Animated Lego video presents classic poison bottles puzzle

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It’s a binary search, right? Excellent animation of the concept!

The animation was much better than the puzzle. Also, mixing all those samples would take so long, Catwoman would have actually decomposed. Fortunately, they do make LEGO skeletons.


No it won’t. You may carry all samples with you then you need just one pass of the barrels. A drop from one barrel in the worst case must be placed in all samples. Let’s say taking one drop needs one second. Then all the work is done in approx 10 seconds, which is less than 3 hours.

But yes, food would be cold in that time already if you regard the King’s problem.


Dear Mark!

We’re very pleased that you enjoyed our new video :grinning:. We also hope that you enjoyed the other lego animation we made some time ago on the Monty Hall problem (aka three prisoners problem) as well.

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Fix: 10.000 seconds

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Technically speaking it’s something else. Binary search is a search algorithm which works on a sorted array of data and at each step checks the middle term and compares it with the given value you search for. Here you don’t have steps. Everything is done at once. One machine run. Ten samples simultaneously. Moreover you also don’t have an ordered collection of objects.

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Awesome video. Absolutely loved it and look forward to using it to slyly teach my niece and nephew about combinatorics. :grinning:

Love the other videos too. Keep up the great work!

Strictly speaking in mathematics it’s referred to as nonadaptive combinatorial group testing and is extremely useful in a variety of fields from electronic diagnostics to genetic sequencing.

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@Mathfigs, @GulliverFoyle, thank you for the correction!

I thought it was interesting the way the puzzle phrasing threw two red herrings - referring to ten separate tests as a single test, and rounding the quantity to be tested down to 1000. Those things made the 210 relationship less obvious.

Pfft, Batman has an Eppendorf pipetter in the utility belt, of course. He’s a Real Scientist™! (And if there’s anything stock commercial art has taught me, it’s that Real Science™ requires an Eppendorf.)


Wow. Thanks, this is really useful.

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