AoC 2022/19 - Head cracking


On with Advent of Code puzzle 19 from 2022: instead of me cracking this challenge, the challenge cracked my head!

This was, for me, the most difficult challenge of this year. Getting it on a monday did not help, because I had to work and then spent a lot of time in the evening/night… to no avail.

Then I kind of freaked out until… today. My personal discipline imposes me to solve the puzzle with the right answer before looking for other solutions, and (luckily) I did. As I wanted to minimize the possible “noise sources”, I decided to shift gears and solve it in Perl, which is much more my… first language, so to say.

Then, of course, I looked at others’ solutions and implemented one in Raku. Special thanks to frufru6 and the non-optimized solution, where I draw most of the inspiration for the Raku implementation, as well as a couple of optimization hints by Coffee_Doggo.

OK, enough talking. The solution is basically a breadth-first search over the space, taking care to prune the search tree in a few spots:

  • cutting solutions that cannot go beyond the best found so far (even assuming that there will be a new geode-cracking robot at each following step, which is extremely optimistic).
  • Avoiding further expansion of conditions where geode-cracking robots can be generated.
  • Avoiding the expansion of nodes that generate a robot, when the same robot could have been generated at the previos step, but we’re investigating a pause instead.
  • Capping the number of robots according to the maximum amount of resources that are needed (so there’s no cap for geode-cracking robots). This makes sense because the robot-generating machine can only produce a single robot per minute.

These three seem pretty spot-on, even though I might question that the second one really holds in the very general case. Whatever, it eventually worked on my inputs!

There is another heuristic that I copied from frufru6’s non-optimized solution. Briefly speaking, we put cap on the amount of resources for each type. The rationale is that excess resources are not used (usually!) and putting the cap allows restricting the possible values, increasing the possibility to hit an already-analyzed combination and giving space to some more pruning of the search tree. This, too, works for all my inputs, so I call it a win.

Here’s the code, starting with reading the inputs:

class BluePrint { ... }
sub get-inputs ($filename) {
   [ $ { => $_) } ]

# ...

class BluePrint {
   has $.bid;
   has @!costs-for;
   has @!robot-cap-for;
   has @!resource-cap-for;

   submethod BUILD (:$line) {
      my ($bid, $rr, $cr, $br, $bc, $gr, $gb) = $line.comb(/\d+/)».Int.Slip;
      $!bid = $bid;
      @!costs-for =
         [ $rr,   0,   0,   0 ], # ore
         [ $cr,   0,   0,   0 ], # clay
         [ $br, $bc,   0,   0 ], # obsidian
         [ $gr,   0, $gb,   0 ]; # geodes
      @!robot-cap-for = ($rr, $cr, $br, $gr).max, $bc, $gb, Inf;
      @!resource-cap-for = (@!robot-cap-for «*» 2) «-» 2;

   # ...

Using a class seemed… right. I don’t know how much performance this chops off, though.

The main search function, as anticipated, does BFS with some pruning here and there:

method max-geodes ($time) {
    $*ERR.say("blueprint $!bid");
    my @consider-all = True xx 3;
    my @stack = [[0 xx 4], [1, |(0 xx 3)], $time - 1],;
    my %seen;
    my $best = -1;
    while @stack {
        my $frame = @stack.pop;
        my ($resources, $n-robots, $time, $consider) = @$frame;
        $consider //= @consider-all;

        # cut seen states, cap resources. No need to cap geodes!
        for ^3 -> $i {
        $resources[$i] = @!resource-cap-for[$i]
            if $resources[$i] > @!resource-cap-for[$i];
        my $key = (|$resources, |$n-robots, $time).join(' ');
        next if %seen{$key}++;

        my $best-hope = $resources[3] + $n-robots[3] * (1 + $time)
        + ((1 + $time) * $time) div 2;
        next if $best-hope < $best;

        if self.can-build($resources, $n-robots, 3) { # geode-cracking, yay!
        $resources = [ |$resources ]; # clone
        $n-robots = [ |$n-robots ];         # clone$resources, $n-robots, 3);
        @stack.push: [$resources, $n-robots, $time - 1]
            if $time > 0;
        else {
        my @future-consider = |@consider-all;
        for ^3 -> $robot { # don't consider geode-cracking, see above
            next unless $consider[$robot]
                && self.can-build($resources, $n-robots, $robot);
            @future-consider[$robot] = False;
            my @new-resources = |$resources;
            my @new-n-robots  = |$n-robots;
  , @new-n-robots, $robot);
            @stack.push: [@new-resources, @new-n-robots, $time - 1]
                if $time > 0;

        # just let time pass here
        $resources «+=» $n-robots;
        @stack.push: [$resources, $n-robots, $time - 1] if $time > 0;

        $best = $resources[3] if $time == 0 && $best < $resources[3];
    return $best;

Full solution.

Stay safe!

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