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Big news at Columbia! Plus another rendezvous!

girl learning coding in front of computer

Big news at Columbia and another Rendezvous Dilemma!!! Hey guys! I just got back from a whirlwind trip to the East Coast, visiting some of iD’s most prestigious locations, Princeton and Columbia. Mainly, I was there to put some finishing touches on our lab spaces at both.  Our big news is that due to popular demand, we are adding two weeks to our schedule at Columbia!!!

Also, while at Columbia, I had another amazing chance rendezvous, similar to when I ran into Jen at OSU. However, this one involves one of my oldest friends ever, Jon B. who I met at summer camp(!) just before my first year of kindergarten (which was with him as well)!  When I ran into him, he was on duty as a Columbia EMT, safety first!

Below is a then and now comparison, the first is of myself (right) as a lobster and Jon (left) as a fish during a 1st grade school play, the second is of our encounter at Columbia:


Again, I’ve decided to calculate the odds of us randomly running into each other. I’ve made some adjustments to my original equation to suit this scenario. First of all, (for the purposes of this study) we are eliminating the odds that Jon could have ended up anywhere else; the program he is in is highly specific and his choice to enroll was deliberate, so his relationship to Columbia and NYC is given.  It is also given that Jon will be spending a significant amount of time publicly traversing the campus as an EMT shift-worker, we will assume that he is working part-time (as being a Ph.D. candidate is a lot of work!) which is standardly 20 hours per week. This equation is much simpler then my original as I’ve reduced almost all of the variables to time and space;


(FYI – All of Jon’s assumptions are contrived, I have no idea what Jon’s actual work hours and habits are!!!!)

We are still missing one thing. Just as we started the equation with the odds of Jon being on campus at a given time, we must also consider my timing on campus. Of the 40 potential work week hours that my visit may occur, only a portion would involve a public part of the campus (as I’m typically behind doors in meetings in the pre-season). I’m going to estimate that variable at half an hour.

Below is the final solution.  Sorry for mixing decimals and fractions below (don’t you hate that?), I’m hoping that it may help some people visualize the variables:


Though the solution is an extremely small number, this is significantly higher than the probability of running into Jen at OSU (which was taken to the power of -26).  However, with an entirely different equation it isn’t nearly apples to apples.

Can anyone do better?  I’m sure there are lots of ways to solve this!  Bonus points if you can create an equation that isn’t limited to specific geographical scenarios (as mine are).  E.g., it wouldn’t matter whether the rendezvous occurred at one of our Florida summer camps, or one of our Illinois summer camps it would still employ all the same variables and constants.

  • Cathy Grayson

    This was fun to read and I have to say informative. Jonathan was your first friend at summer camp and your first friend in prekindergarten. I remember you telling your teacher that the lobster should be red and not green. Look who won!

  • Jon Grayson (the Dad)

    I’ve always loved the lobster. As for the odds of running into Jon B – you seem to have amazing luck for running into classmates from school. I remember a few years ago meeting up with you in San Francisco, going to a museum and there was another classmate. Given you had such an incredibly small class, the odds are staggering. In fact, if we computed the odds for each of your classmate run-ins, we might discover that you are significantly beating the odds too frequently – I don’t even want to think about the possible forces at work behind that.
    – Dad

  • Jeragon – SHU

    That is awesome Grizzle! It is crazy how everyone has a story of something similar. I was at a video game conference in Boston this year and I actually ran into one of my campers from SHU! Was really funny, I picked him out in a conference hall full of people. Anyway thanks for all the help this season, ttus!

  • Kaos

    That is crazy, Josh! The closest I’ve come to something like this is running into a staffer (who worked at iD when I was a camper there) at Animazement before the summer started. Its always cool running into old friends.