Suppose you have gone to gather wild strawberries, which are as rare and as difficult to find as they are delicious. You’re on a vacation in a region you don’t know very well, and you have hardly any preconceived ideas concerning the distribution of the secret and magic places that gave their name to Bergman’s famous film, Smultronstället (poorly translated into English as Wild Strawberries). You look around the fields, more or less at random, knowing that they will all give you at least a few scattered berries, but also that some of them might allow you to fill your basket in a single hour. The question that arises is this: when do you stop looking and start picking, as best as you can?
Hur går den rationella bärplockaren tillväga?
Since you have only a single day, you know you have to stop looking before nightfall. However, you also know that beginning to pick in the first field you come across is generally not the optimal strategy, unless, of course, it turns out to be one of the magic places […]. Between this maximum and this minimum of investment, there is no doubt an objective optimum, but how can it be determined?