Funktionale Programmierung und Verifikation (IN0003), WS 2019/20


Each exercise sheet contains a magnificiently written competition exercise by the Master of Competition Senior, Herrn MC Sr. Eberl, or Master of Competition Junior, Herrn MC Jr. Kappelmann. These exercises count just like any other homework, but are also part of the official competition – overseen and marked by the MC Sr. The grading scheme for these exercises will vary: performance, minimality or beauty are just some factors the MC Sr. adores. You might use any function from the following libraries for your solution: base, array, containers, unordered-containers, attoparsec, binary, bytestring, hashable, mtl, parsec, QuickCheck, syb, text, transformers

Each week, the top 30 of the week will be crowned and the top 30 of the term updated. The best 30 solutions will receive points: 30, 29, 28, and so on. The favourite solutions of the MC Sr. will be cherished and discussed on this website. At the end of the term, the best k students will be celebrated with tasteful trophies, where k is a natural number whose value still will be determined when time has come. No bonus points can be gained, but an indefinite amount of fun, respect, and some trophies!

Important: If you do not want your name to appear on the competition, you can choose to not participate by removing the {-WETT-}...{-TTEW-} tags when submitting your homework.


Finale top 30 des Semesters
  Platz Wettbewerber*in   Punkte
1. Simon Stieger 315
2. Almo Sutedjo 245
3. Marco Haucke 216
4. Yi He 194
5. Le Quan Nguyen 187
6. Martin Fink 184
7. Tal Zwick 152
8. Bilel Ghorbel 150
9. Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 137
10. Anton Baumann 122
11. Yecine Megdiche 120
11. Torben Soennecken 120
13. Tobias Hanl 90
14. Kevin Schneider 86
15. Omar Eldeeb 84
16. Andreas Resch 81
17. Kseniia Chernikova 72
18. Timur Eke 70
19. Jonas Lang 69
20. Maisa Ben Salah 66
21. Xiaolin Ma 65
22. Janluka Janelidze 62
23. Felix Rinderer 61
23. Steffen Deusch 61
25. Dominik Glöß 59
26. Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten 56
27. Emil Suleymanov 55
27. Mokhammad Naanaa 55
29. Felix Trost 54
30. David Maul 48

Die Ergebnisse der ersten Woche

Top 30 der Woche
  Platz Wettbewerber*in   Tokens   Punkte
1. Simon Stieger 21 30
2. Almo Sutedjo 22 20
3. Florian von Wedelstedt 23 15
Marco Zielbauer 23 15
Kevin Burton 23 15
Maisa Ben Salah 23 15
Andreas Resch 23 15
Christo Wilken 23 15
Robert Schmidt 23 15
Timur Eke 23 15
Christoph Reile 23 15
Peter Wegmann 23 15
Jonas Lang 23 15
Kevin Schneider 23 15
David Maul 23 15
Torben Soennecken 23 15
17. Martin Fink 24 10
David Huang 24 10
Kseniia Chernikova 24 10
Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 24 10
Michael Plainer 24 10
Anton Baumann 24 10
Fabian Pröbstle 24 10
Yi He 24 10
25. Ryan Stanley Wilson 25 5
Leon Julius Zamel 25 5
Mihail Stoian 25 5
Pascal Ginter 25 5
Markus Ruhland 25 5
Robin Brase 25 5
Yecine Megdiche 25 5
Bilel Ghorbel 25 5
Leon Windheuser 25 5
Nikolaos Sotirakis 25 5
Christopher Szemzö 25 5
Florian Melzig 25 5

(scoring scheme was changed from previous years because it seemed unfair in this instance)

The MC Sr bids you welcome to this year's Wettbewerb. This tradition was started by the MC emeritus Jasmin Blanchette in 2012. Much time has passed since then, and the MC emeritus is now a professor in Amsterdam, and his former MC Jr is now the MC Sr. Still, the Wettbewerb progresses more or less as always, mutatis mutandis, and the MC Sr will attempt to keep the old spirit alive. (If you are confused by the style of this blog, the fact the the MC refers to himself in the third person, or the odd mixture of German, English, and occasional other languages – that is also a legacy of the MC emeritus and changing it now would just feel wrong)

This week's problem was posed by new MC Jr Kevin Kappelmann, who seems to have an unhealthy obsession with century-old number theory. Well, the MC Sr supposes he shalt not judge (lest he be judged himself). The problem that was posed was to determine whether or not a given number is a quadratic residue for a given modulus n, i.e. if it has a square root in the residue ring ℤ/nℤ.

The MC Sr received 538 submissions. The evaluation was quite tedious for him and was made more tedious by the fact that a significant number of students chose to ignore the instructions on the exercise sheet that clearly stated that if one wishes to use auxiliary functions in one's solution for quadRes, all of them have to be within the {-WETT-} tags. Perhaps they were trying to trick the MC; perhaps they were just careless. The MC decided to be lenient this week and adjusted their solutions accordingly, but it turns out that after moving all the auxiliary functions into the tags, none of them were even remotely competetive anymore anyway.

In any case, let us talk about the solutions themselves: All of the correct ones that the MC looked at essentially followed the hint from the exercise sheet and simply tried all candidates. This is not surprising since nobody currently knows an algorithm that is substantially better than this – at least not (unless one already has a prime factorisation of the modulus), and this forms the basis for various cryptographic systems.

The longest correct solution, with 95 tokens, is this:

quadRes n a 
 | n == 1 = True
 | a > n = quadRes n (a `mod` n)
 | a `mod` n == 0 || a `mod` n == 1 = True
 | a < 0 = quadRes n (a+n)
 | otherwise = aux n 1 a where 
  aux n x a 
    | equivMod n (a `mod` n)(x^2) == True = True
    | x == n-1 = False
    | otherwise = aux n (x+1) a  

There is a lot of potential for optimisation here. The initial case distinctions are unnecessary, and the definition of the auxiliary function could easily be written in a single line with some logical connectives. Also, remember the Meta-Master Tobias Nipkow told you: never write if b == True!

A nice and much more streamlined version of the same basic approach can be found in the following 32-token solution by Jonas Jürß:

quadRes n a = find n
  where find i = i >= 0 && (i*i `mod` n == a `mod` n || find (i-1))

He does not have any unnecessary case distinctions and inlined the equivMod function. Moreover, he only used material that was covered in the first week of the lecture. The MC approves, but unfortunately this straightforward approach is not enough to land a spot among the Top 30 even in the very first week.

All the Top 30 students made use of lists one way or another. The obvious way was to use the list comprehensions introduced in the second week of the lecture. Here is one representative 24-token solution for this approach by Anton Baumann, which earned him a well-deserved 17th place:

quadRes n a = or [x^2 `mod` n == a `mod` n | x <- [0 .. n]]

Note that he cleverly checked candidates from 0 to n (as opposed to 0 to n - 1 as suggested on the exercise sheet). It doesn't hurt (because n ≡ 0 (mod n)) and it saves two tokens. With minor adjustments – such as using the elem function that returns whether a given value occurs in a list or not – one can save another token (solution by Marco Zielbauer):

quadRes n a = a `mod` n `elem` [x^2 `mod` n | x <- [0 .. n]]

A couple of students noticed that [0..n] is in fact just syntactic sugar for enumFromTo 0 n, which can, in some cases, save a few more tokens; cf. e.g. the following 22-token solution by Almo Sutedjo:

quadRes n q = or [x^2 `mod` n == mod q n| x <- enumFromTo 0 n]

Combining these two tricks, Simon Stieger found a 21-token solution, which is almost identical to the one the MC had found:

quadRes n a = a `mod` n `elem` [x*x `mod` n | x <- enumFromTo 1 n]

The nice thing about this solution is that it does not really use anything that was not covered in the lecture (other than perhaps the use of enumFromTo function).

However, one of our tutors – Herr Großer – went above and beyond and managed to beat the MC's solution with 20 tokens:

quadRes n = flip any (join timesInteger <$> enumFromTo 0 n) . on eqInteger (`mod` n)

There's a lot going on here and you are not expected or required to understand any of this. The MC will, however, do his best to explain it briefly:

If we deobfuscate Herr Großer's solution a little bit, we get something like this:

quadRes n a = any (\y -> a `mod` n == y `mod` n) [x * x | x <- [0..n]]

His tricks only make things shorter because timesInteger exists. Taking a hint from current world affairs, the MC had imposed severe restrictions on imports this year and thought this would be enough to preclude such trickery with timesInteger, eqInteger, etc. Alas, it seems that he was mistaken. Kudos to Herr Großer for finding this!

All in all, this week's solutions were perhaps not very surprising. The MC hopes that the following week's exercise will leave more room for his students' creativity to shine.

So, what are this week's lessons?

Die Ergebnisse der zweiten Woche

Top 30 der Woche
  Platz Wettbewerber*in Tokens  Punkte
1.Marco Haucke 37 30
2.Robin Brase 40 29
3.Almo Sutedjo 41 28
4.Timur Eke 41 27
5.Simon Stieger 42 26
6.Andreas Resch 43 25
Martin Fink 43 25
8.Le Quan Nguyen 45 23
9.Janluka Janelidze 46 22
Dominik Glöß 46 22
Kseniia Chernikova 46 22
12.Anton Baumann 47 19
Bilel Ghorbel 47 19
Torben Soennecken 47 19
Maisa Ben Salah 47 19
16.Oleksandr Golovnya 48 15
Markus Edinger 48 15
Nikolaos Sotirakis 48 15
Kristina Magnussen 48 15
20.Achref Aloui 49 11
Tobias Hanl 49 11
22.Yi He 49 9
23.Florian Melzig 50 8
24.Yu Han Li 50 7
Roman Heinrich Mayr 50 7
Fabian Pröbstle 50 7
Steffen Deusch 50 7
28.Maria Pospelova 51 3
29.David Maul 51 2
Kevin Burton 51 2

This week, the MC Sr received 156 (apparently) correct student submissions with correctly placed {-WETT-} tags. It seems that placing the tags is very difficult, and the MC grew so annoyed ploughing through submission after submission with incorrectly placed tags that he chose to do away with the MC emeritus's Perl scripts and instead automate the entire evaluation process using Haskell (whose suitability as a scripting language is greatly underappreciated, in the MC's opinion).

In any case, the variety among the solutions was still not too great this week, but already a bit greater than in the previous one. The longest submission had 254 tokens:

bernoulli :: Integer -> Rational
bernoulli x = helper 0 x (fromIntegral 1) 
    where helper k n s | n == 0 = (fromInteger 1) 
        | k == 0 = 
            if k== (n-1) then (fromIntegral (n `choose` k))  * ( s / (fromIntegral (k  - n - 1)))
            else (fromIntegral (n `choose` k))  * ( s / (fromIntegral (k  - n - 1))) + (helper (k+1) n ((fromIntegral (n `choose` k))  * ( s / (fromIntegral (k  - n - 1)))))  
        | k == (n-1) = ((fromIntegral (n `choose` k)) * ((helper 0 k 1 ) / (fromIntegral(k  - n - 1)))) 
        | k < (n-1) = ((fromIntegral (n `choose` k)) * ((helper 0 k 1 ) / (fromIntegral(k  - n - 1)))) + (helper (k+1) n ((fromIntegral (n `choose` k))  * ( s / (fromIntegral (k  - n - 1))))) 

Clearly, the author was not optimising for number of tokens. That is fine – tokens are a silly measure after all – but nevertheless, this solution is somewhat needlessly complicated. The more complicated a solution is, the more likely it is that it will contain hard-to-spot bugs. Needlessly complicated code also tends to be quite hard to maintain.

Consider, in contrast, the following 55-token solution by Herr Rinderer (which is representative of many similar solutions by other students):

n `choose` k = product [n-k+1..n] `div` product [1..k]
bernoulli 0 = 1
bernoulli n = sum [n `choose` k % (k - n - 1) * bernoulli k | k <- [0 .. n - 1]]

This is much nicer: It is short, concise, and – given the recurrence from the problem sheet – obviously correct. This is more or less exactly the solution the MC would have written if the number of tokens were of no consequence.

However, for the sake of the competition, the number of tokens is of consequence, and 55 tokens was not enough to secure a spot among the Top 30 this week. So what can be done to shrink this? Well, look at the following 43-token solution by Herr Resch:

bernoulli 0 = 1
bernoulli n = sum [ product (succ k `enumFromTo` n) `div` product [1..n-k] % (pred k - n) * bernoulli k | k <- 0 `enumFromTo` pred n]

He achieved a respectable 6th place by employing several simple tricks to great effect:

This is almost as far as one can stretch the basic approach following the recurrence from the problem sheet, but we are not quite there yet. The MC Sr managed to get down to 42 tokens using the following approach:

f = on div product
bernoulli m = 0 ^ m - sum [enumFromTo l m `f` enumFromTo 1 k % l * bernoulli k | k <- 0 `enumFromTo` pred m, let l = succ m - k] 

This eliminates the case distinction for n = 0 by using the fact that 0 ^ 0 = 1 in Haskell. Herr Eke even managed to get to 41 tokens like this:

bernoulli 0 = 1
bernoulli n = sum [genericLength (elemIndices k . map genericLength . subsequences . genericReplicate n $ 0) % succ n `subtract` k * bernoulli k| k <- enumFromTo 0 $ pred n]

The trick he uses here is that the binomial coefficient counts the number of k-element subsets of a set with n elements. He therefore uses functions from Haskell's list library to generate a list of n zeroes, then constructing the list of all 2n subsequences of that list, retrieves all those positions in that list that contain a list of length k, and counts the length of the remaining list. This is, of course, horribly inefficient, but since we are primality counting tokens this week, that is perfectly fine. This approach could easily be brought down to 40 tokens, but as far as the MC Sr knows, that is as good as it gets with this approach.

Simon Stieger found the following nice 42-token solution using the explicit formula

for the Bernoulli numbers:

bernoulli n =
  sum [product [negate k..pred j-k] `div` product [1..j] * j^n % succ k
        | k <- enumFromTo 0 n, j <- enumFromTo 0 k]

The Top 3 all used an algorithm based on the Akiyama–Tanigawa transform, cf. the following winning 37-token solution by Herr Haucke:

atCell m n = if n == 0 then recip a else a * atCell m b `subtract` atCell a b
        where a=m+1;b=n-1
bernoulli = atCell 0

Simply put, it works like this: We start with the sequence 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, …. Call this sequence a0. We then form a new sequence of numbers from this by subtracting every number from its predecessor and multiplying the result with the position of the number in the sequence, i.e. ai+1, j = (j+1)(ai,j - ai,j+1). We iterate this process, which gives us a big infinite rectangle of numbers. The Bernoulli numbers are simply the leftmost column of that rectangle. The following is a more readable implementation of the Akiyama–Tanigawa algorithm that might make it a bit more clear how it works:

akiyamaTanigawa :: Num a => [a] -> [[a]]
akiyamaTanigawa xs = iterate step xs
  where step xs = zipWith3 (\x y i -> fromInteger i * (y - x)) xs (tail xs) [1..]

bernoullis :: [Rational]
bernoullis = [head row | row <- akiyamaTanigawa [recip n | n <- [1..]]]

bernoulli :: Integer -> Rational
bernoulli n = genericIndex bernoullis n

Lastly, the following is the MC's 26-token version of this:

bernoulli = genericIndex $ map head $ 
    iterate ((*) `zipWith` enumFrom 1 <<< zipWith subtract `ap` tail) $ recip `map` enumFrom 1

Herr Haucke, our winner this week, had complained on Piazza about the MC's choice of -½ for B1 instead of ½. He ended up in the first place in the end anyway, but just to prove that the MC Sr can also handle this alternative definition, here is another 26-token solution that produces B1 = ½.

bernoulli = genericIndex $ map head $ 
    iterate ((*) `zipWith` enumFrom 1 <<< zipWith subtract =<< tail) $ recip `map` enumFrom 1

You are not expected to understand what is going on here and the MC will not even attempt to explain it. For the curious: This uses the reader monad.

What have we learned this week?

Die Ergebnisse der dritten Woche

Top 30 der Woche
  Platz Wettbewerber*in Performance  Punkte
1. Kseniia Chernikova 5.6 30
2. Wolf Birger Thieme 5.4 28
3. Simon Stieger 5.6 26
4. Yecine Megdiche 4.6 24
5. Almo Sutedjo 4.5 23
6. Marco Haucke 4.4 22
7. Timur Eke 3.6 18
8. Le Quan Nguyen 3.5 17
Xiaolin Ma 3.5 17
Guillaume Gruhlke 3.5 17
Stefan Wölfert 3.5 17
David Maul 3.5 17
13. Robin Brase 3.1 13
14. Anna Franziska Horne 2.6 12
15. Chien-Hao Chiu 2.5 11
16. Torben Soennecken 1.6 6
Johannes Stöhr 1.6 6
Philipp Steininger 1.6 6

This week, the MC Sr was very disappointed. He received only eighteen submissions in total, even though the problem that was posed was the exact one as in the previous week. This means that 16 students could simply have submitted their solution from last week (or the sample solution for that matter) and have gotten into the Top 30. That's at least 105 unclaimed free Wettbewerbspunkte! Additionally, three competitors are very lucky he received points at all: one of them called his file Excercise_3.hs by mistake, so it failed to compile. Two others forgot to include the choose functions in their {-WETT-} tags. The MC, however, noticed this and graciously decided to include it in the evaluation anyway. (It is not impossible that a few more submissions fell through the cracks due to things like this – if yours is one of them, feel free to email the MC Sr and he will see what he can do)

To make up for the unfortunate lack of submissions, the MC Sr contributed four submissions of his own. These are, of course, außer Konkurrenz. To the MC Sr's delight, the 16 solutions he did receive contained a refreshing amount of variety and he will do his best to showcase all of it in this entry.

Since the efficiency of the different submissions varies greatly, the MC Sr decided to do several phases of elimination. In each phase, a particular imput n is fixed so that a clear separation between the fast and the slow submissions can be seen. The slower ones are then eliminated and we proceed to the next phase. The performance rating is comprised of two numbers a.b, where the major performance indicator a is the number of phases survived (which typically corresponds to a better asymptotic running time complexity) and b indicates the ranking within a single major class (which probably indicates a better constant factor). The final score is then computed as 6a + b.

In the first phase, we pick n = 24 to see if the solutions work at all:

Performance evaluation: n = 24
Name Time
Kseniia Chernikova 0.0013 s
MC Sr (fast) 0.0013 s
Simon Stieger 0.0014 s
MC Sr (Akiyama–Tanigawa) 0.0014 s
MC Sr 0.0014 s
Wolf Birger Thieme 0.0015 s
Yecine Megdiche 0.0015 s
Le Quan Nguyen 0.0016 s
Timur Eke 0.0016 s
MC Sr (naïve memoised) 0.0016 s
Almo Sutedjo 0.0016 s
Xiaolin Ma 0.0016 s
Markus Großer (tutor) 0.0017 s
Stefan Wölfert 0.0017 s
David Maul 0.0018 s
Guillaume Gruhlke 0.0018 s
Robin Brase 0.0019 s
Marco Haucke 0.0019 s
MC Sr (power series) 0.0038 s
Anna Franziska Horne 0.0054 s
Chien-Hao Chiu 0.030 s
Johannes Stöhr 4.9 s
Philipp Steininger 5.1 s
Torben Soennecken 5.2 s

We must already bid three participants farewell. All of them did a straightforward implementation of the recursive formula from the problem sheet (much like the sample solution from last week) and simply cannot compete even for relatively small inputs. The reason for this is that in order to compute Bn, the formula requires the values of all Bi for i < n and values that are computed are never stored, but recomputed every time, leading to exponential running time.

Next, we go up to n = 50:

Performance evaluation: n = 50
Name Time
Kseniia Chernikova 0.0013 s
MC Sr (fast) 0.0013 s
MC Sr 0.0016 s
MC Sr (power series) 0.0017 s
Simon Stieger 0.0018 s
Wolf Birger Thieme 0.0019 s
Markus Großer (tutor) 0.0019 s
MC Sr (Akiyama–Tanigawa) 0.0023 s
Yecine Megdiche 0.0024 s
Timur Eke 0.0030 s
Almo Sutedjo 0.0036 s
MC Sr (naïve memoised) 0.0037 s
Stefan Wölfert 0.0038 s
Xiaolin Ma 0.0041 s
Guillaume Gruhlke 0.0047 s
Robin Brase 0.0047 s
Le Quan Nguyen 0.0047 s
Marco Haucke 0.0049 s
David Maul 0.010 s
Anna Franziska Horne 29.7 s
Chien-Hao Chiu 92.8 s

Again, we must say good-bye to two competitors whose solution is clearly much slower than all the others. These two also implemented the straightforward exponential recurrence from the exercise sheet, but they additionally realised that Bn = 0 for any odd n greater than 1 and added a corresponding case distinction. Frau Horne additionally implemented a slightly more efficient computation of the choose function for computing binomial coefficients.

Their solutions are, of course, still exponential, but these improvements, so for slightly larger inputs, the running time still skyrockets, which is what we see in the above comparison.

For the next phase, we have to go up all the way to n=1000 to see an appreciable difference between the solutions:

Performance evaluation: n = 1000
Name Time
MC Sr (fast) 0.040 s
MC Sr 0.049 s
Markus Großer (tutor) 0.14 s
MC Sr (power series) 0.15 s
Kseniia Chernikova 0.42 s
Simon Stieger 0.51 s
Wolf Birger Thieme 0.69 s
Yecine Megdiche 2.1 s
Almo Sutedjo 5.2 s
MC Sr (Akiyama–Tanigawa) 6.4 s
Marco Haucke 8.6 s
Timur Eke 13.3 s
Xiaolin Ma 19.8 s
MC Sr (naïve memoised) 20.4 s
Guillaume Gruhlke 21.4 s
Le Quan Nguyen 22.1 s
Stefan Wölfert 22.7 s
David Maul 24.3 s
Robin Brase 36.8 s

Let's focus on the solutions in the lower half of the table. They now show a bit more variety:

* The MC Sr is never quite sure which part of a Vietnamese or Chinese name to use to address someone. Feel free to correct him via email if he got it wrong! Of course, that goes for any other mistakes he makes as well, be it with names or otherwise.

All of these algorithms have polynomial complexity. However, we still see a significant change going to n = 2000:

Performance evaluation: n = 2000
Name Time
MC Sr (fast) 0.37 s
MC Sr 0.43 s
Markus Großer (tutor) 0.58 s
MC Sr (power series) 1.4 s
Kseniia Chernikova 3.3 s
Simon Stieger 3.5 s
Wolf Birger Thieme 5.5 s
Yecine Megdiche 23.6 s
MC Sr (Akiyama–Tanigawa) 60.4 s
Almo Sutedjo 61.7 s
Marco Haucke 75.8 s

The MC Sr's Akiyama–Tanigawa implementation (MC Sr (AT)) is finally kicked out of the race. Herr Sutedjo's and Herr Haucke's implementation of the explicit formula does not survive this round either, nor does Mr Megdiche's memoised naïve recurrence.

With that, we have arrived at the podium. For good measure, let's go over 9000 – to 10000, to be precise:

Performance evaluation: n = 10000
Name Time
Markus Großer (tutor) 18.8 s
MC Sr (fast) 36.7 s
MC Sr 39.4 s
MC Sr (power series) 169.5 s
Kseniia Chernikova 400.4 s
Simon Stieger 493.0 s
Wolf Birger Thieme 984.1 s

In this step, the last three remaining student submissions get kicked out. In any case, they provide results within a reasonable time for n = 5000. They work like this:

The advantage of going through the Tangent numbers is that they are integers and can easily be computed using only integer operations, whereas the other approaches used so far all used arithmetic on rational numbers, which tends to become very expensive due to frequent GCD computations.

The MC Sr's main implementation therefore also uses the Tangent numbers, but computes them with a more efficient (but still quite simple) algorithm given in Section 6.1 of this lovely paper. The implementation MC (fast) uses the same algorithm, but tries to be a bit more efficient by only using a single array with imperative updates. As you can see, the difference is minimal – as so often in Haskell, the elegant algorithm is basically fast enough, and only very little extra performance can be gained by making it ugly.

For the sake of comparison, an artisanal hand-crafted optimised C++ program by the MC Sr that uses the same approach as MC (fast) needs about 17 seconds to compute B10000. That is only about twice as fast as the Haskell code, which seems not too bad for Haskell.

There are much crazier algorithms to compute Bernoulli numbers than this. Here are three of the MC Sr's favourite ones:

What have we learned this week?

By the way, the MC Sr is introducing a new feature next week: If you have any important comments for the MCs (e.g. an alternative solution that somehow does not make it through the test system), please include them in your submission like this to ensure they do not miss them:

Hello MC! Here is my alternative solution:

bernoulli n = 4

Die Ergebnisse der vierten Woche

Top 30 der Woche
  Platz Wettbewerber*in Performance  Punkte
1. Simon Stieger 2.10 30
2. Anton Baumann 2.9 29
3. Marco Haucke 2.8 28
4. Martin Fink 2.7 27
5. Bilel Ghorbel 2.6 26
6. Almo Sutedjo 2.5 25
7. Tobias Hanl 2.4 24
8. Maisa Ben Salah 2.3 23
9. Nikolaos Sotirakis 2.2 22
10.Leon Julius Zamel 2.1 21
11.Yi He 2.0 20
Jonas Maximilian Weigand 2.0 20
Nico Greger 2.0 20
14.Daniel Strauß 1.0 10
Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 1.0 10
Christoph Wen 1.0 10
Damian Depaoli 1.0 10
Justus Schönborn 1.0 10
Paul Andrei Sava 1.0 10
Qingyu Li 1.0 10
Jonas Fill 1.0 10
Björn Henrichsen 1.0 10
Dominik Glöß 1.0 10
Steven Lehmann 1.0 10
Xianer Chen 1.0 10
Timur Eke 1.0 10
Anna Franziska Horne 1.0 10
Kevin Schneider 1.0 10
Denis Belendir 1.0 10
Margaryta Olenchuk 1.0 10

This week, we received an encouraging 96 (correct) submissions, teaching us to always award a homework point for the Wettbewerbsaufgabe. To whittle these down to a Top 30, we spell checked 5 misspelled words of 5-10 characters against a dictionary of the 100 most common english words. Even unoptimised solutions should be able to do this in a fraction of a second. Setting the cutoff at 2 s leaves us with 30 submissions. As usual, we also have some entries hors compétition: A hyperoptimized solution by the MC Sr, an implementation based on BK-trees by co-MC Rädle (the MC Jr Sr?), and one using a simple but highly effective optimization by co-MC Stevens (the MC Jr Jr). More on these later.

Similar to last week, we will proceed in stages to distinguish submissions with different asymptotic running times. In the first phase, we simply ran the same test as before but increased the size of the dictionary to 1000 words:

Performance evaluation: 5 misspellings, dictionary size 1000
Name Time
MC Sr 0.03 s
Simon Stieger 0.03 s
Anton Baumann 0.03 s
Marco Haucke 0.04 s
Bilel Ghorbel 0.04 s
Nikolaos Sotirakis 0.04 s
Tobias Hanl 0.04 s
Maisa Ben Salah 0.05 s
Almo Sutedjo 0.05 s
Leon Julius Zamel 0.05 s
Martin Fink 0.06 s
BK Tree (co-MC Rädle) 0.06 s
Yi He 0.09 s
Early Exit (co-MC Stevens) 0.11 s
Jonas Maximilian Weigand 0.19 s
Nico Greger 0.23 s
Daniel Strauß > 5 s
Johannes Bernhard Neubrand > 5 s
Christoph Wen > 5 s
Damian Depaoli > 5 s
Justus Schönborn > 5 s
Paul Andrei Sava > 5 s
Qingyu Li > 5 s
Jonas Fill > 5 s
Björn Henrichsen > 5 s
Dominik Glöß > 5 s
Steven Lehmann > 5 s
Xianer Chen > 5 s
Timur Eke > 5 s
Anna Franziska Horne > 5 s
Kevin Schneider > 5 s
Denis Belendir > 5 s
Margaryta Olenchuk > 5 s

Despite the generous time limit of 5 s, this already eliminates a whopping 17 contestants. All of them implemented lightly optimized versions of the recurrence on the problem sheet, which leads to a comfortably exponential running time. Here is a relatively clean example of such a solution, using only material that has been covered in the lecture:

editDistance :: Eq a => [a] -> [a] -> Int
editDistance a b = dab (length a - 1) (length b - 1) 
    m = (length a) + (length b)
    dab i j = minimum [if i < 0 && j < 0 then 0 else m,
                       if i >= 0 then 1 + dab (i-1) j else m,
                       if j >= 0 then 1 + dab i (j-1) else m,
                       if i >= 0 && j >= 0 && a!!i == b!!j then dab (i-1) (j-1) else m,
                       if i >= 0 && j >= 0 && a!!i /= b!!j then 1 + dab (i-1) (j-1) else m,
                       if i >= 1 && j >= 1 && a!!i == b!!(j-1) && a!!(i-1) == b!!j then 1 + dab (i-2) (j-2) else m

spellCorrect :: [String] -> [String] -> [[String]]
spellCorrect d [] = []
spellCorrect d (x:xs) = spellCorrectWord d x : spellCorrect d xs

spellCorrectWord :: [String] -> String -> [String]
spellCorrectWord d s = 
  let dists = map (\ s' -> (s',editDistance s s')) d
      minDist = minimum (map snd dists)
  in map fst $ filter (\ (_,d) -> d == minDist) dists

There are two obvious approaches to improving the performance of spellCorrect: Make editDistance faster; or avoid running editDistance for every word in the dictionary. A good example of the latter approach can be found in Martin Fink's submission. While iterating through the dictionary, his correct function keeps track of the lowest edit distance found so far. If the difference in lengths between the search word and the next dictionary word is larger than this distance, then there is no need to compute the edit distance for this pair, since abs (length x - length y) is a lower bound on editDistance x y.

Co-MC Stevens takes this approach to the extreme. He passes the minimum distance found so far to his editDistance function, and simply aborts the computation of the distance if it can no longer be below this threshold. As we shall see, this is highly effective if there are words with low edit distance to the search string in the dictionary; which you would expect to be the case in a realistic spell checking scenario.

These optimizations do not improve the asymptotic worst case running time of the algorithm, however. In order to achieve a polynomial running time, all solutions that survived this round employ dynamic programming. That is, they avoid recomputing distances by storing intermediate values in lists or arrays. A somewhat readable example of this approach comes courtesy of Herr Zamel:

editDistance :: Eq a => [a] -> [a] -> Int
editDistance xs ys = mem !! (length xs) !! (length ys)
        mem = [[ed (i,j) | j <- [0..(length ys)]] | i <- [0..(length xs)]]
        ed (i,j) = minimum $ filter (>=0) [c1 i j, c2 i j, c3 i j, c4 i j, c5 i j]
        c1 i j = if i == 0 && j == 0 then 0 else -1
        c2 i j = if i > 0 then (mem !! (i-1) !! j) + 1 else -1
        c3 i j = if j > 0 then (mem !! i !! (j-1)) + 1 else -1
        c4 i j = if i > 0 && j > 0 then if xs !! (i-1) == ys !! (j-1) then (mem !! (i-1) !! (j-1)) else (mem !! (i-1) !! (j-1)) + 1 else -1
        c5 i j = if i > 1 && j > 1 && xs !! (i-1) == ys !! (j-2) && xs !! (i-2) == ys !! (j-1) then (mem !! (i-2) !! (j-2)) + 1 else -1

Here, the results of individual calls to ed are stored in the table mem. This requires very little extra implementation effort compared to the naive solution but brings with it a huge improvement in performance.

For the next stage we move to a different corpus, containing misspellings made by British and American students. As a first test, we picked 100 misspellings at random and ran them against the entire dictionary of 6137 correctly spelled words:

Performance evaluation: 100 misspellings, dictionary size 6137
Name Time
MC Sr 1.44 s
Simon Stieger 1.84 s
Anton Baumann 2.19 s
Early Exit (co-MC Stevens) 2.23 s
BK-tree (co-MC Rädle) 2.44 s
Marco Haucke 3.80 s
Nikolaos Sotirakis 4.75 s
Bilel Ghorbel 4.95 s
Tobias Hanl 5.13 s
Almo Sutedjo 5.33 s
Maisa Ben Salah 5.44 s
Martin Fink 6.36 s
Leon Julius Zamel 6.61 s
Yi He > 10 s
Jonas Maximilian Weigand > 10 s
Nico Greger > 10 s

The time limit of 10 s eliminates 3 further students, leaving us with a Top 10. The eliminated students implemented dynamic programming but construct and update their tables in very inefficient ways, mainly by using excessive amounts of ++ operations, which are linear in their first argument.

In order to get some separation between the remaining submissions, we increase the number of misspellings to 3000:

Performance evaluation: 3000 misspellings, dictionary size 6137
Name Time
MC Sr 26.72 s
Simon Stieger 32.99 s
BK-tree (co-MC Rädle) 36.38 s
Anton Baumann 41.29 s
Early Exit (co-MC Stevens) 41.83 s
Marco Haucke 91.67 s
Bilel Ghorbel 104.79 s
Nikolaos Sotirakis 116.16 s
Martin Fink 121.47 s
Maisa Ben Salah 123.43 s
Tobias Hanl 125.93 s
Almo Sutedjo 130.01 s
Leon Julius Zamel 151.81 s

Co-MC Stevens' submission is still up there, even though it uses a completely unmemoized implementation of the edit distance. This is because the words in this dictionary are quite short, and it is therefore likely that a pair with low edit distance will be found relatively quickly. Once such a pair has been found, his early exit optimization is able to discard most words after looking at a few letters.

This drastically changes, however, once we begin to look at longer words where a pair with low edit distance may not be found easily. In order to find a suitable test case that shows this, English is no longer sufficiently powerful. Only by switching to good old Deutsch can we make use of words like Straßenentwässerungsinvestitionskostenschuldendienstumlage or Rinderkennzeichnungsfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz.

For our last test case, we used a dictionary derived from the duden corpus, but discarded all those boring words of fewer than 15 characters. This leaves us with 94061 words, which we tested against 20 Bandwurmwörter of 32 - 81 characters. This might seem pretty brutal, but some submissions were able to handle this test quite well:

Performance evaluation: 20 Bandwurmwörter, dictionary size 94061
Name Time
MC Sr 16.81 s
Simon Stieger 21.90 s
Anton Baumann 22.18 s
Martin Fink 112.68 s
BK-tree (co-MC Rädle) 133.04 s
Marco Haucke 203.91 s
Almo Sutedjo 218.58 s
Tobias Hanl 294.11 s
Bilel Ghorbel 309.47 s
Maisa Ben Salah 355.84 s
Leon Julius Zamel 365.17 s
Nikolaos Sotirakis 583.92 s
Early Exit (co-MC Stevens) > 600 s

Notably, the Herren Stieger and Baumann were able to stay quite close to the MC Sr's contribution. Both implemented dynamic programming using arrays and added the previously described optimization that avoids computing the edit distance of pairs whose length differential is sufficiently large. Herr Fink also uses this optimization, but his choice of lists instead of arrays slows him down somewhat. Herr Stieger additionally implemented the early exit optimization.

To get a little bit of extra performance, the MC Sr strips common prefixes and suffixes before computing the edit distance and uses linear space in his editDistance implementation by keeping only two rows of the table. He also implemented parallelism, but our tests were run on a single thread. Otherwise, his solution is quite similar to Herr Stieger's.

Another avenue for optimization is preprocessing the dictionary, although none of the student submissions took this opportunity. Co-MC Rädle, however, stores his dictionary as a BK-tree, which is a tree where the edit distance between a node and its k-th child (if it exists) is exactly k. When running a search word against this tree representation of the dictionary, one uses the fact that the edit distance is a metric and thus fulfills the triangle inequality. We can search for words with distance of at most d from the search word as follows: If the distance between the root and the search word is n, then by the triangle equality, the distance between the k-th child and the search words is at least n-k. We therefore consider only children in the range [d-n..d+n] in our search, because children outside this range have a distance of at least n-(d+n+1) = d+1 to the search word.

This means that we do not need to compare every word in the dictionary against the search word; empirical results suggest that on an average search ~20% of the dictionary is considered. If a word is a possible candidate, however, the edit distance needs to be computed in full in order to determine which children need to be included in the search; no early exit optimization is possible. Additionally, we cannot discard words based on their length, because it is not sufficient to know that the edit distance is larger than a certain value -- we need to know the exact edit distance to proceed. This is why the BK-tree based implementation does well in the benchmarks, but is not able to compete with the very best solutions.

What have we learned this week?

Die Ergebnisse der fünften Woche

*cough cough, sniff, inhale* yes, this is the MC Jr speaking. Little did he know when leaving his beautiful office that he shall not return for a 3 days. The reason for his long absence are the long paths through the intriguing nature surrounding the Garchosibirsk campus that the 67 delightful submissions for week 5 were computing. The MC Jr owes you a great debt of gratitude for this splendid experience.

Moreover, he received obligatory, highly optimised, linear time submissions by the MC Sr and the tutor that has too much time on his hands: Herr Großer. As a matter of fact, the longest path problem is quite computationally expensive (NP-hard) in general, but for DAGs, like the Garchosibirsk campus, the problem is rather easy to solve (linear time). Just like his more senior fellow, the MC Jr decided to conduct several phases of elimination. So let's get down to business to defeat the Huns 🎶 to trenn die Spreu vom Weizen 🌾.

The first pre-processing step, round -1 (minus one), consists of eliminating all submissions that do not pass the tests on the server. At this phase, we already have to say goodbye to one of the top ranked participants, Herr Stieger, who did not submit a working solution. Just by chance, the MC Jr actually discovered that Herr Stieger submitted a solution using the {-MCCOMMENT...-} feature, but nevertheless, the provided solution uses the unsafe Data.Array.ST module that does not compile on the server. We are sorry Herr Stieger, but same rules for everyone:

  1. The submission needs to pass the tests on the server
  2. An optional, alternative solution provided in the comments needs to at least compile on the server

Herr Stieger, by the way, used the topological order of the graph – an approach that many top-ranking FPETs fancied as we will see later on. Edit 26.12.2019: After having a talk with the MC Sr, it was decided to change Herr Stieger's submission to use the safe Data.Array.ST.Safe import and make his submission part of the competition. The ranking was updated accordingly.

In round 0, the MC Jr decided to perform a very basic sanity check by running all submissions against the graph provided on the homework sheet:

homework graph
Graph from the homework sheet

Seeing all the tests pass made the MC Jr happier than a box of chocolate. But then, out of nowhere, the scary word appears: FAIL.

the MC Jr is not amused
Only passing tests make the MC Jr happy

With great horror, he realised that one of his FPETs (Functional Programmers of Excellence in Training) failed the most simple test but still passed the tests on the submission server! He decided to have a look at the solution provided by the lucky Oleksandr Golovnya:

longestPath g t = head [snd x | x <- topsort [(v,0)| v <- fst g] (snd g), fst x == t]

topsort [] e = []
topsort (v:vs) e = [v] ++ topsort [(fst x, if elem (fst v,fst x) e && 1+snd v > snd x then 1 + snd v else snd x) | x <- vs] e

First things first: Let's clean up the code.

longestPath (vs,es) t = let ts = topsort [(v,0) | v <- vs] es in
   head [c | (t',c) <- ts, t' == t]

topsort [] es = []
topsort ((s,c):vs) es = (s,c) : topsort [(s, if elem (s,t) es then maximum (1 + c, c') else c') | (t,c') <- vs] es

That's better. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Split long expressions into simpler subexpressions to increase readability (e.g. let ts denote the result of the topSort call)
  2. Use pattern matching on tuples to avoid fst and snd calls
  3. Do not write [x] ++ xs to concatenate a single element to a list; just use x : xs

Anyway, putting all the stylistic things aside, the topsort function sadly does not topologically order at all but merely recurses on all vertices in given order (which could be anything!) and updates the distances to all neighbours with higher index, completely neglecting the fact that there might be edges to vertices with a lower index. How this fails can easily be seen when we use Herr Golovnya's submission on our small example containing and edge from node 4 to 3:

longestPath = ([1..5] , [(1 ,2) ,(2 ,3) ,(2 ,4) ,(3 ,5) ,(1 ,4) ,(4 ,3) ,(4 ,5)]) 5 = 3

The MC Jr sadly made things too easy on the test server and only generated graphs not containing such edges. So, you got lucky this time and well-deserve your homework point Herr Golovnya, but you are sadly out of the competition. Remaining FPETs: 66 + 2

Next, the MC Jr started elimination round number 1: checking for cheeky FPETs that just assumed that the MC Jr's stroll will always start at vertex number 1. Taking the following simple graph reveals the sloppy instruction readers:

the MC Jr is not amused
The simple graph of chaos

A long list of FAILs were printed on his GNU terminal of trust. 19 (that's almost a third of all submissions; #quickmaths) FPETs tried to trick the MC Jr. Relentlessly, each and every one of them will be eliminated – the MC Jr will start his walks wherevere he wishes to! Again, we have to say goodbye to some top-tier candidates at this stage, among others Frau Chernikova, Herr Soennecken, and Herr Haucke. Just like Herr Stieger, they made use of a topological ordering algorithm. The latter even hoped for some small-scale optimisations inlining his updateMap function and left the following comment:

Inlining this is akin to thinking that putting spoilers on your car adds horsepower, but now it looks a little more as if I knew what I was doing
{-# INLINE updateMap #-}

The MC Jr agrees and also suggests that instead of investing into small-scale optimisations, one should first prove one's implementaiton to be correct – in the best case, using Isabelle (#Dauerwerbesendung). Some other submissions got really confused with computer science and mathematical lingo, calling their topoligcal ordering a topology. The MC Jr hence kindly provides the following pictures that should clear up all confusion.

Topologically, a cow is just a sphere
Topological order of a herd of cows

Finally, we get our hands feet dirty and start our first walk. A walk along 32 vertices. A walk so short, the MC Jr was barely able to leave the Magistrale. A small number of 5 FPETs, however, took longer than a fifth of a second (an ETERNITY!) to compute the distance. Sad! Remaining FPETs: 42 + 2

And so the same game repeats: the MC Jr increases the number of nodes to 40 (a quick stroll to the Interimsgebäude), eliminating another 27 FPETs (15 + 2 remaining), and then, he cannot quite remember the exact number, but he guarantees something between 60 and 200 (a brisk walk to the U-Bahn), to eliminate a further 10 FPETs (5 + 2 remaining) that sadly did not quite make it into the group of big girls and boys.

Before continuing with the quarter-finals, the MC Jr decided to time the submissions kicked out thus far. After all, it is almost Christmas time and he wants to hand out some gifts aka. precious ranking points. Some rounds of competition on the Interimsgebäude graph led to the following ranking – congrats to all the winners so far 🎉:

Result quarter-finalists
  Rank FPET   Points
6. Yi He 25
7. Mokhammad Naanaa 24
8. Matthias Ellerbeck 23
9. Emil Suleymanov 22
10. Pascal Ginter 21
11. Kaan Uctum 20
12. Sebastian Galindez Tapia 19
13. Tal Zwick 18
14. Tobias Hanl 17
15. Ricardo Vera Jacob 16
16. Yevgeniy Cherkashyn 15
17. Omar Eldeeb 14
18. Ernst Pappenheim 13
19. Leon Beckmann 12
20. Mira Trouvain 11
21. Erik Heger 10
22. Hui Cheng 9
23. Cosmin Aprodu 8
24. Björn Henrichsen 7
25. Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten 6
26. Jonas Hübotter 5
27. Kevin Burton 4
28. Ali Mokni 3
29. Adrian Marquis 2
30. Heidi Albarazi 1

Almost all quarter-finalists made use of basically the same idea: In order to compute the longest path from the source s to some node v, it suffices to recursively calculate the longest paths to v starting from v. As, by assumption, our graph is a DAG and s is its only source node, the result of this computation will be the longest path from s to v. In other words, if l(v) denotes the longest path from s to v, then l(v) satisfies the following recurrence relation:

l(v)=max({0} ∪ {l(w) | (w,v) ∈ E}).

This backwards traversal also has the nice effect that one does not need to explicitly search for the starting node s. The MC Jr decided to show Herr Pappenheim's crisp one-line solution as a reference for this approach:

longestPath g@(vs, es) v = maximum (0:[1+(longestPath g x) | (x, a) <- es, a == v])

Note how Herr Pappenheim made use of the great as-patterns in order to inspect the components of g while still having the possibility to refer to g in its totality. If the competition would have been about style and elegance, Herr Pappenheim surely would have won! ✨

Okay, now let's get real. For the semifinals, the MC Jr drew a graph from his office to the Maschinenwesen building. It's a dense graph containing 639 vertices, including the soft-opened Galileo (according to reliable sources, the hard opening is planned at about the same time as the opening of the BER). Running the semifinalist's submissions for one second reveals the four finalists. I am afraid, but the following FPETs got eliminated due to a timeout:

  Rank FPETTime   Points
3. Xiaolin Ma2.1s 28
4. Martin Achenbach6.22s 27
5. Le Quan NguyenTIMEOUT (>20s) 26

An optimisation of the previously explained backwards traversal approach can be obtained by means of a tail-recursive implementation using an accumulator to store all so-far visited nodes and the so-far computed distance. This approach has been followed by Herr Nguyen, putting him on place 5 for this week. Congrats!

longestPath (node, edge) t = go [t] 0
 where go [] n = n-1
       go xs n = go (nub $ concat [ [w | (w,u)<-edge, u == x] | x<-xs]) (n+1)

Herr Ma and Herr Achenbach, however, made use of a topological order approach (that will be explained shortly), winning 28 and 27 points respectively. Congratulations! 🥳

For the finals, the MC Jr went to great pains and drew the whole Garchosibirsk campus containing a Fantastilliarde – in digits 20.000 – nodes and millions of edges using only a ruler and a compass. At first, he let the finalists compete on the whole dense graph he constructed. He then ran a second round on a very sparse graph that still contained 20.000 nodes but only 40.000 edges. The finalists' approaches can be summarised as follows:

It was a close race, but the final results are *can I please get some drums rolling*

Results finalists
  Rank FPET Time dense graph Time sparse graph   Points
1. Bilel Ghorbel3.65s0.47s 30
(out of competition) 2.Markus Großer3.93s0.5s
3. Almo Sutedjo3.99s0.52s 29
(out of competition) 4.Herr MC Sr Manuel Eberl4.09s0.54s

Note: As you can clearly see in this beautifully formatted table, the MC Jr has a very strong web-development background.

So what have we learned this week?

Lastly, here's the combined result table for week 5. If you have any complaints, contact the MC Jr – he still is a MC in training and total correctness is hence not guaranteed.

Edit 26.12.2019: Herr Stieger's submission (modifed using safe array imports) has been added to the competition, scoring a bronze medal. Congratulations! The MC Jr decided to deduct 5 points for his unsafe imports that manually had to be changed and, as a matter of fairness, keep everyone else's points the same.

Results week 5
  Rank FPET   Points
1. Bilel Ghorbel 30
2. Almo Sutedjo 29
2. Simon Stieger 28-5=23
3. Xiaolin Ma 28
4. Martin Achenbach 27
5. Le Quan Nguyen 26
6. Yi He 25
7. Mokhammad Naanaa 24
8. Matthias Ellerbeck 23
9. Emil Suleymanov 22
10. Pascal Ginter 21
11. Kaan Uctum 20
12. Sebastian Galindez Tapia 19
13. Tal Zwick 18
14. Tobias Hanl 17
15. Ricardo Vera Jacob 16
16. Yevgeniy Cherkashyn 15
17. Omar Eldeeb 14
18. Ernst Pappenheim 13
19. Leon Beckmann 12
20. Mira Trouvain 11
21. Erik Heger 10
22. Hui Cheng 9
23. Cosmin Aprodu 8
24. Björn Henrichsen 7
25. Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten 6
26. Jonas Hübotter 5
27. Kevin Burton 4
28. Ali Mokni 3
29. Adrian Marquis 2
30. Heidi Albarazi 1

Die Ergebnisse der sechsten Woche

We at the Übungsleitung like to change things up and therefore the honourable task of writing this week's competition blog entry was bestowed upon the MC Jr Jr, Lukas Stevens. In this week we received a grand total of 109 submissions that passed the tests on the server and had Wettbewerbstags. As is tradition, some students managed to place the tags incorrectly which the MC Jr Jr generously fixed for them. Additionally, the hacky lovingly handcrafted tool to evaluate the Wettbewerbseinreichungen is not nearly as sophisticated as the submission system; due to this Umstand, the tool breaks if a student omits the type annotations. The MC Jr Jr embarked on a quest to fix these type annotations which was about as tedious as beating Pokémon without taking a single hit (this might be a slight hyperbole). Tedium aside, the MC Jr Jr was delighted to see a new strategy emerge that allows students to eliminate other competitors. This strategy, which we will discuss further down, forced one unlucky student to perform a Pofalla-Wende and thus we are left with 108 submissions.

Originally, this week's IBM Award for Software of Questionable Quality would have gone to a solution with 153 tokens; however, the MC Jr Jr noticed that the submission included the example prime program inside the tags upon closer inspection. This confirmed the suspicion that not even a very creative student could overcomplicate the task by that much. Instead, the award is granted to the solution of another student which is layed out in all its glory below.

t31 (a,b,c) = a
t32 (a,b,c) = b
t33 (a,b,c) = c

traceFractran :: [Rational] -> Integer -> [Integer]
traceFractran rs n 
    | t31 aux2 = (t32 aux2) : (traceFractran rs (numerator $ t33 aux2))
    | otherwise = [n]
            aux2 = aux rs n
            aux [] n = (False, 0, 0%1)
            aux (r:rs) n = if denominator (n%1 * r) == 1 then (True, n, n%1 * r) else aux rs n

Apparently, the student in question is not afraid of loosing a billion dollars and implements a tagged tuple that looks suspiciously like a null-reference (the first component being a flag that indicates whether the tuple is null). This could be solved more elegantly using the Maybe type, but as Maybe hadn't been introduced in the lecture at that point the student may be forgiven in this instance. Nevertheless, the model solution by the semi-venerable MC Jr Sr only uses material from the lecture while achieving a reasonable degree of conciseness. With 49 tokens, this solution is only 2 tokens short of being in the top 30 and this without any serious effort to obfuscate optimise for number of tokens.

traceFractran fs n = 
  let prods = [numerator (n%1 * f) | f <- fs, denominator (n%1 * f) == 1] 
  in if null prods then [n] else n : traceFractran fs (head prods)

The following submission by Herr Tal Zwick illustrates that a few improvements to the model solution are sufficient to place in the top 30:

Achieving rank 16 in the Wettbewerb doesn't require arcane Haskell knowledge after all!

traceFractran fs n = n:if null nfs then nfs else fs `traceFractran` head nfs
    where   ni = fromIntegral n
            nfs = [numerator $ f*ni | f <- fs, 1 == denominator (f*ni)]

Instead of optimising for tokens, Herr Andreas Resch unintentionally employed a novel technique to eliminate other competitors: Herr Resch notified the MC Jr Jr that his solution passes the testcases on the server despite being incorrect. Consequently, the MC Jr Jr came up with additional tests to determine which students tried to gain a competitive advantage through a disgraceful disregard for the specification. If not for those additional tests, the winner of this week's competition would have been Herr Peter Wegmann. He provided the following implementation with 29 tokens that is as elegant as it is wrong.

traceFractran xs y = y : concat [traceFractran xs $ numerator $ x * fromIntegral y | x<-xs, y `mod` denominator x == 0]

Here, traceFractran is called recursively every time the we get an integer as the product of a rational in the list xs and the accumulator y. This gives erroneous results as soon we have more than one such product. As Herr Resch was aware of this issue, he cleverly provided an alternative solution, which keeps him in the competition ganz im Gegenteil zu Herr Wegmann who is promptly eliminated. The downside is that the alternative solution has 40 instead of the original 30 tokens which puts him in tenth place in the end. The submission of one other competitor, namely Herr Emil Suleymanov, had the same bug. Fortunately, his submission contained a simpler and also correcter version of traceFractran. The MC Jr Jr has doubts that Herr Suleymanov knowingly circumvented the specification but he decided to let Gnade walten and keep him in the race with the latter version. Nevertheless, this brings him from 29 up to 37 tokens thus placing him firmly on rank seven. The takeaway is that this tactic should be applied judiciously lest you eliminate yourself from the top 30.

All of the above implementations are quite basic and only use material from the lecture. Of course there are some people who just can't keep it simple like Herr Johannes Neubrand. Not only does he use the constructor (:%), which not even a Sith would tell you about, to match on Rationals, he also just learnt about all kinds of monadic operators. Such operators are used liberally throughout his implementation, sometimes even to the detriment of the token count (as seen in the implementation of integerProduct). It shows that we teach him well because he is becoming a true Haskell programmer who values beauty over everything else. The solution is actually (kind of) straightforward:

  1. integerProduct only returns the result of the multiplication of its arguments if that result is an integer. Otherwise it returns Nothing.
  2. concatMap (traceFractran fs) rs concatenates the lists that result from applying traceFractran fs to each element in rs.
  3. Here, msum returns the first element in a list that is Just x and Nothing otherwise.
  4. Finally, integerProduct n <$> fs is equivalent to map (integerProduct n) fs.
integerProduct :: Integer -> Rational -> Maybe Integer
integerProduct x f = n <$ guard (d == 1)
    where n :% d = fromIntegral x * f

-- Alternative implementation of integerProduct by the MC Jr Jr
integerProduct x f = case fromIntegral x * f of
  n :% 1 -> Just n
  _ -> Nothing

traceFractran :: [Rational] -> Integer -> [Integer]
traceFractran fs n =
    n :                                 -- we were definitely able to reach this one
        ( concatMap (traceFractran fs)  -- because: instance Foldable (Maybe a)
        $ msum                          -- first Just or Nothing
        $ integerProduct n <$> fs

Further interesting optimisation were done with monadic operators, e.g. Herr Haucke used mempty instead of []. Nevertheless, to get near the top of the leaderboard, monadic operators were not necessary as the submissions of Herr Martin Fink and Herr Simon Stieger illustrate. Both of them achieved rank 2 by essentially providing a correct version of Herr Wegmanns solution with 33 tokens. The only significant adjustment is to use take 1 such that only the first product that results in an integer is considered in each step. Thus, the code loses little of its elegance and still only uses material from the lecture.

traceFractran rs n = n : concat (take 1 [rs `traceFractran` floor (fromIntegral n * r) | r <- rs, n `mod` denominator r == 0])

With all that said, the best submission by Herr Almo Sutedjo did employ some monadic operators to get down to 30 tokens for which the MC Jr Jr sincerely congratulates him. This is an impressive feat considering that he not only surpassed all the other students but also bested Herr Markus Großer by 1 token whose resources don't seem to be infinite after all. The details of Herr Sutedjos solution are explained below.

traceFractran rs n = n : fromMaybe [] (traceFractran rs <$> numerator <$> (liftM2 eqInteger truncate numerator) `find` map (fromIntegral n *) rs)

Even though the above solution is impressive, there is still room for improvement: using mempty instead of [] and omitting the parentheses around liftM2 would have landed Herr Sutedjo at a comfortable 27 tokens. This brings us very close to the ever-unbeatable MC Sr who came up with the following solution that has 26 tokens:

traceFractran xs n = n : traceFractran xs `concatMap` lookup 1 (map (denominator &&& numerator <<< (* fromIntegral n)) xs)

So what have we learned today?

Lastly, we come to the the table of ultimate truth provided that the MC Jr Jr did not make any mistakes, which you should bring to his attention upon discovery.

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 6
  Rank Author   Tokens   Points
1. Almo Sutedjo 30 30
2. Martin Fink 33 29
Simon Stieger 33
4. Le Quan Nguyen 35 27
5. Marco Haucke 36 26
Yi He 36
7. Emil Suleymanov 37 24
8. Yannan Dou 38 23
9. Omar Eldeeb 39 22
10. Andreas Resch 40 21
11. Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 41 20
Xiaolin Ma 41
13. Ernst Pappenheim 42 18
Ujkan Sulejmani 42
Felix Trost 42
16. Tal Zwick 43 15
17. Jonas Jürß 44 14
David Maul 44
Yecine Megdiche 44
Kevin Schneider 44
Florian Melzig 44
22. Janluka Janelidze 45 9
Maisa Ben Salah 45
24. Tobias Hanl 46 7
Torben Soennecken 46
Kristina Magnussen 46
Steffen Deusch 46
Kevin Burton 46
29. Anna Franziska Horne 47 2
Chien-Hao Chiu 47

Die Ergebnisse der siebten Woche

The MC Jr Sr was sorely disappointed to only receive 46 correct solutions this week. To make matters worse, some students are rather shy and omitted the WETT tags, leaving us with just 28 submissions. Passing up free Wettbewerbspunkte — in this economy? Maybe the students are getting weary after toiling in the Haskell mines for nigh on two months; maybe we should avoid arcana like transitive or closure in the problem statements. Anyhow, we shall have to make due with this meagre harvest.

This week's longest correct solution weighs in at a War and Peace-rivalling 356 tokens:

filterFor :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
filterFor [] = []
filterFor ((xc, (x1, x2)):xs) = case find (\(yc, (y1, y2)) -> y1 == x1 && y2 == x2 && yc <= xc) xs of
  Just _  -> filterFor xs
  Nothing -> (xc, (x1, x2)):filterFor xs

comp :: Eq b => [(Integer,(a,b))] -> [(Integer,(b,c))] -> [(Integer,(a,c))]
comp [] _ = []
comp _ [] = []
comp xs ys = [(xn + yn, (fst xt, snd yt)) | (xn, xt) <- xs, (yn, yt) <- ys, snd xt == fst yt]

trancl :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
trancl xs = (reverse
        . filterFor2
        . sortBy (\(x1, _) (x2, _) -> compare x2 x1))
        (multipleComp xs [] [])

filterFor2 :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
filterFor2 [] = []
filterFor2 ((xc, (x1, x2)):xs) = case find (\(yc, (y1, y2)) -> y1 == x1 && y2 == x2 && yc <= xc) xs of
  Just _  -> filterFor xs
  Nothing -> (xc, (x1, x2)):filterFor xs

multipleComp :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
multipleComp [] _ _ = []
multipleComp xs [] _ = multipleComp xs xs xs
multipleComp xs ys acc = let currComp = filterFor3 acc (comp ys xs) in
      if currComp == [] then acc else (multipleComp xs currComp (acc ++ currComp))

filterFor3 :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
filterFor3 _ [] = []
filterFor3 [] ys = ys
filterFor3 xs ((yc, (y1, y2)):ys) = case find (\(xc, (x1, x2)) -> x1 == y1 && x2 == y2 && xc < yc) xs of
  Just _ -> filterFor3 xs ys
  Nothing -> (yc, (y1, y2)):filterFor3 xs ys

There is some obvious code duplication here (One filterFor really ought to be enough for anybody) but other than that this is quite reasonable. The input is composed with itself until no new elements are generated (multipleComp) and then filtered to include only shortest paths. The additional sorting and reversing of the output should be unnecessary. Even the shortest solutions follow this basic approach, but are not quite as frivolous in introducing auxiliary functions.

One step up in conciseness is this particularly readable solution due to Herr Trost:

minRelations :: Eq a => [(Integer, (a, a))] -> [(Integer, (a, a))]
minRelations xs = nubBy (\(n1, (a1, b1)) (n2, (a2, b2)) -> a1 == a2 && b1 == b2) (sortBy (\(n1, a1) (n2, a2) -> compare n1 n2) xs) 

comp :: Eq b => [(Integer,(a,b))] -> [(Integer,(b,c))] -> [(Integer,(a,c))]
comp fs gs = [(n1 + n2, (fa, gc)) | (n1, (fa, fb)) <- fs, (n2, (gb, gc)) <- gs, fb == gb]

trancl :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
trancl xs = tranclRec (minRelations xs)
        tranclRec xs
            | minRelations (xs ++ comp xs xs) == xs = xs
            | otherwise = tranclRec (minRelations (xs ++ comp xs xs))

He avoids unneccessarily introducing multiple functions for composition and filtering. One area where this solution could be shortened and made more readable are the calls to nubBy and sortBy. Specifically, sortBy (\(n1, a1) (n2, a2) -> compare n1 n2 compares tuples by their first element. Luckily the combinator on from Data.Function facilitates just that. It is defined as (.*.) `on` f = \x y -> f x .*. f y, i.e. it applies a function f to both its arguments and then combines the results using the binary operator (.*.). In our case we want to apply fst to the tuples and the compare them, so the above expression can be written neatly as sortBy (compare `on` fst). To squeeze out an extra token we can write this as (comparing fst) using the comparing function from Data.Ord.

Similarly, nubBy (\(n1, (a1, b1)) (n2, (a2, b2)) -> a1 == a2 && b1 == b2) removes duplicates by comparing the second element of the input tuples for equality. This can be shortened to nubBy ((==) `on` snd).

This brings us to this week's winning solutions. We beginn with Herr Baumann, who wins a silver medal with the following 73 token solution, that manages to be concise and supremely readable:

trancl :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
trancl r = if r == new
           then r
           else trancl new
    new = nubBy ((==) `on` snd)
          $ sortBy (comparing fst)
          $ r ++ [(c1+c2, (a, d)) | (c1, (a, b)) <- r, (c2, (c, d)) <- r, b == c]

The basic approach here remains the same, but he gains some tokens by inlining comp and the sorting and filtering steps. He also uses the previously described combinators comparing and on. Herr Baumann comes very close to the MC Sr, who manages to shave off an additional 4 tokens with the following 69 token solution:

trancl :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
trancl r = if r == r' then r else trancl r'
  where r' = nubBy ((==) `on` snd) . sortBy (comparing fst) $ r ++ 
             [(m + n, (fst x, snd y)) | (m, x) <- r, (n, y) <- r, snd x == fst y]

The only difference here is the slightly more token-efficient pattern matching on the tuples in the list comprehension. I does not end here however. For the first time this semester, a student has managed to outtoken the Master of Tokens himself. Herr Nguyen beats him by 3 tokens with one weird library function the MC does not want you to know about: sortOn. Okay, the function is not even that weird; sortOn f is simply equivalent to sortBy (comparing f). Here is Herr Nguyen's historic 66 token solution in its full glory:

trancl :: Eq a => [(Integer,(a,a))] -> [(Integer,(a,a))]
trancl xs= if findTrancl == xs then xs else trancl findTrancl
 where findTrancl = nubBy (on (==) snd) $sortOn fst  $xs++[(i+j,(fst ab, snd cd))|(i,ab)<-xs, (j,cd)<-xs,snd ab==fst cd]

Before we conclude this week's competition, an honourable mention. The MC Jr Sr intended the weights of the relation to be nonnegative, but did not specify this in the problem statement. Most students — in particular all of the solutions we have looked at in this post — implicitly made this assumption anyway, and enter infinite loops if there is a negative length cycle in the input. Not so Herr Janelidze. He followed the problem statement to a tee, implementing the Bellman-Ford algorithm to handle arbitrary relations. As a token (haha) of respect and a little Aufwandsentschädigung, the Übungsleitung awards him 5 bonus points.

So what have we learned today?

Here then, are this weeks results. As always, alle Angaben ohne Gewähr; let us know if anything is amiss. Addenda: We incorrectly ruled out Almo Sutedjo's 96 token solution and Martin Fink's 100 token solution, they are retroactively awarded 24 points.

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 7
  Rank Author   Tokens   Points
1. Le Quan Nguyen 66 30
2. Anton Baumann 73 29
3. Yi He 77 28
4. Bilel Ghorbel 82 27
5. Simon Stieger 89 26
6. Yecine Megdiche 90 25
7. Almo Sutedjo 96 24
7. Martin Fink 100 24
7. Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 101 24
8. Tal Zwick 106 23
9. Marco Haucke 107 22
10. Felix Rinderer 116 21
11. Korbinian Stein 127 20
12. Kaan Uctum 128 19
13. Christo Wilken 129 18
14. Tung Nguyen 134 17
15. Stephan Baller 136 16
16. Tobias Hanl 136 15
17. Simon Hundsdorfer 137 14
18. Felix Trost 137 13
19. Ernst Pappenheim 142 12
20. Wen Qing Wei 173 11
21. Steffen Deusch 177 10
22. Hui Cheng 204 9
23. Janluka Janelidze 220 8 + 5
24. Johannes Schwenk 234 7
25. Joel Koch 235 6
26. Lukas Flesch 328 5
27. Zhiyi Pan 343 4
28. Anna Franziska Horne 356 3

Die Ergebnisse der achten Woche

There were 167 solutions this week, ‘this week’ being ‘the week before Christmas, about 4 weeks ago’. Sorry about that, but even the MC Sr celebrates Christmas to some extent, and then someone invited him to give a talk in Pittsburgh in the first week of January, so he did not have much time for Wettbewerb matters.

Anyway, now he is back, so enjoy the account of a severely jetlagged MC ploughing through 167 correct student submissions. The largest one has 160 tokens:

shoefa [] = 0
shoefa xs = checkV [x|x<-xs, x/=0] 0 0
            where checkV [] v n = n
                  checkV xs 0 0 = if (head xs < 0) then (checkV (tail xs) (-1) (0)) else (checkV (tail xs) (1) (0))
                  checkV xs 1 n = if (head xs < 0) then (checkV (tail xs) (-1) (n+1)) else (checkV (tail xs) (1) (n))
                  checkV xs (-1) n = if (head xs < 0) then (checkV (tail xs) (-1) (n)) else (checkV (tail xs) (1) (n+1))

There is quite a lot of duplication of code in there, plus some unnecessary parentheses. The recursion would also be expressed more idiomatically using pattern matching instead of head and tail. The general idea behind this solution is, however, perfectly fine: remove all the zeros from the list and recurse through it left-to-right, remembering the last sign that we have seen and the total number of sign changes so far. However, the non-tail-recursive approach would likely be better for saving tokens (at the cost of performance).

A much more streamlined and non-tail-recursive version of this approach was done by Herr Mayr in 48 tokens:

shoefa xs = help clean (head clean) where clean = filter (/= 0) xs
help [] _ = 0
help (x:xs) last = if signum x /= signum last then 1 + help xs x else help xs last

Note that he cleverly defines the auxiliary function on the toplevel (not using let or where). This is not good style, but it saves him one token. However, three tiny modifications could have saved him another 4 tokens: replacing parentheses with $, reordering the two equations for help so that we can replace [] by the wildcard _, and factoring the common part out of the if:

shoefa xs = help clean $ head clean where clean = filter (/= 0) xs
help (x:xs) last = help xs x + if signum x /= signum last then 1 else 0
help _ _ = 0

However, even that would unfortunately have been nowhere near enough for the Top 30 this week, since competition was quite tough. Herr Schneider just missed the Top 30 with the following very clever 33-token solution, which is the shortest recursive one:

shoefa (x:y:xs) = fromEnum (x*y<0) + shoefa (y*2+signum x:xs)
shoefa _ = 0

He exploits two things here: first, that fromEnum False = 0 and fromEnum True = 1, and second that for integers a and b, the sign of 2b+a equals the sign of a if b = 0, and the sign of b otherwise. This allows him to skip zeros in the list implicitly, while most other solutions have to filter them out first. The non-tail-recursive recursion here will likely make this quite inefficient for long input lists (linear space requirement vs constant space), but we do not care about that this week. It is sad that Herr Schneider's ingenuity was not rewarded with any points – unfortunately, it seems that it was simply not possible to enter the Top 30 with a recursive solution.

So what did it take to get into the Top 30? Dinh Luc managed it with the following approach:

shoefa xs = length (filter (<0) (zipWith (*) cs  $ tail cs)) 
  where cs = filter (/=0) xs

The idea here is to kick out all the zeros, then pair up every number in the list with the one after it, and count the number of such pairs where the two numbers in it have different signs. Note that this version also has fairly okay performance A number of students have similar solutions, culminating in the following work of abstract art by Herr Neubrand, which consists of a mere 17 tokens (not a single one of which is a parenthesis!):

shoefa = filter toBool              -- remove zeroes
     >>> map signum
     >>> zipWith subtract <*> tail  -- transform to differences of signs    (equals -> 0)
     >>> filter toBool              -- keep only steps with differing signs (values /= 0)
     >>> length

What is going on here? Well, first of all, Herr Neubrand does not refer to any variables in his code; he describes the shoefa function entirely using combinators such as function composition. This can save tokens if used wisely, and the name for this technique is point-free style (clearly a misnomer: since function composition is usually written as ., it tends to contain a lot of points. And as you can see with this submission, it is also often rewarded with points in the Wettbewerb.

To unravel the mystery of Herr Neubrands solution, one needs to know the following things:

You may wonder why he chose to use (>>>) instead of (.). The reason is that unlike (.), (>>>) has a lower precedence than (<*>) and can therefore be used here without any parentheses.

The MCs' solutions and all of the top 20 solutions (other than Herr Neubrand's) use the following approach, e.g. Herr Khitrov with 19 tokens:

shoefa = max 0 . pred . length . group . map signum . filter (/= 0)

This approach uses the group function to partition the list into blocks of adjacent numbers having the same sign and then counts how many of these blocks there are: clearly, the number of sign changes is just that number minus one – except in the case of an empty list, in which case we would get -1 instead of 0, which is rectified by putting a max 0 in the front. The winning solutions by the Herren Haucke and Soennecken are virtually identical to the MCs' combined solution:

shoefa = length . drop 1 . group . map signum . filter toBool

The toBool instead of (/= 0) saves 3 tokens, and writing length . drop 1 instead of max 0 . pred . length saves another 2, which gets us from 19 to 14.

And that brings us to the results. What a delightfully competitive week! There are quite a lot of ties (especially for 4th place), which is why the MC decided to adjust the usual place-to-points scheme a little bit in order to avoid giving the ten people in place 4 almost as many points as the two in first place:

Lessons for this week:

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 8
  Rank Author   Tokens   Points
1. Torben Soennecken 14 30
Marco Haucke 14 30
3. Almo Sutedjo 16 28
4. Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 17 23
Konstantin Berghausen 17 23
Rafiq Nasrallah 17 23
Simon Stieger 17 23
Yi He 17 23
Alwin Stockinger 17 23
Tal Zwick 17 23
Daniel Petri Rocha 17 23
Lukas Metten 17 23
Jonas Lang 17 23
14. Mira Trouvain 19 15
Ilia Khitrov 19 15
Jonas Jürß 19 15
Omar Eldeeb 19 15
Martin Fink 19 15
19. Janluka Janelidze 24 12
Mokhammad Naanaa 24 12
Bastian Grebmeier 24 12
22. Anton Baumann 25 8
Simon Hundsdorfer 25 8
Oleksandr Golovnya 25 8
25. Felix Trost 26 6
26. Christoph Reile 27 5
27. Dinh Luc 30 3
Peter Wegmann 30 3
Tobias Hanl 30 3
30. Bilel Ghorbel 31 1
Felix Rinderer 31 1

Die Ergebnisse der neunten Woche

I doubt that anyone implemented a CDCL-solver.

– MC Jr before having a look at the fantastic 35 submissions he received for week 9. Oh dear, how wrong and naiive he was!

This week's challenge ("efficient SAT-solving 101") left room for many different optimisations and an endless amount of time could be spent on tuning one's implementation to the extreme. And without a doubt: our excellent students did indeed surpass the expectations.

For the evaluation, the MC Jr decided to run all submissions against 9 different test-suites and measure the performance. Most of the test-suites have already been mentioned on the exercise sheet, but also a few new ones have been added. Let's see who is going to win the prestigous SAT-championship of 2020 🏆!

Test 0: The Simplifier

As a warm-up test, the MC Jr measured the performance of the submissions' simplifier (simpConj on the exercise sheet). However, nothing exciting happened at this point and all submissions performed almost equally well.

Test 1: Positive Literals

The first test-suite consisted of instances where each clause Ci contained at least one positive literal Li. Such instances are always trivially satisfiable: set the variable of each Li to True and all remaining variables to arbitrary values. The MC Jr generated 3 instances using the following parameters:

InstanceNumber of clausesNumber of variablesMax clause sizeFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variables
1446 10 10 1 1
221865 50 30 1 1
3126870 60 50 1 1

Although it was stated on the exercise sheet, no student explicitly implemented any optimisations for this case. Nevertheless, 30 out of 35 submissions still made it in the given timeframe of 40 seconds. Some submissions were even very close to being on a par with the MC Jr, whose submission contained a special optimisation for these kind of formulas. How come you might wonder? Well, many students decided to simply pick the first unassigned variable in each round and assign it to True. This works pretty well in this case of course, but will fail horribly in the next test-suite...

Results test-suite 1: positive literals
RankNameTime (seconds)
1MC Jr26.276429
2Martin Habfast26.501732
3Johannes Bernhard Neubrand27.09761
4Haoyang Sun27.115166
5Daniel Strauß27.314486
6Steffen Deusch27.686936
7Marco Haucke27.811313
8Mokhammad Naanaa27.834761
9Torben Soennecken28.102151
10Peter Wegmann28.132764
11Kevin Schneider28.226784
12Nico Greger28.411079
13Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani28.571546
14Stephan Schmiedmayer28.613498
15Simon Stieger29.712261
16Dominik Schuler29.712261
17Christian Brechenmacher29.874143
18Konstantin Berghausen29.920745
19Jonas Lang29.940286
20Leon Blumenthal30.194362
21Leon Beckmann30.684815
22Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten30.885557
23Tobias Jungmann31.428779
24Janluka Janelidze31.685789
25Kseniia Chernikova31.821769
26Felix Trost31.91729
27Tal Zwick32.797127
28Almo Sutedjo34.394997
29Martin Fink36.710968
30Boning Li38.764843

Test 2: Negative Literals

Test-suite numéro deux is the dual of numéro uno: each clause Ci contained at least one negative literal Li. Hence, we can simply set the variable of each Li to False and all remaining variables to arbitrary values. The MC Jr generated 3 instances using the following parameters:

InstanceNumber of clausesNumber of variablesMax clause sizeFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variables
1173 10 10 1 1
232445 50 30 1 1
3110643 50 60 1 1

Again, the MC Jr granted each solver 40 seconds of his precious laptop computing power. While this time submissions that carelessly tried to set each variable to True got punished, efficient implementations – though not having any special case optimisation for this test-suite – climbed up the ladder, being almost equally fast as the MC Jr's special case optimisation. We shall see in the upcoming test-suites what kind of optimisations these students applied. But first, here is the ranking for test-suite 2:

Results test-suite 2: negative literals
RankNameTime (seconds)
1MC Jr24.480299
2Daniel Strauß24.855054
3Marco Haucke25.729774
4Kevin Schneider25.947265
5Mokhammad Naanaa25.947316
6Peter Wegmann26.134727
7Torben Soennecken26.38508
8Johannes Bernhard Neubrand26.535151
9Nico Greger26.783645
10Simon Stieger27.502702
11Dominik Schuler27.763788
12Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten28.356478
13Janluka Janelidze28.955485
14Leon Beckmann28.985623
15Jonas Lang29.200797
16Konstantin Berghausen29.55542
17Leon Blumenthal29.757887
18Steffen Deusch29.974094
19Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani30.030047
20Boning Li30.105783
21Kseniia Chernikova30.106472
22Stephan Schmiedmayer30.187932
23Martin Habfast30.549589
24Haoyang Sun30.786313
25Tobias Jungmann30.874324
26Felix Trost31.136271
27Almo Sutedjo31.777069
28Martin Fink34.229154
29Tal Zwick37.148001

Test 3: Pure Literals

For the third test-suite, the MC Jr checked whether his brave students paid attention in their discrete structures classes: the pure literal rule, as you all should remember, says that if some variable v occurs strictly positively or negatively, then it is safe to set v to True or False, respectively.

To generate the problem set, the MC Jr introduced two new variables: bn and bp. Each variable of index ≤ bn will be generated strictly negatively and each variable of index ≥ bp will be generated strictly positively. Variables between bn and bp will be generated according to the passed frequency of negative and positive variables. The following parameters were used to create 6 instances:

InstanceSatisfiableNumber of clausesNumber of variablesMax clause sizeFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variablesbnbp
1True 100 10 10 1 1 3 8
2False 3000 30 15 1 1 12 18
3False 10000 50 40 1 1 21 27
4True 50000 100 40 1 1 50 51
5False 80000 100 40 1 1 48 51
6True 120000 1000 50 1 1 500 501

45 seconds, the MC Jr decided, shall suffice for all 6 instances... but only 4 tough submissions made it in time. Congrats to Herr Megdiche at this point who left his competitors far behind.

Results 1 test-suite 3: pure literals
RankNameTime (seconds)
1Yecine Megdiche33.634559
2MC Jr39.547038
3Kevin Schneider40.619992
4Martin Fink43.37776

So did only 3 students pay attention in their discrete structures classes? Of course not! To the MC Jr's great delight, he saw that many more students did indeed remember what they were taught in year one at TUM. And since the MC Jr has a good heart – he hopes you agree ❤️ – submissions that solved 5 out of 6 problems in time shall be ranked in a separate list:

Results 2 test-suite 3: pure literals
RankNameTime up to instance 5 (seconds)
5Christian Brechenmacher15.144
6Almo Sutedjo16.196322
7Johannes Bernhard Neubrand16.208733
8Daniel Strauß16.258999
9Dominik Schuler16.398571
10Leon Blumenthal16.418872
11Torben Soennecken16.460847
12Mokhammad Naanaa16.487889
13Nico Greger16.510019
14Leon Beckmann16.583858
15Jonas Lang16.651202
16Haoyang Sun16.693209
17Konstantin Berghausen16.726957
18Martin Habfast16.851498
19Peter Wegmann16.946772
20Kseniia Chernikova17.240587
21Felix Trost17.264055
22Steffen Deusch17.290759
23Tobias Jungmann17.406951
24Marco Haucke17.463116
25Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani17.492171
26Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten17.503209
27Stephan Schmiedmayer17.837843
28Boning Li18.181815
29Yi He18.306414
30Simon Stieger18.415439
31Tal Zwick18.850533
32Janluka Janelidze20.625524
33Nguyen Truong An To25.361387

Test 4: Frequent Variables

Test-suite 0b100 was designed to check if students applied any heuristics that favour variables occuring almost everywhere. To this end, the MC Jr introduced three variables bl, bu, and n (with bl < bu). Each clause C was then created as follows:

  1. Pick a random number r in [1,...,bl] and set C=[(¬)1,...,(¬)r] (polarity is chosen with equal probability).
  2. Pick a random number m in [1,...,n].
  3. Add m random variables from [bl+1,...,bu] to C (polarity is again chosen with equal probability).

This way, variables in [1,...,bl] occur very frequently whereas variables in [bl,...,bu] occur very rarely provided that n is way smaller than bu-bl. Here are the exact parameters that were used to create 5 satisfiable instances:

InstanceNumber of clausesblbunFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variables
120 15 100 15 1 1
2120 30 300 30 1 1
33000 100 1000 100 1 1
420000 100 20000 100 1 1
560000 110 60000 110 1 1

This time, 60 seconds were set as a limit to solve all instances, and 20 submissions were able to make this race. To the MC Jr's surprise, many of the top-ranking students in this category actually just submitted very simple solutions. For example, Herr Schuler's selection strategy simply picked the first variable when traversing the list of clauses from left to right. The MC Jr, on the other hand, provided a solution that picks from the smallest clause the variable that occurs the most often in the formula. This might sound like a good idea at first, but actually caused a lot of overhead as he re-computed this frequency measure at every step, ranking him just at spot number 9.

However, one can do better, like Herr Strauß: He avoids re-computing the frequency of all variables at every step by keeping the variables organised in priority buckets. Just like the MC Jr, he assigns variables that occur in smaller clauses and more frequently a higher priority. Moreoever, for each variable, he stores a list of indices that directly point him to all clauses containing the variable. This speeds up substitution since only clauses containing the substituted variable can be visited this way. Very nice optimisation Herr Strauß – the MC Jr is very impressed!
Update 03.02.2020: The MC Jr was informed by Herr Strauß that his submitted implementation does not use the priority buckets for he could not get rid of all bugs in time. Instead, his algorithm uses a more simple approach: select a variable from a clause containing the least amount of variables. Nevertheless, the MC Jr stays impressed even if Herr Strauß's priority buckets did not make it to production at the end of the day.

Results 1 test-suite 4: frequent variables
RankNameTime (seconds)
1Daniel Strauß39.742003
2Dominik Schuler40.2101
3Peter Wegmann40.550385
4Stephan Schmiedmayer40.576878
5Jonas Lang40.593809
6Mokhammad Naanaa40.74055
7Leon Beckmann41.122478
8Haoyang Sun41.164571
9MC Jr41.180661
10Martin Habfast41.309076
11Konstantin Berghausen41.309865
12Tobias Jungmann41.935802
13Felix Trost42.007231
14Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten42.076114
15Leon Blumenthal42.784294
16Steffen Deusch42.850939
17Kevin Schneider44.681582
18Simon Stieger49.408146
19Tal Zwick50.969158
20Boning Li51.170708

Again, the MC Jr also decided to separately rank all students that at least solved the first 4 instances in time:

Results 2 test-suite 4: frequent variables
RankNameTime up to instance 4 (seconds)
21Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani1.52898
22Johannes Bernhard Neubrand1.947669
23Torben Soennecken1.979874
24Marco Haucke2.403967
25Le Quan Nguyen2.533417
26Nico Greger2.608775
27Janluka Janelidze3.177752
28Martin Fink5.395456
29Yi He6.941115
30Almo Sutedjo10.854951
31Kseniia Chernikova25.626978
32Christian Brechenmacher38.099372

Test 5: One Literal Rule/Unit Propagation

For the fifth test-suite, the MC Jr once more checked whether his students paid attention in their discrete structures classes: the one literal rule (aka unit propagation) says that if there is some clause C containing only one literal using variable v, then v needs to be set to

  1. True if it occurs positively in C or
  2. False if it occurs negatively in C.

To generate the test-suite, he fixed two variables l and m with l < m and then generated the following clauses:

[¬1, 2]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), ¬m]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, m+1]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, ¬m+1, m+2]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, ¬m+1,...,¬(2m-1), ¬2m]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, ¬m+1,...,¬(2m-1), 2m, 2m+1]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, ¬m+1,...,¬(2m-1), 2m, ¬2m+1, 2m+2]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, ¬m+1,...,¬(2m-1), 2m, ¬2m+1,...,l]
[¬1, ¬2,...,¬(m-1), m, ¬m+1,...,¬(2m-1), 2m, ¬2m+1,...,¬l]

Explanation: The first time a variable occurs, it occurs positively. From that point onwards, it always occurs negatively. This rule is reversed if the variable is equal to 0 modulo m. This way, the first clause forces variable 1 to be True. Then the second clause becomes a unit clause and forces the next variable assignment, and so on. The last clause then causes a contradiction, i.e. all instances are unsatisfiable. The parameters used to create the test-suite are as follows:

1 30 2
2 60 5
3 120 7
4 500 9
5 1000 4

Some 35 seconds were granted to each submission to solve all 5 tasks, but only 5 submissions made it in time. Needless to say, all top-5 submissions implemented the one literal rule. The best-scoring submissions – such as Herr Schneider's, the winner of this category (*tips hat*) – moreover use HashSets or IntSets for optimised lookups in the formula.

Results 1 test-suite 5: one literal rule
RankNameTime (seconds)
1Kevin Schneider6.139509
2Marco Haucke10.129005
3Simon Stieger18.145571
4MC Jr31.805044
5Torben Soennecken34.458983

But many more diligent students implemented the one literal rule in a rather efficient way, and so 7 more submissions finished at least the first 4 tests. One of them, Frau Chernikova, even made it to the top of the second round using simple lists and very very clean code – congrats!

Results 2 test-suite 5: one literal rule
RankNameTime up to instance 4 (seconds)
6Kseniia Chernikova3.886669
7Daniel Strauß4.107748
8Johannes Bernhard Neubrand4.182365
9Nico Greger4.905257
10Mokhammad Naanaa5.764816
11Yi He5.7898
12Almo Sutedjo33.603951

And 32 submissions in total made it at least up to problem 3:

Results 3 test-suite 5: one literal rule
RankNameTime up to instance 3 (seconds)
13Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten0.167806
14Jonas Lang0.172871
15Konstantin Berghausen0.173034
16Leon Blumenthal0.175673
17Dominik Schuler0.178854
18Felix Trost0.178866
19Leon Beckmann0.180083
20Martin Habfast0.181303
21Tobias Jungmann0.19712
22Steffen Deusch0.199848
23Le Quan Nguyen0.200153
24Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani0.206004
25Peter Wegmann0.227435
26Martin Fink0.236321
27Haoyang Sun0.240576
28Yecine Megdiche0.292372
29Christian Brechenmacher0.35823
30Stephan Schmiedmayer0.639084
31Martin Stierlen1.227502
32Tal Zwick3.967788

Test 6: Short Clauses

Alright, for test-suite Succ(5), the MC Jr wanted to check if students did not only optimise their selection strategy for unit clauses but short clauses in general. For this, he fixed two numbers l and b. He then created l clauses of size 1 up to l with random literals. Then, for each clause C, he added r more literals to C where r is a random number in [1,...,b]. The following parameters were then used to create 4 satisfiable instances:

InstancelbNumber of variablesFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variables
1 10 1 50 1 1
2 150 2 150 1 1
3 1200 5 600 1 1
4 3000 5 200 1 1

For this round, the MC Jr decided to let 40 seconds pass for each submission – more than enough for 22 students! The top submissions are all pretty much on a par, and it seems like no submitted optimisation had a relevant impact. The MC Jr's variable frequency and shortest clause length computation even made matters worse and put him on spot 21 for this round 😢 Sometimes simple things simply work better.

Results 1 test-suite 6: short clauses
RankNameTime (seconds)
1Haoyang Sun33.100055
2Leon Blumenthal33.957874
3Peter Wegmann34.265096
4Martin Habfast34.355232
5Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten34.628411
6Steffen Deusch34.696303
7Konstantin Berghausen34.773642
8Dominik Schuler34.805574
9Felix Trost35.066296
10Leon Beckmann35.158617
11Tobias Jungmann35.167914
12Stephan Schmiedmayer35.195407
13Jonas Lang35.216484
14Daniel Strauß35.571337
15Boning Li35.672965
16Tal Zwick35.880211
17Mokhammad Naanaa35.971605
18Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani36.394597
19Johannes Bernhard Neubrand36.858892
20Torben Soennecken38.116353
21MC Jr38.374846
22Nico Greger38.567295
23Kevin Schneider38.622868

Here are all missing submissions that solved the first 3 instances:

Results 2 test-suite 6: short clauses
RankNameTime up to instance 3 (seconds)
24Simon Stieger5.748736
25Le Quan Nguyen8.705403
26Marco Haucke9.903683
27Janluka Janelidze12.708298
28Yecine Megdiche14.730286
29Yi He15.027783
30Martin Fink15.410011
31Almo Sutedjo20.009283
32Christian Brechenmacher22.23695
33Kseniia Chernikova23.743904
34Martin Stierlen24.466339

Test 7: 2SAT

For this test-suite, the MC Jr wanted to check if any submission implemented an opimised version for the 2SAT problem. In 2SAT, each clause contains 2 variables. In contrast to 3SAT (3 variables in each clause; not to be confused with the TV channel 📺), which is NP-complete, the 2SAT problem can be solved in linear time. The motivated student shall be referred to the linked Wikipedia article that does a good job at giving an overview on different algorithms. The following parameters were used to create 6 instances:

InstanceSatisfiableNumber of clausesNumber of variablesFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variables
1 True 29 20 1 1
2 False 73 40 1 1
3 True 77 80 1 1
4 False 21571 200 1 1
5 False 687528 300 1 1
6 False 2389995 2000 1 1

6 Problems. 70 seconds. 0 2SAT optimisations, but 22 winners. Though no one (including the MC Jr – he also needs a break occasionally) implemented a subexponential 2SAT algorithm, submissions that at least implemented some sort of DPLL variant performed better than the completely naive submission on average. Congrats to all 2SAT champions!

Results 1 test-suite 7: 2SAT
RankNameTime (seconds)
1Kevin Schneider54.567633
2Peter Wegmann55.620752
3Nico Greger55.891555
4Johannes Bernhard Neubrand56.93991
5Stephan Schmiedmayer57.714344
6Simon Stieger58.311102
7Haoyang Sun58.722837
8Torben Soennecken59.071281
9Daniel Strauß59.266878
10Mokhammad Naanaa59.463357
11Konstantin Berghausen59.552186
12Dominik Schuler59.705042
13Martin Habfast61.607011
14Felix Trost61.709829
15Leon Blumenthal62.288393
16Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten63.089459
17Steffen Deusch63.197094
18Tobias Jungmann63.543086
19MC Jr63.736425
20Jonas Lang64.292293
21Leon Beckmann64.423671
22Tal Zwick69.528558

And again, here is the ranking for students cracking the first 5 problems:

Results 2 test-suite 7: 2SAT
RankNameTime up to instance 5 (seconds)
23Boning Li11.760958
24Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani12.438331
25Marco Haucke14.517297
26Christian Brechenmacher18.5225
27Martin Fink18.989636
28Almo Sutedjo19.27332
29Kseniia Chernikova20.048749
30Yecine Megdiche20.588109
31Yi He28.38627
32Nguyen Truong An To53.12978

Test 8: Horn-SAT

For the second last test-suite, the MC Jr checked one more special satisfiability problem: the Horn-satisfiability problem. The Horn-satisfiability problem consists of a set of Horn clauses. A Horn clause is a clause with at most one positive literal. As it is the case for 2SAT, the Horn-SAT problem can be solved in linear time. Again, the motivated student shall be referred to the linked Wikipedia article for details.

To create problem instances, the MC Jr assigned frequencies to the following 3 categories of horn clauses:

  1. A fact is a horn clause with no positive literal.
  2. A rule is a horn clause with at least one negative and positive literal.
  3. A goal is a horn clause with no negative literal.

He then created 5 tests using the following parameters:

InstanceSatisfiableNumber of clausesNumber of variablesMax clause sizeFrequency of factsFrequency of rulesFrequency of goals
1 True 50 20 5 1 8 1
2 False 1500 40 8 1 10 1
3 False 10000 50 8 1 10 1
4 False 200000 50 8 1 20 1
5 False 1000000 100 8 1 20 1

Though, yet again, no submission implemented any special optimisation for Horn-SAT, submissions that have an effective unit propagation rule tend to perform better in this case (any goal clause is a unit clause). Here are the results – congrats to Herr Neubrand for winning this round and using higher-order functions like a champ!

Results test-suite 8: Horn-SAT
RankNameTime (seconds)
1Johannes Bernhard Neubrand42.479339
2Torben Soennecken42.793236
3Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten42.826349
4Haoyang Sun43.208227
5Felix Trost43.253173
6Leon Beckmann43.400441
7Dominik Schuler43.476193
8Peter Wegmann43.870466
9Mokhammad Naanaa44.003741
10Leon Blumenthal44.052723
11Tobias Jungmann44.240412
12Daniel Strauß44.779842
13Martin Habfast44.967684
14Tal Zwick45.002031
15Konstantin Berghausen45.059803
16Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani45.120158
17Stephan Schmiedmayer45.441962
18Yecine Megdiche45.539914
19Nico Greger45.848066
20Kseniia Chernikova45.942032
21Almo Sutedjo46.39697
22Nguyen Truong An To46.485642
23Steffen Deusch46.591406
24Jonas Lang46.757973
25Martin Fink47.023864
26Le Quan Nguyen47.206122
27Boning Li47.433065
28Christian Brechenmacher49.330931
29Kevin Schneider49.364408
30MC Jr49.380005
31Simon Stieger49.473978
32Marco Haucke50.690713

Test 9: Random Input & Pigeonhole

Last but not least, the MC Jr challenged all students' submissions to solve two randomly generated formulas and a very special SAT-problem: the pigeonhole formula. The pigeonhole formula tries to put n+1 pigeons into n holes such that each hole contains at most 1 pigeon. Obviously, such an assignment is impossible. However, SAT-solvers have a provably hard (i.e. exponential) time showing that this is indeed the case. In the words of SAT-master Marijn Heule (paraphrased from a talk the MC Jr attended):

My 8-year old nephew was immediately able to tell that there cannot be any such assignment. My fancy SAT-solver, on the other hand, simply exploded 🔥🔥🔥

To create the two randomly generated formulas, the MC Jr used the following paramters:

InstanceSatisfiableNumber of clausesNumber of variablesMax clause sizeFrequency of positive variablesFrequency of negative variables
1 False 90073 1000 30 1 1
2 False 430515 10000 40 1 1

The pigeonhole formula (for n=15) consisted of the following clauses:

  1. [xi,1,...,xi,14] for each i in [1,...,15] (each pigeon needs to be in at least one hole)
  2. [¬xi,k, ¬xj,k] for each i≠j in [1,...,15] and k in [1,...,14] (there cannot be two pigeons in the same hole)

For the last test-suite, he granted each submission a generous 130 seconds. Here are the results:

Results test-suite 9: Random Input
RankNameTime up to instance 2 (seconds)
1Martin Fink69.207653
2Yecine Megdiche71.407843
3Leon Blumenthal74.683676
4Boning Li75.088291
5Almo Sutedjo75.622638
6Tal Zwick75.878481
7Dominik Schuler75.991424
8Haoyang Sun76.197982
9Torben Soennecken76.272596
10Johannes Bernhard Neubrand76.297355
11Felix Trost76.401986
12Kseniia Chernikova76.598992
13Tobias Jungmann76.908105
14Nguyen Truong An To77.394852
15Daniel Strauß77.442172
16Leon Beckmann78.008407
17Martin Habfast78.117579
18Konstantin Berghausen78.136455
19Steffen Deusch78.38593
20Jonas Lang78.40903
21Nico Greger79.013274
22Peter Wegmann79.45032
23Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten80.724237
24Kevin Schneider82.425018
25Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani83.138315
26MC Jr85.0519
27Simon Stieger86.649432
28Mokhammad Naanaa87.989356
29Janluka Janelidze100.62713

Sadly, no wonders were done this day and so the pigeonhole formula remains the Endgegner of SAT-solving. Most students did, however, solve the first two formulas in a reasonable time. Once more, the MC Jr tips his non-existent hat for this accomplishment! 🎩 Again, many simple submissions performed very well in this ranking whereas over-engineered solutions, such as the MC Jr's, took too much time computing non-important heuristics.

Special Shout-Outs and More Optimisations

At this point, the MC Jr wants to give a few shout-outs to some beyond average implementation efforts:

  1. Herr Strauß and Herr Schneider knew no pain and implemented a CDCL-solver. Broadly speaking, a CDCL-solver not only backtracks in case of an unsatisfiable branch, but also analyses which literals caused the contradiction and adds new clauses, blocking analagous future assignments.

    Whereas Herr Strauß's implementation was very successful, especially in combination with his above-mentioned bucket data structure for variables, Herr Schneider realised that his CDCL-solver actually performs worse than his more basic DPLL implementation and only submitted it using the {-MCCOMMENT-}-feature. The MC Jr was sadly able to verify this worry with a few testcases but still wants to say: respect!
    Update 03.02.2020: As noted above, Herr Strauß actually ended up submitting a more simple DPLL solver for he could not fix all bugs for his priority buckets and CDCL solver in time.

    Btw (neben dem Weg) Herr Strauß's submission unarguably also wins the award for the most over-engineered submission or as he himself put it:

    --Das ist wohl etwas aus dem ruder gelaufen
    🚣🚣🚣 Yes indeed, but it surely was great fun! 🚣🚣🚣

  2. Herr Janelidze wrote an impressive amount of optimisation code; sadly, the optimisations were not actually that helpful and quite costly, making him lose against primitive submissions in many cases. But cheer up! You deserve the MC Jr's respect which obviously is worth a lot!
  3. Herr Haucke wrote a very involved but also effective unit propagation algorithm that puts unit clauses at the front of the formula in each step. Nice work! On a side note, Herr Haucke also made use of an efficient integer encoding of literals: instead of storing literals in the form "Pos \"n\"" and "Neg \"n\"", one can simply store them as "n" and "-n", respectively. This allows one to model clauses using IntSets, which are more efficient than lists for lookups. Herr Haucke left some nice comment regarding this matter:
    Use IntSets... because I low-key hate the fact that variables are Strings...
  4. YOU! Yes, you deserve a special shout-out too for participating in the contest, making functional programming great again, keeping our classes fun and interactive, and also reading this very long blog post!

As a last note, the MC Jr wants to describe one more very effective optimisation that was out of scope for this competition: restarts. SAT-solvers easily run into very long, non-successful branches that they might not be able to exit in time. For this reason, modern SAT-solvers give up on their current run after a given time and restart with a new selection of variables.

Final Ranking

To combine all previous rankings into a final SAT-score, the MC Jr distributed 1+...+30=30*31/2=465 points to each previous ranking multiplied by the following factors:

Factors for test-suites

The resulting SAT-score is then used to distribute the final 465 competition points of this week. And here it is: the final 2020 SAT-championship ranking!

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 9
  Rank Name SAT-ScoreCompetition-Points
1Daniel Strauß284.023
2Johannes Bernhard Neubrand280.222
3Dominik Schuler271.722
4Torben Soennecken265.921
5Haoyang Sun258.721
6Peter Wegmann253.620
7Leon Blumenthal251.120
8Mokhammad Naanaa239.319
9Kevin Schneider227.318
10Martin Habfast223.618
11Leon Beckmann217.617
12Konstantin Berghausen216.917
13Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten210.817
14Nico Greger206.417
15Felix Trost206.317
16Jonas Lang188.215
17Tobias Jungmann182.815
18Steffen Deusch181.415
19Simon Stieger165.013
20Stephan Schmiedmayer164.513
21Almo Sutedjo142.411
22Marco Haucke140.011
23Tal Zwick135.911
24Aria Talebizadeh-Dashtestani134.311
25Martin Fink129.410
26Kseniia Chernikova128.910
27Boning Li128.610
28Yecine Megdiche123.410
29Christian Brechenmacher66.05
30Janluka Janelidze49.74

As usual, the MC Jr tried his best to avoid any errors. If you think something is wrong, please send him an e-mail.

So... what have we learnt this week?

Die Ergebnisse der zehnten Woche

For the Domineering game, we received a total of 182 submissions with WETT tags as per the game website. To enter the competition, you had to defeat the grandpa both as the vertical and the horizontal player. His strategy is quite simple: he always places the domino on the first free position he finds on the board. The more sophisticated strategy of the sister was a tougher nut to crack as only 17 students managed to beat her. Alas, beating the sister was no guarantee to enter the final evaluation for which the MC Jr Jr selected the top 30 students from the leaderboard (modulo ties). The final ranking was determined by a round-robin tournament where each student went up against every other student 40 times (20 times each as the vertical and horizontal player). To account for the variance brought on by randomised strategies, the MC Jr Jr decided to grant the same rank to all students which are not more than 9 wins apart. This, however, brings us to a whopping total of 25200 games that have to be simulated, which take several hours despite parallelising the simulation to 8 cores. Additionally, the MC Jr Jr initially made the mistake of working on the same machine while performing the simulation leading to several games with timeouts. The MC Jr Jr simluated the games again to eliminate all timeouts. With the logistical problems learning opportunities out of the way, we come to the truly interesting part of this week's Wettbewerb, namely the strategies.

A simple scoring mechanism for moves suffices to get your name on the leaderboard: evaluate all valid moves and pick the move that minimises the number of valid moves left for the opposing player. This stratgy was employed by 14-15 submissions (the MC Jr Jr has a hard time understanding Herr Florian Glombiks code) landing all of them on rank 18. Herr Jonas Hübotter submitted a particularly succinct implementation of this approach. Note that validMoves is not shown in the Codeschnipsel below but it just goes over all moves and selects all those for wich isValid holds. As Herr Markus Großer seemed to be slacking off in the recent weeks, the Übungsleitung pressured encouraged him to submit a solution in the Tutorbesprechung during the Wettbewerb. The MC Jr Jr is glad that he came up with a solution, an elegant one at that, because this always gives the MC Jr Jr something to write about. If you want to learn about some of the more obscure underappreciated operators that Haskell offers, look no further than the second solution below.

-- Solution by Jonas Hübotter
christmasAI _ game = fst $ minimumBy (comparing snd) (weightedMoves game)

weightedMoves :: Game -> [(Pos, Int)]
weightedMoves game = [(pos, length (validMoves (playMove game pos))) | pos <- validMoves game]

-- Solution by Markus Großer
christmasAI _ g@(Game b p) =
    (,) <$> [0..11] <*> [0..11]
    & filter (isValidMove g)
    <&> (,) <*> numValidMoves . playMove g -- yay for obscure combinator usage
    & (((-1, -1), maxBound):) -- Giving up if no valid moves left
    & minimumBy (comparing snd)
    & fst
    numValidMoves g' =
        (,) <$> [0..11] <*> [0..11]
        & filter (isValidMove g')
        & length

Now, how do we improve on the above strategy? This is what Herr Roman Heinrich Mayr and Herr Thomas Ridder supposedly thought to themselves. Unfortunately for them, they both performed a Verschlimmbesserung which resulted in elimination from the top 30. Herr Mayr's strategy in particular performs much worse than all the other submissions despite the fact that his strategy, which he explains in his excellent documentation, seems reasonable enough. Herr Aleksandar Jevtic, on the other hand, made two noticable improvements on the above strategy:

In code, his scoring mechanism for moves looks like follows:

-- Evaluation = (# valid moves opponent could make) - (# valid moves I could make) -- goal = minimize this value 
evalMoves [] _ = []
evalMoves (m:ms) game = (length (possibleMoves newGame) - length (possibleMoves $ switch newGame), m):(evalMoves ms game)
  where newGame = playMove game m

possibleMoves game = [(r,c) | r<-[0..11], c<-[0..11], isValidMove game (r,c)]

With this strategy, Herr Jevtic managed to beat the sister who uses the same scoring function but does not simulate several successive moves. A natural extension of this approach is to increase the number of moves one considers in each step; however, the search space quickly explodes if one considers too many moves. To mitigate the combinatorial explosion, Herr Le Quan Nguyen sets the number of moves to look ahead depending on the number of valid moves left for him. This change is small but yields a noticable improvement in the number of wins compared to the previous strategies. Herr Bilel Ghorbel restricts the search space even further with alpha-beta pruning where branches in the search tree are pruned if they cannot lead to a better score than the best known branch. The performance of alpha-beta pruning depends in large part on the effectiveness of the scoring function in judging the game state. For Domineering, there is one important observation to make when judging the game state: you want to create as many safe spots as possible where safe spots are positions on the board that only you can place dominos on. In the example below, the green spot is safe for the horizontal player since only they can place a domino there.

This observation was made by several competitors including Herr Steffen Deusch who achieved a high rank by scoring safe spots accordingly even without pruning. Herr Johannes Stöhr takes this further by pruning moves from the search space that would take up safe spots which allows him to explore larger parts of the search space. He also carefully tuned his scoring function by simulating over 250000 games with different parameters for the scoring function. Another optimisation is due to Herr Felix Rinderer who shuffles the valid moves before scoring them. This makes it likely to encounter a good move early on which can be used to prune subsequent moves.

With Herr Rinderer we are already in the top 3 of this week's leaderboard. Interestingly, this Triumvirate of Herr Felix Rinderer, Herr Simon Stieger, and Herr Simon Martin Bohnen got there with a diverse set of approaches. Herr Rinderer uses alpha-beta pruning with a relatively naive scoring function that does not account for safe spots while Herr Stieger came up with an intricate scoring function that doesn't use pruning. The scoring function of Herr Stieger not only accounts for safe moves but also prefers moves that are adjacent to the enemies moves to disrupt their strategy. Lastly, Herr Bohnen took a very human approach to the game: he enumerated a number of scored patterns that may occur on the board together with a prescribed move. One of these patterns is amusingly called Leibbrand which shows that the Wettbewerb really is competitive. Some examples of these patterns are shown below. Here, solid green positions are filled by some domino, light green are either filled or not, and blue positions indicate the move Herr Bohnen wants to make for the pattern.

Now, if you turn your eyes towards the top of the ranking, you will see a name that may be unfamiliar to many of you. The tutor Herr Fabio Madge Pimentel submitted the best solution by far. As the MC Jr Jr was unable to penetrate the depths of his code, he decided to let the man speak himself:

At the core of my strategy lies a good scoring function for a given game state that is implemented reasonably efficiently. It counts the remaining moves for both players and takes the difference of both as the score. It doesn’t count overlapping moves twice but it does count safe moves twice. These safe moves, which can not be blocked by the opposing player, that are thus created and saved for the later stages of the game because the move resulting in the locally optimal score is usually played. Scoring all possible moves results in a few equivalence classes with regard to the score. The top class is ordered by the distance to the opposing player. This heuristic can be overwritten by a small game tree. It has four levels and has a branching factor of four.

With this the last submission out of the way, we consider a sampling of the games before we come to this week's summary and the final scoreboard.

Herr Bohnen loses against Herr Madge Pimentel (H). In all encounters between those two, Herr Madge Pimentel emerges victorious. Herr Stieger (H) is a more challenging opponent for Herr Madge Pimentel (V). Here, Herr Stieger is defeated in a close game. A game where Herr Stieger (H) manages to beat Herr Madge Pimentel (V).
Herr Stieger (H) is the stronger player in the one-on-one matchup against Herr Bohnen (V). As is the case for all games where Herr Bohnen starts, Herr Stieger wins this game. In the case that Herr Stieger (V) begins, the matchup is fairly even. The above game is won by Herr Bohnen (H). A battle between the tutors Herr Madge Pimentel (V) against Herr Großer (H). Unsurprisingly, Herr Madge Pimentel wins.

What did we learn this week?

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 10
  Rank Author   Wins   Points
Tutor  Fabio Madge Pimentel 1382 -
1. Simon Martin Bohnen 1320 30
2. Simon Stieger 1305 29
3. Felix Rinderer 1232 28
4. Marc Schneider 1176 27
5. Johannes Stöhr 1109 26
6. Tal Zwick 1085 25
7. Bilel Ghorbel 950 24
8. Sebastian Stückl 918 23
9. Steffen Deusch 891 22
10. Omar Eldeeb 868 21
11. Tristan Schwieren 852 20
12. Martin Fink 691 19
13. Le Quan Nguyen 676 18
14. Tobias Benjamin Leibbrand 586 17
15. David Dejori 565 16
16. Aleksandar Jevtic 534 15
17. Simon Entholzer 523 14
18. Jonas Hübotter 491 13
Benedict Dresel 491 13
Dominik Brosch 489 13
Florian Glombik 489 13
Tobias Hanl 488 13
Jakob Taube 488 13
Anton Baumann 487 13
Jonas Diez 487 13
Tutor  Markus Großer 487 -
Anna Franziska Horne 486 13
Leon Blumenthal 485 13
Jae Yoon Bae 485 13
Margaryta Olenchuk 484 13
Daniel Vitzthum 484 13
Chien-Hao Chiu 483 13
Guillaume Gruhlke 482 13
33. Thomas Ridder 468 0
34. Roman Heinrich Mayr 283 0

Die Ergebnisse der zwölften Woche

This week we received a whopping 116 submissions with WETT-tags. Clearly the students are beginning to feel the pressure of the exam period and are responding by procrastinating. As a demonstration of his Volksnähe the MC Jr Sr decided to procrastinate on the writing of this blog post.

We will dispense with the customary shaming showing of the longest correct solution, because it is a truly unreadable 370 token mess. Let us instead head directly for the Top 30, where Mihail Stohan manages to just squeak in with this 113 token solution:

encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt s = map (\p -> s!!(p-1)) (ps ++ foldr delete [1..n] ps) where
  n = length s
  ps = primes n

decrypt :: String -> String
decrypt cs = reverse $ decryptAux n n (length $ primes n) where
  n = length cs
  decryptAux 0 _ _ = "" 
  decryptAux l taken acc
    | isPrime l = cs!!(acc-1):decryptAux (l-1) taken (acc-1)
    | otherwise = cs!!(taken-1):decryptAux (l-1) (taken-1) acc

Herr Stohan's encrypt function constructs a list of indexes that starts with the primes up to the length of the plaintext, and ends with the nonprimes up to the same limit. He then maps these indices over the message to get the ciphertext. This is an approach taken by most solutions in the Top 30, although we will of course see it executed with greater parsimony. In order to decrypt, he keeps around indexes into the prime and nonprime portions of the ciphertext (acc and taken) and decrements them while iterating.

A few steps up the ranking, we find Wenjie Hou's 96 token solution which features a more elegant 36 token version of encrypt:

encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt str = let ps = primes $ length str
                  (l, r) = partition (isPrime . fst) $ zip [1..] str in
                      map snd $ l ++ r

The partition function will be a mainstay of the submissions further up the ranking; it takes a predicate and a list, splitting the list into those elements that satisfy the predicate and those that do not. Here it is of course used to partition the natural numbers into primes and nonprimes.

An even shorter version using the same approach comes courtesy of Tal Zwick:

encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt = map snd . uncurry (++) . partition (isPrime . fst) . zip [1..] 

Like the previous version, he zips the plaintext with an index and then partitions according to whether the index is prime. He then just needs to append the two resulting lists together, which he cleverly does by uncurrying the ++ function. All that remains is to extract the ciphertext by throwing away the indices. Pointfree, concise, and readable. By employing a couple of tricks, Almo Sutedjo manages to shave another 3 tokens off of encrypt:

encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt = map snd <<< biconcat <<< partition (isPrime .fst)  <<< zip (enumFrom 1)

We have already seen enumFrom 1 as a token-efficient version of [1..]. The biconcat function from Data.Bifoldable is a generalisation of concatenation to structures containing two lists, such as the tuple of lists we have here. The arrow operator <<< is mainly here to look cool.

This brings us to the shortest self contained version of encrypt, penned by Johannes Neubrand:

encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt x =
      isPrime `map` enumFrom 1 `zip` x
    & partition fst
    & biconcat
  <&> snd
The & operator is a flipped version of $, and <&> is a flipped version of <$>, which is itself an infix version of the fmap function, a generalised map on functors. Herr Neubrand also provides a helpful cheatsheet of the associativity and precedence of a bunch of funky operators, which we shall display here for the benefit of future students with a penchant for history:
<<< infixr 1
>>> infixr 1
=<< infixr 1
>>= infixl 1
 $  infixr 0
 &  infixl 1
 .  infixr 9
<*> infixl 4
<$> infixl 4
<&> infixl 1
 &  infixl 1

(>>=) :: (a -> b) -> (b -> a -> c) -> (a -> c)
(<*>) :: (a -> b -> c) -> (a -> b) -> (a -> c)
Dominik Glöß' solution illustrates a slightly different approach to encryption:
encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt = map snd . sortOn (not . isPrime . fst) . zip (enumFrom 1)

Instead of using partition he sorts the indices with the primality test. Since Haskell's sort is stable, the order within the prime/nonprime elements stays the same, thus producing the desired result.

Let us now turn our attention to decryption. Most competitors simply reversed the operation of their encryption function. Here, for instance, Herr Glöß:

decrypt :: String -> String
decrypt = map snd . sort <<< zip =<< sortOn (not . isPrime) . enumFromTo 1 . length

He computes the same list of indices as in his encryption, but this time uses it to sort the ciphertext, thus producing the plaintext. Like some other students, Herr Glöß noticed that if he were allowed to generalise the type signatures of the functions to Ord a => [a] -> [a] he could save a few tokens by reusing encrypt to compute the appropriate list of indices:

decrypt :: Ord a => [a] -> [a]
decrypt = map snd . sort <<< zip =<< encrypt . enumFromTo 1 . length
The two students at the top of the ranking go even further in their reuse of encrypt. Here is Kevin Schneider's version:
decrypt :: String -> String
decrypt s = until ((s ==) . encrypt) encrypt s
He simply encrypts the ciphertext until the encryption of the result is equal to the original input. But why should this terminate? Simon Stieger provides some speculation and empirical data:
  A brief analysis of this beautiful encryption scheme with short messages led
  me to the assumption that applying the encryption algorithm to a message
  several times will always result in the original message in plain text again
  at some point, and that decrypting using this theorem is usually more
  efficient (and even better in terms of token counting) than checking all
  permutations (as proven by the submission system).

  How many iterations (worst-case)?

  Let I(n) denote the worst-case number of encrypt iterations until we get the
  plain text again, as a function of the message length n.
  Trivial cases: I(0) = 0, I(1) = 0.
  For all other numbers, quite obviously, I(n) = I(p), whereas p denotes the
  largest prime number <= n, as characters at a one-based index > p will by
  design never change their position, no matter how often we apply the
  encryption algorithm.
  Furthermore, for finding I(n), no characters can appear more than once in the
  message substring given by the characters at the indexes from 1 to p (both
  included), otherwise we may not get the worst-case number of iterations.

  Unfortunately, I did not have the time to investigate further, but I did
  compute I(n) for most of the first 200 prime numbers (timeout at 5×10^10
  iterations), which leads to the series of the so-called Kappelmann numbers
  (not to be confused with the much less important Catalan numbers):

  2, 3, 5, 12, 18, 13, 24, 88, 102, 40, 31, 300, 390, 43, 120, 592, 858, 450,
  3360, 330, 132, 2310, 1508, 1600, 630, 525, 861, 2850, 434682, 210, 117180,
  3948, 4650, 645, 414, 211068, 462, 37620, 17980, 2080, 4588, 127920, 104280,
  389340, 81696, 36195, 172050, 11026, 3376, 23256, 1269975, 32604, 17460, 251,
  3023280, 1027110, 24108, 46620, 9976, 41400, 210420, 107880, 2536872, 1228,
  3080, 112752, 1680, 33264, 3781050, 7644, 6632208, 275094, 2092440, 3960,
  27387360, 55944, 69048, 43419, 7602945, 705870, 3702888, 86955, 47878740,
  14630, 953724, 49902077576, 29064420, 6845652, 206040, 34650, 2590740, 56980,
  380688, 556920, 18520, 122032680, 9780, 869616, 2028, 15810, 372960, 231595,
  11994840, 1544382, 20254, 351204, 570353952, 657600, 2970, 388360, 514280,
  111264, 72629340, 73966620, 144604460, 11700, 2940, 335240, 264605352,
  13355370, 8674488900, 1844400, 506610, 2979900, 18956784, 24043740, 5922,
  19546580, 325520, 1497420, 6424236, 115960, 925572840, 8498599200, 41328,
  24990, 1543984650, 20524356, 130032, 83480880, 2635812900, 633228960,
  47723508, 34078548, 5414976, ???, 2596909392, 104932, 29751528, 71730108,
  27775440, 39009426414, 134371578,  ???, 294414120, 2386800, 6521788, 2797080,
  316008000, 152040, 98532, 3281653284, 1298009160, 85645560, 41694372720, ???,
  ???, 29010, 35799960, 267267, 7035, 115389474, 16484841750, 381420,
  11748241680, 3422193840, 12373218, 178080474, 1600556958, 4289010, ???,
  20165600, 109956132, 110258232, 214030440, 9810, 854856, 2370632550, 48231690,
  2485560, 31086146520, 66588930, 17340, 22354728, 2231439210, ???, 176280174,
  731816085, 688602, 54435480, ...

  This makes me hope that my initial assumption holds.
  OEIS request to be submitted.

  (The computations were performed in Java with arrays of unique ints instead of


  Let κ(n) denote the n-th Kappelmann number, Π(n) the index of the prime number
  n in the sequence of prime numbers, λ(n) the largest prime number <= n:

    I(0) = 0
    I(1) = 0
    I(n) = (κ ∘ Π ∘ λ) (n)

  The values of I(n), for reasonably small ns, are small enough to pass the
  decryption tests on the submission system without timeouts (which could, of
  course, partly also be due to the fact that individual characters may also
  occur more than just once).


            "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
                                                              — Bertrand Russell

My only quibble with this impressive note is that Russell, although a prodigious waster of time — (360 pages to prove 1 + 1 = 2, Bertrand?) — almost certainly never said this. The MC Sr provides a more rigorous argument as to why this process terminates:

   This uses the fact that "encrypt" is a permutation of the set {1..n}, and the permutations of
   the set {1..n} form a group w.r.t. function composition (The symmetric group S_n).
   "encrypt" is therefore an element of S_n and "decrypt" is its inverse element. Since S_n has finite order
   (n! in fact), there exists a k with 0 < k ≤ n! such that (encrypt^k) = id, i.e. in particular
   "encrypt (encrypt^(k-1) s) = id s = s". We just find such a k and return "encrypt^(k-1) s".

To finish, let us have a look at Simon Stieger's (yet again) winning submission in its full 31 token glory:

encrypt :: String -> String
encrypt = liftM2 map genericIndex is

decrypt :: String -> String
decrypt = ap zip is >>> sortOn snd >>> map fst

is :: String -> [Int]
is = length >>> enumFromTo 1 >>> partition isPrime >>> biconcat >>> map pred

Herr Stieger factors out the computation of the index list and uses genericIndex, which is just a version of (!!) that accepts arbitrary integral values as indices, saving two tokens. liftM2 and ap are monadic lifting operators.

What did we learn this week?

Addendum: We mistakenly omitted submissions by Marco Haucke, Le Quan Nguyen, and Anton Baumann when making the initial ranking. They are awarded points without changing the rest of the Top 30.

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 12
  Rank Author   Tokens   Points
1. Simon Stieger 31 30
2. Kevin Schneider 33 29
3. Johannes Bernhard Neubrand 34 28
4. Dominik Glöß 38 27
Almo Sutedjo 38 27
6. Yi He 39 25
Martin Fink 39 25
Ilia Khitrov 39 25
Marco Haucke 40 22
9. Torben Soennecken 43 22
10. Mira Trouvain 44 21
Le Quan Nguyen 46 20
11. Andreas Resch 47 20
Danylo Movchan 47 20
13. Bilel Ghorbel 52 18
14. Yecine Megdiche 58 17
15. Jonas Lang 61 16
16. Niklas Lachmann 63 15
17. Tal Zwick 65 14
Anton Baumann 65 14
18. Stephan Huber 67 13
19. Omar Eldeeb 71 12
20. Felix Rinderer 78 11
Bastian Grebmeier 78 11
22. Emil Suleymanov 82 9
Philipp Hermüller 82 9
24. Christoph Reile 86 7
Michael Plainer 86 7
26. Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten 92 5
27. Wenjie Hou 96 4
Daniel Strauß 96 4
29. Janluka Janelidze 102 2
30. Mihail Stoian 113 1

Die Ergebnisse der dreizehnten Woche

Dear students of Haskell and art (arguably, Haskell itself is a piece of art), it brings tears to the MCs' eyes to say: this is the last competition entry. What a semester! We want to thank all of you for your enthusiasm and wonderful submissions.

We hope you all enjoyed the award ceremony during the last lecture. For those of you that missed it, here are the glorious 9 submissions of the FPV art competition 2020, ranked by the committee consisting of the MCs and the Metamaster:

Mr Großer: Haskell Small, Haskell Big, Haskell Love

We start our art exhibition with the obligatory submission by the one and only MG of this competition: Mr Großer. Once more, our competition-loving tutor did not disappoint and created this marvellous piece of Haskell-art:

Haskell shape moiré

As for any masterpiece, the committee suggests you to take a step back to admire the picture in all its beauty. The phenomenon you can see in the MG's submission is called moiré magnification and you can find many more intriguing examples on linked Wikipedia article – though none of them gets even close to our artist's inspiring animation. You can find Mr Großer's submission on his TUM gitlab account.

All the MC's thank Mr Großer for his amazing contributions – he set a high bar for future tutors interested in the competition. 👏👏👏 Hopefully, we will see some of you as part of the FPV-team next year to spread our Haskell love ❤️

Mr Zwick: The Tao of Programming

Our first student submission is a minimalist artwork courtesy of Herr Tal Zwick:

Yin and Yang

As with any good minimalist painting, this work's simplicity is deceptive. Somewhat more unusually, however, the artist supplies us with an intepretation of his work, saving the reader and the MCs a lot of headscratching:

This minimalistic work explores the delicate balance of programming paradigms; the light is functional programming, the darkness is object oriented. This artwork suggests that even in the most pure functional languages, there is a tiny bit of object orientation, and even in the most heavy and over complicated object oriented languages, there is a little bit of functional programming.

Mr Megdiche: Obligatory Fractal Art

The MCs were relieved that there was no over-abundance of Mandelbrot sets in this year's art competition, however, the obligatory fractal submission is, well, obligatory and was generously provided by Herr Yecine Megdiche. Instead of the Mandelbrot set he implemented a related fractal, the Julia set, which is equally beautiful. Similarly to the pseudo-code on Wikipedia, Herr Megdiche's solution is quite short and elegant. Unfortunately, his code only provides a static image so the MC Jr Jr took the opportunity to extend the code such that it produces a sequence of images. Then, he compiled this sequence to a video as seen below.

Mr Haucke: Visualsort

On spot number 6, we find Mr Haucke who decided to visualise the Quicksort algorithm:

Visual Quicksort

Mr Haucke also left the MCs a note:

I know, I know, I’m not the first one to have this idea. I just think sorting algorithms are really pretty and since the Haskell-Wiki advertises the language with an implementation of QuickSort, I though it would be fitting to visualize it using Haskell.

Sorting algorithms indeed are very pretty, not only to visualise, but also to dance:

BTW not only the Haskell-wiki advertises Haskell's conciseness and beauty with Quicksort, but also the Metamaster Mr Nipkow used it as a way to impress you during the first lecture – good old times!

The committee in particular enjoyed the great documentation, customisability, and smooth animation of Mr Haucke's submission. If you want to see an animated version of Quicksort's worst-case behaviour, check out Mr Haucke's README and replace nicePattern by [n,n-1..1] in the startPattern variable. A 6th spot well-deserved.

Mr Nguyen: Spiralling out of Control

In fifth place, we have a nausea inducing work by Herr Le Quan Nguyen. He used the JucyPixels library to create animated spirals such as this one: (TODO: Insert epilepsy warning here)


Mr von Kirschten

This next piece by Herr Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten takes self-similarity, a property that also occurs in some fractals, to the extreme: he implemented a quine, i.e. a program prints itself when invoked. In Haskell, you could write a quine quite succinctly as follows:

main = (\s -> putStr s >> print s) "main = (\\s -> putStr s >> print s) "

-- Or even shorter
main = putStr <> print $ "main = putStr <> print $ "

Of course this was too simple for Herrn Kirschten; instead, he wrote a whole syntax highlighter for Haskell that prints and highlights source code in the m3x6 bitmap font. As a side effect, the program outputs itself in highlighted form as you can see below.

Due to its theoretically beauty, Mr von Kirschten is awarded the bronze medal by the committee 🥉 Congratulations!

Mr He: Maths is art, maths creates art

On our second spot 3 (and hence another bronze medal to award 🥉), we find Mr He. Mr He knows that maths can do way more than abstract nonsense, many even say Mathematics is Art. But for Mr He, that is not enough. He goes a step further: Mathematics creates art. Using Fourier series – a concept that all of you will have the pleasure to study in one course or another – he put together a documented framework capable of drawing any shape you can think of. He also decided to show the power of his framework drawing the glorious Haskell logo:

Haskell Fourier

You can find the data for the image here: 1, 2, 3, 4.

What is this and how this does work you might wonder? Well, let me introduce you to a fantastic man that inspired Mr He to his submission: Mr 3Blue1Brown.

3Blue1Brown is a video producer and a true master of teaching mathematics in the most beautiful ways. To understand Mr He's submission, there is no better way to link to the video that inspired him.

As you must be well aware by now, the MCs all adore mathematics, and so Mr He hit a sweet spot of the committee with his smooth animation. We shall wrap up this submission with a quote by a very well-spoken man:

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty – a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry.

– Bertrand Russell

Mr Halk: A most excellent Work of Art

In second place, we find a marvellous bit of Lokalpatriotismus created by the Incredible Herr Halk:

What pushed this submission over the edge, is the fact that the artist used the SVG framework from the homework to generate this video. A truly monumental effort, and a well deserved 🥈.

Mr Stieger: In a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Finally, we come to the best (as judged by the MCs and the Metamaster) submission of this week, submitted by the notorious Herr Simon Stieger. His submission takes on a breathtaking journey through vastness of space by simulating a spiral galaxy whose aspect ratio and spin changes over time. Beyond the beauty of the artwork, he provided a command-line interface (try it yourself!) and parallelised the rendering. The former allows the user to provide keyframes to generate a custom animation while the latter certainly helps in completing the process before our sun dies. Put the video on fullscreen, lean back, and enjoy!

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.

Lastly, here is the final ranking of our great artists:

Die Ergebnisse von Woche 13
  Rank Author   Points
1. Simon Stieger30
2. Kempec Halk29
3. Yi He28
Daniel Anton Karl von Kirschten28
5. Le Quan Nguyen26
6. Marco Haucke25
Yecine Megdiche25
8. Tal Zwick23

Token Love

The MC Sr. is a big fan of token counting as a rough measure of software quality. As the previous years' results have clearly shown, shorter answers tend to be more elegant and (usually) less likely to have subtle bugs.

The MC Sr. is making his token-counting program available to the rest of the world. The program builds on Niklas Broberg's Language.Haskell.Exts.Lexer module, which can be installed using Cabal:

            cabal update
            cabal install haskell-src-exts

There appears to be disagreement regarding the status of backquotes in different versions of Haskell (98 vs. 2010). The MC Sr. generously adopted the Haskell 98 definition, with `max` treated as one token rather than three.

Here's how to compile and run the program on Linux or Mac:

            ghc Tokenize.hs -o tokenize

At this point, type in some Haskell code, e.g.,

            sum_max_sq x y z = x ^ 2 + y ^ 2 + z ^ 2 - x `min` y `min` z ^ 2

Make sure to type in an empty line afterwards. Press Ctrl+D to terminate. The program then outputs

            24 sxyz=x^2+y^2+z^2-xmymz^2

On Windows, you can run the program with




and terminate it with Ctrl+C (Windows 8) or Ctrl+Z followed by Enter (Windows 7, probably also for earlier versions).

The first field, “24”, gives the number of tokens. The second field is a short version of the program, where each token is abbreviated as one letter. This can be useful for debugging. The MC Sr. aggregates this information in his top-secret Master View, which looks something like this:

            18 sxyz=mxy^2+mxymz^2
            18 sxyz=mxy^2+xmymz^2
            18 sxyz=mxy^2+zmmxy^2
            20 sxyz=(mxy)^2+(myz)^2
            20 sxyz=mxy^2+m(mxy)z^2
            20 sxyz=mxy^2+m(mxy)z^2
            52 sxyz|x=z&y=z=x*x+y*y|x=y&z=y=x*x+z*z|y=x&z=x=y*y+z*z
            52 sxyz|x=z&y=z=x*x+y*y|x=y&z=y=x*x+z*z|y=x&z=x=y*y+z*z
            52 sxyz|x=z&y=z=x*x+y*y|x=y&z=y=x*x+z*z|y=x&z=x=y*y+z*z
            52 sxyz|x=z&y=z=x^2+y^2|x=y&z=y=x^2+z^2|y=x&z=x=y^2+z^2
            252 sxyz|(x+y)>(x+z)&(x+y)>(y+z)=(x*x)+(y*y)|(x+z)>(x+y)&(x+z)>(y+z)=(x*x)+(z*z)|(y+z)>(y+x)&(y+z)>(x+z)=(y*y)+(z*z)|x=z&x>y=(x*x)+(z*z)|x=y&x>z=(x*x)+(y*y)|z=y&z>x=(y*y)+(z*z)|x=z&x<y=(x*x)+(y*y)|x=y&x<z=(x*x)+(z*z)|z=y&z<x=(x*x)+(z*z)|x=y&y=z=(x*x)+(y*y)

The Master View allows the MC Sr. to compile the Top 30 der Woche, but also to quickly spot interesting solutions and potential plagiarism. Plagiarism isn't cool, and occurrences of it will be penalized by subtracting 1 000 000 000 (ONE ZILLION) points from the Semester total.

For the competition, the above program is invoked only on the code snippet included between {-WETT-} and {-TTEW-}, with all type signatures stripped away.

Some competitors have tried to confuse tokenize by using German letters (ä etc.) in their source code. Setting

            export LANG=de_DE

before running the program solves this problem.