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Romanian Informatics Olympiad - Modified Huffman Encoding

Posted on: January 1st, 2013 by
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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 minimum time it takes to transmit the text using a suitable encoding. The solution should run in ON^4 time, and use ON^3 space.

via CSE Blog - quant, math, cse puzzles.


Pizza Paradox Puzzle

Posted on: January 1st, 2013 by
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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 they each get a pizza. If they don’t, he picks 4 people at random, then 8, and so on, doubling each round. If you are selected but don’t win, you can’t be selected again – and you can assume the population is extremely large so there’s no chance of running out of contestants.

You are sitting at home when you get a call – you have been selected to play the game. What is the chance that you will get a free pizza?

You don't know which round number it is, but if you ask, the king will tell you. Does it matter?

via CSE Blog - quant, math, cse puzzles.


CRIMINAL CUPBEARERS

Posted on: December 28th, 2012 by
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An evil king has 1000 bottles of wine. A neighboring queen plots to kill the bad king, and sends a servant to poison the wine. The king's guards catch the servant after he has only poisoned one bottle. The guards don't know which bottle was poisoned, but they do know that the poison is so potent that even if it was diluted 1,000,000 times, it would still be fatal. Furthermore, the effects of the poison take one month to surface. The king decides he will get some of his prisoners in his vast dungeons to drink the wine. Rather than using 1000 prisoners each assigned to a particular bottle, this king knows that he needs to murder no more than 10 prisoners to figure out what bottle is poisoned, and will still be able to drink the rest of the wine in 5 weeks time. How does he pull this off?



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