Structure & Strangeness


: Prisoner Puzzle v1.0 : the set-up

: 'n' people are captured and thrown in prison for eternity. The Warden of the prison
: keeps them all in solitary confinement, but gaurantees that they will each receive
: an infinite number of showers over time. However, the Warden sets the schedule
: of which prisoners shower on which days. Exactly one prisoner showers each day,
: and there is only one shower room. The prisoners can use the light-switch in the
: shower room (but nothing else) to communicate, i.e. they can change the state
: of the light (on or off) if they so choose, when they shower, and the Warden will
: not disturb its state.

:The Warden tells the prisoners on their first day these rules, and also that if, after
: any amount of time, one of them can correctly claim that all 'n' prisoners have
: had at least one shower, then they will all go free. Otherwise, they are all executed.
: Assuming the prisoners were able to discuss their strategy before being locked up,
: how can they all be freed?

: Good luck!

: To the answer


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© Aaron Clauset

updated 01.25.03