License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2021.1
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-135400
URL: https://drops.dagstuhl.de/opus/volltexte/2021/13540/
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Dagan, Yuval ; Filmus, Yuval ; Kane, Daniel ; Moran, Shay

The Entropy of Lies: Playing Twenty Questions with a Liar

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LIPIcs-ITCS-2021-1.pdf (0.5 MB)


Abstract

"Twenty questions" is a guessing game played by two players: Bob thinks of an integer between 1 and n, and Alice’s goal is to recover it using a minimal number of Yes/No questions. Shannon’s entropy has a natural interpretation in this context. It characterizes the average number of questions used by an optimal strategy in the distributional variant of the game: let μ be a distribution over [n], then the average number of questions used by an optimal strategy that recovers x∼ μ is between H(μ) and H(μ)+1. We consider an extension of this game where at most k questions can be answered falsely. We extend the classical result by showing that an optimal strategy uses roughly H(μ) + k H_2(μ) questions, where H_2(μ) = ∑_x μ(x)log log 1/μ(x). This also generalizes a result by Rivest et al. (1980) for the uniform distribution. Moreover, we design near optimal strategies that only use comparison queries of the form "x ≤ c?" for c ∈ [n]. The usage of comparison queries lends itself naturally to the context of sorting, where we derive sorting algorithms in the presence of adversarial noise.

BibTeX - Entry

@InProceedings{dagan_et_al:LIPIcs.ITCS.2021.1,
  author =	{Yuval Dagan and Yuval Filmus and Daniel Kane and Shay Moran},
  title =	{{The Entropy of Lies: Playing Twenty Questions with a Liar}},
  booktitle =	{12th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2021)},
  pages =	{1:1--1:16},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-177-1},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2021},
  volume =	{185},
  editor =	{James R. Lee},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl--Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{https://drops.dagstuhl.de/opus/volltexte/2021/13540},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-135400},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.ITCS.2021.1},
  annote =	{Keywords: entropy, twenty questions, algorithms, sorting}
}

Keywords: entropy, twenty questions, algorithms, sorting
Collection: 12th Innovations in Theoretical Computer Science Conference (ITCS 2021)
Issue Date: 2021
Date of publication: 04.02.2021


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