Assume there are \(m\) balls and \(n\) bins. We denote \(\eta_{i}^b\) the event that ball \(i\) falls into bin \(b\), and denote \(\epsilon_{ij}\) the event that balls \(i\) and \(j\) collide.

Collision probability

Probability of any two particular balls collide:

\[\begin{aligned} \Pr(\epsilon_{ij}) &= \sum_b \Pr(\eta_j^b|\eta_i^b)\Pr(\eta_i^p) \\ &= \sum_b \frac{1}{n}\frac{1}{n} \\ &= \frac{1}{n} \end{aligned}\]

Expected number of collision after tossing \(m\) balls: Define indicator function \(\mathbf{1}(\epsilon_{ij})\). Then the number of collisions is \(\sum_{i\neq j}\mathbf{1}(\epsilon_{ij})\). The expected number of collision is therefore:

\[\begin{aligned} E[\sum_{i\neq j}\mathbf{1}(\epsilon_{ij})] &= \sum_{i\neq j}E[\mathbf{1}(\epsilon_{ij})] \\ &= \sum_{i\neq j}\Pr(\epsilon_{ij}) = \sum_{i\neq j}\frac{1}{n} \\ &= \frac{1}{n}\binom{m}{2} \end{aligned}\]

Probability of no collision at all:

\[\begin{aligned} \prod_{i\neq j}\Pr(\bar{\epsilon}_{ij}) &= \prod_{i\neq j}(1-\frac{1}{n}) \\ &= (1-\frac{1}{n})^{\binom{m}{2}} \end{aligned}\]

Number of balls to throw to expect a collision: Solve for \(m\) in \((1-\frac{1}{n})^{\binom{m}{2}}=\frac{1}{2}\)


Probability of a particular bin is empty: \(\big(1-\frac{1}{n}\big)^{\binom{m}{2}} \approx e^{-m/n}\)

Probability that a particular bin has exactly \(k\) balls:

\[\binom{m}{k}\big(\frac{1}{n}\big)^k\big(1-\frac{1}{n}\big)^{m-k} \le \frac{m^k}{k!}\frac{1}{n^k},\]

which the bound is obtained by the inequality \(\big(\frac{n}{r}\big)^r \le \binom{n}{r} \le \frac{n^r}{r!} \le \big(\frac{en}{r}\big)^r\).

Probability that a bin has at least \(k\) balls:


By considering only \(k\) balls out of \(m\) and ignoring the others, we have the probability upperbounded by

\[\binom{m}{k}\frac{1}{n^k}\le \big(\frac{me}{nk}\big)^k\]