IBM Research | Ponder This | December 2008 solutions

# Ponder This

## December 2008

<<November December January>>

XXX = 8/21    XX  = 4/21     XX = 4/21     XXX = 3/21     XXXX = 2/21
X              XX            XX             X

They can be found by working out the transition probabilities from smaller forms. The calculations are simplified by taking symmetry into account. For example at each step the unique domino has a 1/2 probability of becoming a bent tromino, a 1/4 probability of becoming a straight tromino and a 1/4 probability of remaining a domino. So the random walk has a 2/3 probability of forming the bent tromino and a 1/3 probability of forming the straight tromino. Similarly one can compute the probability of transitioning from each tromino to each tetromino (keeping track of whether the walker is in the middle or at the end of the tromino). Then sum over the ways of forming each tetromino to find the values above. I omit the details.

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