Combinatorics Difficulties (redux)

Thanks to Don's comment, I was able to continue investigating this interesting problem.


Combinatorics Difficulties

Over the weekend I was thinking of how to generalize the number of steps needed to isolate a physical issue in a network. My reasoning was thus: if device A appears to be failing, device B is a known-working device, and cable sets {a1, a2, a3} and {b1, b2, b3} are connected to A and B, respectively, then isolating the problem will require swapping all like cables between the two devices to determine under which circumstances the failure persists. I also assumed that a thorough investigation would require all possible combinations be explored.

Einstein/Zebra Puzzle

Last night I stumbled upon a well-known, inferential logic puzzle called the Zebra Puzzle or Einstein's Puzzle.

According to my GoogleDocs Spreadsheet revision history I solved this puzzle in about 20 minutes, making it a nice armchair diversion.