Fair Division: From Cake-Cutting to Dispute Resolution
September 18, 2006
Bailey Hall 312
Refreshments will be served
Mathematical investigations of fair division traditionally have been phrased in terms of the “cake-cutting” metaphor and the following general question: Suppose we have n people and a cake C, and suppose that different people value certain parts of the cake differently. Can we find a constructive procedure wherein each person has a strategy that will guarantee his or her “satisfaction” even in the face of a conspiracy by the others? If n = 2, everyone knows the solution—one divides, the other chooses. The question of extending this to n ? 3 essentially originated with Hugo Steinhaus during the second world war. In this talk we will trace the 50 year history of constructive cake-cutting, as well as comment on some real-world aspects of fair division involving divorces, inheritances, and the resolution of international disputes.
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