There's No Hiding For Waldo Once You've Mastered This Algorithm
by N/A, 9 years ago |
2 min read
You've probably never thought of "Where's Waldo?" as much of a strategic game, but the development of this algorithm might change your mind.
Randy Olson may have perfected the science of finding Waldo. He's a Ph.D. student studying computer science at Michigan State University. On his website, he tackles data analysis problems on a weekly basis and moderates a data visualization subreddit. The problem he wanted to work on recently is a common one, Where's Waldo?
Despite this distinctive outfit, Waldo, from the book series "Where's Waldo?" has always been a bit of an elusive character until now.
An illustration created by Slate plots the 68 locations of Waldo from 7 editions of the book. Using that data, Olson recreated the illustration.
Olson then created something called a kernel density estimate. This is used to make inferences about a population.
Olson then began to look at the problem of finding Waldo as a traveling salesman problem. He wanted to figure out how to check every location possible in the shortest time imaginable without any backtracking.
Olson then developed an optimal search method. This is your best bet at finding Waldo. Start at the bottom left of the page, then move to the upper quarter of the right page and try the bottom right half of the right page last.
Can you find Waldo?