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Q: A Sultan has a 1000 bottles of wine. He needs to use them in 30 days time for a royal banquet. He knows that his enemies have poisoned exactly one bottle with a type of poison that takes effect in 29 days. He decides to use his soldiers to test which bottle is poisoned. Is there a strategy that minimizes the number of soldiers needed for the task?

Probability Theory: The Logic of Science

A: The naive approach is to have one soldier per bottle. Every soldier gets a drop from each bottle and they wait for 29 days. The number of the soldier who gets affected on the 29th day shows which bottle is poisoned. However, this strategy is quite expensive in terms of the number of soldiers needed for the Sultan. A far more efficient strategy is the following.

Label each bottle with a number.Maintain a ledger which maps a number to each of the patterns 0000000000 -> 1, 0000000001 -> 2, 0000000010 -> 3, 0000000100 -> 4 and so on till you reach 1111111111 -> 10…

Q: A Sultan has a 1000 bottles of wine. He needs to use them in 30 days time for a royal banquet. He knows that his enemies have poisoned exactly one bottle with a type of poison that takes effect in 29 days. He decides to use his soldiers to test which bottle is poisoned. Is there a strategy that minimizes the number of soldiers needed for the task?

Probability Theory: The Logic of Science

A: The naive approach is to have one soldier per bottle. Every soldier gets a drop from each bottle and they wait for 29 days. The number of the soldier who gets affected on the 29th day shows which bottle is poisoned. However, this strategy is quite expensive in terms of the number of soldiers needed for the Sultan. A far more efficient strategy is the following.

Label each bottle with a number.Maintain a ledger which maps a number to each of the patterns 0000000000 -> 1, 0000000001 -> 2, 0000000010 -> 3, 0000000100 -> 4 and so on till you reach 1111111111 -> 10…