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Application to search for possible/practical meeting dates/places
  [vote for,

Among my many talents (just ask my wife!), I am an amateur musician, a boater, and a halfbaker.

Common to these interests is the occasional (or regular) desirability/necessity of meeting with those of similar inclination. But in this regard, I have been struggling for over 30 years with a nearly intractible problem.

Most of you will recognize the immense difficulty of scheduling a time for a random collection of similarly interested persons to meet.

I first recognized this about 1974, and proposed that the probability of getting (n) people together at an arbitrary time/location is a function of [1/n!] where [n!] is n factorial, e.g. for n= 7, n! = 7x6x5x4x3x2x1= 5040, so 1/7! is about 0.0002.

Much easier with only 4 in the intended group: 4! = 4x3x2x1 = 24, so 1/4! is about 1/24 or ~0.04.

The recent effort to mount a N.A.W.C.H. [link] is a great example, where n is unknown. Lots of annos have been posted, and a spinoff HalfCon actually occurred, albeit with n=2. [1/2! = 0.5, pretty good odds!] Pity the poor soul who would have to make sense of all the annotations, e.g.:

(Yes, I could make it, but only on alternate Tuesdays, if my brother-in-law decides not to have an appendectomy.) - And other feeble excuses!

So I propose a computer program which can search through appropriate/suitable annotations to find the most workable date/location for the largest practical number of halfbakers, based on annotative responses. Questionable participants could be queried by sending email requesting confirmation of availability.

csea, Jul 07 2007

N.A.W.C.H. N_2eA_2eW_2eC_2eH_2..._20coast_20halfcon)
Recent HalfCon discussion [csea, Jul 07 2007]

Birthday Paradox http://en.wikipedia...ki/Birthday_paradox
A random 23 people have better than 50% probabilty of 2 having the same birthday [csea, Jul 08 2007]

Open Source Groupware/Calendaring http://radar.oreill...pen_source_gro.html
This is an existing software genre. [jutta, Jul 08 2007]


       It's a great idea, but life is always in such a flux. I get together with two of my cousins annually and we have the same problems. They only live 150 miles away from me and we pick a halfway place of interest. It's the date that always poses an issue. I'll bun this for proposed practicality.
xandram, Jul 07 2007

       If n! = 1, then 1/n! is 1, which is what exactly happens every time I sit down at the computer for a virtual HalfCon.
nuclear hobo, Jul 07 2007

       Thanks for the replys!   

       [nuclear hobo] has fingered the easiest case; A party of one is easy to schedule, but possibly lonely!   

       Since it's been a long while since I studied probability, I looked up a [link] for [bigsleep] - I'd be surprised if any two halfbakers at a HalfCon had the same bda, as the typical number of attendees seems to be much less than 23.   

       I'm sure that this is a much bigger problem in general, not limited to scheduling our local meetups. Has anyone seen research on the subject?
csea, Jul 08 2007

       (+) I wish I had, or could program such a thing.

       This really isn't research, just engineering. It's called "calendaring", and usually includes some form of shared scheduling, with various gotchas about integration with other communications media and and what kinds of tasks ("work flows") something supports.   

       There are also sites that support online scheduling of events amongst larger groups; usually limited to invitations and attendee list management.   

       Unfortunately, none of the existing software packages comes with a built-in airplane ticket and free time generator; nor with a spray that turns grumpy, taciturn curmudgeons into cheerful, witty party people, or a magic potion that makes the scheduled meetings actually productive.
jutta, Jul 08 2007

       //none of the existing software packages comes with ... a magic potion that makes the scheduled meetings actually productive//   

       Which is why a pub is proposed as the location for the HalfCon.
nuclear hobo, Jul 08 2007

       //grumpy, taciturn curmudgeons//   

       sp: DrCurrys   

Jinbish, Jul 08 2007

       Imagine if those //grumpy, taciturn curmudgeons// didn't have to struggle with finding a time/location! They might become happy, outgoing lives-of-the-party!   

       I'm convinced that this is ripe for the next major advance in cybernetic social engineering. JuttasList.com anyone?
csea, Jul 09 2007


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