Publication Date



Technical Report: UTEP-CS-22-03


In many real-life situations, we know that one of several objects has the desired property, but we do not know which one. To find the desired object, we need to test these objects one by one. In situations when we have no additional information, there is no reason to prefer any testing order and thus, a usual recommendation is to test them in any order. This is usually interpreted as ordering the objects in the increasing value of some seemingly unrelated quantity. A possible drawback of this approach is that it may turn out that the selected quantity is correlated with the desired property, in which case we will need to test all the given objects before we find the desired one. This is not just an abstract possibility: this is exactly what happened for the research efforts that led to the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine. To avoid such situations, we propose to use randomized search. Such a search would have cut in half the multi-year time spent on this Nobel-Prize-winning research efforts.