The Mathematically Most Efficient Way To Sort Socks

Computer scientists around the world have been stumped by a vexing mathematical problem for ages: How does one go about sorting a large pile of socks when said socks are different? How does one model the plane of possibilities? The solution has arrived, and it's much simpler than you think.

Mr Kottke reports the findings of his own personal study, which it turns out is simpler than anything science has otherwise come up with.

1) Throw all your socks out.

2) Go to Uniqlo and buy 15 identical pairs of black socks.

3) When you want to wear socks, pick any two out of the drawer.

4) When you notice your socks are wearing out, goto step 1.


Computer science be damned. [Kottke via Twitter]

Picture: Sergemi/Shutterstock


    Old news, I've been doing this for years.

      I was going to say much the same thing... same with my jeans - buy 4 identical pairs, when they're on sale, alternate them every week, and when they wear out, buy some more. Don't have to decide what to wear.

    This does not work for me. I have a disfigured toenail on my right foot which wears a hole where it rubs. Then I need to throw that sock away. This means that that I always end up with socks for my left foot only.

      Simply wear half your left socks on your right foot.

      Or do what i do proudly wear odd socks. same shape different colors. bad things happen when i accidentally pull a pair from the draw.

        I think successful troll is successful.

        Unless dave_lord has his socks labeled left and right and is OCD about them going on the correct foot..... which I doubt..... then I'm pretty sure he's just trolling lol.

          Thanks for your input guys. I've worked out a better solution. If I turn one of my left socks inside out, I can wear it on my right foot.

    Doesn't explain where socks go to though. Even if they are all the same they will wittle down to just 1 sock as 1 always goes missing.

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