Best Way to Choose a Toilet at a Festival

What's the best way to choose a porta potty at a music festival? Using the optimal stopping theory (also known as the secretary problem).

I came across an interesting video from Numberphile, that reminded us of the value of the optimal stopping theory (also know as the secretary problem).

Optimal Stopping : In mathematics, the theory of optimal stopping or early stopping is concerned with the problem of choosing a time to take a particular action, in order to maximize an expected reward or minimize an expected cost. (GeekforGeeks)

Basically, it’s how long should you look before making a decision. The short answer is that given a set of n items, you should dismiss the first n/e (e being the natual log…2.71828) and then select the first thing that’s better then the rest you’ve seen after that. Here’s the thing, this strategy only gurantees that you will select the best item 37% of the time.

So if I had 20 candidates, I would dismiss the first 7 of them, and select the first person who was better than those 7.

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