The degree I do at Warwick is very theory-heavy, in that we learn a lot of algorithms, techniques and equations, but put very little of it into practice. I quite enjoy the theory part of it, but it’s always fun to do the implementation (after all, isn’t the general perception of Computer Science that it’s a degree in programming?). Today, I got one of those wonderful moments where the theory is put into practice outside of the modules, when I had to implement Bresenham’s line drawing algorithm as part of our group project. For some reason, I found this really exciting! Of course, I had to look up how to do it, even though the module was only last year…
Wow, long time, no update, sorry! Expect a full update soon, but for now, here’s a project I’ve been working on over the last few days. It’s a Twitter mashup called Twipestry (Twitter + Tapestry), which produces a patchwork of images based on keywords extracted from tweets. It’s quite good fun! Enjoy!
Wow, I’ve kind of neglected this haven’t I? Sorry!
I’ve been really busy recently with my project. I’ve been having loads of issues with Seg Faults and Memory Leaks and the like taking up pretty much all my time. I’ll post up a lovely debrief once it’s all over and done with. There’s about 5 weeks til the presentations, by which point everything needs to be working, so it’s time to get into serious panic mode. There’s plenty to do yet, but I’m sure it’ll get there.
Walking home from uni today I had the strange desire to build a web app. I’ve done very little web work in a good while, besides a small flash game which I will be unleashing soon hopefully. I’d quite like to get a good start done on one of the various ideas I have for Imaginary Roots or Slicecake, but just don’t have the time. I’ll have to hope this enthusiasm doesn’t dwindle over the next few weeks!
I’ve been listening to a lot of Jazz Fusion recently, mostly Metro and Greg Howe. Does anyone happen to know any really good Jazz/Jazz Fusion guitar teachers around? I’d love to take some with Greg Howe, but can’t really afford the $75 an hour fee. Still, it would probably be much better than lessons I’d get anywhere else.
I ran some simulations over the weekend, and I’ve found some interesting statistics I thought I’d share with you.
After 10,000 simulated games, the average number of moves per game was 23, and the average number of choices per move (i.e. the number of moves you could actually make at each move) is around 970. This means that a graph which stored all possible configurations of the board would contain around 970^23 nodes (ignoring repetitions). That’s huge! As a contrast, chess (which is considered pretty damned hard to solve) has on average 57 moves per game (from a quick Google search, this may be inaccurate) and has a branching factor of around 35, making a graph of size 35^57.
What have I gotten myself into?!
One deadline out of the way! We had to hand in the specification last Thursday, and so here’s a bit of an update on where I am with the project.
Firstly, the goals of the project. Mainly, this is going to be a reasearch project, and so I will be looking a lot into the existing methodologies in computer based Scrabble agents, and trying to extend them where I can. The goals of the project are going to be to:
After doing this, I will hopefully find the time to attempt to generalise the findings to games of the same classification to Scrabble (imperfect information games), but this is more of a pie-in-the-sky objective.
I used LaTeX to produce the specification report, and I have to say it’s proved invaluable. It makes document production so much easier, I will definitely be using it in the future. I’ve been a bit soft and have started using TeX Shop, which takes a lot of the headache out of it (syntax highlighting, a few useful macros, and pdf production in a handy little button). Give it a go!
Update: I’ve just looked back at this, and it’s amazing how the project evolved from these somewhat optimistic initial objectives. But I suppose the majority of projects have the same form of evolution.
We’ve just reached 100 users on the Blaccu Weather Report Facebook App! How cool is that? I honestly didn’t think anyone would use it when I made it, so it’s really cool that people are actually adding it. Thanks guys!
In other news, I’ve set up an RSS feed for this blog, incase any of you out there are interested enough to keep up with what’s going on. You can view the feed either by using the RSS icon at the top of the Blog pages, or by clicking here.
I’ve just put up a new project I’ve been working on for a while (almost a year, infact…). It’s a small Flash app which randomly generates and then lets you edit a picture in the style of Piet Mondrian and his famous compositions. At some point in the near future I hope to add in the functionality to let you save the images you make, but haven’t got around to it yet.
I hope you like it!
I’ve made the facebook app – you can sign up to it here. It’s pretty basic at the moment, and I need to do a lot of research into how to get the weather to properly update on the profile page, but it works alright for now. The main issue is with automatic updates on the profile page. As far as I can see, there are two main options: 1. Flash – however this requires you to click the ‘click to play’ image before it begins to load 2. Ajax – however I don’t think they let you call an Ajax request when it loads, so it has to be triggered. Hopefully there is a way around it on the Ajax front. If not it’s quite disappointing – I’m sure FB would have their reasons for disallowing this, but it is very disabling for those of us developing apps that really need the info on the profile page to be dynamic. There is much reasearch to be done here, methinks.
I’ve just spent some time re-doing the Blaccu Weather Report. It now uses the Google Weather API (details of which can be found here), which, although is much neater than the Yahoo! one, doesn’t have a defined set of return states, which made generating the Oli phrases a tad more difficult. I’ve gone by the icon it returns, and unfortunately cannot find a directory listing for the icons directory, so will have to hope I’ve got them all! I’ll be keeping an eye out for other icons that I’ve missed, but hopefully there won’t be many. As well as that, it now attempts to guess your location using the NetGeo Database, which is very cool, but could do with turning the result of the queries into a nice XML or JSON format. Apparently there’s a Pear package that does this querying for you (quite why, since it’s just an HTTP GET request and then some minor parsing, I don’t know), which I suppose might be a nice thing to look into if you’re planning on using this for anything more substantial. And now, to plan the Facebook app!