Word numbers, Part 3: Binary search

2008-08-17 19:19

We return to ITA Software’s “word numbers” problem, continuing our work in part 1 and part 2. As before, you can download this post as a program.

``````{-# OPTIONS -W -fglasgow-exts #-}
module WordNumbers3 where
import WordNumbers1
import WordNumbers2

import Prelude hiding ((+), (*), sum, product)
import qualified Prelude as P
import Data.List (genericSplitAt, genericLength)```
```

We left off in part 2 with a program that could quickly compute the total number of characters produced in any grammar. We will use that program in this part to locate exactly where in the production the nth letter is, in order to solve the following slightly easier version of the puzzle:

If the integers from 1 to 999,999,999 are written as words in order and concatenated, what is the 51 billionth letter?

(The alphabetical sorting was dropped.) This version has appeared in some of ITA Software’s ads.

We solve this one by keeping track a binary tree corresponding to the productions in the grammar, computing the total length of each production and doing a search in this tree.

````data Binary m = Binary m (Maybe (Binary m, Binary m))`
```

Characters create leaf nodes—

``````instance (Character m) => Character (Binary m) where
char c = Binary (char c) Nothing```
```

—and addition (i.e., alternate possibilities in the grammar) creates a branch.

``````instance (Monoid m) => Monoid (Binary m) where
zero = Binary zero Nothing
b1@(Binary m1 _) + b2@(Binary m2 _) = Binary (m1 + m2) (Just (b1, b2))```
```

Note that the addition operation is not commutative. This is impossible in a ring: in any ring the addition is necessarily commutative. (Exercise!) But this does not hold in general for a semiring (with no subtraction) or, more severely, for a semiring or seminearring (which only has one of the two distributive laws). This is fortunate for us, since we want to be sure to keep the productions in order.

The multiplication operation is a little more subtle, since we multiply two trees, either of which may branch. We use left-to-right evaluation, taking by preference the branches of the left tree.

``````instance (Seminearring m) => Seminearring (Binary m) where
one = Binary one Nothing
b1@(Binary m1 c1) * b2@(Binary m2 c2)
= Binary (m1 * m2)
(case c1 of
Just (b11,b12) -> Just (b11*b2, b12*b2)
Nothing -> case c2 of
Nothing -> Nothing
Just (b21,b22) -> Just (b1*b21, b1*b22))```
```

Since in English the most significant digits are always on the left, the resulting order of the leaves of the tree constructed for `ten9` will be the usual numerical order. If we were working in a language where the least significant digits were stated first, we would need right-to-left evaluation, or we could go to a more general solution like the one we will later give for alphabetical sorting.

We will use these trees to keep track of the count and volume of the productions (as in part 2), as well as the list of strings (so that we can see what letter we get).

````type Measure = ([String], Deriv Count Volume)`
```

We treat the pair component-wise.

``````instance (Monoid a, Monoid b) => Monoid (a,b) where
zero = (zero, zero)
(a1,b1) + (a2,b2) = (a1+a2, b1+b2)

instance (Seminearring a, Seminearring b) => Seminearring (a,b) where
one = (one, one)
(a1,b1) * (a2,b2) = (a1*a2, b1*b2)

instance (Character r1, Character r2) => Character (r1, r2) where
char c = (char c, char c)```
```

The binary search is now straightforward to write.

``````volume :: Deriv Count Volume -> Integer
volume (Deriv _ (Wrap (Nat v))) = v

search :: Binary Measure -> Integer -> Measure
search (Binary m Nothing) _ = m
search (Binary _ (Just (c1@(Binary (_,skip) _), c2))) i
| i' < 0    = search c1 i
| otherwise = let (s,m) = search c2 i' in (s, skip + m)
where i' = i - volume skip```
```

For the answer, we return the target letter as well as its context.

``````answer n = (before, it, after)
where
target = pred n
([string], d) = search ten9 target
end = volume d
(before, it:after) = genericSplitAt local string
local = genericLength string - (end - target)```
```

We can now quickly solve the problem…

``````*WordNumbers3> answer 51000000000
("sevenhundredthirtytwomil",'l',"ionsevenhundredninetysixthousandthreehundredsixtysix")```
```

…and check a few small values to be sure there are no off by one errors.

``````*WordNumbers3> answer 3
("on",'e',"")
*WordNumbers3> answer 4
("",'t',"wo")```
```