Stay of Execution

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Stay of Execution

Postby BenTheMan » Thu May 13, 2010 11:52 pm

I don't know that this is an actual interview question, but after reading many examples, my guess is that it can't be far off :)

A prisoner is up for execution, and comes before the king. The king says "I will commute your sentence, under the following condition. My daughter is the tallest woman in the land. I will show you every woman in the land, one at a time, and you must choose my daughter when you spot her. You can inspect each woman once, and only once. After inspecting each woman, I will ask you if she is my daughter. Either you will guess that she is not my daughter, in which case I will bring in the next woman, or you will tell me she is my daughter, in which case I will tell you whether you are right (you live!) or wrong (you die!)."

The question is: what is the strategy that the prisoner must employ to maximize his chances of winning? And what are his chances?

I don't know what the answer is to the first question, but (as a hint), the answer to the second question is 1/e. I think :)
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Re: Stay of Execution

Postby selftaught » Mon May 17, 2010 2:11 pm

Hello

I think this may be at least related to the 'Secretary problem' : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_problem

a
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Re: Stay of Execution

Postby BenTheMan » Sat May 22, 2010 7:51 pm

Aww dammit. Now I know where to look for the answer!

We were supposed to think out loud!
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