# The "Thirty-seven Percent Rule" and the secretary problem with relative ranks

Discussiones Mathematicae Probability and Statistics (2014)

- Volume: 34, Issue: 1-2, page 5-21
- ISSN: 1509-9423

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topBéla Bajnok, and Svetoslav Semov. "The "Thirty-seven Percent Rule" and the secretary problem with relative ranks." Discussiones Mathematicae Probability and Statistics 34.1-2 (2014): 5-21. <http://eudml.org/doc/270923>.

@article{BélaBajnok2014,

abstract = {We revisit the problem of selecting an item from n choices that appear before us in random sequential order so as to minimize the expected rank of the item selected. In particular, we examine the stopping rule where we reject the first k items and then select the first subsequent item that ranks lower than the l-th lowest-ranked item among the first k. We prove that the optimal rule has k ~ n/e, as in the classical secretary problem where our sole objective is to select the item of lowest rank; however, with the optimally chosen l, here we can get the expected rank of the item selected to be less than any positive power of n (as n approaches infinity). We also introduce a common generalization where our goal is to minimize the expected rank of the item selected, but this rank must be within the lowest d.},

author = {Béla Bajnok, Svetoslav Semov},

journal = {Discussiones Mathematicae Probability and Statistics},

keywords = {secretary problem; relative ranks; stopping rule; optimization; best choice; optimal stopping},

language = {eng},

number = {1-2},

pages = {5-21},

title = {The "Thirty-seven Percent Rule" and the secretary problem with relative ranks},

url = {http://eudml.org/doc/270923},

volume = {34},

year = {2014},

}

TY - JOUR

AU - Béla Bajnok

AU - Svetoslav Semov

TI - The "Thirty-seven Percent Rule" and the secretary problem with relative ranks

JO - Discussiones Mathematicae Probability and Statistics

PY - 2014

VL - 34

IS - 1-2

SP - 5

EP - 21

AB - We revisit the problem of selecting an item from n choices that appear before us in random sequential order so as to minimize the expected rank of the item selected. In particular, we examine the stopping rule where we reject the first k items and then select the first subsequent item that ranks lower than the l-th lowest-ranked item among the first k. We prove that the optimal rule has k ~ n/e, as in the classical secretary problem where our sole objective is to select the item of lowest rank; however, with the optimally chosen l, here we can get the expected rank of the item selected to be less than any positive power of n (as n approaches infinity). We also introduce a common generalization where our goal is to minimize the expected rank of the item selected, but this rank must be within the lowest d.

LA - eng

KW - secretary problem; relative ranks; stopping rule; optimization; best choice; optimal stopping

UR - http://eudml.org/doc/270923

ER -

## References

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- [7] A. Krieger and E. Samuel-Cahn, The secretary problem of minimizing the expected rank: a simple suboptimal approach with generalizations, Adv. Appl. Prob. 41 (2009) 1041-1058. doi: 10.1239/aap/1261669585 Zbl1186.62101
- [8] D.V. Lindley, Dynamic programming and decision theory, Appl. Statistics 10 (1961) 39-51. doi: 10.2307/2985407 Zbl0114.34904
- [9] D. Pfeifer, Extremal processes, secretary problems and the 1/e law, J. Appl. Prob. 26 (1989) 722-733. Zbl0693.60030

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