You are given n balls and n cups. Each cup holds a particular weight, and once a ball is placed in it tells you whether the ball is too heavy or light or just right. You can’t compare the weight of the balls directly. A perfect pairing between balls and cups exist. Design an expected nlogn algorithm to find the pairing. Hint: modify quicksort.
I’ve thought about this problem for a long time with no leads.
Is there a efficient way to compare the weight of two balls, or am I thinking about this wrong? Can someone please give a hint?
If you compare all balls with a single randomly picked cup, you will find the matching ball, and the other balls will be partitioned into those higher and those lower. You can use the matching ball to also partition the cups in a similar way. Then you have essentially randomized quicksort.