Questions tagged [optimization]

A puzzle where you have to optimize a certain objective function (maximize profit, minimize cost). There should ideally be a provable best answer, to avoid making the puzzle into an [open-ended] game.

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7
votes
2answers
332 views

How many squares can a limp queen move to?

Consider a large chessboard. A limp rook is a chess piece that moves one step orthogonally, but it turns $90$ degrees after every move. The limp rook makes some moves, not crossing over its own path, ...
2
votes
2answers
182 views

Quickest chess stalemate with Queens exchange

Continuing my previous puzzle. If both players cooperate, what is the quickest stalemate in chess that includes a Queens exchange, in a legal game?
3
votes
2answers
218 views

Quickest mate with Queens exchange

If both players cooperate, what is the quickest mate in chess that includes a Queens exchange, in a legal game?
-2
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0answers
142 views

9x9 grid containing the most words

Let's have a 9x9 grid. In the top row you can put any nine letter word. By permutating the letters of that word, fill the entire grid. The same letter should not appear more than once in any row or ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

Insert Plus Signs and Add

If you take any integer (in base 10) and insert plus signs, "+", in between its digits (as few or as many as you like), and carry out the indicated sum, you will end up with a smaller number ...
-1
votes
1answer
123 views

A Complex Dash To Stalemate

For today's contribution to PSE, I present a sliding block puzzle! I have a series-helpstalemate in 26 for you all with a relevant question attached. The illegal position is intentional. Objective #1: ...
6
votes
0answers
129 views

What's the best path through a garden that maximises the ground you can reach but minimises the steps taken?

I'm messing around with this toy problem I came up with. Say you have a yard that's 16 x 16 feet. Each square foot of the grid can either be a paving square for the path or a soil square for plants. A ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

An overcomplicated Boat Puzzle

Based on Xkcd's Boat Puzzle At the riverbank, a succession of people have given you a large lump of objects to transport across the river. These are: 101 cabbages 2 goats, one of which eats wolves 4 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Laser and mirrors on a 4x4 grid

You are given an empty 4x4 grid. You can place some diagonal mirrors into the cells of the grid. You then fire a laser from some location outside of the grid. The laser travels in a straight line. ...
0
votes
2answers
137 views

How can we allocate when we have 150 open slots every day (5 days a week) for those 200 arrivals every day

My question is to solve a very basic problem related to the allocation of slots. Say there are 20 teams with 10 persons in each team. I have 150 open slots every day (5 days a week) for those 20 teams ...
12
votes
2answers
663 views

Introducing S-sequences: which is the shortest to contain all integers 1 to 20?

Consider a sequence (finite or infinite) of different positive integers, such as the following, in which the first term is 1, and thereafter the nth term is either the previous term plus n, minus n, ...
6
votes
1answer
176 views

42 lines on a chessboard with associated numbers

The 64 squares of a chessboard can be associated with 42 lines as follows: the 8 rows the 8 columns 13 diagonals from north-west to south-east 13 diagonals from north-east to south-west Those ...
12
votes
1answer
600 views

All distances different on a chess board

Here is a simple formulation for, I believe, a quite difficult problem. I have played with it, I don't have the answer yet. The question: How many pawns can you put on a standard 8x8 chess board in ...
2
votes
2answers
347 views

Minimum number of questions?

This is an interesting puzzle which I've been racking my brain to solve for some time. I've found different variations of this puzzle but it does not seem like this one has been asked before. Here it ...
1
vote
2answers
108 views

Alice and Bob play neighboring sums game version 2

Alice and Bob are playing the neighboring game which is originally a single person game with the aim of getting the highest points at the end. You start with an empty 4x4 grid. At each turn, you can ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Social distancing in a 5x5 room [duplicate]

I have booked a square meeting room that is 5 by 5 meters. Our Covid-19 policy says that each person must be at least 1.5 meters away from any other person. What is the highest number of people that ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

Some blissfully ignorant math?

I was playing around with the code for my game the other day in an effort to create some unique effects. One thing I created was what I called an "ignorant assignment" in which I applied ...
5
votes
2answers
535 views

A piece of paper repeatedly cut into 8 or 12 pieces

You are given a piece of paper. It will be cut into 8 or 12 pieces. Each of those new pieces can be cut again into 8 or 12 pieces or left uncut. This process is (theoretically) repeated as often as ...
6
votes
4answers
271 views

Pawns and kings, what is the optimal play for white?

White to move. Source: wu riddles
-4
votes
1answer
219 views

The cow and the butcher

Let’s have 12 stalls spaced equidistantly, and a cow traveling between them. In the 12th stall a butcher is waiting with a sharp knife. So the farthest stall a cow wants to reach is the 11th stall. ...
3
votes
1answer
735 views

Most efficient way for people along the edges of a grid to move to the center

I'm considering a $2k\times 2k$ square grid ($k\in\mathbb Z^+$) with $8k$ highly rational people standing along the vertices forming the perimeter. All of these people want to go to the centre of the ...
5
votes
1answer
166 views

Fold the plane four times to get the maximum number of cross points

You have a straight line $l$ in an infinite plane. You can fold the plane along any straight line so the line $l$ becomes two rays with a common starting point. In the picture we fold along line $a_1$...
1
vote
1answer
86 views

How can I find the shortest path solution or even begin to finding the most optimal solution to a weld robot sequencing problem? [closed]

Not sure this belongs here, but I thought I'd ask: How should I come to an understanding of an optimal weld sequence for a weld robot that welds a physical item on a revolving carousel (the gray T ...
4
votes
3answers
331 views

Filling a grid with skinny trominoes which have arrows on their ends

Let's have a 10x10 square grid with 7 empty small squares. This grid is to be filled with skinny trominoes which have arrows at their ends (see figure 1). What is the maximum number of arrows which ...
18
votes
1answer
693 views

Spot that puzzle

This diagram solves an occasionally seen member of a well-known family of optimization puzzles.  Spots ● generalize a component that is represented variously in different statements of these puzzles.  ...
1
vote
3answers
298 views

Egg drop problem for infinite floors [closed]

This is a modification of the infamous egg drop problem, which I have seen formulated as in the following manner: Given $e$ eggs and a building of $f$ floors, how can we find the lowest floor at ...
10
votes
2answers
456 views

Clash of the Robinsons

"Ridiculous!" you think "What can be the odds? Either I'm hallucinating or the amateur writing this story plunged to new depths of incompetence." Both being equally likely you don'...
2
votes
1answer
364 views

A number like waldo?

What is the smallest whole number that when its individual digits are summed, produces a number 4 digits long? For example, the number $5357$ is no where close since $5 + 3 + 5 + 7 = 20$. Note: I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

What is the most STAMINA-efficient strategy to escape the well?

You are roleplaying as an adventurer under the direction of a sadistic DM who has just thrown your character down a well. In order to escape, you have unlimited chances at a STAMINA check, difficulty ...
3
votes
2answers
279 views

It's kind-of like Minesweeper

Have you ever played "Minesweeper" or "Lights Out!" and wondered what it would be like to reverse the process? Me too! Say hello to a 10 by 10 grid that I like to call "Number ...
2
votes
2answers
184 views

Powerful Octagon

Place different integers on the vertices of an octagon so that the sum of the integers in any two vertices joined by one of its edges is a power of 2. Do so in such a way that the largest integer used ...
4
votes
2answers
415 views

Longest chain of checks and captures

On a standard size chessboard, with white to move, make a configuration of chess pieces and moves, so that with every move by white the black king repeatedly becomes checked. With every move black ...
5
votes
5answers
501 views

Find the most unfortunate compact combination of coins to have in LOLandia

You live in LOLandia. Its currency is called 'lulz' and comes in the form of coins and paper banknotes. The smallest paper banknote has a nominal value of 500 lulz. There are six types of coins, each ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Attacking diagonal queens

What is the least number of queens you need to place on the main diagonal of a 8x8 chess board such that every square is under attack?
3
votes
2answers
281 views

Fix this puzzle, please!

My students claim that this disconnect four puzzle (fill the grid with crosses and zeros, such that no four equal symbols appear in a row. Rows can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) does not have ...
4
votes
1answer
219 views

My High School's Reunion

My high school is celebrating 30 years since graduating its first class and is planning to invite for lunch 20 alumni, 600 in all, from each of those classes. Hosts are planning to sit everyone in ...
3
votes
0answers
102 views

Most leads in a "difficult" Sudoku

Since "difficult" is undefined, let me define it arbitrarily: A Sudoku is difficult if it can't be solved by only considering singles (naked or hidden), the most basic solving strategy. How ...
0
votes
1answer
117 views

Does every validly posed Sudoku have at least one solution and if not what is the minimum number of givens for it to be unsolvable? [duplicate]

Does every validly posed Sudoku (doesn't break any Sudoku rules so only no duplicate 1 to 9 in rows, columns or square) have at least one solution, and if not, what is the minimum number of givens for ...
7
votes
0answers
217 views

Doubling the cube with rational Meccano strips

In three monographs published in 2006, 2008 and 2014 Gerard 't Hooft considered "Meccano mathematics": how to construct specified distances and regular polygons by a rigid system of ideal ...
9
votes
2answers
798 views

16 Step Switchover

The picture above shows two arrangements of four rectangular blocks, each labelled A to D. The arrangement on the left is the starting arrangement, the one on the right is the goal position. To solve ...
10
votes
1answer
335 views

Pythagorean triangle dissection

This is a variation of Pythagorean quilts. I will make it short, this time. Pythagoras's theorem also works for triangles. This leads to the following variation: Dissect the triangles of size 5 and ...
15
votes
3answers
986 views

A Perfect Diamond of Numbers

A diamond of numbers is an arrangement of circles in the shape of a trapezoid (see figure) in which the number in any circle above its central (longest) row is the sum of the two numbers in the ...
13
votes
7answers
2k views

Spiders on a cube

Two spiders are trying to catch an ant. All are constrained to move along the edges of a transparent cube. The speed of the ant is $1$. The speeds of the spiders are $v_1$ and $v_2$ respectively. What'...
3
votes
2answers
751 views

Most points on a circle

What is the most number of integer lattice points that lie on the circumference of a single circle whose radius is 80 or less? Please no computer computations.
6
votes
2answers
229 views

Most polyominoes on a Rubik's cube

What is the most number of distinct free polyominoes you can form on the faces of a standard 3x3x3 Rubik's cube? Here a polyomino is considered as a set of orthogonally-adjacent cells of the same ...
6
votes
1answer
809 views

Cutting off one's nose to spite one's eyes

Disclaimer: to keep graphic depiction of gratuitous violence to a minimum the face to be spited has been deliberately kept abstract. You are required to further reduce any distress this puzzle may ...
3
votes
1answer
367 views

Using squares to prove e > 2.7

Edited to replace $\exp(-x)$ with $\exp(x)$. My apologies. I loved this puzzle, so thought I'd submit a similar one: The definite integral $\int_{−\infty}^{1} \exp(x)dx$ is equal to $e$ . Using ...
5
votes
2answers
259 views

Longest sequence of two-digit sum replacements

You are given a two-digit number. You can replace one of its digits with the sum of its digits modulo 10. For example, if the starting number is 58 then you can change it to 38 or 53. You can continue ...
105
votes
2answers
10k views

Prove that π > 3

It seems that once upon a time some politicians tried to pass a law fixing the value of π to be exactly 3. The idea being to "make math simpler so that our children can get better at math". ...
12
votes
2answers
433 views

Square Crayon Sticks

Ten sets of crayons forming all the digits from 0 to 9 can be moved, flipped, rotate and intersect without changing their digital forms. What is the maximum number of 1x1 stick squares that can be ...

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