It’s a great example of how computer scientists often work. He explores a host of techniques and analyzes the results by calculating how often you’ll get a perfect game, median number of guesses, and how bad it gets in the worst case.
He examines 4 major strategies:
Pure random searching
Hunt and Target – Hunt randomly until you get a hit, then proceed methodically to sink the hit ship.
Hunt and Target with parity – since the minimum length of a ship is 2 units, you need only search even or odd squares
His fourth approach is the most fascinating. The system calculates every possible configuration of the remaining ships, and then sums up the probability of a ship on each square. At the beginning, all the squares are basically equally probable, but as more and more guesses are made, the number of possible configurations decreases. If you continually calculate the sum of these possibilities, pick the square with the highest probability and repeat this process, you get significantly better results.
How much better? Purely random guessing gives you a median of 97 moves. Using parity with the hunt+target method averages 64 moves. But using the probability density function increases that to a staggering 42 moves on average.
Algorithm of the day: Rapidly exploring random trees (RRT) is an algorithm designed to efficiently search non-convex spaces by randomly building a space-filling tree. The tree is constructed incrementally from samples drawn randomly from the search space and is inherently biased to grow towards large unsearched areas of the problem. They easily handle problems with obstacles and differential constraints and have been widely used in autonomous robotic motion planning.
There is no end of guides for game developers and entrepreneurs trying to get their start. For those looking to get some solid tips, this video is pretty representative of the kinds of things you should expect and be ready to talk about when pitching your game idea.
Psycho Clan – a group that creates immersive theatrical events – is making some interesting horror audio experiences in which you blindfold some friends, set up some simple props, and then guide them through the auditory experience. Looks like it could be some good fun!
Inspired by the classic ghost story “The Toll House” by W. W. Jacobs, you play Sam, a member of an intrepid group of friends who stubbornly insists on testing whether a house, notoriously known to be haunted, truly is… by spending the night in it!
Herbert Solow and Robert Justman share back story behind Star Trek
Herbert Solow was the vice president of Desilu Studios and executive in charge of the production of the Star Trek series. Robert Justman was the associate producer and co-producer that was responsible for all the pre-production, production, and post-production. Gene Roddenberry reported to and worked hand in hand with these two men.
As an attempt to record all of what happened now that Roddenberry has died, these two remaining fathers of the series tell the amazing story behind Star Trek’s production. Definitely worth a listen.
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