With this unique book, algorithm guru Roland Backhouse shares his four decades of experience to teach the fundamental principles of using algorithms to solve problems. Using fun and well-known puzzles to gradually introduce different aspects of algorithms in mathematics and computing. Backhouse presents you with a readable, entertaining, and energetic book that will motivate and challenge you to open your mind to the algorithmic nature of problem solving. An algorithm is a well-defined procedure, consisting of a number of instructions that are executed in turn.
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Algorithmic Problem Solving An entertaining and captivating way to learn the fundamentals of using algorithms to solve problems. Algorithmic problems are problems where the solution involves —possibly implicitly— the design of an algorithm. Algorithmic problem solving is about the formulation and solution of such problems.
The demands on the reliability of computer software have, we believe, lead to massive improvements in our problem-solving skills and in mathematical method. The improvements are centred on goal-directed, calculational construction of algorithms like for the internet darknet as opposed to the traditional guess-and-verify methodology.
Of course, many algorithmic problems still pose massive challenges, and we have a very great deal to learn about good and bad technique in solving such problems. We believe, however, that the time is now ripe for a greater focus on the methodology of problem solving, rather than on specific results. Our goal is to ensure that future generations are much better problem solvers than we are, not because they know more facts but because their skills are more refined.
We aim to achieve our goals using a problem-driven approach. We intend to tackle challenging problems and document our successes and failures in solving these problems. The choice of problem is crucial.
We have no intention of trying to win the jackpot by tackling famous outstanding problems; instead, we will tackle problems that we suspect are within our grasp and from which we can learn the most. Of course, such problems may one day include some famous outstanding problems! These may be new problems, including ones we invent ourselves in order to explore particular techniques, or old problems, where we feel there is scope for improvement of the existing method. Turing who is famous both as a mathematician and for his pioneering work on computing machines.
To celebrate this centenary, we have developed a collection of one-person games played on a Turing tape; the collection has infinitely many instances. The games quickly become too difficult to solve by hand and so demand machine support for their solution. They are based on the mathematical theory of cyclotomic polynomials. It is no longer possible to register to enter the competition and it is no longer possible to submit solutions. However, for those who wish to develop and test their own solutions it is still possible to check solutions.
See here for solutions constructed by the APS team. The next subsection is a formal specification of a solution to a Turing-tape game and the subsequent section specifies how we will be judging solutions. If you are new to this website, go to this section for the details of one particular Turing-tape game and hints on how to solve them in general.
The video accessible from the sidebar also offers additional help. Specification A Turing tape is a tape a long, thin strip of paper that has been divided into squares. All Turing-tape games are played on a Turing tape. The tapes are assumed to be of infinite extent to the left and right — which just means that they are as long as is necessary to play the game. There are two components in the specification of a Turing-tape game: the replacement set and the displacement.
The displacement is an integer. If the displacement is d , the goal is to displace a single coin by d squares using moves specified by the replacement set. The replacement set is a set R of integers. The elements of R are called relative positions. An expansion at square m removes one coin from square m and adds one coin at the squares m p for each p in the set R.
A contraction at square m removes one coin from the square m p for each p in the set R and adds one coin at the square m. A move is an expansion or a contraction at some square m. A move is valid from a given state of the Turing tape if, before the move, there is at least one coin at each square where the removal of a coin is required by the move.
A sequence of moves is valid starting from a given state of the Turing tape if every move in the sequence is valid from the then current state of the tape. The figure below summarises the allowed moves and the goal in the game we call T A solution to the Turing-Tape game specified by the pair d , R is a sequence of moves such that, beginning in a state where there is exactly one coin on some square i , the sequence is valid and results in a state in which there is exactly one coin at the square i d.
Specifically, solutions will be judged first on validity, then on number of moves, and then on number of coins used. Competitors will be divided into four categories: pre-university, undergraduate, postgraduate and other. The winning entry in each category will be the one that achieves the highest number of best solutions for all games set in the final. So entries in the practice rounds do not count in the final.
Ties will be decided by order of receipt. Repeat submissions are allowed; the last received submission will count and earlier submissions will be automatically eliminated. Solutions must be submitted using our checking script. In order to win a prize, submitted solutions will be checked by us; no prize will be awarded unless the solution passes this test.
Failure to comply with these rules will result in disqualification from the competition. Competition Timetable There are three stages in the competition: familiarisation, practice and final. The familiarisation stage enables you to understand what is involved in solving the games; we have provided sample solutions to the familiarisation games.
The practice stage gives you the opportunity to formulate an algorithm to solve a given Turing-tape game and to develop any software you need to implement your algorithm. A table of top scores will be maintained throughout these two stages; the table, which you can find in the sidebar, records the number of moves and number of coins in validated solutions.
The top-score table will not be updated during the final; however, once the final is complete we will publish the top scores. Anyone can join in at any stage. You must register with us to submit a solution to any of the games. We will send alerts at the beginning of each round to all registered participants. We will not use registration information for any purposes other than administering the competition.
By registering with us you give us permission to use your submitted solutions in any publications with appropriate acknowledgement , now or in the future.
We will delete all registration information once prize winners have been announced. Details of how to claim the discount are sent with the email confirming registration. Round 0. Familiarisation problems T6, T Practice Problems. Round 1.
Round 2. Round 3. Round 4. Round 5. Grand Final Round 6. Competition Ends. Announcement of prize winners and top scores.
The final set of games was challenging and finding optimal solutions was in some cases very challenging; congratulations to all those who submitted solutions. See here for a list of prizewinners. The topscores table shows the results of all competitors. We constructed our own solutions to all the games. This file contains solutions constructed using a simple greedy algorithm; the solutions use the minimal number of moves but make no attempt to minimise the number of coins.
This file contains optimal solutions i. In the coming months, we plan to publish the software we developed to run the competition, to generate the games and to construct solutions. To get announcements, please subscribe to the Facebook Turing-Tape Competition group. Prize Winners Prizes were offered to students registered at a UK educational institution in the following categories: school i. Prizes have been awarded as follows.
Algorithmic Problem Solving
Algorithmic Problem Solving An entertaining and captivating way to learn the fundamentals of using algorithms to solve problems. Algorithmic problems are problems where the solution involves —possibly implicitly— the design of an algorithm. Algorithmic problem solving is about the formulation and solution of such problems. The demands on the reliability of computer software have, we believe, lead to massive improvements in our problem-solving skills and in mathematical method.