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 Hats and alligators (Posted on 2006-07-15)
A group of prisoners is under sentence of death and the warder decides to give them a test to gain their freedom. He tells them, "I will place a red or blue hat on each of your heads and then I'm going to arrange you in random order in a row so that no prisoner will be able to see his own hat but each one will see all the hats in front of him. Starting with the guy at the back each of you in turn must loudly say what color hat you think you have. Correct answers will go free, incorrect ones will be thrown to the alligators in the moat. I will give you time for a brief meeting before we start, so you can plan your optimum strategy."

What strategy can the prisoners - there are N of them - adopt to improve their odds above 50:50?

Hint: They need to agree on a strategy which allows each person to identify his/her own hat while simultaneously providing as much information as possible for all those in front.

 No Solution Yet Submitted by JayDeeKay Rating: 4.4000 (5 votes)

Comments: ( Back to comment list | You must be logged in to post comments.)
 re: Thoughts. (Spoiler?) Question. | Comment 3 of 19 |
(In reply to Thoughts. (Spoiler?) Question. by Steve Herman)

Steve, reading your post after posting mine, I see your second guess is very much like mine.  Your second approach is better than your first, as it has a 75% to 83 1/3% average chance of survival rate, which, of course, is better than 50%.

Edited on July 15, 2006, 12:48 pm
 Posted by Dej Mar on 2006-07-15 11:50:48

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