Population puzzle

Scott Rossi scott at tactilemedia.com
Mon Aug 25 02:27:04 EDT 2014

If I understand the challenge, the goal is to find some combination of the
numbers that adds up to 100000000.  If this isn't right, ignore the

If the above is true, then here's a brute force randomized solution that
arrives at the answer by chance, has no mathematical logic, and will
likely require multiple executions to get the answer.

[ in a button script ]

on mouseUp
   repeat 1000000
      put 0 into theTotal
      put empty into theList
      put theNumbers() into theSet
      put number of items of theSet into theCount
         put random(number of items of theSet) into itemNumber
         put item itemNumber of theSet into theNumber
         delete item itemNumber of theSet
         put theNumber & cr after theList
         add theNumber to theTotal
         if theTotal > 100000000 then exit repeat
         if theTotal = 100000000 then
             put "Solution:" & cr & theList
             exit mouseUp
         end if
      end repeat
   end repeat
   put "Solution not found" && seconds()
end mouseUp

function theNumbers
end theNumbers

Stupid, yes, but hey, it (eventually) works.


Scott Rossi
Creative Director
Tactile Media, UX/UI Design

On 8/24/14 4:52 PM, "Michael Doub" <mikedoub at gmail.com> wrote:

>I know that some of the folks on this list enjoy puzzles.   A friend sent
>me this one this afternoon and I thought it would be interesting to see
>the different approaches folks come up with and how fast it can be
>solved.   enjoyŠ
>The 2010 Census puts populations of 26 largest US metro areas at
>18897109, 12828837, 9461105, 6371773, 5965343,5946800, 5582170, 5564635,
>5268860, 4552402, 4335391, 4296250, 4224851, 4192887, 3439809, 3279833,
>3095313,2812896, 2783243, 2710489, 2543482, 2356285, 2226009, 2149127,
>2142508, and 2134411.
>Can you find a subset of these areas where a total of exactly 100,000,000
>people live, assuming the census estimates are exactly right?
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