Instructions

Mathematicians are assigned a number called Erdos number (named after the famous mathematician, Paul Erdos). Only Paul Erdos himself has an Erdos number of zero. Any mathematician who has written a research paper with Erdos has an Erdos number of 1.For other mathematicians, the calculation of his/her Erdos number is illustrated below:

Suppose that a mathematician X has co-authored papers with several other mathematicians. 'From among them, mathematician Y has the smallest Erdos number. Let the Erdos number of Y be y. Then X has an Erdos number of y+1. Hence any mathematician with no co-authorship chain connected to Erdos has an Erdos number of infinity. :

In a seven day long mini-conference organized in memory of Paul Erdos, a close group of eight mathematicians, call them A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H, discussed some research problems. At the beginning of the conference, A was the only participant who had an infinite Erdos number. Nobody had an Erdos number less than that of F.

On the third day of the conference F co-authored a paper jointly with A and C. This reduced the average Erdos number of the group of eight mathematicians to 3. The Erdos numbers of B, D, E, G and H remained unchanged with the writing of this paper. Further, no other co-authorship among any three members would have reduced the average Erdos number of the group of eight to as low as 3.

• At the end of the third day, five members of this group had identical Erdos numbers while the other three had Erdos numbers distinct from each other.

• On the fifth day, E co-authored a paper with F which reduced the group's average Erdos number by 0.5. The Erdos numbers of the remaining six were unchanged with the writing of this paper.

• No other paper was written during the conference.

Question 32

How many participants in the conference did not change their Erdos number during the conference?

Solution

Let us consider the Erdos number of A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H be a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h where f is the min, a is infinity.

At the end of 3rd day, F co authored with A and C. Since F has min Erdos number ,the values of c,a will change to f+1 and the Erdos number of F will remain the same.   [Because according to Erdos principle if a person co-authors with some one who has higher Erdos number then the Erdos number of co-authors will be min Erdos value + 1]

Average of the mathematicians is 3 Sum of the Erdos number of eight mathematicians=24

Erdos number at the third day:f+1,b,f+1,d,e,f,g,h

At the end of the fifth day, F co-authors with E thereby changing the average to 2.5 and the Erdos number of rest of the mathematicians remain unchanged. Sum of the Erdos numbers of eight mathematicians=20 So here the difference of 4[24-20] arose, which means e will be f+5 initially and changed to f+1 after co-authoring with F.

So the Erdos number at the third day:f+1,b,f+1,d,f+5,f,g,h

At the end of the third day, five mathematicians had the same Erdos number and the rest had distinct Erdos number from each other.

It cannot be f+5 because then there will be two mathematicians with the same Erdos number f+1.

So five mathematicians will have f+1, one with f+5, one with f, one with some different value say x

5(f+1)+f+5+f+x=24

7f+x=14

The only value which satisfies the above equation is f=1,x=7

Erdos number at the end of fifth day,f+1,b,f+1,d,f+1,f,g,h On tabulating, we get

So B,D ,F,G,H are 5 participants in the conference who did not change their Erdos number during the conference.

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