The circumference of the Earth is approximately 40,000 kilometers, and someone has just made a metal band that circles the Earth, touching the ground at all locations.
You come along at night, as a practical joke, and add just 10 meters to its length (one hundredth of one kilometer !)
It is now one four-millionth longer, and sits magically just above the ground at all locations
How far … Continue reading the story "Band around the Earth - An Easy Puzzle"
You are trapped in a small room with four walls. Each wall has a button that is either in an ON or OFF setting, although you can never tell what the setting is. When you push a button, you switch its setting. If you can get all the buttons to have the same setting, you are set free. Each time step, you can use your … Continue reading the story "Button Trap Room"
There is an island upon which a tribe resides. The tribe consists of 1000 people, with various eye colours. Yet, their religion forbids them to know their own eye color, or even to discuss the topic; thus, each resident can and does see the eye colors of all other residents, but has no way of discovering his or her own there are no reflective surfaces. … Continue reading the story "The blue-eyed islanders puzzle"
Suppose the starting point of a particle undergoing Brownian motion in 2 dimensions is chosen uniformly at random on an imaginary circle C1. Suppose there is a solid circle C2 completely inside C1, not necessarily concentric. Show that the particle hits the boundary of C2 with the uniform distribution.
There is a lock which is an N by N grid of switches. Each switch can be in one of two states (on/off). The lock is unlocked if all the switches are on. The lock is built in such a way that, if you toggle some switch, all the switches in its row and its column toggle too
Give an algorithm which, given N and a … Continue reading the story "Locks and Switches"
A lion and a lion tamer are enclosed within a circular cage. If they move at the same speed but are both restricted by the cage, can the lion catch the lion tamer? (Represent the cage by a circle, and the lion and lion tamer as two point masses within it.)
Assume the following 3-player game consisting of several rounds. Players A and B build a team, they have one fair coin each, and may initially talk to each other. Before starting the first round, however, no more communication between them is allowed until the end of the game. (Imagine they are separated in different places without any communication infrastructure.)
A round of the game consists of … Continue reading the story "Coin Puzzle: Predict the Other's Coin"
A telegraph machine can transmit only lines and dots; it takes 2 seconds to transmit a line, but only 1 second to transmit a dot. We generally want to transmit texts containing letters of the English alphabet, and digits so we have N<=36 symbols in total. Therefore, a prefix-free encoding using lines and dots is needed. Given the frequencies of the N symbols in a large text, find the … Continue reading the story "Romanian Informatics Olympiad - Modified Huffman Encoding"
The king of the universe has decided to play a game. To start, he selects 1 person. He then flips two fair coins - if they both come up heads, the person gets a free pizza and the game is over. For any other result, he sends the person home and selects 2 new people, where he does the same 2-coin flip to decide if … Continue reading the story "Pizza Paradox Puzzle"