In order that we should understand things fully, the winter of ninety forty-one was given to us as a measure.

Konstantin Simonov, as quoted in 'Leningrad' by Anna Reid

In order that we should understand things fully, the winter of ninety forty-one was given to us as a measure.

Konstantin Simonov, as quoted in 'Leningrad' by Anna Reid

Posted in: Opinion

[It is like] shearing a piglet…a lot of squealing and very little wool

Vladimir Putin, quoted by The Economist in 'Travels and travails'

Posted in: Opinion

Infinite monkeys impractical - seeking talented developers instead

Austin Digital (GE Aviation) job ad title

Posted in: Opinion

I had a log file containing sequences of operations descriptions like this:

/* DBLoadSchema 2013-06-21T15:01:46.222-04:00 . . .

and I needed to extract just the name (‘DBLoadSchema’) and date-time of each operation, plus their line number within the log file.

The ‘standard’ way would be to use a loop processing all the lines one by one, using some variables to keep track of the current state: ‘found /*’, ‘found operation name XXX’ etc. – a state machine.

The scripting language I use now is mostly F# – but using mutable variables to keep track of the state like that feels ‘wrong’ in a functional language like F# – a solution without mutable variables would be preferable.

Half-remembering something I read in a blog (or maybe was a book?) I came up with using separate functions – each representing a state of the state machine – that simply call each other to transition between states:

let rec processStart (log: StreamReader) lineNumber = if log.EndOfStream then Seq.empty else let line = log.ReadLine() let lineNumber = lineNumber + 1 if line="/*" then processStartComment log lineNumber else processStart log lineNumber and processStartComment (log: StreamReader) lineNumber = if log.EndOfStream then Seq.empty else let line = log.ReadLine() let lineNumber = lineNumber + 1 processProc (line.Trim()) log lineNumber and processProc procName (log: StreamReader) lineNumber = if log.EndOfStream then Seq.empty else let line = log.ReadLine() let lineNumber = lineNumber + 1 let dateTimeString = line.Trim() let (ok, dateTime) = DateTime.TryParse(dateTimeString) seq { if ok then yield (lineNumber, procName, dateTime) yield! processStart log lineNumber }

The source stream and the current line number are passed as a parameter to each function, and the state variables are parameters as well – in this case just the name of the operation, that is passed from ‘processStartComment’ to ‘processProc’. The functions return the result as a sequence of triplets line number, operation name, operation date-time. To process a log file simply open it and call ‘processStart’:

let filterLog (path: string) = use log = new StreamReader(path) processStart log 1

All in all this ‘functional’ way requires a little bit to get used to – coming from a procedural background – but looks much simpler to use, especially if the state machine gets more complex. The use of sequences is nice as well: once you have a sequence of the parsed values it is easy to create pipelines to do further processing.

Posted in: Programming

I think he was taken aback. (He might not have been. It can be hard to tell with engineers.)

Frances Woolley in 'The lunch problem'

Posted in: Opinion

He has a great work ethic when he is in the mood

My wife

Posted in: Opinion

As explained previously, the current algorithm does not handle collisions of multiple balls at the same time. I found a solution for a double collision, and I am pretty sure that there is no single solution for more complex cases using only conservation laws and the coefficient of restitution formula – but I still have to prove it. Of course there would be a solution modeling the actual physics of the collisions – a problem for another day.

..or more formally: elastic collision of three spheres in two dimensions

Ball 0 – with velocity \((v_0,w_0)\), hits at the same time ball 1 and ball 2 – that have velocities \((v_1, w_1)\) and \((v_2, w_2)\) respectively.

Projecting the velocity \((v_0,w_0)\) onto the lines connecting the center of ball 0 with the centers of balls 1 and 2 gives the velocity components \(q_{01}\) and \(q_{02}\). Projecting the velocity \((v_1,w_1)\) onto the line connecting the center of ball 0 with the center of ball 1 and onto its perpendicular through the center of ball 1 gives the velocity components \(q_1\) and \(p_1\). Doing the same thing for ball 2 gives the velocity components \(q_2\) and \(p_2\).

Here is the drawing:

As usual, balls are not spinning and there is no ball-ball friction, so the forces between balls are only along the lines connecting the center of ball 0 with the centers of balls 1 and 2. This means that the velocity components perpendicular to those lines are the same before and after the collision:

$$ p’_1 = p_1 $$

$$ p’_2 = o_2 $$

(indicating with a prime the velocities after the collision), whereas the velocity components along those lines are related by the coefficient of restitution formula:

$$ q’_{01} – q’_1 = c(q_1 – q_{01}) $$

$$ q’_{02} – q’_2 = c(q_2 – q_{02}) $$

Let’s not use trigonometry this time. The projection of a velocity onto the line connecting the center of two ball is the scalar product of the velocity with the unit vector pointing from one center to the other. For balls 0 and 1 this unit vector is:

$$ \left( \frac{x_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}}, \frac{y_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} \right)$$

where \(x_{01} = x_1 – x_0\) and \(y_{01}=y_1-y_0\), hence:

$$ q_1 = \frac{v_1x_{01} + w_1y_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} $$

$$ q_01 = \frac{v_0x_{01} + w_0y_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} $$

Similarly, the projection on the perpendicular of that line is the scalar product of the velocity with the perpendicular unit vector:

$$ \left( -\frac{y_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} , \frac{x_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} \right) $$

hence:

$$ p_1 = \frac{-v_1y_{01} + w_1x_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} $$

Replacing these values in the four initial equations gives:

$$ –v’_1y_{01} + w’_1x_{01} = -v_1y_{01} + w_1x_{01} $$

$$ –v’_2y_{02} + w’_2x_{02} = -v_2y_{02} + w_2x_{02} $$

$$ v’_0x_{01} + w’_0y_{01} – v’_1x_{01} – w’_1y_{01} = c(v_1x_{01} + w_1y_{01} - v_0x_{01} - w_0y_{01}) $$

$$ v’_0x_{02} + w’_0y_{02} – v’_1x_{02} – w’_2y_{02} = c(v_2x_{02} + w_2y_{02} - v_0x_{02} - w_0y_{02}) $$

The conservation of momentum gives two additional equations:

$$ m_0v’_0 + m_1v’_1 + m_2v’_2 = m_0v_0 + m_1v_1 + m_2v_2 $$

$$ m_0w’_0 + m_1w’_1 + m_2w’_2 = m_0w_0 + m_1w_1 + m_2w_2 $$

- where \(m_0\), \(m_1\) and \(m_2\) are the masses of the balls, resulting in a system of 6 linear equations for the 6 unknowns \(v’_0, w’_0, v’_1, w’_1, v’_2, w’_2\). Introducing new unknowns \(u_j\) defined as:

$$ u_0 = v’_0 – v_0,\quad u_1 = w’_0 – w_0,\quad u_2 = v’_1 – v_1,\quad u_3 = w’_1 – w_1,\quad u_4 = v’_2 – v_2,\quad u_5 = w’_2 – w_2 $$

the system becomes a bit simpler:

$$ x_{01} u_3 – y_{01} u_2 = 0 $$

$$ x_{02} u_5 – y_{02} u_4 = 0 $$

$$ x_{01} (u_0-u_2) + y_{01}(u_1-u_3) = B_{01} $$

$$ x_{02} (u_0-u_4) + y_{02}(u_1-u_5) = B_{02} $$

$$ m_0u_0 + m_1u_2 + m_2u_4 = 0 $$

$$ m_0u_1 + m_1u_3 + m_2u_5 = 0 $$

with

$$ B_{01} = (1+c)[x_{01}(v_1 – v_0) + y_{01}(w_1-w_0)] $$

$$ B_{02} = (1+c)[x_{02}(v_2 – v_0) + y_{02}(w_2-w_0)] $$

After quite a lot of substitutions and simplification the result is

$$ u_0 = v’_0 – v_0 = –\frac{1}{\Delta}[B_{01}m_1(x_{02}m_2P – x_{01}(m_0+m_2)S_{02}) + B_{02}m_2(x_{01}m_1P-x_{02}(m_0+m_1)S_{01})] $$

$$ u_1= w’_0 – w_0 = –\frac{1}{\Delta}[B_{01}m_1(y_{02}m_2P – y_{01}(m_0+m_2)S_{02}) + B_{02}m_2(y_{01}m_1P-y_{02}(m_0+m_1)S_{01})] $$

$$ u_2 = v’_1 – v_1 = \frac{x_{01}m_0}{\Delta}[B_{02}m_2P-B_{01}(m_0+m_2)S_{02})] $$

$$ u_3= w’_1 – w_1 = \frac{y_{01}m_0}{\Delta}[B_{02}m_2P-B_{01}(m_0+m_2)S_{02})] $$

$$ u_4 = v’_2 – v_2 = \frac{x_{02}m_0}{\Delta}[B_{01}m_1P-B_{02}(m_0+m_1)S_{01})] $$

$$ u_5 = w’_2 – w_2 = \frac{y_{02}m_0}{\Delta}[B_{01}m_1P-B_{02}(m_0+m_1)S_{01})] $$

with

$$ P = x_{01}x_{02}+y_{01}y_{02} $$

$$ S_{01} = x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2 $$

$$ S_{02} = x_{02}^2 + y_{02}^2 $$

$$ \Delta = (m_0 + m_1)(m_0 + m_2) S_{01}S_{02}-m_1m_2P^2 $$

The corresponding code is:

/** * Updates the velocities of this ball and two other balls after a double collisions * with both balls at the exact same time * The coordinate of the balls must be at the collision point. * @param otherBall1 second colliding ball * @param otherBall2 third colliding ball * @param restitution coefficient of restitution for a ball-ball collision */ collide2(otherBall1: Ball, otherBall2: Ball, restitution: number) { var m0 = Math.pow(this.radius, 3); var m1 = Math.pow(otherBall1.radius, 3); var m2 = Math.pow(otherBall2.radius, 3); var x01 = otherBall1.x - this.x; var y01 = otherBall1.y - this.y; var x02 = otherBall2.x - this.x; var y02 = otherBall2.y - this.y; var p = x01 * x02 + y01 * y02; var s01 = x01 * x01 + y01 * y01; var s02 = x02 * x02 + y02 * y02; var delta = (m0 + m1) * (m0 + m2) * s01 * s02 - m1 * m2 * p * p; var v01 = otherBall1.v - this.v; var w01 = otherBall1.w - this.w; var b01 = (1 + restitution) * (x01 * v01 + y01 * w01); var v02 = otherBall2.v - this.v; var w02 = otherBall2.w - this.w; var b02 = (1 + restitution) * (x02 * v02 + y02 * w02); this.v = -(b01 * m1 * (x02 * m2 * p - x01 * (m0 + m2) * s02) + b02 * m2 * (x01 * m1 * p - x02 * (m0 + m1) * s01)) / delta + this.v; this.w = -(b01 * m1 * (y02 * m2 * p - y01 * (m0 + m2) * s02) + b02 * m2 * (y01 * m1 * p - y02 * (m0 + m1) * s01)) / delta + this.w; var r1 = m0 * (b02 * m2 * p - b01 * (m0 + m2) * s02) / delta; otherBall1.v = x01 * r1 + otherBall1.v; otherBall1.w = y01 * r1 + otherBall1.w; var r2 = m0 * (b01 * m1 * p - b02 * (m0 + m1) * s01) / delta; otherBall2.v = x02 * r2 + otherBall2.v; otherBall2.w = y02 * r2 + otherBall2.w; } // collide2

As a verification, when \(m_2 = 0\) the first four equations become:

$$ u_0 = v’_0 – v_0 = x_{01} \frac{m_1}{m_0+m_1} \frac{B_{01}}{S_{01}} $$

$$ u_1 = w’_0 – w_0 = y_{01} \frac{m_1}{m_0+m_1} \frac{B_{01}}{S_{01}} $$

$$ u_2 = v’_1 – v_1 = -x_{01} \frac{m_0}{m_0+m_1} \frac{B_{01}}{S_{01}} $$

$$ u_3 = w’_1 – w_1 = -y_{01} \frac{m_0}{m_0+m_1} \frac{B_{01}}{S_{01}} $$

if \(\alpha\) is the angle between the vector from ball 0 to ball 1 and the horizontal, then:

$$ \cos\alpha = \frac{x_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} $$

$$ \sin\alpha = \frac{y_{01}}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}} $$

hence

$$ \frac{B_{01}}{S_{01}} = -\frac{1+c}{\sqrt{x_{01}^2 + y_{01}^2}}[\cos\alpha(v_0 – v_1) + \sin\alpha(w_0-w_1)] $$

and the result is the same as in the two balls case.

Posted in: Physics | Programming

A Book on Those Geometric Constructions Which Are Necessary for a Craftsman

A Book on What Is Necessary from the Science of Arithmetic for Scribes and Businessmen

Titles of X century mathematical texts by Abū al-Wafā' Būzjānī

Posted in: Opinion

And so I dream of a day when the only people who suffer from money-losing investments are the money-losing investors, whose only penance is lost money.

Ryan Avent of The Economist in 'The wages of sin'

Posted in: Opinion

[Sam] ‘I wish you’d take his Ring. You’d put things to right. You’d stop them digging up the gaffer and turning him adrift. You’d make some folk pay for their dirty work.’

‘I would,’ she [Galadriel] said. ‘That is how it would begin. But it would not stop with that’

‘The Lord of the Rings’, book two, chapter VII.

Posted in: Opinion