The electrician problem

You’re an electrician working at a mountain. There are 8 wires running from one side of the mountain to the other. The problem is that the wires are not labeled, so you just see 8 wire ends on each side of the mountain. Your job is to match these ends (say, by labeling the two ends of each
wire in the same way).
In order to figure out the matching, you can twist together wire ends, thus electrically connecting the wires. You can twist as many wire ends as you want, into as many clusters as you want, at the side of the mountain where you happen to be at the time. You can also untwist the wire ends at the side of the mountain where you’re at. You are equipped with an Ohm meter, which lets you test only the connectivity of any pair of wires (not resistance).
You are not charged [no pun intended] for twisting, untwisting, and using the Ohm meter. You are only charged for each helicopter ride you make from one side of the mountain to the other. What is the best way to match the wires?

street, Bengaluru South, Karnataka, India

3 replies on “The electrician problem”

Stay at one side of mountain. Send friend to other side by helicopter. Ask him to pull any wire. Whichever end moves on your side, you also pull and mark it A, which friend also does. Ditto for B to H. Only one helicopter ride required.

all you have to do is to make 4 pairs of 2 wires each and label them 1-8. (twist 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8)
travel to the other end and identify the 4 pairs that are twisted together and label them A-H.
now make 4 new pairs (a-c, d-e, f-g, h-b)
travel to the other side etc.

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