Miscellaneous Gems of Algebraic Combinatorics

Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics book series (UTM)


An evil warden is in charge of 100 prisoners (all with different names). He puts a row of 100 boxes in a room. Inside each box is the name of a different prisoner. The prisoners enter the room one at a time. Each prisoner must open 50 of the boxes, one at a time. If any of the prisoners does not see his or her own name, then they are all killed. The prisoners may have a discussion before the first prisoner enters the room with the boxes, but after that there is no further communication. A prisoner may not leave a message of any kind for another prisoner. In particular, all the boxes are shut once a prisoner leaves the room. If all the prisoners choose 50 boxes at random, then each has a success probability of 1/2, so the probability that they are not killed is 2−100, not such good odds. Is there a strategy that will increase the chances of success? What is the best strategy?


Success Probability Laurent Series Complete Bipartite Graph Hadamard Matrice Hadamard Matrix 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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