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Paterson's Worms Solved by Number-Crunching

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the get-a-bigger-hammer dept.

Programming 173

An anonymous reader writes "Thirty years ago, Martin Gardner described Paterson's Worms to the world. Just recently, Benjamin Chaffin, one of the designers of the Pentium 4 chip, managed to trace a couple trillion steps of the 'unsolved' worms, and has pretty much solved all but two of them."

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173 comments

Great but (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306272)

what can I do about my worms? I was using linux for 24/7 and I crapped myself 13 times, and worms grew all over

first pr0st (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306281)

first pr0st suckers

Re:first pr0st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306345)

You fail it just like you fail everything else. YOU = FAILURE!!!

Chaffin solves Patterson's Worms... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306288)

Sounds painful...

Re:Chaffin solves Patterson's Worms... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306577)

Especially since he crunched them.

Of course, my first reaction was (1, Funny)

digital bath (650895) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306289)

...how the hell did he have the patience to step through "a couple trillion" lines of code in a worm???

Then I read the article. These worms, then - they're basically more complex versions of the Game of Life, right?

Re:Of course, my first reaction was (2, Informative)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306311)

john conmway, the other name in the opening, I believe was the inventor of life.

Re:Of course, my first reaction was (1)

flynt (248848) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306400)

john conmway, the other name in the opening, I believe was the inventor of life.

No, that was God. Wait, John Conway *is* God!

Re:Of course, my first reaction was (1)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306401)

"john conmway, the other name in the opening, I believe was the inventor of life."
Actually, I'm pretty sure that distinction goes to God. (or for us atheists, the pseudo-random synthesis of amino acids)

Re:Of course, my first reaction was (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306585)

pseudo-random indeed as every effect does have a cause and if it had an unexpected result then that is because a variable was missed in the calculation and so you can argue that it is not random at all. Not commenting on atheism, just that whatever happened, it wasn't random.

worms? (-1, Offtopic)

crumbz (41803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306291)

I remember Worms the EA game for the C-64. Apart from that, I have diarrhea.

Yuck.

Re:worms? (1)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306331)

C64? Why would you associate that game with the C64? I'm certain that the most primitive version was on the SNES, way out of the C64's league.

Only game called Worms on the C64 would have been the crappy efforts of BASIC coders creating Snake clones.

Re:worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306471)

You're either an idiot or one of those Microsoft/Intel followers who believe you should be suckered into buying the newest latest computer with bloated software....

Jackass.

Re:worms? (0)

Doomrat (615771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306579)

What the FUCK are you talking about? I live for retro. You need to learn how to draw valid conclusions from written text. I was just trying to work out why he associated the EA game Worms with a platform which it never appeared on.

Re:worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306510)

My worms clone on the C64 used 6502 assembly. BASIC was a little too slow for the task.

diarrhea like Diarrhea Girl? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306381)

Diarrhea Girl [tubgirl.com]

Re:diarrhea like Diarrhea Girl? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306478)

Tubgirl luvs the go@tse man.

trippy (4, Funny)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306295)

After reading the article, I'm left scratching my head about what this really means and how it might be useful in every day life.

The obvious answer is that the worms are psychodelic. Those are some "trippy ass worms", as can be concluded from the illustrations in the article. Those worms are on acid.

Re:trippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306312)

is that:

trippy-ass worms

or

trippy ass-worms?

I never thought in my entire life that Chaffin would solve it - I always imagined a smoothing cream would do a better job. Still, whatever floats your boat I guess.

Re:trippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306367)

Perhaps they can provide insight to some commonalities between such spontanious paterns, which can then be etched into the Silicon, vastly, or even modestly, improving performance.

Plenty of math problems started out as curiosities before applications found them.

Re:trippy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306450)

I think the worms been swimming... tequila! [baggus.nu]

Worms and computers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306349)

A good overview can be found in
B. Hayes "In search of the optimal scumsucking bottomfeeder", American Scientist vol. 91, no. 5 pp392-396 (2003)

Re:Worms and computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306889)

Are the moderators on crack or did they just fail to do a simple check on the web to see that this article exists, with a _humorous_ title, and is therefore not a troll?

Re:Worms and computers (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306901)

"In search of the optimal scumsucking bottomfeeder",

They published an article about the gay love triangle between hemos, cowboyneal, and cmdrtaco?

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306351)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Offtopic)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306370)

I've lost count. How many times has he died so far?

Re:Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 56 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306386)

and how many years now has he been 56?

It is my belief that... (4, Insightful)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306353)

Brute force is killing thought. We do not learn from randomly testing cases. The scientific method has degraded to the point of oblivion.
Apparently, Frank Herbert was wrong. Brute force is the mind killer, not fear.

Re:It is my belief that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306406)

brute strength has its place. I find a random application of undue force does wonders for my TV.

Quantum computing (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306417)

...is what will really put brute force processing to shame as we know it.

Re:Quantum computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306782)

not that you can actually build a quantum computer.

Re:It is my belief that... (5, Insightful)

dekashizl (663505) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306418)

Brute force is killing thought. We do not learn from randomly testing cases.
It is an interesting point you bring up, but I think there is a lot we can learn from brute force approaches to problem solving. Your mind, in a sense, employs brute force approaches to many of its tasks. It just so happens that the billions of cycles happen in parallel rather than in serial, and the algorithms are a bit different than the ones we're used to.

When you read this post, aside from thinking how brilliant it is, various small parts of your mind are frantically pattern matching millions of visual features simultaneously, and your "attention" is focusing a higher level consciousness onto part of that field, at which point millions of more patterns are being matched against the results of that first run, where you see letters and words, and those get matched against millions of words you've seen before, etc. etc. Brute force is everywhere around you. It is thought.

Re:It is my belief that... (4, Interesting)

DarkSarin (651985) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306483)

nah...
evidence indicates that it is not brute force that the mind uses, but rather hueristic pattern matching, followed by brute force. There is a huge difference.
It also allows for some rather incredible pattern matching and unbelievably stupid mistakes on the part of humans.

One of the more interesting things is that humans don't search for an exact fit when doing pattern recognition, they go for a "good enough" condition. (Rembeber teh atrilce on raeidng?) This actually allows for more rapid processing, but opens the door for some pretty stupid mistakes.

On the whole, though, the human mind is an incredible processor. It is also non-binary, since many nerves can exist in many different states, some of which are qualitative, and it is non-linear, and parrallel! Branches, forks, etc., are quite common, and each nerve connects to a LOT of other nerves.

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

pVoid (607584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306636)

There is brute force as a means to an end, and then there is brute force as the end.

Let me illustrate: DNA based computers (of which btw I haven't heard in a long time - Slashdot?), or even quantum computers for that matter, will generate every possible solution after which a mechanism will select the only good one.

That is brute force as an implementation, a means to an end. Because ultimately what we are trying to reach with these computers is to implement some higher level language.

I personally agree with the grand-parent post, in that science used to be about brilliant minds who would find very qualitative results by pure thought. My personal favorite was Richard Feynmann's proof of all of Kepler's gravitational laws by using simple euclidean trigonometry.

Ultimately when I was reading the article, I was left wondering: if this guy is such a hot shot, why didn't he try to prove something mathematically, or short of that make a conjecture to be proven maybe 2 centuries from now (like Fermat's last conjecture). What's the value of running billions of cycles on an FSM? It completely short circuits the thought process.

Re:It is my belief that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306419)

Hey, whoever gets there first still wins.

You are mistaken (2, Interesting)

Caractacus Potts (74726) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306421)

The brute force solving of problems can be very useful. The scientific method relies on theories, and having ample data to look at helps people understand complex systems, sparking the intuition that leads to more theories, and hopefully, more elegant solutions. I've worked on the optimization of large systems, and nothing helped me understand the processes involved as much as "brute force" simulations.

Re:You are mistaken (1)

tintruder (578375) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306879)

To some point, I agree, however "Brute Force" has the ability to yield results which are trusted based on the complexity of the algorithm and the enormous number of iterations.

This trust in the machine and the associated lack of hands-on computation and evaluation of the intermediate results (instead just wait for a result to pop out)allows faulty logic or programming to gain credibility based upon the mass of the process rather than the accuracy of the result.

If a researcher does not have the skills to perform the computations to conclusion without brute force, does the researcher necessarily have the skills to write a functional and correct algorithm? Does brute force mean the death of innovative and elegant computational innovations?

For instance, a basic calculus student learns simple integrals such as area under a curve and learns to deliver an accurate result based upon an elegant computational tool.

The same problem solved by a computer, even in simplest form, is indeed brute forced by repeated calculation of individual slices under the curve.

If the human were to use the computer's method, the calculations would run pages and pages as each slice is individually processed.

Thus does the present crop of mathmeticians pursue the elegant solution of developing methods which give acurate answers (i.e. integration) or do they look less at the theory and relationship of numbers and simply develop iterative algorithms?

This is roughly analogous to the curent state of auto repair where the technician plugs in a computer diagnostic and then replaces the component module rather than examine the car and use a developed process of logic and intuition to arrive at the result.

Pretty amazing how so much theory of mathematics was developed before electricity!!!

Re:It is my belief that... (3, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306434)

Brute force, aka trial-and-error, is what drives evolution. Brute force created the human brain, your mind, and thought.

Evolution is not brute force... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306834)

Brute force is taking all the possible combinations (e.g. all the base pair combinations in DNA) and test them *once*.

Evolution takes a small sample (the current instances of gene combinations, i.e. the current generation) and creates another small pool (the next generation) depending on a selection algorithm (survival of the fittest). Most combinations are never ever tested.

And unlike a traditional brute force approach, the same gene combination may be tested many times (in theory at least), and the selection is not deterministic (that is, the "best" individual can e.g. die by chance).

Another thing, brute force may only find the best selection if there is one such combination of genes. Contrary to that, it is likely that there'll be specializations in the gene pool (e.g. at some point, many species specialized into male and female forms, some into worker/queen etc.)

Kjella (have moderated thread, so ACing)

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

shostiru (708862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306448)

Well, yes and no.

From time to time I would pick up the original article and attempt a proof that a given worm would terminate or repeat infinitely, and not get very far, and I'd hoped someone else would succeed. And in general, I am concerned that the best AI we have often amounts to "do something extremely stupid as fast as possible and hope you get lucky".

But in this case, I'm not sure it applies. Many very simple equations produce incredible complexity when you repeat them often enough ... the canonical example I learned was

z' = cz(1-z)

(or the more familiar z' = z*z-c, which produces the Mandelbrot set if you iterate c across the complex plane and start z at 0). In some cases you can predict the type of attractor you'll wind up with (and I don't recall the taxonomy, it's been well over a decade), or what the basin of attraction will be, but in the general case you can't (as I recall that's been proven but I could be wrong, like I said it's been awhile).

So while I agree with you in general -- that brute force is a stupid way of solving problems and just goes to show how long we have to go with AI) -- Patterson's worms may fall into the set of problems for which brute force is the only approach to a solution (proof of this is left as an exercise for the reader).

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

Mooncaller (669824) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306453)

Bullshit. Kepler used brute force to derive his 13 laws of planitary motion ( 10 of wich were wrong). Newton then placed the three correct laws on a mathamatical foundation. Most of Chemistry was based on Brute Force investigations. The Edison Light Bulb was a brute force invention.

Just some examples off the top of my head. There are many more.

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

pVoid (607584) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306656)

I think you confuse observation, and sample acquisition with brute force.

I hardly doubt Kepler sat down, took his 2000 observed (x,y) planet coordinates, and started crunching on a list of rules:

x = ln y false

x = ln y^2 false

x = ln y^3 false

...

ax^2 = by^2 + k true

"EUREKA, I've found rule number 5!"

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

No_Weak_Heart (444982) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306460)

Brute force is killing thought.

If that were true, then Slashdot would be dead by now - killed off by the brute force attacks of frist potsers, rabid flamers, off-topic lamers and immeasureable quantities of unqualified stupidity.

We even won't mention the speling and graammar.

Definately [google.com] .

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

SheldonYoung (25077) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306475)

Brute force is allowing certain types of problems to be solved trivial, freeing up mathematical minds to concentrate on other problems. There is no shortage of problems for us to be clever about.

Re:It is my belief that... (2, Insightful)

Vireo (190514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306492)

In the case of cellular automata such as Patterson's worms, it is unclear if their future states can be deduced without sequentially applying the rules (brute force resolution). For some set of rules, analytical deduction alone can solve the problem, but for others, it is believed that brute force is the only way to predict what pattern will be generated. See Stephen Wolfram's book "A New Kind of Science" if the topic interests you.

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

addaon (41825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306877)

No, don't see Wolfram's book A New Kind of Science, as it's illiterate trash. But for the best non-introductory material on the subject, read Wolfram's academic works; much, much more readable, focused, and interesting.

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

the uNF cola (657200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306535)

Sometimes, brute force solves things on a small scale anyhow. It IS a valid solution.

Especially when problems are "hard", the time it takes to brute force is faster than it it is to find a better solution than you had before. Besides, for some problems, there still is a problem of proving that your solution is "best".

In programming languages, quick sort is still a very valid solution not because it has n log n best time, n^2 worst, but because they can pre-manipulate some of the stuff so the worst case is a lot better than n^2. Read up on choosing a pivot value and medians. There's a way of doing it in n time, where n is quite small and insignificant... especially while merge sort's merging code can invoke further overhead.

Re:It is my belief that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306712)

Brute force is evolution. We can understand how fire works later.

Re:It is my belief that... (1)

cookd (72933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306713)

First, he is going for the best way for him to find the solution. The objective isn't always to challenge yourself -- sometimes you actually want to solve the problem. And if you're better at programming than numerical analysis, then you're more likely to find the solution through programming.

Second, finding a good way to brute-force this solution isn't trivial. With that many billions of nodes to trace through, it takes a good bit of effort to find a way to optimize it enough for a computer to chew through in a reasonable amount of time. With almost a trillion nodes, you've got to be relatively clever to find a way to manage that much data without seriously crimping the computation speed.

Third, there are some problems that don't have any better solutions. Remember the Halting Problem? Church's thesis? That time your wife/girlfriend asked if she looked fat?

Other sites (5, Informative)

goddess_warshipr (712258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306365)

There are more pictures at Benjamin Chaffin's page. [williams.edu]
There is more information on the games and rules at Sven's page [accessv.com] , that includes a comparison of Chaffin's notation to Gardner's and a comparison of Worms to the Game of Life. [math.com]

Re:Other sites (1)

ratfynk (456467) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306443)

Here is another to take care of worms <UL> <a HREF=http://www.myvitanet.com/eardrag150ca.html</a >

Worms (-1, Troll)

FUDOH (709123) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306378)

I looked deep into her eyes, they in turn, looked deep back into me. A connection formed, my eyes lowering, gazing at her long strands of jet black hair. Her supple, milky white breasts, with perfectly shaped areola. Her firm stomach, smooth, shaped, warm, giving way to her curved hips. Her neatly trimmed pubic hair. Her long, veiny cock.

It looked back at me, as if it was a part of my soul, a part of myself. I looked back at her, a expression that seemed to ask, "Is that for me?" She nodded yes.

The penis began transforming, becoming. Black stripes appeared along the length of its shaft. It was becoming one of the sandworms from the movie Beetlejuice. It let out a guttural scream, shaking me to the very core of my soul.

I was scared. I felt my vagina dampen slightly, I was shaking in fear. But she reached out, her fingertips along my face, letting me know that there was nothing to fear.

I knew what had to be done.

I knelt down, calming myself, the sandworm screaming angrily. Then, gently, yet firmly, I took the worm in my mouth.

Sucking gently, I heard its anger subside. It began whimpering softly, then giggling. It was content. I continued to fellate the worm, feeling it reverting, becoming.

Once again, it was the long, veiny, beautiful cock. Its code cracked, its problem solved, a simple matter of fellatio. A beautiful solution to a mathematical problem, a proof of the reality of ourselves. QED

this guy's pretty damn smart (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306380)

if he can design a high-end microprocessor like that, and solve problems like this, then this dude must be some kind of vmeoiapevmanera pngr ap nijevaq iuvmepa wpe4r9238 mnvmaqpmr aoismfdap mvepame uemv apejnvn ap9vna amepv ampeauv ampcpoiwmv amxiema ivmepamv eima a slashdot sucks ampvea iepaiuvuea boobies boirea frist psot vmeapv eimuia s emve queer vmepuvemna bruioewa you must have a lot of time on your hands vmeuiavna ev948 qnvumiams amvre apmv rp vrmparmpao vramp beowulf cluster mvuieopaqvm9wemae amcpoi ioep m apom pimepajva uivemna ui nvuria

Re:this guy's pretty damn smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306770)

i can't stop laughing

Brute Force (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306391)

This isn't much of a solution, in particular he can only say that some worms "appear infinite" and he couldn't prove that two worms were identical except for being rotated by 180 degrees. While his programs would be useful to an individual studying the worms to try form conjectures regarding symmetry and halting they should not be confused with real solutions. Understanding should be the first aspect to any solution.

Re:Brute Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306488)

I wonder if the (few) worms which appear infinite can be mapped on to transcendental numbers (in some way)?

John Conway (0, Redundant)

laing (303349) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306405)

who's name is also mentioned in the article, may be the same John Conway who invented "life". Life is very similar to "worms" but is actually much simpler. It's available on just about every version of X windows as a screensaver.

Re:John Conway and the complexity of life (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306869)

Life is very similar to "worms" but is actually much simpler.

Yes it's the same Conway. And Life is certainly NOT much simpler than worms. if anything it is much more complex. Both start with a simple set of rules that lead to complex patterns, but with worms there is only a point at any one time, and the patterns are only in it's past history and the changes it has made to it's landscape, a landscape that is consumed. But life and it's variants have multiple points of dynamic change each move (generation). It can show motion in multiple locations and multiple directions at once. It shows beauty and patterns both in it's history and in it's current generation. Conway's game of life, in it's many variations, is actually more complex than worms.

Worms does look more novel, particularly in that it is usually played on a triangular or hexagon grid work, while life is usually played on a square cellular structure. By life is not limited to a 2-d squale cellular structure and more than wormes is limited to a hexagon based structure. Life could certainly be played on a hexagon cell board, as well as many other cell arangements. I expect the main reason life is predominately seen on a square cell arangement is simply because Y by Y arrays lend themself very well to playing life in software, and it is still a complex game on a simple square cellular universe.

Welcome! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306407)

I for one would like to welcome our new worm overlords.

DON'T GO TO THAT SITE - IT'S DIARHHEA GIRL (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306415)

Who...... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306451)

cares? What a stupid post. It must be a slow news week.

Re:Who...... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306517)

Who cares? Anybody who wants to be even further discouraged that all the low-hanging fruit in mathematics was plucked a hundred years ago, and that the possibility of finishing grad school in mathematics is diminishing to zero. If you want to teach college mathematics, you have to first somehow produce some sort of results leading to a Ph.D. It's not like you just "go to school" and take classes and finish according to some well-defined plan, the way high school or undergrad college works. You are expected to find some interesting and new idea. Which is so difficult in the field of mathematics anymore that it's totally depressing.

Re:Who...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306590)

all the low-hanging fruit in mathematics was plucked a hundred years ago

And a hundred years before that they were just falling on people's heads. Lucky bastards!

Re:Who...... (1)

johnny0101 (617627) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306751)

Mathematics is constantly being created to describe new (or old!) problems being run into by researchers. More mathematics has been developed in the past 100 years than in the history of mankind, and more continues to be discovered... Anyone with the insight and genius can discover something new (and i certainly do NOT claim to be one of these people). That's the way it's always been and the way it always will be. And at the risk of flaming (it's not intended to be!) you probably shouldn't be allowed to hold a PhD in math unless you truly have some insight that nobody else has.

Re:Who...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306523)

Obviously, at least one person cares or it would not be (Slashdot) news. I for one find it somewhat interesting.

Re:Who...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306548)

I for one welcome our new interesting overlords.

There's an executable... (1)

NortWind (575520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306525)

Here's an executable for Linux that draws worm tracks. Also some animated GIF's of the trail being drawn.

Re:There's an executable... (1)

NortWind (575520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306534)

Darn, I thought there'd be no need to preview! The executable [williams.edu] link.

MOD PARENT DOWN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306572)

Link is a VIRUS! It will hack your Linux!

Re:There's an executable... (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306635)

./worm_draw: error while loading shared libraries: libcxa.so.3: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Re:There's an executable... (1)

djohnsto (133220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306655)

Looks like he use icc version 6 to compile. This version of the Intel compiler had it's own libc that it linked to dynamically by default. Version 7 fixed that (switched to glibc, uses statically linked c++ libs). If you can find an install of the version 6 compiler it should work.

Re:There's an executable... (1)

NortWind (575520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306666)

I'm having that problem too! I found the library at this [zetagrid.net] site. I unpacked it, and put it in the directory with the worm draw executable, but it still can't find it. I am (as you may have guessed) a clueless newbie on Linux. I set execute priviledges on the library and the executable.

Re:There's an executable... (1)

spitzak (4019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306681)

Set the environment varialbe LD_LIBRARY_PATH to the directory the library is in.

In bash this is "export LD_LIBRARY_PATH /foo/bar"

Re:There's an executable... (1)

NortWind (575520) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306703)

So at the command prompt, should I put in this... export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/home/rjnorton/games/worms (I did "export -h" for the format.) Will this wipe out any existing library path?

Re:There's an executable... (1)

cyt0plas (629631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306872)

I don't think it does, but the environment variables are reset at logon, so it really doesn't matter. You could also probably put the library in /lib, and run ldconfig.

Next Task, Chess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306549)

I've always wondered if computers will soon be unbeatable at chess, simply because they've calculated all possible outcomes of the game and know how to always win or at least force a draw (kind of like finding out that you can always force a "cat" at tic-tac-toe). So do you think the player who moves first would always win or could the 2nd player always force a draw?

Martin Gardner is my hero (4, Interesting)

Shimmer (3036) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306573)

I devoured his columns as a boy. His simple, clear writing style made it easy to understand very sophisticated concepts. Today, I aspire to write like he did.

He is getting on in years and it's been awhile since I've seen anything new from him (either on math or junk science, his other favorite topic). His collection, The Night is Large is a great overview of his work.

Anway, it's a pleasure just to see his name and know that people are still pursuing the topics he wrote about.

-- Brian

Never made it to three. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306607)

Funniest story I've read in a while, thanks.

Whoa - I went to school with him (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306626)

Ben and I were on the track and XC team together at Williams. He was a year ahead of me. I knew that he worked at Intel, but hadn't kept in touch.

Re:Whoa - I went to school with him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306643)

That's because you didn't go run Hood-To-Coast with us. Of course little did *I* know he'd go and get posted to Slashdot, but he's got some great puzzles around his house, so it's not surprisng he'd do something cool like this.

(Plus, it's along the lines of his undergrad thesis.)

Eh, don't panic. You'll solve the stock market and someone will post about that famous "Eric Smith" guy on /. ...

Re:Whoa - I went to school with him (1)

Baggio (8432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306710)

That's not such a tough run... it's all down hill. :O

Run this on Big Mac (3, Funny)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306649)

from the article Currently my grid is about 1.57 million points on a side

If he's saying that the 2 worms hit the end of the 1.57million^2 grid, in a non-repeating pattern, that's pretty neato. We must know where it ends! Put it on Big Mac, make the grid bigger, and call it iWorms.

Multi-player worms game; anyone remember? (1)

khym (117618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306663)

A long time ago, I had a mult-player game based on this: each player would have a different colored worm, and if a worm encountered a configuration it hadn't seen before, it would prompt it's player for what to do in that situation; the game wrapped top/bottom and left/right (set on a torus), so it couldn't go on forever. It was sort of psychedelic watching the different colors spread and writhe over the screen,, and interesting to see how your rules interacted with the rules of the other players' worms. Really fun, for such a simple game.

[OT] Re:Multi-player worms game; anyone remember? (1)

Luyseyal (3154) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306831)

the game wrapped top/bottom and left/right (set on a torus)

Isn't that just a sphere? What makes it a torus?

-l

Re:Multi-player worms game; anyone remember? (1)

Trinn (523103) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306863)

If you happen to have the code, I'd like to see it, I'm curious. Perhaps you can e-mail it? This sounds like it could be developed into the kind of strategy game a friend of mine always is hoping to find.

I wonder... (1)

96804896 (700041) | more than 10 years ago | (#7306673)

I wonder what these worm trail pictures tell us about the Pentium 4 design. Can anyone identify the 64 bit extensions?

THE ANSWER IS......FORTY TWO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7306801)

but we must understand the question! perhaps it is...six times nine?
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