PUMA
Istituto di Informatica e Telematica     
Aigner M., De Marco G., Montangero M. The plurality problem with three colors and more. In: THEORETICAL COMPUTER SCIENCE (03116J0), vol. 337 pp. 319 - 330. Elsevier B.V, 2005.
 
 
Abstract
(English)
The plurality problem is a game between two participants: Paul and Carole. We are given n balls, each of them is colored with one out of c colors. At any step of the game, Paul chooses two balls and asks whether they are of the same color, whereupon Carole answers yes or no. The game ends when Paul either produces a ball a of the plurality color (meaning that the number of balls colored like a exceeds those of the other colors), or when Paul states that there is no plurality. How many questions Lc(n) does Paul have to ask in the worst case?For c = 2, the problem is equivalent to the well-known majority problem which has already been solved (Combinatorica 11 (1991) 383-387). In this paper we show that 3 ⌊n/2⌋-2 ≤ L3(n) ≤ ⌊5n/3⌋ - 2. Moreover, for any c ≤ n, we show that surprisingly the naive algorithm for the plurality problem is asymptotically optimal.
DOI: 10.1016/j.tcs.2004.12.035
Subject Combinatorial search
Algorithm analysis
Majority problem
Game
G. Mathematics of Computing G.2 DISCRETE MATHEMATICS G.2.1 Combinatorics Subjects: Combinatorial algorithms


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