Finding an optimal seating chart
by Meghan L. Bellows (Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University) and J.D. Luc Peterson (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University)
EDITOR’S NOTE: The authors submitted this article long prior to the wedding. Somehow we managed to not see it until long after. The only benefit being that the article can and does include photographs taken at the wedding. We are delighted to publish it here, online.
Every year, millions of brides (not to mention their mothers, future mothers-in-law, and occasionally grooms) struggle with one of the most daunting tasks during the wedding-planning process: the seating chart. The guest responses are in, banquet hall is booked, menu choices have been made. You think the hard parts are over, but you have yet to embark upon the biggest headache of them all. In order to make this process easier, we present a mathematical formulation that models the seating chart problem. This model can be solved to find the optimal arrangement of guests at tables. At the very least, it can provide a starting point and hopefully minimize stress and arguments… [Read the entire article in PDF form]