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New Tool Simplifies Academic's Algorithm To Split Rent Right

When sharing a flat, figuring out how much each roommate should pay in rent isn't always easy. Some New York City bedrooms have bigger closets; others are made from partitioning the living room. Some look onto alleys; others are probably about as wide as one. In some neighborhood, it saves moolah to have roommates; in others, it doesn't. Plenty of apps and programs—Spliddit and Splitwise, to name two—aim to quantify the divvying-rent quandary and spit out a satisfactory solution.

But today, a new tool joined the fray. The Times just published a nifty calculator, which takes a rather complex mathematical proposition based on Sperner's lemma (don't worry about getting this part) put forth by Harvey Mudd professor Francis Su (explained in a companion article) and allows packs of up to eight roommates to gather 'round the computer and come up with a rent division solution that works for everyone. Basically, you enter the total rent and number of roommates, plus a brief description of each room up for grabs to differentiate them, and the interactive tool will allow each roommate to choose whether she or she would take a certain room at a certain price. Eventually, after a few rounds, the tool should spit out what each room is "worth," or, more accurately, what each roommate is willing to pay. Try it out and report back.
· Calculator: Divide Your Rent Fairly [NYT]
· To Divide the Rent, Start With a Triangle [NYT]