Alecs' Blog Did you ever go clear..

Guessing numbers.

This is an interesting game. Jane chooses a random number (composed of four different digits from [0-9]) and gives John 10 chances to guess what the number is. Each time John provides a possible answer, Jane gives back a hint AB, of which A indicates how many rite digits with rite position there are in the answer that John just provided and B indicates the number of digits that are rite but not at the rite position.

e.g. Jane chooses the number '9205'. John: 1234 Jane: 01 John: 5678 Jane: 01 John: 4387 Jane: 00 John: 9026 Jane: 12 John: 2095 Jane: 13 John: 9205 Jane; 40

John is a computer geek so he wants to write a program to figure out the rite number.

How would he code it? and how would you? There may be a dozen of ways to do it. One of the most intuitive is kinda like how you brutely-crack password (remember? =).


1) Randomly pick up a number from possibilities (5040 possibilities in start). 2) Compute each possibilities' AB against the picked number. 3) Comparing with the hint, scale down the possibilies (whose AB == hint). 4) Repeat the steps above until there is only one possibility left.

Actual code always explains better than mere words. Here's a working sample. Even in the worst case, it can get the rite anwser after 7 guessings: (5040/1440)7 == 6433. Enjoy.

24 Jun 2004

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