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You have ten lanterns, five of which are working, and five of which are broken...

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You have ten lanterns, five of which are working, and five of which are broken. You are allowed to choose any two lanterns and make a test which tells you whether there is a broken lantern among them or not. How many tests do you need until you find a working lantern?

posted Oct 9 by anonymous

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1 Answer

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6 tests needed
(1, 2) → (3, 4) → (5, 6) → (7, 8) → (7, 9) → (8, 9)
If at least one of these tests is positive, then you have found two working lanterns.
It all of these tests are negative, then lantern #10 must be working. Indeed, since at least one lantern in each of the pairs (1, 2), (3, 4), (5, 6) is not working. Therefore, there are at least 2 working lanterns among #7, #8, #9, #10. If #10 is not working, then at least one of the pairs (7, 8), (7, 9), or (8, 9) must yield a positive test, which is a contradiction.

answer Oct 9 by Hanifa Mammadov



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