Interesting Esoterica

The Stick Problem

by Augustine Bertagnolli
  • Published in 2013
  • Added on
In the collections
Given sticks of possible sizes one through six, what is the smallest number of sticks you can have to ensure that you are able to form a perfect square? The Pigeonhole Principle tells us that if we have nineteen sticks we would have at least four of one of the sizes, but can we do better if we take partitions into account? This is one case of the stick problem which, though simple in statement, proves to be not so simple in solution. In this paper, we define the stick problem clearly, discuss our methods for approaching and simplifying the problem, provide an algorithm for generating solutions, and present some computer generated solutions for specific cases.

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BibTeX entry

@misc{item38,
	title = {The Stick Problem},
	author = {Augustine Bertagnolli},
	url = {http://ajbertagnolli.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/sticks2.pdf},
	urldate = {2014-01-13},
	year = 2013,
	abstract = {Given sticks of possible sizes one through six, what is the smallest number of sticks you can have
to ensure that you are able to form a perfect square?  The Pigeonhole Principle tells us that if we have
nineteen sticks we would have at least four of one of the sizes, but can we do better if we take partitions
into account?  This is one case of the stick problem which, though simple in statement, proves to be
not so simple in solution.  In this paper, we define the stick problem clearly, discuss our methods for
approaching and simplifying the problem, provide an algorithm for generating solutions, and present
some computer generated solutions for specific cases.},
	comment = {},
	collections = {Easily explained,Geometry,Puzzles}
}