Geez there's plenty of cake for everyone don't be ridiculous
November 5, 2012 11:39 AM Subscribe
I remember reading a description of a fair(ish) cake-cutting procedure for an unlimited number of people. It was NOT the one described in this post on the blue with all the broken links
. Please help me find either the original source or a more coherent description than the one I provide here.
posted by mskyle to food & drink (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I the method was presumably not mathematically optimal, but it is fairly practical. And it's really much better suited to literal cake cutting and would be hard to apply to other "fair division" processes. I believe this is the way it worked (imagine either a long loaf-shaped cake or a round cake in which a "starting" cut has already been made):
One person, the cutter, moves the knife over the cake and any person who has not yet received cake can call out for the knife to stop and a slice to be cut, which that person then takes. The cutter then keeps moving the knife until the next person calls out; and so on, until there is only the cutter and one other person left, at which point the "I cut, you choose" method is applied. (This seems maybe wrong, though - the cutter could get shafted. Maybe the cutter sets aside a piece at the beginning?)
Basically, people are going to call out as soon as there is a slice that is of acceptable size/quality to them, for fear of someone else calling out first and getting that slice.
Does this ring a bell with anyone? I have been thinking about it for about 48 hours now and it is driving me crazy. Which is kind of silly given that among my acquaintance cakes are generally way too big for the party, such that everyone can have as much damn cake as they want.