November 28, 2007

Sultan's Dowry Problem

My friend Priyanshu shown me an interesting problem named as Sultan's Dowry Problem.

A sultan has granted a commoner a chance to marry one of his daughters. The commoner will be presented with the daughters one at a time and, when each daughter is presented, the commoner will be told the daughter's dowry (which is fixed in advance). Upon being presented with a daughter, the commoner must immediately decide whether to accept or reject her (he is not allowed to return to a previously rejected daughter). However, the sultan will allow the marriage to take place only if the commoner picks the daughter with the overall highest dowry. Then what is the commoner's best strategy, assuming he knows nothing about the distribution of dowries (Mosteller 1987)?

It has completely mathematical solution. No guesses and no assumptions.

I will provide solution in my next post.


  1. hi himanshu ,this is well known mathematical problem. i agree how mathematics can provide solutions to everyday prolems too.

    The answer is that person must choose the 37th girl he meets, this way he will maximize his chance of getting the most beautiful bride. And here is a message for all eligible bachelors, if you are looking for a partner, select the 37th one you meet from now. Happy searching !!

  2. How the hell did u arrive at 37.....explain that