RogerBW's Blog

The Weekly Challenge 223: Counting Boxes 02 July 2023

I’ve been doing the Weekly Challenges. The latest involved prime counting and list selections. (Note that this ends today.)

Task 1: Count Primes

You are given a positive integer, $n.

Write a script to find the total count of primes less than or equal to the given integer.

It's been a while since we had a prime number problem - I think the last one was #198 part 2, which in fact is nearly the same challenge. The languages in my chosen collection that have prime number generation readily available are Ruby (in core) and Perl (via Math::Prime::Utils); for everything else I've written a lightly optimised sieve of Eratosthenes, which by its nature finds all primes with a given upper bound.

(Yes, including Raku - which has is-prime, but running that on every number is a lot slower.)


use Math::Prime::Util qw(primes);

sub countprimes($l) {
  return scalar @{primes($l)};

Task 2: Box Coins

You are given an array representing box coins, @box.

Write a script to collect the maximum coins until you took out all boxes. If we pick box[i] then we collect the coins $box[i-1] * $box[i] * $box[i+1]. If $box[i+1] or $box[i-1] is out of bound then treat it as 1 coin.`

A slightly tricky parse, but it made sense with the examples. In each loop, pick one entry in the list. Add to the running total the product of that entry and its two neighbours. Remove that entry (but not the neighbours).

I found this quite reminiscent of 221 part 2 (a search that involves dropping each member in turn from the successor list), though this time I want to be exhaustive, so I use a depth-first search for simplicity. (Also, 221 was the challenge for which I skipped several of my usual languages.)

I'm a bit sloppy about defining extra variables here. Also some languages get Pair and similar types rather than an array with disparate elements.


function boxcoins(ints) {
    let mx = 0;
    let stack = [ [ ints, 0 ] ];
    while (stack.length > 0) {
        const x = stack.pop();
        const t = x[0];
        const tot = x[1];
        if (tot > mx) {
            mx = tot;
        for (let i = 0; i < t.length; i++) {
            let p = t[i];
            if (i > 0) {
                p *= t[i - 1];
            if (i < t.length - 1) {
                p *= t[i + 1];
            const stot = tot + p;
            let tt = [];
            for (let ix = 0; ix < t.length; ix++) {
                if (i != ix) {
            stack.push([tt, stot]);
    return mx;

if (boxcoins([3, 1, 5, 8]) == 167) {
} else {
process.stdout.write(" ");
if (boxcoins([1, 5]) == 10) {
} else {

Full code on github.

See also:
The Weekly Challenge 198: Count Max

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