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Jul 98 Prog Challenge

Volume Number: 14 (1998)
Issue Number: 7
Column Tag: Programmer's Challenge

Jul 97 Programmer's Challenge

by Bob Boonstra, Westford, MA

Going Up?

Welcome to the Programmer's Challenge Skyscraper. Your Challenge this month is to assume control of our skyscraper's elevators and efficiently move a dedicated crew of simulated employees up and down the building.

The prototype for the code you should write is:

#if defined(__cplusplus)
extern "C" {
#endif

#define kMaxFloors 500
#define kMaxElevators 100
#define kElevatorCapacity 16

typedef enum {         /* commanded action for elevator car */
  kGoingUp=1,          /* send car up one floor */
  kGoingDown,          /* send car down one floor */
  kStoppedGoingUp,     /* stop car at an intermediate floor, car going up */
  kStoppedGoingDown,   /* stop car at an intermediate floor, car going down */
  kStoppedIdle         /* stop car, car in idle state */
} CarAction;

typedef struct CarState {
  long atFloor;        /* current location of car */
  long goingToFloor[kMaxFloors];
    /* goingToFloor[i] is the number of passengers in the car is going to floor [i] */
 } CarState;

typedef Boolean (*AdvanceTimeProc) (
                      /* return value of TRUE means Elevator should exit */
  CarAction action[kMaxElevators],  /* direction you move each elevator */
  CarState newState[kMaxElevators],  /* returns new state of each elevator */
  Boolean stopsAtFloor[kMaxFloors],
     /* stopsAtFloor[i]==TRUE means elevator stops at floor i */
  Boolean callGoingUp[kMaxFloors], 
     /* callGoingUp[i]==TRUE means a passenger on floor i wants to go up */
  Boolean callGoingDown[kMaxFloors]
     /* callGoingDown[i]==TRUE means a passenger on floor i wants to go down */
);

void Elevator(
  long numFloors,     /* number of floors in our building, < kMaxFloors */
  long numElevators,  /* number of elevators in our building, <
                         kMaxElevators */
  AdvanceTimeProc AdvanceTime  /* callback to get new state */
);
#if defined(__cplusplus)
}
#endif

Your Elevator routine will be called with the number of floors (numFloors) in our simulated skyscraper, the number of elevators (numElevators) at your command, and a callback routine (AdvanceTime). You should repeatedly call AdvanceTime, commanding an action and a set of constraints (stopsAtFloor) for each elevator car and receiving back the newState of each car. AdvanceTime will also provide an indicator of whether any prospective passengers on floor i have called an elevator to take them higher (callGoingUp[i]) or lower (callGoingDown[i]).

The newState returned by AdvanceTime provides the location of each car and the number of occupants. atFloor is the floor at which the car is now located. Our elevator passengers are extraordinarily cooperative -- on entering, they all indicate their destination by pressing the button corresponding to their floor, whether or not that floor has already been selected, allowing AdvanceTime to give you an accurate count of the passengers going to floor i (goingToFloor[i]). Our passengers are also extraordinarily swift --they exit and enter in such an orderly fashion that the passenger exchange takes place in one time step.

Each call to AdvanceTime will move all the elevators one floor in the direction you indicate. If you stop the car by setting action to kStoppedGoingUp, kStoppedGoingDown, or kStoppedIdle, passengers headed for the current floor will exit and new passengers, up to kElevatorCapacity, will enter. Almost always, passengers headed to higher (or lower) floors will only enter elevators that are kStoppedGoingUp (kStoppedGoingDown) or kStoppedIdle, but occasionally someone will be confused and enter an elevator headed in the wrong direction.

You are free to run your elevators anyway you see fit, except that a car declared to be kGoingUp (or kGoingDown) needs to continue going up (or down) until all passengers headed in that direction have exited. You can designate elevators to be express elevators by setting stopsAtFloor[i] to be FALSE for floors where this elevator does not stop. Passengers will only enter cars that will stop at their intended destination. You can change the stopsAtFloor values at any time, but you need to be careful not to strand passengers -- you can command the car to stop at any time, but the door will only open at floor i if stopsAtFloor[i] is TRUE.

The objective of this Challenge is to deliver passengers to their destinations as expeditiously as possible. You incur a cost of one point for each passenger for each time step from the time s/he presses the call button until the time s/he exits the elevator. You also incur one point for each 10 milliseconds of execution time, including the time spent by AdvanceTime. Stranding a passenger inside an elevator or not responding to an elevator call button results in disqualification of your solution. The solution that incurs the fewest points wins the Challenge. There are no storage constraints for this Challenge, except that it must execute on my 96MB 8500/200.

The Challenge will simulate a normal workday in our simulated skyscraper. People arrive at the beginning of the day either by entering the parking garage at floor 0 or by walking into the main entrance at floor 1. They work in approximately equal numbers on floors 2 through numFloors-1. During the day, they move about the building as necessary. Somewhere in the middle of the day, most of them take a lunch break, either at the cafeteria on floor 2 or by leaving the building. Nearly everyone leaves the building at the end of the day. However, as advanced as our elevators are, they don't have a clock, so you'll have to establish your strategy without knowing the time of day.

This will be a native PowerPC Challenge, using the latest CodeWarrior environment. Solutions may be coded in C, C++, or Pascal. Ernst Munter wins two Challenge points for suggesting this problem, way back in November, 1996.

Three Months Ago Winner

Congratulations to Sebastian Maurer for submitting the winning entry to the April Mancala Challenge. Sebastian won a round-robin tournament whose object was to efficiently capture the most stones in a variant of the ancient game of Mancala. In our variant of the game, the number of bowls ranged from 8 to 32, instead of the traditional 14, and players were allowed to move in either the clockwise or counter-clockwise directions. Congratulations also to JG Heithcock, whose solution actually captured more stones than Sebastian's did, but used better than 50% more execution time to do so. Both of the top solutions used an alpha-beta minmax technique to identify the best move, but Sebastian's heuristic for pruning the tree, combined with the time penalty of one stone per 100ms of execution time, gave him the higher overall score. Sebastian gained a little extra efficiency by partitioning his code into two parallel versions, one for playing first and another for playing second.

Twelve people submitted Mancala solutions, and eleven of those solutions participated in the tournament. (One solution occasionally made illegal moves, so it was eliminated to avoid unevenly affecting the scores of the other players.) The tournament consisted of seven test cases, with board sizes of 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 bowls. Each solution played against each other solution twice in each test case, once playing first, and once playing second. The top solutions all used some variant of the minmax algorithm, while the lower ranking solutions used simpler heuristics, like always favoring moves that dropped the last stone into their mancala.

The table below lists the results of the tournament, with the solutions ranked in order of total points earned. It lists total execution time for the tournament, the total number of stones captured, the solution rank if execution time had been ignored, total points earned, as well as code size, data size, and programming language used. As usual, the number in parentheses after the entrant's name is the total number of Challenge points earned in all Challenges to date prior to this one.

NameTime (secs)Cum StonesRank (stones)Cum PointsCode SizeData SizeLang
Sebastian Maurer (10)54.1614764214222.403488136C
JG Heithcock85.3714897114043.26178448C++
Ken Krugler97.4514627313652.464288308C++
Randy Boring (73)59.9014055413456.028048824C
Eric Kenninga21.1013399513187.9914584894C++
Willeke Rieken (47)3.6311667611630.7440888C++
Simon Jensen-Fellows0.3311512711508.6833646147C, Res
Dennis Jones (10)2.7610383910355.412556125C++
Eric Hangstefer (9)0.05102521010251.543724124C
Ernst Munter (362)104.7611178810130.42791613C++
Josh Cooley0.279446119443.29222864C
K. H.0.00Errors120.003772104C++

Top Contestants

Here are the Top Contestants for the Programmer's Challenge, including everyone who has accumulated more than 10 points during the past two years. The numbers below include points awarded over the 24 most recent contests, including points earned by this month's entrants.

  1. Munter, Ernst 210 points
  2. Boring, Randy 70 points
  3. Cooper, Greg 61 points
  4. Mallett, Jeff 50 points
  5. Rieken, Willeke 47 points
  6. Nicolle, Ludovic 34 points
  7. Lewis, Peter 31 points
  8. Maurer, Sebastian 30 points
  9. Gregg, Xan 24 points
  10. Murphy, ACC 24 points
  11. Hart, Alan 21 points
  12. Antoniewicz, Andy 20 points
  13. Day, Mark 20 points
  14. Higgins, Charles 20 points
  15. Hostetter, Mat 20 points
  16. Studer, Thomas 20 points

There are three ways to earn points: (1) scoring in the top 5 of any Challenge, (2) being the first person to find a bug in a published winning solution or, (3) being the first person to suggest a Challenge that I use. The points you can win are:

1st place 20 points
2nd place 10 points
3rd place 7 points
4th place 4 points
5th place 2 points
finding bug 2 points
suggesting Challenge 2 points

Here is Sebastian's winning solution to the Mancala Challenge:

Mancala.C
Copyright 1998, Sebastian M. Maurer

#include <stdio.h>
#include "Mancala.h"

enum { kDefault, kPlayAgain, kGameOver };
typedef long StateOfGame;

// There are two versions of almost every routine
// so we don't have to decide at run time
// which side to play on. It speeds things up a
// little bit
// AlphaBeta1 and AlphaBeta2 are the recursive searchers
// for each of the two players. They return the value of
// best move (returned in *chosenBowl, *chosenDirection).
// For a description of Minimax and Alphabeta searches,
// see Peter Norvig's
// "Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming"

#define kMaxSignedLong    0x7FFFFFFF

Prototypes
long AlphaBeta1(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  /* any big negative number to enter recursion */
  long upperBound      
  /* any big positive number to enter recursion */
);

long AlphaBeta2(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  long upperBound
);

// DropStones -- play the move
// Return true if we get to play again

Boolean DropStones1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

Boolean DropStones2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

// SideEmpty returns true if the side is empty
// (and the game is over)

Boolean FirstSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long halfBoardSize
);

Boolean SecondSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize
);
// Moves all the remaining stones
// to the appropriate Mancala

void RemainingToMancala(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
);

// DoMove Drops the stones, checks if the game
// is over (if so, cleans up the board), and
// returns kGameOver, kPlayAgain, or kDefault
StateOfGame DoMove1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

StateOfGame DoMove2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
);

// Called only once from
// within Mancala
Boolean ClaimingVictory(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
);

Mancala
Boolean Mancala(        /* return true if claiming victory */
  long board[]          /* on entry, board[i] is number of stones in bowl i */
                      /* on exit, board reflects the results of your move */
  const long boardSize,  /* number of bowls in the board, including mancalas */
  void *privStorage,    /* pointer to 1MB of storage for your use */
  const Boolean newGame,  /* true for your first move of a game */
  const Boolean playerOne,  /* true when you are the first player */
  long *bowlPlayed,        /* return the number of the bowl you played from */
  long *directionPlayed    /* return 1 if you played counter-clockwise, */
                        /* return -1 if you played clockwise */
)
{
#pragma unused(newGame)
  // Q&D way to decide how far to search
  // so that we don't lose too much time
  long depth;
  switch (boardSize)
  {
    case 8: depth = 10; break;
    case 10: depth = 8; break;
    case 12:
    case 14: depth = 6; break;
    case 16: 
    case 18: depth = 5; break;
    case 20: 
    case 22: 
    case 24: 
    case 26: depth = 4; break;
    case 28: 
    case 30: 
    case 32: depth = 3; break;
    default: depth = 1; break;
  }

  // Start recursion and play move
  if (playerOne) {
    AlphaBeta1(depth, board, (long*)privStorage,
      boardSize, bowlPlayed, directionPlayed,
      -kMaxSignedLong, kMaxSignedLong);
    DropStones1(board, boardSize,
      *bowlPlayed, *directionPlayed);
  }
  else
  {
    AlphaBeta2(depth, board, (long*)privStorage,
      boardSize, bowlPlayed, directionPlayed,
      -kMaxSignedLong, kMaxSignedLong);
    DropStones2(board, boardSize,
      *bowlPlayed, *directionPlayed);
  }
  
  // Correct to proper convention
  *directionPlayed = - (*directionPlayed);
  return ClaimingVictory(board, boardSize, playerOne);
}

AlphaBeta1
long AlphaBeta1(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  long upperBound
)
{
  long myMancala, hisMancala, firstBowl, halfBoardSize;
  long bowl, dir, value, bestBowl, bestDir;
  long *workingBoard;
  
  halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;
  workingBoard = boardStorage + depth * boardSize;
  myMancala = 0;
  hisMancala = halfBoardSize;
  firstBowl = 1;
  
  for (bowl = firstBowl; bowl < hisMancala; bowl++)
    if (board[bowl] > 0)
    {
      StateOfGame result;
      long i;

      dir = -1;

      // The following trick speeds the whole program
      // up by about 1 percent... take it or leave it
      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];
        
      result = DoMove1(workingBoard, boardSize,
                bowl, dir);
      if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -
              workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }

      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }

      dir = 1;

      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];
        
      result = DoMove1(workingBoard, boardSize, bowl, dir);
      if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -                   workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }

      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }
      
    }
  
  *chosenBowl = bestBowl;
  *chosenDirection = bestDir;
  return lowerBound;
}

AlphaBeta2
long AlphaBeta2(
  long depth,
  long board[],
  long *boardStorage,
  const long boardSize,
  long *chosenBowl,
  long *chosenDirection,
  long lowerBound,
  long upperBound
)
{
  long myMancala, hisMancala, firstBowl, halfBoardSize;
  long bowl, dir, value, bestBowl, bestDir;
  long *workingBoard;
  
  halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;

  workingBoard = boardStorage + depth * boardSize;
  myMancala = halfBoardSize;
  hisMancala = 0;
  firstBowl = myMancala + 1;
  for (bowl = firstBowl; bowl < boardSize; bowl++)
    if (board[bowl] > 0)
    {
      long i, result;

      dir = -1;

      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];
      
      result = DoMove2(workingBoard, boardSize,
                bowl, dir);
    if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -
              workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }
      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }
      
      dir = 1;
      
      for (i = 0; i < halfBoardSize; i++)
        ((double*)workingBoard)[i] =
          ((double*)board)[i];

      result = DoMove2(workingBoard, boardSize,
                bowl, dir);
      if ((depth == 0) || (result == kGameOver))
        value = workingBoard[myMancala] -
              workingBoard[hisMancala];
      else
      {
        if (result == kPlayAgain)
          value = AlphaBeta2(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                lowerBound, upperBound);
        else
          value = - AlphaBeta1(
                depth - 1, workingBoard,
                boardStorage, boardSize,
                chosenBowl, chosenDirection,
                - upperBound, - lowerBound);
      }

      if (value > lowerBound)
      {
        bestBowl = bowl;
        bestDir = dir;
        lowerBound = value;
        if (lowerBound >= upperBound)
          break;
      }

    }
  
  *chosenBowl = bestBowl;
  *chosenDirection = bestDir;
  return lowerBound;
}

DropStones1
/***
Boolean DropStones()
Drops stones, return true if we get to play again
***/

inline Boolean DropStones1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  long myMancala, hisMancala, firstBowl, lastBowl;
  long stonesInHand, nextBowl;

  myMancala = 0;
  hisMancala = boardSize / 2;
  firstBowl = 1;
  lastBowl = hisMancala - 1;

  stonesInHand = board[bowlPlayed];
  board[bowlPlayed] = 0;
  nextBowl = bowlPlayed;
  /* Drop stones */
  while (stonesInHand > 0) {
    nextBowl += directionPlayed;
    
    if (nextBowl == hisMancala)
      nextBowl += directionPlayed;
    else
    {
      if (nextBowl < 0)
        nextBowl = boardSize - 1;
      else
        if (nextBowl == boardSize)
          nextBowl = 0;
    }
    board[nextBowl] += 1;
    stonesInHand -= 1;
  }
  
  /* Perform capture */
  if ((board[nextBowl] == 1) &&
    (nextBowl >= firstBowl) &&
    (nextBowl <= lastBowl))
  {
    board[nextBowl] = 0;
    board[myMancala] += 
      (1 + board[boardSize - nextBowl]);
    board[boardSize - nextBowl] = 0;
  }
  
  /* Return true if get to play again */
  return (nextBowl == myMancala);
}

DropStones2
inline Boolean DropStones2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  long myMancala, firstBowl, lastBowl;
  long stonesInHand, nextBowl;

  myMancala = boardSize / 2;
  firstBowl = myMancala + 1;
  lastBowl = boardSize - 1;

  stonesInHand = board[bowlPlayed];
  board[bowlPlayed] = 0;
  nextBowl = bowlPlayed;
  /* Drop stones */
  while (stonesInHand > 0) {
    nextBowl += directionPlayed;
    
    if (nextBowl <= 0)
      nextBowl = boardSize - 1;
    else
      if (nextBowl == boardSize)
        nextBowl = 1;
    board[nextBowl] += 1;
    stonesInHand -= 1;
  }
  
  /* Perform capture */
  if ((board[nextBowl] == 1) &&
    (nextBowl >= firstBowl) &&
    (nextBowl <= lastBowl))
  {
    board[nextBowl] = 0;
    board[myMancala] +=
      (1 + board[boardSize - nextBowl]);
    board[boardSize - nextBowl] = 0;
  }
  
  /* Return true if get to play again */
  return (nextBowl == myMancala);
}

FirstSideEmpty
/*
Boolean FirstSideEmpty()
Checks to see if first side has no stones left in it
*/
inline Boolean FirstSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long halfBoardSize
) 
{
  long bowl;
  for(bowl = halfBoardSize - 1; bowl > 0; bowl--)
    if (board[bowl] != 0)
      return false;
  return true;
}


SecondSideEmpty
/*
Boolean SecondSideEmpty()
Checks to see if first side has no stones left in it
*/
inline Boolean SecondSideEmpty(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize
) 
{
  long bowl;
  long halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;
  for(bowl = boardSize - 1; bowl > halfBoardSize; bowl--)
    if (board[bowl] != 0)
      return false;
  return true;
}

RemainingToMancala
/*
void RemainingToMancala()
Moves remaining stones on specified side into Mancala
*/
inline void RemainingToMancala(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
)
{
  long mancala, firstBowl, lastBowl, bowl;

  if (playerOne) {
    mancala = 0;
    firstBowl = 1;
    lastBowl = boardSize / 2 - 1;
  } else {
    mancala = boardSize / 2;
    firstBowl = boardSize / 2 + 1;
    lastBowl = boardSize - 1;
  }  
  
  for(bowl = firstBowl; bowl <= lastBowl; bowl++)
  {
    board[mancala] += board[bowl];
    board[bowl] = 0;
  }
}


DoMove1
/***
StateOfGame DoMove()
Drops the specified stones and cleans up the board 
if the game is over.
***/

inline StateOfGame DoMove1(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  Boolean getToPlayAgain;

  getToPlayAgain = DropStones1(board, boardSize,
            bowlPlayed, directionPlayed);

  if (FirstSideEmpty(board, boardSize / 2)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, false);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (SecondSideEmpty(board, boardSize)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, true);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (getToPlayAgain)
    return kPlayAgain;
  else
    return kDefault;
}

DoMove2
inline StateOfGame DoMove2(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  long bowlPlayed,
  long directionPlayed
)
{
  Boolean getToPlayAgain;
  
  getToPlayAgain = DropStones2(board, boardSize,
            bowlPlayed, directionPlayed);

  if (FirstSideEmpty(board, boardSize / 2)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, false);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (SecondSideEmpty(board, boardSize)) {
    RemainingToMancala(board, boardSize, true);
    return kGameOver;
  }
  
  if (getToPlayAgain)
    return kPlayAgain;
  else
    return kDefault;
}

ClaimingVictory
/* Boolean ClaimingVictory()
  Only called before returning from Mancala
  Does not clean up the board
*/
Boolean ClaimingVictory(
  long board[],
  const long boardSize,
  const Boolean playerOne
)
{
  long bowl;
  long sum = 0;
  long halfBoardSize = boardSize / 2;
  
  if (FirstSideEmpty(board, halfBoardSize))
  {
    for (bowl = halfBoardSize + 1;
        bowl < boardSize; bowl++)
      sum += board[bowl];
    if (playerOne)
      return board[0] > (sum + board[halfBoardSize]);
    else
      return board[0] < (sum + board[halfBoardSize]);
  }
  if (SecondSideEmpty(board, boardSize))
  {
    for (bowl = 1; bowl < halfBoardSize; bowl++)
      sum += board[bowl];
    if (playerOne)
      return (board[0] + sum) > board[halfBoardSize];
    else
      return (board[0] + sum) < board[halfBoardSize];
  }
  return false;
}
 

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Paragraphs is an app just for writers. It was built for one thing and one thing only: writing. It gives you everything you need to create brilliant prose and does away with the rest. Features... Read more
VueScan 9.5.70 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
TextSoap 8.3.2 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
ForkLift 3.0 - Powerful file manager: FT...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more
Amazon Chime 4.0.5528 - Amazon-based com...
Amazon Chime is a communications service that transforms online meetings with a secure, easy-to-use application that you can trust. Amazon Chime works seamlessly across your devices so that you can... Read more
Sparkle 2.1.0 - $79.99
Sparkle will change your mind if you thought building websites wasn't for you. Sparkle is the intuitive site builder that lets you create sites for your online portfolio, team or band pages, or... Read more
Bookends 12.7.9 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more

Fantasy MMORPG MU Origin’s receives a hu...
Developer Webzen are looking to take their highly popular fantasy battler MU Origin to the next level this month, with its most ambitious overhaul yet. The latest update introduces the long sought after Server Arena, new treasure dungeons, and much... | Read more »
RPG Djinn Caster (Games)
RPG Djinn Caster 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: SPECIAL PRICE 38% OFF(USD 7.99 -> USD 4.99)!!!A Fantasy Action RPG of far foreign lands! Summon the Djinns and rise to... | Read more »
Alto's Odyssey gets its first trail...
There's finally video evidence of Alto's Odyssey, the follow up to the 2015 App Store hit, Alto's Adventure. It looks just as soothing and atmospheric as Alto's last outing, but this time players will be journeying to the desert. Whereas Alto's... | Read more »
Last week on Pocket Gamer
What’s going on in the wider world of portable gaming? Each week we ask that question of our sister website Pocket Gamer. The PG team covers iOS gaming, just like 148Apps, but it also strays into the world of Android games and handheld consoles... | Read more »
Pokémon GO Generation 2 evolution guide
At long last, Niantic Labs finally unleashed the Generation 2 Pokémon into the wild. Pokémon GO trainers are scrambling to grab up this new set of 80 Pokémon. There are some special new tricks required to catch all of these new beasties, though.... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
It feels as though the New Year got off to a creaking start as far as mobile games go, but that's changed over the past few weeks. The last few days alone have seen the debut of a number of wonderful games, so we thought we'd take the time to... | Read more »
Recruit more scallywags and discover new...
Get ready to show off your sea legs all over again in Oceans & Empires’ new grand update, which aims to make the act of rising to the role of seven seas ruler even more fresh and appealing, thanks to a richness of new content on both iOS and... | Read more »
Mage the Ascension: Refuge (Games)
Mage the Ascension: Refuge 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The groundbreaking roleplaying game Mage: The Ascension manifests in our turbulent present with Refuge, an... | Read more »
Vampire: Prelude (Games)
Vampire: Prelude 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The classic roleplaying game Vampire: The Masquerade returns to digital games with a Prelude of things to come. Experience a... | Read more »
Digby Forever Guide: How to dig to the d...
Digby Forever is a sparkling homage to arcade classics, and while you may be tiring of the number of arcade games being thrown at you, this endless digger finds many ways to stand out from the rest of the pack. The game manages to be challenging... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

QuickerTek Announces 5TB Apple AC AirPort Tim...
QuickerTek Inc. has announced their new 5TB hard drive upgrade for Apple’s AC AirPort Time Capsule. By customer request, this upgrade also features six external antennas and offers the highest... Read more
Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available f...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 21″ & 27″ iMacs available for up to $350 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: - 21″ 3.... Read more
Apple offering Certified Refurbished Series 1...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished Series 1 and Series 2 Apple Watches for 14-16% off MSRP, starting at $229. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each watch. Shipping is free: Series... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $50
B&H Photo has the 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $50 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for $200-$250...
Newegg has the 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook (sku MLH82LL/A) on sale for $1349.99 including free shipping. Their price is $250 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model.... Read more
13-inch 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro on sale...
Adorama has the non-Touch Bar 13″ 2.0GHz Space Gray MacBook Pro in stock today for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray... Read more
13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for $1...
B&H Photo has select 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and up to $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar MacBook... Read more
KSI-1802R SX Disinfect-able Keyboard With Wav...
KSI has unveiled a new, innovative medical keyboard, the KSI-1802R SX, at HIMSS 2017, running February 19-22 in Orlando, Florida. KSI-1802R SX is the only keyboard that combines dual factor... Read more
15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up...
Amazon has 15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP including free shipping: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Space Gray: $2720.38 $79 off MSRP - 15″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: -... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and Read more
*Apple* Technician - nfrastructure (United S...
Let’s Work Together Apple Technician This position is based in Portland, ME Life at nfrastructure At nfrastructure, we understand that our success results from our Read more
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