[buug] Ian' circle packing interview question

Ian Zimmerman itz at buug.org
Sat May 28 23:21:16 PDT 2011

On Fri, 27 May 2011 15:00:57 -0700
Paul Ivanov <pi at berkeley.edu> wrote:

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

That is correct.  It turns out to work for a square table as well, or
a hexagonal one, or even an elliptical one.  But not an arbitrary table.

> http://www2.stetson.edu/~efriedma/cirincir/
> http://mathworld.wolfram.com/CirclePacking.html

You need _way_ less mathematics for this problem.  Just mathematical
induction, really.

Ian Zimmerman
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