Birthday Paradox

In probability theory, the birthday problem or birthday paradox concerns the probability that, in a set of n randomly chosen people, some pair of them will have the same birthday. By the pigeonhole principle, the probability reaches 100% when the number of people reaches 367 (since there are 366 possible birthdays, including February 29). However, 99.9% probability is reached with just 70 people, and 50% probability with 23 people. These conclusions include the assumption that each day of the year (except February 29) is equally probable for a birthday.

Birthday Paradox

A graph showing the computed probability of at least two people sharing a birthday amongst a certain number of people.

The mathematics behind this problem led to a well-known cryptographic attack called the birthday attack, which uses this probabilistic model to reduce the complexity of finding a collision for a hash function.

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