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Issue No. 06 - June (1972 vol. 21)
ISSN: 0018-9340
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 · log<inf>2</inf> n.

M. R. Garey, "Simple Binary Identification Problems," in IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 21, no. , pp. 588-590, 1972.
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