The Lottery Problem

The Lottery Problem, sometimes known more specifically as the Lottery Wheel Problem is a problem in combinatorics and computer science that arises from a common gambling tactic used to guarantee non-jackpot wins at the expense of a higher initial investment.

This problem is intriguing from a computational perspective because it is difficult, but not impossible, to compute reasonably good solutions for real-world sized problems. Nevertheless, the question of how to efficiently generate optimal solutions seems to be presently unsolved. Also unsolved is the related question of whether or not this problem is in fact NP-Complete. The answer to this latter question would determine if generating optimal solutions is feasible at all.

This page is an index into a continuing series of articles cataloging my research into this problem.

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1 comment

  1. How would you go about solving the case where you have k tickets for a lottery and you want to maximize the number of prizes you can win with those tickets? For example, for a 45 pick 5 lottery, you have 10,000 tickets and you win a prize if you have at least 2 matching numbers. This seems to be a variant of the set-covering problem.

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