IBM Research | Ponder This | November 1998 challenges

# Ponder This

## November 1998

<<October November December>>

Ponder This Challenge:

You are holding a party for some of your fussiest friends. For starters, they are adamant about being treated equally. And they all love cake. For the occasion, you've purchased a frosted cake.

Since you want to make sure that each of your friends gets exactly the same amount of cake and frosting in their slice, you ordered a cake with frosting on the top and sides.

When the time comes to serve dessert, if you have invited N people, how do you cut the square cake into N pieces so that each person gets an equal amount of cake as well as an equal amount of frosting?

If you can solve that, try a more difficult case: what if the cake is rectangular? Say 6 by 12 inches? With N people attending the party, how can you cut the rectangular cake into N pieces so that each person still gets an equal amount of cake as well as an equal amount of frosting?

Good luck!
FYI: Although this problem may appear simple at first, the solution is actually fairly complex.

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Challenge: 11/01/98 @ 12:00 AM EST
Solution: 12/01/98 @ 12:00 AM EST
List Updated: 01/05/02 @ 4:00 PM EST

### People who answered correctly:

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