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The Prison Warden

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The Warden Can you set them all free ? Read More
snowtiger Avatar
9y, 3w agoPosted 9 years, 3 weeks ago
The Warden

Can you set them all free ?
snowtiger Avatar
9y, 3w agoPosted 9 years, 3 weeks ago

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[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]The Warden[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]The warden meets with 23 new prisoners when they arrive. He tells them, "You may meet today and plan a strategy. But after today, you will be in isolated cells and will have no communication with one another. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]"In the prison is a switch room, which contains two light switches labeled 1 and 2, each of which can be in either up or the down position. I am not telling you their present positions. The switches are not connected to anything. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]"After today, from time to time whenever I feel so inclined, I will select one prisoner at random and escort him to the switch room. This prisoner will select one of the two switches and reverse its position. He must flip one switch when he visits the switch room, and may only flip one of the switches. Then he'll be led back to his cell. [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]"No one else will be allowed to alter the switches until I lead the next prisoner into the switch room. I'm going to choose prisoners at random. I may choose the same guy three times in a row, or I may jump around and come back. I will not touch the switches, if I wanted you dead you would already be dead.[/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]"Given enough time, everyone will eventually visit the switch room the same number of times as everyone else. At any time, anyone may declare to me, 'We have all visited the switch room.' [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]"If it is true, then you will all be set free. If it is false, and somebody has not yet visited the switch room, you will all die horribly. You will be carefully monitored, and any attempt to break any of these rules will result in instant death to all of you" [/SIZE][/FONT]
[FONT=Comic Sans MS][SIZE=5]What is the strategy they come up with so that they can be free?[/SIZE][/FONT]
Pass. I'll go to the back of the class :oops:
hang themselves? lol
Serve their time and be released.

Probably only 3 years of a 10 year sentence and obviously completely rehabilitated so will never re-offend.
Just looked up the answer and still confused...

Pass, onto the next one!
Just looked up the answer and still confused...

Me too - the prisoners are more intelligent than I am :oops:
i understand it, but there's no way i would have been able to work it out...
[CENTER] post answer when I get back home ! :)[/CENTER]
remember what happened when juicyx changed their avatar...
I'm a Maths graduate, and I'm not even going to attempt this.
I'm a Maths graduate, and I'm not even going to attempt this.

I tried to find the answer to this in my head before I looked & must admit after several mins gave in ..... it was beyond me too ! thought there might be someone clever on here to solve it ? not so far though !

Loved your dancing lady post btw
Unless the prisoners were all from Oxford or Cambridge university, I doubt this would have worked in a real life situation, lol.
share the answer guys
1 Like #14
Sorry if someone else wanted to post this link but it was driving me mad too!
Thank you!
Answer: The team nominates a leader. The group agrees upon the following rules:
The leader is the only person who will announce that everyone has visited the switch room. All the prisoners (except for the leader) will flip the first switch up at their very first opportunity, and again on the second opportunity. If the first switch is already up, or they have already flipped the first switch up two times, they will then flip the second switch. Only the leader may flip the first switch down, if the first switch is already down, then the leader will flip the second switch. The leader remembers how many times he has flipped the first switch down. Once the leader has flipped the first switch down 44 times, he announces that all have visited the room.
It does not matter how many times a prisoner has visited the room, in which order the prisoners were sent or even if the first switch was initially up. Once the leader has flipped the switch down 44 times then the leader knows everyone has visited the room. If the switch was initially down, then all 22 prisoners will flip the switch up twice. If the switch was initially up, then there will be one prisoner who only flips the switch up once and the rest will flip it up twice.
The prisoners can not be certain that all have visited the room after the leader flips the switch down 23 times, as the first 12 prisoners plus the leader might be taken to the room 24 times before anyone else is allowed into the room. Because the initial state of the switch might be up, the prisoners must flip the first switch up twice. If they decide to flip it up only once, the leader will not konw if he should count to 22 or 23.
In the example of three prisoners, the leader must flip the first switch down three times to be sure all prisoners have visited the room, twice for the two other prisoners and once more in case the switch was initially up.
Just what i thought :whistling:
I was just about to say that
I was just about to say that

I was just about to say what you just said.
I was just about to say what you just said.


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