TL;DR

On with Advent of Code puzzle 4 from 2022: planning can use some improvement next year!

Citing this solution:

I’m starting to think that Santa should reconsider his elf workforce.

Well, at least the lack of proper upfront planning seems to provide us plenty of occasions to help a bit.

Each input line is a story by itself in this case, and we have to count things. Input lines represent data related to pairs of elves (let’s call them left and right); each elf is given an integer (inclusive) range. So the left elf will receive range $[l, L]$ and the right one $[r, R]$.

Let’s read it as a sequence of arrays, each containing [$l,$L, $r,$R] for a pair:

my @inputs = '04.input'.IO.lines.map({ [.comb(/\d+/)] });


In part 1, we have to count all pairings where one range completely contains the other. Let’s consider the following quantity:

$(r - l) \cdot (R - L)$

i.e. the difference between the two minimum ends of the range, times the difference between the two maximum ends:

• when the right range contains the left one, the first quantity will be non-positive and the second one will be non-negative. Hence, the product will be non-negative, i.e. less than, or equal to, zero.
• On the other hand, when the left range includes the right, the signs will be reversed for both quantities, and we still end up with a non-negative product.
• Every other case yields a strictly positive product.

Hence, we can just test that the product is less than, or equal to, zero and count them all:

put +@inputs.grep(-> ($l,$L, $r,$R) { ($r -$l) * ($R -$L) <= 0 });


Part 2 goes on a similar tune, but this time we are asked to figure out how many pairs have at least one overlapping value. This time we can consider the following quantity:

$(R - l) \cdot (L - r)$

It’s easy to see that one of these two quantities must be non-negative, because one of the following is true:

$l \le L \le R \Rightarrow (R - l) \ge 0 \\ r \le R \le L \Rightarrow (L - r) \ge 0$

When there is an overlap, the other difference is non-negative too; otherwise, it’s strictly negative. Hence, our product will be non-negative if, and only if, there is an overlap.

In Raku terms:

put +@inputs.grep(-> ($l,$L, $r,$R) { ($R -$l) * ($L -$r) >= 0 });


Stay safe and have fun!