Thursday, February 25, 2010

Glove selection

There are 22 gloves in a drawer: 5 pairs of red gloves, 4 pairs of yellow, and 2 pairs of green. You select the gloves in the dark and can check them only after a selection has been made. What is the smallest number of gloves you need to select to have at least one matching pair in the best case? in the worst case?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There are four people who want to cross a bridge

There are four people who want to cross a bridge; they all begin on the same side. You have 17 minutes to get them all across to the other side. It is night, and they have one flashlight. A maximum of two people can cross the bridge at one time. Any party that crosses, either one or two people, must have the flashlight with them. The flashlight must be walked back and forth; it cannot be thrown, for example. Person 1 takes 1 minute to cross the bridge, person 2 takes 2 minutes, person 3 takes 5 minutes, and person 4 takes 10 minutes. A pair must walk together at the rate of the slower person’s pace. For example, if person 1 and person 4 walk across first, 10 minutes have elapsed when they get to the other side of the bridge. If person 4 returns the flashlight, a total of 20 minutes have passed and you have failed the mission.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Crazy Guy on the Plane

A line of 100 airline passengers is waiting to board a plane. They each hold a ticket to one of the 100 seats on that flight. (For convenience, let's say that the nth passenger in line has a ticket for the seat number n.)
Unfortunately, the first person in line is crazy, and will ignore the seat number on their ticket, picking a random seat to occupy. All of the other passengers are quite normal, and will go to their proper seat unless it is already occupied. If it is occupied, they will then find a free seat to sit in, at random.
What is the probability that the last (100th) person to board the plane will sit in their proper seat (#100)?