Abstract

For the secretary (or best-choice) problem with an unknown number N of objects, minimax-optimal stop rules and (worst-case) distributions are derived, under the assumption that $N$ is a random variable with unknown distribution, but known upper bound n. Asymptotically, the probability of selecting the best object in this situation is of order of (log n)-1. For example, even if the only information available is that there are somewhere between 1 and 100 objects, there is still a strategy which will select the best item about one time in five.

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Mathematics

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/rgp_rsr/41