If $n$ circles of radius $r$ are drawn at random in the plane such that their centers lie in some region $S$ (we could take $S$ to be a square), what is the expected area $E$ of their union?

Edit: In light of Noam's comment, it seems like the answer is

$\displaystyle \int \int 1- (1-f(x,y))^n dx dy$

where $f(x,y) = a(B_r(x,y) \cap S)/a(s)$; the probability a random circle contains $(x,y)$.

If the region $S$ is large compared to $r$ and it has a reasonably "out of the way" boundary, then $f(x,y)$ is approximately constant over all of $S$, and is about $\pi r^2/ a(S)$, and so the expected value $E$ for a fixed $n$ is $n\pi r^2 + O(r^4)$.

However, the more interesting cases occur when $r$ is not small or when $\partial S$ gets "in the way" significantly.

Suppose $S$ is a square of side length $s$ and the circles have radius $r=s/2$. How does $E$ grow with $n$ asymptotically? What if $S$ is a circle of radius $s$? A regular $k$-gon inscribed in a circle of radius $s$?

nothit by any of the circles (which is constant away from the edge), and multiply $1-p$ by the area of $S$. – Noam D. Elkies Sep 3 '12 at 15:58