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Old 08-30-2002, 12:00 PM
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Default Backpack Theft Problem



Suppose that you are a thief at a beach. You see a backpack on a towel unguarded.



<PRE>

Assume:

1) The backpack with its contents is worth W dollars to you.

2) It takes you 1 minute to steal the backpack.

3) If the owner returns while you are stealing, you will lose J dollars. (Bribe for police, jailer, ...)

4) If the owner does not return during the 1 minute stealing process, you are not caught.

</PRE>



Question: Should you

a) Steal the backpack immediately or

b) Watch for a few minutes to see if the owner returns, and then, if he does not return, steal the backpack.




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