What's New - January, 2010
January 17, 2010: Consider the sequence formed if, starting with any positive integer, we form a sequence where for the sequence ending with N, then next entry is N/2 if N is even and 3N+1 if N is odd. Starting with 3 for example, the sequence is [3, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1]. The unproven conjecture (the "Collatz" conjecture) is that any such sequence will eventually degenerate to 1. Here's a beginner's level program, ThreeNPlus1, that evaluates all sequences within a given range and reports the longest sequence found.
January 12, 2010: DFF Newsletter #55 was sent yesterday using the latest version of MailList King, a mailing list management program from Xequte Software. The program is written in Delphi and contains all the features needed to simplify newsletter sending such as automatic subscribing/unsubscribing, limiting the sending rate to comply with host server limits, processing undeliverable email responses to clean the list, etc. The $99 personal edition does everything I need and is recommended if you ever have the need.
A university student recently took on a Java version of the
MasterMind game as a school project. He wrote asking about my "Smarter
than you" intelligence level which can be applied when the program is doing the
guessing about the secret pattern. The program has a Verbose mode which
was supposed to help debugging and explaining the search steps, but the messages
were being cleared after each computer guess.
Version 2.1 corrects this and hopefully will help him and others understand
the mini-max guessing procedure used at the smartest level.
January 9, 2010:
"Instant Insanity" is a variation of an older cube arrangement puzzle and one of a large family of similar puzzles. In this one, we have four cubes with one of four colors on each face of each cube. The objective is to stack the cubes so each column of faces has all four colors.
A viewer recently asked for help in developing a Delphi solver
Most of the online literature describes a graph search algorithm which can be
applied to find solutions
with pencil and paper. With a faster but dumber computer, it's easiest
just to check all 41,472 possible arrangements looking for
solutions. Instant Insanity
Version 1.0 posted today does just that with a few sample or user defined
While playing the "Wii Play" version of the Four-In-A-Row game
with a grandson over
the holidays, I used my Delphi version of the game to advise me on moves
to make. I was embarrassed to find that the program's random
moves "enhancement" frequently allowed Chris to win by placing 4 adjacent token in his first
4 moves - the initial random moves feature assumed that there would be no winner that soon.
Four In A Row Version 2.2 posted today
fixes the problem by limiting initial random moves to 2 or 3 turns.
January 2, 2010:
Happy New Year! We'll kick off the new year with a program that I wrote a year or so ago but never got around to posting. Accordion Solitaire is a simple solitaire card game that is difficult to win; perhaps one win in 100 games. This version allows user and program play and implements a "sweeper" strategy of play which can increase the odds of winning to perhaps 10%
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