Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Optimizing a Kid's Birthday Party

The previous post was about virtual books. This brief post is about children's books, and the nice idea of requesting kids to bring their used books to a birthday party. Suppose there are N kids, with kid(i) bringing book-set B(i). The optimization problem is fairly simple to state. Get the kids to exchange their books in such way that total satisfaction is maximized after the exchange.

A distributed optimization approach could, for example, let kids do their own thing and perform two-opt book swaps until every kid achieves their user-optimal solution, or no candidate is available for swapping.

A centralized optimization scheme may require a parent to create a library of sum(i)|B(i)| books, acquire book-attribute preferences from kids, the attribute vector for each book, and using this information to (informally) solve a partitioning problem that assigns |B(i)| books to kid(i) such that it maximizes the preference sum.

A Karmic optimization approach, which I personally prefer, could let the kids enjoy the cake and ice-cream, while a parent mixes the books up and organizes a fun lottery where the books pick the kids.

Regardless of how the books are assigned, if we do this over a sufficient number of birthday parties, the kids would eventually get to read a variety of books at no extra cost.


  1. Indeed your writing is the best information and I have to share it to other social networks as well.

  2. Now this is something really unique, I was searching for some kids birthday party ideas, and I landed up here, and I guess I have certainly learned something new today :). thanks a lot for this.

  3. Information at your blog is just superb. I was trying get some unique ideas for making best birthday party of my son. We have already booked best birthday party nyc venue to make the event special, I will definitely consider your unique idea for his party.


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