Photo from jarkko

## The Contest Problem

Daniel: Hey Quan, we just received a shipment of 25 Macbook Pros from Apple Inc.

Quan: WOWIE PAZOWIE! What are we going to do with 25 Macbook Pros?

Daniel: Let’s keep 3 of them for personal use and give the other 22 away to the winner of this contest.

Quan: Okay. But personally, I think the winner would rather prefer a 10 dollar GC to amazon.

Daniel: You’re probably right. In that case, we’ll just take a sledgehammer and smash the other 22 laptops to oblivion. Anyhow, since all Macbook Pros are not created equally, let’s determine which 3 Macbook Pros are the fastest. Those are the one’s that we’ll keep.

Quan: Good idea. We can go to the computer lab and run a simple test.

Daniel: Right. We can hook them up to the blinkdagger station and have each laptop process a special algorithm that I developed in MATLAB.

Quan: But we can only hook up 5 Macbook Pros at one time. And the station only ranks the 5 laptops from 1 (fastest) to 5 (slowest). It doesn’t give us any other information. This could potentially take forever!

Daniel: Don’t worry Quan. The optimal strategy will only take ______ iterations.

How many iterations do Quan and Daniel have to run to determine which 3 Macbooks are the fastest?

## The Rules

1. The winner will receive their choice of a 10 dollar gift certificate to Amazon.com or this spiffy Rubik’s Cube (the cube is only available to US participants).

3. Only one entry per person.

4. Inelgible for any one person to win more than once per year. But you should still submit your answer!

5. Answer must be explained. You must show your work! We will be the final judge on whether an answer was properly explained or not.

6. The deadline to submit answers is April 21st 2008, Tuesday 12:00 AM Pacific Standard Time

7. The winner will be chosen randomly from all the submittals using a random number generator.

8. The winner will be announced at 9:00 AM PST April 25th, 2008.

9. Comments for this post should only be used to clarify the problem. Please do not discuss ANY potential solutions.

10. Please spread the word about our contest! We’re aiming for 50 submissions for this contest. If we meet 50, we will announce two winners! So please stumble this post or advertise by word of mouth!