By Marc Alexa
Communications of the ACM,
Vol. 60 No. 11, Page 89
Once upon a time, there was a particularly generous king. He decided to give all of his people a share of his land. Any family owning a house would have to mark the center of their land with a stone. Then the ruling said that every point they could reach within 1,000 steps from the mark stone would belong to them.
Initially, the king was praised for the simplicity and clarity of his ruling. Yet, as most new landowners decided to build a fence around their property they soon realized that determining the location of the fence was frustratingly difficult. Any point that was reached after walking 1,000 steps was part of the property, sure; but how would one have to walk to reach a point that was as far away from the stone as possible?
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