Search for a Solution of the Firing Squad Synchronization Problem.

by R. M. Balzer

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The description of a series of attempts to solve the conceptually difficult Firing Squad Synchronization Problem. These attempts demonstrate an increasing reliance on man-machine symbiosis and a decreasing reliance on powerful heuristics and preplanning. This problem arises in connection with causing all parts of a self-producing machine to be turned on simultaneously. Each of the four attempts described has in common a clerical checking program and a basic backtracking program for searching the solution space. The first two attempts at solution are noninteractive and entirely computer directed. The second two attempts are man-machine symbiotic; they are designed to allow the human to control and direct the computer search of the solution space. Recommendations are made concerning factors for consideration in man-machine symbiosis and the production of working interactive systems. 32 pp. Ref.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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