# Dynamic Programming – Coin In a Line Game Problem

**Objective**: In this game, which we will call the coins-in-a-line game, an even number, n, of coins, of various denominations from various countries, are placed in a line. Two players, who we will call Alice and Bob, take turns removing one of the coins from either end of the remaining line of coins. That is, when it is a player’s turn, he or she removes the coin at the left or right end of the line of coins and adds that coin to his or her collection. The player who removes a set of coins with larger total value than the other player wins, where we assume that both Alice and Bob know the value of each coin.

**Example:**

coins [] = { 6, 9, 1, 2, 16, 8}trial 1: (players will pick the best option available for them)coins [] = { 6, 9, 1, 2, 16, 8},Alice picks 8 coins [] = { 6, 9, 1, 2, 16},Bob picks 16 coins [] = { 6, 9, 1, 2}, Alice picks 6 coins [] = { 9, 1, 2},Bob picks 9 coins [] = {1, 2},Alice picks 2 coins [] = {1},Bob picks 1 Alice: 8+6+2 =16 Bob: 16+9+1=26 =>Alice LostSo clearly picking up the best in each move is not good for Alice. What else Alice can do to win the game.trial 2: (Alice thinks about Bob's move, Will discuss the strategy in solution)coins [] = { 6, 9, 1, 2, 16, 8},Alice picks 6 coins [] = { 9, 1, 2, 16, 8},Bob picks 9 coins [] = { 1, 2, 16, 8}, Alice picks 1 coins [] = 2, 16, 8},Bob picks 8 coins [] = {2, 16},Alice picks 16 coins [] = {2},Bob picks 2 Alice: 6+1+16 =23 Bob: 9+8+2=19 =>Alice WonSo this time Alice has won. Let's see the solution and discuss what Alice has done to win the game.

**Approach:**

We will solve this problem using Dynamic programming in Bottom-up manner.

In the example above we have seen that in trail 1 Alice has lost and in trial 2 Alice has won. So clearly picking the best coin available in each move is good option for Alice.

So the question is what Alice has done differently to win in second trial. Since Alice and Bob, both are playing to win the game and both are equally clever then “** Alice has to think about Bob’s move means options available for the Bob once Alice is done with the move, What Bob will pick (Bob is equally clever and tries to leave Alice with minimum values to be chosen from) and then what Alice will chose.**”

So if we can clearly see that each player is making the move by keeping in mind the two moves can be made in future and pick the best of them.

Let’s make it more clear- Suppose we have coins lined up from C_{i} to C_{j} wit the values of V_{i} to V_{j} respectively.

MV(i, j) = maximum value the Alice can collect from i'th coin to j'th coin.

In every move Alice has 2 options –

- Either pick the i
^{th}coin (from starting) - OR pick the j
^{th}coin ( from the end).

Let’s discuss both the options

**Alice Picks the i ^{th} coin (from starting)**

As we can see above if Alice picks the i^{th} coin, C_{i} then Bob will be left with 2 choices C_{i+1} and C_{j}, since Bob is equally clever than Bob will pick the coin which will leave the Alice with minimum value coins.

So if Bob picks i+1^{th} coin then it will again Alice turn and problem will be reduced to Alice has to pick a coin from i+2^{th} to j^{th} coin and similarly if if Bob picks j^{th} coin then it will again Alice turn and problem will be reduced to Alice has to pick a coin from i+1^{th} to j-1^{th} coin.

So Alice will collection will be

*= V _{i} + Min*

*{*

*MV(i+2,j), MV(i+1, j-1)*

*}*

** Alice Picks the j ^{th} coin (from the end)**

As we can see above if Alice picks the j^{th} coin, C_{j} then Bob will be left with 2 choices C_{i} and C_{j-1}, since Bob is equally clever than Bob will pick the coin which will leave the Alice with minimum value coins.

So if Bob picks i^{th} coin then it will again Alice turn and problem will be reduced to Alice has to pick a coin from i+1^{th} to j-1^{th} coin and similarly if Bob picks j-1^{th} coin then it will again Alice turn and problem will be reduced to Alice has to pick a coin from i^{th} to j-2^{th} coin.

So Alice will collection will be

= Vj + Min{MV(i+1,j-1), MV(i, j-2)}

**So now we need to decide whether Alice should pick ith coin or jth coin. Alice will pick the coin which ever gives the more value considering 2 moves ahead**

**so **

MV(i, j) = Max{V_{i}+ Min{MV(i+2,j), MV(i+1, j-1)} ,Vj + Min{MV(i+1,j-1), MV(i, j-2)}}

Let’s see how the recursive equation will look like:

**Output**:

Max value pick up by player1(Alice)- 23

Reference: http://www.geeksforgeeks.org/dynamic-programming-set-31-optimal-strategy-for-a-game/

Hi tutorialhorizon,

I’m not able to see code to any of the questions…

I am able to see.. All the codes are on gist. Just check if u can see the gist code from some other sites.

what happens in case of ODD number of coins?

typo : MV(i, j) = Max { Vi + Min{MV(i+2,j), MV(i+1, j-1)} , Vi + Min{MV(i+1,j-1), MV(i, j-2)}}

Correction : MV(i, j) = Max { Vi + Min{MV(i+2,j), MV(i+1, j-1)} , Vj + Min{MV(i+1,j-1), MV(i, j-2)}}