Damjan Vukcevic and Joan Ko, planning their wedding in Melbourne, Australia, were struggling to draw up an invitation list of family and friends in places as far-flung as Serbia, Tawain, the UK and the US.They even calculated a confidence interval :-)
"We're both from immigrant families, so the guest list had people from all around the world and, while it's easy to work out whether people in Melbourne - our home town - could come to the wedding, it was a much more difficult task to work out what proportion or how many of the overseas guests would show up," Joan says.
"So the challenge is to pick the right number of invitees so that we could get all our friends there, but to not overshoot the mark - and to stop my parents from inviting their friends willy-nilly, as well."
The venue they had chosen could fit 110 comfortably. Damjan and Joan calculated that having fewer than 100 guests meant they would be wasting the opportunity to celebrate with more friends, while having more than 110 guests would be too much of a tight squeeze.
They could have done what many people do - post the first batch of invitations, wait for replies and then send out a second round and, maybe, a third - but this wasn't an option the couple were keen on.
"Some people might get an invitation in the second round and if they're comparing notes they might wonder, 'Oh, what's going on here? Are we not in the best tier of friends, so to speak?'" Damjan says.So one morning, Joan awoke to the find that Damjan had been up late building a solution - a statistical model.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
A Fun Use of Statistics
There are too many guesses in the model for this to be real statistics, but it's still entertaining: