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Simple Binary Identification Problems
June 1972 (vol. 21 no. 6)
pp. 588-590
M. R. Garey, Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., Murray Hill, N. J. 07974.
Given some unknown object belonging to a known finite set of n possibilities, it is required to determine its identity by successive comparisons with each of the possibilities. Associating with each of these possibilities a testing cost and a probability that it is identical to the unknown object, we would like to obtain such a testing procedure which has minimum expected testing cost. Intuitively, it would appear that one should proceed by always applying the remaining test with least cost/probability ratio. We show that this technique does not necessarily yield the optimal procedure and present an algorithm which determines the optimal testing sequence in a number of steps proportional to n · log2 n.
M. R. Garey, "Simple Binary Identification Problems," IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 21, no. 6, pp. 588-590, June 1972, doi:10.1109/TC.1972.5009013
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