On smallest triangles
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On smallest triangles

  • Author(s): Grimmett, Geoffrey
  • Janson, Svante
  • et al.

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Pick n points independently at random in R^2, according to a prescribed probability measure mu, and let D^n_1 <= D^n_2 <= ... be the areas of the binomial n choose 3 triangles thus formed, in non-decreasing order. If mu is absolutely continuous with respect to Lebesgue measure, then, under weak conditions, the set {n^3 D^n_i : i >= 1} converges as n --> infinity to a Poisson process with a constant intensity c(mu). This result, and related conclusions, are proved using standard arguments of Poisson approximation, and may be extended to functionals more general than the area of a triangle. It is proved in addition that, if mu is the uniform probability measure on the region S, then c(mu) <= 2/|S|, where |S| denotes the area of S. Equality holds in that c(mu) = 2/|S| if S is convex, and essentially only then. This work generalizes and extends considerably the conclusions of a recent paper of Jiang, Li, and Vitanyi.

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