Medium | Strategy |

100 prisoners are lined up and assigned a random hat These hats are available in 10 different unique and distinguishable colors. Each prisoner can see the hats in front of him but not behind. Starting with the prisoner in the back of the line and moving forward, they must each, in turn, say only one word which must be the color like "red" or "blue" or "green" etc. If the word matches their hat color they are released, if not, they are killed on the spot. They can hear each others answers, no matter how far they are on the line. What strategy should be used to help release maximum number of prisoners?

Hint

Try prisoner's Hat puzzle first

Solution

Call the first person in back of row the 100th prisoner. The 10 colours will be given codes from 0 to 9. The 100th prisoner will sum the numbers associated with the 99 colours he sees and will say the colour corresponding to it modulo 10. This is enough for 99th person. All he needs to do now is connect the dots, sum the number of hats he can see, calculate modulo 10, and compare it with what 100th prisoner said. This way all 99 prisoners will be saved, and 100th prisoner dies with probability 9/10.

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