The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

How many elevators are needed?


A house has seven floors. In order to save travel time, the lifts should not be able to stop everywhere. This poses problems for architects.



Bert is an architect and has fulfilled many strange customer requests.

However, when it comes to the new seven-story office building, he begins to ponder.

The client would like to install elevators, but not ordinary ones.

So that the elevators don't stop constantly, as she knows from her old building early in the morning, the elevators shouldn't serve every floor.

All lifts start on the ground floor and go up to the top floor - the seventh floor.

On floors one to six, only three intermediate stops should be allowed per elevator.

At the same time, the client wants people from every floor to be able to reach every other floor with a lift without having to change trains along the way.

What is the smallest possible number of elevators that Bert can use to fulfill the client's wishes?

Six elevators


be installed.

We look at the connections between floors one through six.

If they fulfill the client's wishes, this also applies to the ground floor and the seventh floor, because that's where all the lifts stop.

Between the first and sixth floors there are a total of 6*5/2 = 15 different combinations of two floors.

All of these must be possible with the elevators.

Each elevator has three stops on floors one through six.

An elevator thus covers three different connections.

For example, if the lift stops on floors one, three and six, these are the following three connections:

  • 1 <-> 3

  • 3 <-> 6

  • 1 <-> 6

Since there are exactly 15 different connections between two floors with six floors and one elevator covers three different connections, five elevators should theoretically be enough.

In this case, however, no connection may occur twice, because otherwise the five lifts would not be able to serve all 15 connections.

In fact, five lifts are not enough.

It is unavoidable that a connection appears at two different lifts.

We see this in the example of the first floor.

From there, the five floors above must be reached without changing trains.

Since a lift stopping on the first floor is only allowed to make two more stops on the five floors above, we need at least three lifts - for example (1,2,3), (1,4,5) and (1 ,5,6).

With two lifts we can only cover four of the five necessary stops.

So there must be at least three lifts, and then at least one connection is double (three lifts = six stops, but only five different ones are possible).

The minimum number of lifts is therefore six.

And it actually works with six elevators, as the following breakdown shows:

  • (1,2,3)

  • (1,4,5)

  • (1,2,6)

  • (2,4,5)

  • (3,4,6)

  • (3,5,6)

I discovered this puzzle in the book "Garden of the Sphinx" by Pierre Berloquin.

In case you missed a mystery from the past few weeks, here are the most recent episodes:

  • Rook versus bishop

  • Beetles in love

  • John Conway's super number

  • Bizarre arithmetic

  • Miraculous handshake

  • Paul wins too often

  • How long is the red line?

  • Does a cube fit through itself?

  • The monster number and its two non-divisors

  • sink squares

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-08-07

You may like

Business 2022-09-11T16:38:10.130Z
Business 2022-10-02T04:48:56.391Z
Business 2022-08-07T06:31:06.321Z
Business 2022-08-28T16:57:30.174Z
Business 2022-09-25T05:40:18.738Z
Business 2022-09-18T05:01:24.516Z
Business 2022-08-21T05:06:28.967Z

Trends 24h

Business 2022-10-04T16:31:55.313Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy