[buug] Ian' circle packing interview question

Paul Ivanov pi at berkeley.edu
Fri May 27 15:00:57 PDT 2011

Several BUUG meetings ago, Ian proposed an interesting
interview-type question that had all of us reaching for the
change in our pockets to fuss around with possible solutions.

The basic premise, as I remember it, so hopefully Ian or others
can chime in with corrections, is as follows:

Given a circular table, come up with a strategy for placing
same-sized coins which should fit completely on the table, with
the objective that, as you and your opponent alternate in putting
coins down, you will place the *last* coin and your opponent
will not be able to place a coin anywhere else.

Here's a link to a related page that someone in my lab just
sent out, with the instructions: "If you think you're having a
bad day, just google 'circles in circles', and you'll feel a lot
better about yourself."


Paul Ivanov
http://pirsquared.org | GPG/PGP key id: 0x0F3E28F7
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