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Old 04-18-2010, 06:57 PM
saudade saudade is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 139
Cool Poly Math

So, there's this thread started by Jools on the downsides to being poly:


LovingRadiance, SchrodingersCat, Twig, and I wound up on a math tangent. I thought it might be more appropriate to put it in its own place, so here we go...

When we add a partner we now have twice as many issues to deal with.
would say adding a partner more than doubles the issues. You still have your own issues as an individual, plus their issues as an individual, plus your mutual issues as a couple.

Theorem: the number of issues for n people in a poly arrangement is multiplied by 2^n - 1

So for 3 people, you have 3 people's individuals (3x) + the couple-wise issues (3x) + the issues as a 3-some (1x) = 7x

4 people, you have 15x the issues as a single person. And so on.
(4x individual + 6x pairs + 4x triples + 1x quad = 15x)

Hey, maybe there's a joint-math/psych thesis in here... lol yeah ok, I think it's bedtime, brain's getting silly...
Schrodinger, your math isn't quite right. I would agree that that adding a partner more than doubles your issues. By your formula moving from single to just one partner would only double the number of issues. You should make n=2 a special case and apply 2^n-1 to n>2.

I wonder what happens when you add imaginary partners. Are they represented by i/ You would start having trigonometric issues.

If you haven't guessed I'm a math geek.
Twig, I'd rather not have a solution with exceptions. Seems too in-elegant. It also seems appropriate, if we're doing this properly, not to assume that each person/relationship has the same # of issues. That does, however, throw the math utterly out the window (which is what happens when you let a social scientist get involved!).

Twig, who's looking over my shoulder, recommends a branch of math called network theory...

Any thoughts? Any math on other poly topics?

PS: I couldn't think of any appropriate tags. Feel free to add some!
"I was thorough when I looked for you, and I feel justified lying in your arms." - Chasing Amy
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