an attempt at code golf

May 14, 2019

(This article was first published on R – Xi'an's Og, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

Having discovered codegolf on Stack Exchange a few weeks ago, I spotted a few interesting puzzles since then but only got the opportunity at a try over a quiet and rainy weekend (and Robin being on vacation)! The challenge was to write an R code for deciding whether or not a given integer n is congruent or not, when congruent means that it is the surface of a rectangle triangle with all three sides rational. The question included a pointer to the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture as a mean to check congruence although the real solution was provided by Tunnell’s Theorem, which states that n is congruent if and only if the number of integer solutions to 2x²+y²+8z²=n is twice as much as the number of integer solutions to 2x²+y²+32z²=n if n is odd and  the number of integer solutions to 8x²+y²+16z²=n is twice as much as the number of integer solutions to 8x²+y²+64z²=n if n is even. Although this is only true for squared-free integers. (I actually spent more time on figuring out the exact wording of the theorem than on optimising the R code!)

My original solution

 for (i in(n:2)^2)if(n%%i<1)n=n/i
 for(x in d*b)for(y in x+f*b)for(z in g*b)

was quite naïve, as shown by the subsequent improvements by senior players, like the final (?) version of Guiseppe:

for(i in b[b>0])n=n/i^(!n%%i)

exhibiting a load of code golf tricks, from using an anonymous function to renaming functions with a single letter, to switching from integers to booleans and back with the exclamation mark.

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