Update on Word Stickers (PWC216)


E. Choroba tested my solution and found bugs.

In particular:

Bug in PWC216

I ended up finding two bugs.

The first was about missing to calculate the right amount of minimum stickers needed. In the example:

  • letter a appears twice, which means we need two ab stickers;
  • letter c appears thrice, which means we need three bc stickers.

The solution is calculating the right amount by dividing the amount that’s needed by the amount that’s provided by each sticker. In Perl terms:

# check for a viable solution and set the bare minimum
my %minimum;
for my $letter (keys(%needed)) {
    my $alternatives = $provided{$letter}
        or return 0; # no viable source
    if (scalar(keys($alternatives->%*)) == 1) { # one viable source only
        my ($word, $units) = $alternatives->%*;
        my $amount = int($needed{$letter} / $units)
            + ($needed{$letter} % $units ? 1 : 0);
        my $amount = $units;
        $minimum{$word} = $amount
           if (! exists($minimum{$word})) || ($minimum{$word} < $amount);

On the other hand, I already knew that there was at least another error. In theory, calculating the minimum etc. was not strictly needed, as the final step with the breadth-first search should have sufficed. Yet it didn’t, so it had to have a bug too.

It turned out that I was wasting useful pieces of stickers while doing the search, i.e. I was only using specific parts without using the rest to cover for other letters needs. This required turning the algotithm a bit to first find out all words that can possibly advance a little towards a solution, then iterate over those words by taking complete advantage of all provided letters. In Raku terms:

sub complete-minimum (%minimum is copy, %needed is copy, %provided) {
   my @queue = {needed => %needed, minimum => %minimum},;
   while @queue {
      my $frame = @queue.shift;
      my $needed = $frame<needed>;
      my $minimum = $frame<minimum>;

      my %words = $needed.keys.map({ %provided{$_}.keys }).flat.map({ $_ => 1 });
      for %words.keys -> $source {
         my %nmin  = %$minimum;
         my %nneed = %$needed;
         for %nneed.keys -> $letter {
            %nneed{$letter} -= %provided{$letter}{$source} // 0;
            %nneed{$letter}:delete if %nneed{$letter} <= 0;
         return %nmin if %nneed.keys.elems == 0;
         @queue.push: {needed => %nneed, minimum => %nmin};
   return ();

Thanks E. Choroba!

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