The Celebrity Problem

In a party of N people, only one person is known to everyone. Such a person may be present in the party, if yes, (s)he doesn’t know anyone in the party. We can only ask questions like “does A know B? “. Find the stranger (celebrity) in the minimum number of questions.

We can describe the problem input as an array of numbers/characters representing persons in the party. We also have a hypothetical function HaveAcquaintance(A, B) which returns true if A knows B, false otherwise. How can we solve the problem.

MATRIX = { {0, 0, 1, 0},
           {0, 0, 1, 0},
           {0, 0, 0, 0},
           {0, 0, 1, 0} }
Output:id = 2
Explanation: The person with ID 2 does not 
know anyone but everyone knows him

MATRIX = { {0, 0, 1, 0},
           {0, 0, 1, 0},
           {0, 1, 0, 0},
           {0, 0, 1, 0} }
Output: No celebrity
Explanation: There is no celebrity.

We measure the complexity in terms of calls made to HaveAcquaintance().

Method 1: This uses Graph to arrive at the particular solution.

  1. Write code to find celebrity. Don’t use any data structures like graphs, stack, etc… you have access to N and HaveAcquaintance(int, int) only.
  2. Implement the algorithm using Queues. What is your observation? Compare your solution with Finding Maximum and Minimum in an array and Tournament Tree. What are minimum number of comparisons do we need (optimal number of calls to HaveAcquaintance())?

Venki. Please write comments if you find anything incorrect, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.

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Improved By : vt_m, andrew1234, rohitkumar52

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