Programming Praxis – One Million Hits

In today’s Programming Praxis exercise, our goal is to print the number 1000000 in a creative way. Let’s get started, shall we?

I decided on trying to derive the number from a piece of text. I fairly quickly settled on summing the products of the ASCII values of adjacent pairs of characters, since it’s compact code and if you end up in the neighbourhood of one million with a fairly small piece of text. The next step was to find a piece of text that would get me close enough to 1000000 so that only minimal tweaking would be needed. After trying a few dozen quotes about programming, I stumbled on the one below, which gets us to 999965, only 35 short of the target. Now of course we could just add 35 to the result and call it a day, but that didn’t strike me as very elegant; I wanted to avoid numeric literals. After several failed attempts trying to use the number of words, xor-ing all the ASCII values and bunch of others I looked at the difference between the values of the first and last character, which turned out to be 36. Jackpot. Add a pred and we have ourselves a solution.

main :: IO ()
main = print . pred $ sum (zipWith (*) q (tail q)) + head q - last q
    where q = map fromEnum "Real programmers don't comment their code, \
                           \if it was hard to write, it should be hard \
                           \to understand and harder to modify."

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