Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tickets and optimization

World Cup tickets go on sale. There are something like a total of 800,000 on sale, and I'm curious to see how the games featuring the lesser lights go. I expect Indians from the US to swamp the online ticket counters early on- once the initial fumbling over calculations on how best to solve the complicated multivariate equation that presents itself as an optimization problem have been taken care of. For, here is the puzzle:

Devise a ticket buying strategy that minimizes total dollars spent (and inter-island travel) while maximizing the following:

1. Number of days spent in an attractive Caribbean island (which does not suffer excessively from problems with crime that might make say, Kingston, unattractive)

2. Number of games involving India (subject to the further constraint that the games also involve matches against decent opposition, as opposed to say, the Netherlands)

This being the World Cup, I expect no easy solutions, and furthermore, this being the cricket World Cup, there will be far too many matches featuring huge gaps in ability between the opponents. But, I'm getting in line, (optimization theory textbook in hand).

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