Posted by Joe Johnson, Engineer on team #47, Chief Delphi, from Pontiac Central High School and Delphi Automotive Systems.
Posted on 5/6/99 8:52 PM MST
In Reply to: Re: does that really make it more fair? posted by Daniel on 5/6/99 8:11 PM MST:
This is a long metaphor, but stick with me.
Suppose you have 200+ bags of gold and you want rank each bag of gold from heaviest to lightest.
But… You don’t have very good scale: It is just a balance. Further, you must weigh 4 randomly selected bags at a time, 2 on each side of the balance. Even worse, suppose the balance is not necessarily on a level base, but rather the base is randomly tipped for each measurement, adding even more uncertainty to each result.
The only real way to accomplish the task is by making lots of measurement.
It is clear (at least to me) from the Nationals, that 6 measurements per bag of gold is not sufficient to accurately rank the bags of gold. Many light bags are going to be estimated to be heavy simply because they were randomly weighed with 6 heavy bags or because they were weighed against 6 pairs of light bags (or even against one heavy bag and an empty bag!). The same is true for heavy bags that would be estimated to be light simply because of the luck of which bags was on their side of the balance or which bags happened to be on the other side of the teeter-totter. In addition, there is that random tipping of the base to deal with (a broken arm, a bad battery, a blown fuse, etc.).
It isn’t exacty the most efficient means of ranking bags, but it is kind of exciting to watch.
The road to more accurate bag ranking runs right though the the town of More Weighings, but with 200+ bags to rank we don’t have time to even look in that direction yet alone go there.
But… as it turns out, we have already weighed some of these bags against each other at the regionals. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use these measurement somehow?
What many folks are proposing (myself included) is that we use some of these measurements, but try to do so in a way that does not totaly take all the excitement and uncertainty out of the important weighings at the Nationals.
As to it being fairer, I can’t say.
I do think that such proposals would be more likely to produce a heavier group of ‘Heaviest 16’ bags of gold than would otherwise be the case.
To me, this seems more fair. To a particular bag of gold that would have been judged in the Heaviest 16 except that it didn’t participate in an earlier weighings, it would not seem fair at all.
While I sympathize with such bags of gold, I think that the improved odds of getting a more rational result is worth it.
My 2 cents.