The Truck Driver's Straw Problem and Cantor Sets

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Abstract:

A colleague was moving, and someone on the professional moving crew, upon hearing she was a mathematician, asked what happens when you repeatedly transfer water back and forth between two classes using a straw. The question is simple to solve if you alternate which glass you transfer from and to, but if more general patters are allowed, some surprises arise. Depending on the size of the straw, the set of achievable limit points may be an interval, or a Cantor set.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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