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It's Never Too Early for Elevator Calculus

So, this past Friday night we had some friends over for a lovely Shabbos dinner. It really was a delightful time. Good food, good company and good conversation. What could be more relaxing and appropriate for Shabbos after a long week? Anyway, after dinner, they all left and Sarah and I cleaned up and promptly fell asleep. Unfortunately, the building fire alarm went off around 12:30 forcing us out into the cold Connecticut air in a hustle of confusion. Out there we met another couple who lives far above us on the 17th floor. It turns out that there was some sort of fire in the penthouse and everything was resolved by New Haven’s finest. However,  that left us with the problem of trying to catch the elevator up when there were hundreds of humans in the crowd waiting to get lifted. We only live on the 4th floor so it was no problem for us to walk up to our floor but the other couple was left to fend for themselves being too tired (obviously) to climb 17 floors! I told them to come up to the 4th floor with us. Therefore, I suggested that they try to catch an elevator moving in either direction from the 4th floor. I figured that the volume of people moving up would make the most hotly-saught-after commodity a space on an elevator so I figured that it’d better for them to get two spots on the way down and ride down so they could then ride back up. This sort of made sense to me but I could not forsee one major factor: drunk people coming down at the same time! So this morning, I found a few references to special elevator algorithms. - Elevator algorithm

- actually for disks but interesting

Was my gut instinct correct about catching a lift from the 4th floor?

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