# Mean minimum distance for N random points on a one-dimensional line

Let's say that I have a one-dimensional line of finite length 'L' that I populate with a set of 'N' random points. I was wondering if there was a simple/straightforward method (not involving long chains of conditional probabilities) of deriving the probability 'p' that the minimum distance between any pair of these points is larger than some value 'k' -i.e. if the line was an array, there would be more than 'k' slots/positions between any two point. Well that, or an expression for the mean minimum distance (MMD) for a pair of points in the set - referring to the smallest distance between any two points that can be found, not the mean minimum/shortest distance between all possible pairs of points.

I was unable to find an answer to this question after a literature search, so I was hoping someone here might have an answer or point me in the right direction with a reference. This is for recreational purposes, but maybe someone will find it interesting. If not, apologies for the spam.

It can be related to the following: Imagine you have $N$ marked cards in a pack of $m$ cards and shuffle them randomly. What is the probability that they are all at least distance $d$ apart? Consider dealing the cards out, one by one, from the top of the pack. Every time you deal a marked card from the top of the deck, you then deal $d$ cards from the bottom (or just deal out the remainder if there's less than $d$ of them). Once all the cards are dealt out, they are still completely random. The dealt out cards will have distance at least d between all the marked cards if (and only if) none of the marked cards were originally in the bottom $(N-1)d$. The probability that the marked cards are all distance d apart is the same as the probability that none are in the bottom $(N-1)d$.
The points uniformly distributed on a line segment is just the same (considering the limit as $m$$\rightarrow∞). The probability that they are all at least a distance d apart is the same as the probability that none are in the left section of length (N-1)d. This has probability (1-\frac{(N-1)d}{L})^N. Integrating over 0$$\le$$d$$\le$$\frac{L}{(N-1)}$ gives the expected minimum distance of $\frac{L}{(N^2-1)}$.
Let $$(x_1,x_2,\cdots,x_N)$$ be the position of the $$N$$ points on the interval $$[0,1]$$. We can always permute the scripts to $$x_1\le x_2\cdots \le x_N$$ for any ordering of the points on the interval. The original probability is then $$N!$$ multiple of the ordered probability. Now let $$y_1:=x_1;\, y_i:=x_i-x_{i-1}-d,\,\forall i\ge2$$. The required condition is then $$\big\{y_i\ge0,\,\forall i \bigwedge \sum_{i=1}^N y_i\le 1-(N-1)d\big\}$$. The probability of this set is $$\frac1{N!}(1-(N-1)d)_+^N$$. The desired probability is then $$(1-(N-1)d)_+^N$$.