Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tournament, number of dominated players

In a tournament with $n$ people, each player plays against each other player exactly once, with each game results in a win or a loss (no draw).

If we choose $A$ a set of 5 players at random, let $X_3$ denote the number of players not in $A$ that lose to exactly 3 players in $A$. What's $E[X_3]$? What about $E[X_4]$?

Remark: by choosing $n$ carefully, we can write problems such as: Show that we can choose $A$ and $B$ disjoint groups containing 5 players each so that each player in $B$ loses to exactly 3 players in $A$. The number 5 can be replaced by other numbers too.


There are $N = {n \choose 5}$ ways to choose set $A$. Of all those choices, we sum up the total number each player loses to exactly 3 players in $A$.

That is, for a given player $x$ that loses $p_x$ times, he contributes to ${p_x \choose 3} {n-p_x-1 \choose 2}$ to the total sum. This is because we can choose ${p_x \choose 3}$ ways to form the part of $A$ that beats $x$, and ${n-p_x-1 \choose 2}$ ways to form the part that doesn't beat $x$, and these are mutually exclusive and independent. Note that if $p_x < 3$ that number is zero as expected.

So the expected value is: $$E[X_3] = \frac{\sum_x {p_x \choose 3} {n-p_x-1 \choose 2}}{n \choose 5}$$ Because $f(t) = {p_x \choose 3} {n-p_x-1 \choose 2} - \frac{t(t-1)(t-2)(n-t-1)(n-t-2)}{3! 2!}$ is a convex function in $t$, we can bound this number by Jensen, noting that $\sum_x p_x = n(n-1)/2$ $$E[X_3] > \frac{{(n-1)/2 \choose 3} {n-(n-1)/2-1 \choose 2}}{n \choose 5}$$ By choosing $n$ carefully, or replacing the numbers 5 and 3 accordingly, we can write problems like: in such and such tournament, show that we can choose 5 players into group $A$ and 5 other players into group $B$ such that each player in group $B$ loses the majority of his games against players in group $A$, or each player in group $A$ wins the majority of his games against players in group $B$.

But finding $E[X_4]$ is a wholly different issue. We can still use the fact that $$E[X_4] = \frac{\sum_x {p_x \choose 4} {n-p_x-1 \choose 1}}{n \choose 5} = \frac{\sum_x {p_x \choose 4} (n-p_x-1)}{n \choose 5}$$ but unfortunately now $f(t) = {t \choose 4} (n-t-1)$ is a concave function, so we can't use Jensen. We can still use majorization theorem however, noting that $\sum_x p_x = n(n-1)/2$. If we want to find a sequence of $p_i$ that's absolutely majorized, we can say that: $$(n-1, n-2, \dots, 1, 0) \succ (p_1, p_2, \dots, p_n)$$ which must be true in the most extreme example that each player has an absolute skill level and each victory is transitive. However, computing $E_4$ in that case is difficult. $$E[X_4] > \frac{1}{n \choose 5} \sum_{k=0}^{n-1} {k \choose 4} (n-k-1)$$ which can be done analytically because the sums of $\sum k, \sum k^2, dots \sum k^5$ can all be computed via telescoping arguments.

If you want to be lazy, you can also say that $(n(n-1)/2,0,\dots,0)$ majorizes everything, but that lower bound is probably lame.

Why did I mention this? Because this type of analysis eventually opens up to problems like:

Show that we can choose $A$ and $B$ such that each member of $B$ loses at least 3 times against $A$, or that players from $A$ wins at least $22$ times against $B$, and so on.

What about the number of victories from $A$ to $B$ though? If we label this quantity $V$, then $E[V] = E[X_1 + 2X_2 + 3X_3 + 4X_4 + 5X_5]$, each of which can be evaluated but the even terms are ugly. $E[X_2]$ is not that bad but $E[X_4]$ is definitely not something you want to do too often.

However, there's a faster way to calculate $E[V]$. By symmetry we know it would be $25/2$, because for every choice of $A$ and $B$, there's an equal probability of choosing $B$ and $A$, and the sum of those victories must be 25.

A related problem from Iran Team Selection Test 2008/6.)

Suppose 799 teams participate in a tournament in which every pair of teams plays against each other exactly once. Prove that there exist two disjoint groups $A$ and $B$ of 7 teams each such that every team from $A$ defeated every team from $B$.