 3 7 7 7 8 8 8 2 3

4 The Answers 4.1 4.2 P (ItJ ∪ JtI) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . PItJ∪JtI (x) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.2.1 4.2.2 The function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The value of x, given that PItJ∪JtI (x) = .85 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

List of Figures
1 2 3 A tree diagram showing all the diﬀerent possibilities for the situation. . . . . . . . . The terminal values of the tree diagram in Figure 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The graph for PItJ∪JtI (x) = .125x2 + .25x + .5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 5 6

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1

Introduction

There are two people, presumably friends, named Johnny and Ingred. The ﬁrst problem to solve is, If Ingred calls Johnny, what is the probability they will talk that day?. This problem will be solved by the utilisation of a tree diagram, in which the terminal values pointing to them talking to each other that day are added up. It is to be assumed that the following conditions are in existence: 1. Both Johnny and Ingred are at home. 2. Neither has Caller ID or any other form of screening. 3. They each have a 50% chance of answering the telephone. 4. There is a 100% chance that they will each check their messages that day. 5. There is a 60% chance that both/either of them will return a call on the same day whereon a message was left. 6. There is a maximum of three calls between them; therefore, the longest situation would be the following: (a) Ingred calls Johnny (b) Johnny calls Ingred back (c) Ingred calls Johnny back The second problem is to write an equation for this situation, where x is the probability of returning the call; this means that the probability of returning the call (60%) is no longer the same, and will be the input of this new function. The last problem is, using this new function, What would x have to be so that the probability of talking was 85%?

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2

If Ingred calls Johnny, what is the probability they will talk that day?

First, a tree diagram showing the possibilities is created. J stands for “Johnny”, I stands for “Ingred”, c means “called”, a means “answered”, cm means “checked messages”, cb means “called back” and t means “talked to”. Because of its size, the tree diagram (Figure 1) is located on page 4. The terminal values for the tree diagram are in Table 2 on page 5. Now, in order to ﬁnd the probability that Johnny and Ingred talked to each other over the telephone that day, all one must do is add up all of the terminal values that have checkmarks attached to them in Table 2 in order to get the probability of the union of “Ingred talked to Johnny” and “Johnny talked to Ingred” (there really is no diﬀerence between the two, but it was helpful in the visualisation to make a distinction regarding who is doing the calling and answering).

P (ItJ ∪ JtI) = P (A) + P (C) + P (E) + P (G) + P (I) + P (K) + P (M ) + P (O) = .5 + .15 + .045 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 = .5 + 15 + .045 P (ItJ ∪ JtI) = .695

Therefore, the probability that Johnny and Ingred talked to each other that day over the telephone is 69.5%.

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The equation, PItJ∪JtI (x), or probability that Johnny and Ingred talk given x, the probability of returning a call

3.1

Development of the function PItJ∪JtI (x)

The most important part of doing this is to remember that the development of this function is exactly the same as the ﬁnding of P (ItJ ∪ JtI), except that there is a single variable involved. Therefore, this should not be diﬃcult. The ﬁrst step is to create the formula using all the steps

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IcJ

.5 Ja 1 ItJ A 0 ItJ B 1 Jcm

.5 Ja

0 Jcm 0 ItJ 1 ItJ P

.6 JcbI

.4 JcbI 0 ItJ 1 ItJ N

O

.5 Ia 1 JtI C 0 JtI D .6 IcbJ .5 Ja 1 ItJ E 0 ItJ F 0 ItJ G .5 Ja 1 ItJ H

.5 Ia

M

1 Icm

0 Icm 0 JtI K 1 JtI L

.4 IcbJ 0 ItJ I 1 ItJ J

Figure 1: A tree diagram showing all the diﬀerent possibilities for the situation.

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Variable A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P

Value .5 × 1 = .5 .5 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 = .15 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 = .045 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 = .045 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 × .4 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 1 × .4 × 1 = .06 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 0 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .6 × .5 × 0 × 1 = 0 .5 × 1 × .4 × 0 = 0 .5 × 1 × .4 × 1 = .2 .5 × 0 × 0 = 0 .5 × 0 × 1 = 0

Talked?

! # ! # ! # ! # ! # ! # ! # ! #

Figure 2: The terminal values of the tree diagram in Figure 1 in 2, while replacing the values for probability of returning a call with x, and probability of not returning a call with 1 − x.

PItJ∪JtI (x) = =

PA (x) + PC (x) + PE (x) + PG (x) + PI (x) + PK (x) + PM (X) + PO (x) (.5 × 1) + (.5 × 1 × x × .5 × 1) + (.5 × 1 × x × .5 × 1 × x × .5 × 1) +(.5 × 1 × x × .5 × 1 × x × .5 × 0) + [.5 × 1 × x × .5 × 1 × (1 − x) × 0] +(.5 × 1 × x × .5 × 0 × 0) + [.5 × 1 × (1 − x) × 0] + (.5 × 0 × 0)

= = PItJ∪JtI (x) =

.5 + .25x + .125x2 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 0 .5 + .25x + .125x2 .125x2 + .25x + .5

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This function can be veriﬁed by merely plugging the original probability of a returned call, .6, hereinto:

PItJ∪JtI (.6) = .125(.6)2 + .25(.6) + .5 = .125(.36) + .15 + .5 = .045 + .15 + .5 = .695

Because the answers come out to be the same, there is no doubt that this is the correct formula. A graph for the function is shown in Figure 3. The domain is 0 ≤ x ≥ 1, because the probability of returning the call cannot be less than zero, or more than one, yet it can be either one of them. If the probability of returning a call is zero, then there is a 50% chance of Johnny and Ingred talking that day (in the case that Johnny picks up the phone on the ﬁrst try); if there is a 100% probability of calls being returned, there is an 87.5% chance of Johnny and Ingred talking that day.

Figure 3: The graph for PItJ∪JtI (x) = .125x2 + .25x + .5

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3.2

On the value of x in PItJ∪JtI (x), given that the probability of talking was 85%

If PItJ∪JtI (x) = .85, what is x?

PItJ∪JtI (x) = .85 .125x2 + .25x + .5 = .85 .125x2 + .25x = .35 .125x2 + .25x − .35 = 0

x=

(.25)2 − 4 × .125 × (−.35) 2(.125) √ −.25 ± .0625 + .175 = √.25 −.25 ± .2375 = .25 √ −.25 .2375 = ± .25 √ .25 .2375 x = −1 ± .25 −(.25) ± x ≈ 0.949358869

Because we can’t have a negative value for x, that is the only answer.

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4.1

P (ItJ ∪ JtI)

The probability of the union of “Ingred talked to Johnny” and “Johnny talked to Ingred” is 0.695, or 6.95%.

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4.2
4.2.1

PItJ∪JtI (x)
The function

The probability of the union of “Ingred talked to Johnny” and “Johnny talked to Ingred”, where x is the probability of calls being returned is represented by the following function:

PItJ∪JtI (x) = .125(x)2 + .25(x) + .5

4.2.2

The value of x, given that PItJ∪JtI (x) = .85

The value of x, given that PItJ∪JtI (x) = .85 is approximately 0.040358869.

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