PWC166 - Hexadecimal Words


Here we are with TASK #1 from The Weekly Challenge [#66][]. Enjoy!

The challenge

As an old systems programmer, whenever I needed to come up with a 32-bit number, I would reach for the tired old examples like 0xDeadBeef and 0xC0dedBad. I want more!

Write a program that will read from a dictionary and find 2- to 8-letter words that can be “spelled” in hexadecimal, with the addition of the following letter substitutions:

  • o0 (e.g., 0xf00d = “food”)
  • l1
  • i1
  • s5
  • t7

You can use your own dictionary or you can simply open ../../../data/dictionary.txt (relative to your script’s location in our GitHub repository) to access the dictionary of common words from Week #161.

Optional Extras (for an 0xAddedFee, of course!)

  1. Limit the number of “special” letter substitutions in any one result to keep that result at least somewhat comprehensible. (0x51105010 is an actual example from my sample solution you may wish to avoid!)
  2. Find phrases of words that total 8 characters in length (e.g., 0xFee1Face), rather than just individual words.

The questions

Is it ok to only address one of the two extras? Implementing the search for 8-characters phrases is an interesting challenge… by itself 🙄

The solution

Blunt and to the point:

  • take all words from the dictionary
  • transform into hexadecimal words, or pass if not possible
  • print

The transformation considers each character at a time:

  • letters from a to f are OK and passed as-is
  • letters that can turn into digits are transformed, unless too many transformations already occurred in which case we bail out
  • other letters make us bail out.

Raku first:

#!/usr/bin/env raku
use v6;
sub MAIN (Int :$max-subs = 8) {
   my $dict = $*PROGRAM.parent.child('../../../data/dictionary.txt');
   put '0x' ~ $_ for hexadecimal-words-from($dict, :$max-subs);

sub hexadecimal-words-from($file, :$max-subs) {
   ${hexadecimal-word($_, :$max-subs)}).grep({.defined});

sub hexadecimal-word($candidate, :$max-subs is copy = 8) {
   state %HEX-LETTERS = set('abcdef'.comb);
   state %DIGIT-FOR = < o 0 i 1 l 1 s 5 t 7 >;
   my @chars = gather for $ -> $char {
      if $char ∈ %HEX-LETTERS { take $char; next }
      return unless %DIGIT-FOR{$char}:exists;
      return if --$max-subs < 0;
      take %DIGIT-FOR{$char};
   return @chars.join('');

I like the path handling and I/O stuff out of the box. Really.

I don’t like that return gives back Nil and needs filtering with grep. There’s probably a better way to do this, but it would have felt DWIMMY.

Perl now:

#!/usr/bin/env perl
use v5.24;
use warnings;
use experimental 'signatures';
no warnings 'experimental::signatures';
use File::Spec::Functions qw< splitpath splitdir catdir catpath >;

my $max_subs = shift // 8;

my ($v, $dirs, $file) = splitpath(__FILE__);
$dirs = catdir(splitdir($dirs), split m{/}mxs, '../../../data');
$file = catpath($v, $dirs, 'dictionary.txt');
say "0x$_" for hexadecimal_words_from($file, $max_subs);

sub hexadecimal_words_from ($file, $max_subs) {
   open my $fh, '<:encoding(UTF-8)', $file or die "open('$file'): $!\n";
   map { hexadecimal_word($_, $max_subs) } <$fh>;

sub hexadecimal_word ($candidate, $max_subs = 8) {
   state $HEX_LETTERS = { map { $_ => 1 } 'a' .. 'f' };
   state $DIGIT_FOR = { qw< o 0 i 1 l 1 s 5 t 7 > };
   $candidate =~ s{\s+}{}gmxs;
   my @retval;
   for my $char (split m{}mxs, $candidate) {
      if (exists $HEX_LETTERS->{$char}) { push @retval, $char; next }
      return unless exists $DIGIT_FOR->{$char};
      return if --$max_subs < 0;
      push @retval, $DIGIT_FOR->{$char};
   return join '', @retval;

Really folks, Path::Tiny should be CORE. Whatever.

The rest is pretty much a 1:1 translation from Raku, except where it isn’t.

Awww, I’m really into explaining myself tonight!

Stay safe all!

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