Twenty Questions: Distributional Search Theory


Yuval Filmus


Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Department of Computer Science


Tuesday, 29 January 2019, 14:30 to 15:30


  • A-201 (STCS Seminar Room)


Abstract:  I’m thinking of a person in the audience. How long will it take you to find whom, using only Yes/No questions?

We consider this puzzle, which underlies search theory, with a twist:
I’m choosing the person according to a known distribution, and your goal is to minimize the *expected* number of questions.
How does the performance of your strategy depend on the type of question you’re allowed to ask? On the type of distribution I am allowed to choose? What happens if I can lie?

Joint work with Yuval Dagan (MIT), Ariel Gabizon (Zcash), Daniel Kane (UCSD), Shay Moran (IAS).