Volume 7, Issue 2
June 1998
Choose three points at random inside a unit square. What is the expected area of
the resulting triangle? The expectation value is given by an integral over the
sixdimensional unit cube. This article shows how to compute the integral by
partitioning the domain into 496 subregions and using a custom integration function.
(If you don't have a copy of Mathematica, you can view the notebook using Mathematica
Player.)
Michael Trott studied physics at Humboldt University
in Berlin from 1981 to 1986. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical solidstate physics
in 1990 from the Technical University of Ilmenau. In 1994 he joined the Research and
Development team at Wolfram Research, Inc. His current scientific interests are
visualization in mathematics, elliptic functions, the application of computer algebra to
physics, and the foundational problems of quantum mechanics.
