100 prisoners and a light bulb
There are days when I feel particularly proud of myself, and today is one of those days. It’s Friday the 20th of August, that is the last day of ESSLLI 2010. The morning lecture was the last lecture of Hans van Ditmarsch’s DEL course, and at the end of it he presented a “100 prisoners and a light bulb” puzzle, asking us for the solution. Unexpectedly, I’ve found the solution, but didn’t dare saying it aloud, since I was convinced it was wrong.
Although I’ve always wanted to become a professional programmer, I never became one. I studied philosophy and went into a PhD programme in computer science because of my interest in formal logic. I like computers very much, I have professional experience in UNIX administration, and I’ve done a lot of Perl/Bash/Tcsh scripting, but I’ve never actually written any non-trivial piece of programming code. Whether you want to model something, verify, or check your proofs, being able to write a computer program that helps you with some task really comes in handy.