I know I've been neglecting my blogs lately. And my online forums. And FaceBook. I apologize.
I've been working on a neat little puzzle game. Not a "puzzle game" like Bejeweled or those other match-up toys. Something that actually requires a little bit of thought, like Sudoku or Griddlers, but more logic. I've got a prototype, but I'm not ready to release it just yet; I promise to let you know when it's ready.
What's taken me so long is the mathematical whirlwind I've immersed myself in. It's been delightful. (Yes, the Alpha Geek enjoys math.) For a rather minor aspect of the coding, I needed a way to sum any pair of 36 possible numbers and guarantee that the result was unique for that pair. (In mathematical terms, I needed a set such that ai + aj is distinct for all i < j.) I searched online for days before finding what I need: weak Sidon sets, also known as "well-spread sets" or S2 sets.
It turns out that nobody has published any weak Sidon sequences of any appreciable length, though. I needed to write a program to generate them.
My first try turned up a 36-member set and a 100-member set in short order. But I wanted smaller numbers, so I programmed more exhaustive search methods. One of them ran for 36 hours before Kayla decided to log me out, destroying all my progress.
So I modified the program. It now finds all well-spread sequences of a particular length chosen from the set of integers smaller than a specified maximum. And it saves its progress, so if I'm ever interrupted again, I can simply resume. I can even run on multiple computers by generating new start states (although of course I'll have to quit one of the programs manually).
When I've got my first set of sequences, I'll publish my results and my program. I just thought you should know why you haven't heard much from me.