Coding Theory: Twenty (Simple) Questions

Yuval Filmus (CS,​​Technnion)​​
Sunday, 26.3.2017, 12:30
Taub 601

Huffman coding has a search-theoretic interpretation as the optimal strategy for the twenty questions game. In this game, Alice chooses x ∈ {1,...,n} according to a distribution µ, and Bob identifies x using yes/no questions. Bob's goal is to use the minimum number of questions in expectation.

A strategy for Bob corresponds to a prefix code for {1,...,n}, and this shows that Bob's optimal strategy uses a Huffman code for µ. However, this strategy could use arbitrary yes/no questions.

What happens when we restrict the set of yes/no questions that Bob is allowed to use?

Joint work with Yuval Dagan, Ariel Gabizon, and Shay Moran.

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