Let N be a finite set of n elements. A collection ﹛S1, S2, … , Sm﹜ of subsets of N is called a determining collection if an arbitrary subset T of N is uniquely determined by the cardinalities of the intersections Si ⋂ T, 1 ≤ i ≤ m. The purpose of this paper is to study the minimum value D(n) of m for which a determining collection of m subsets exists.
This problem can be expressed as a coin-weighing problem (1; 7).
In a recent paper Cantor (1) showed that D(n) = O(n/log log n), thus proving a conjecture of N. J. Fine (3) that D(n) = o(n). More recently Erdös and Rényi (2), Söderberg and Shapiro (7), Berlekamp, Mills, and Leo Moser have independently found proofs that D(n) = O(n/log n).