[not] Le Monde puzzle

In the spirit of the mathematical puzzles of Le Monde, here is a puzzle that came to me during a family reunion last weekend.

During a dinner of 20 couples sitting at four tables with ten seats, everyone wants to share a table with everyone. The assembly decides to switch seats after each serving towards this goal. What is the minimal number of servings needed to ensure that every couple shared a table with every other couple at some point? And what is the optimal switching strategy?

Of course, extension of the solution to k couples, n tables and p seats (with k<np) would be great!

2 Responses to “[not] Le Monde puzzle”

  1. This problem was actually suggested by my daughter Rachel, as she reminded me yesterday!

  2. [...] Xi'an's Og an attempt at bloggin, from scratch… « [not] Le Monde puzzle [...]

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