## A quick thank you

I needed wxMaxima but the version in the repositories is a little older (one major revision). Compiling from source is straightforward but a recent discussion I had with students showed they shied away from it.

So I figured I’d try packaging and a couple of hours later and I’ve a copy in my PPA. I’m unsure who maintains the packaging guide so I wanted to say thank you on Ubuntu Planet hoping those involved see it. Its great when you want to try something, find comprehensive instructions and can wrap it up in a few hours.

## Samsung NP-RV511-S02UK

I bought a new laptop the other week, a Samsung NP-RV511-S02UK. I have been using a Samsung NC10 dual booting Ubuntu and XP. An NC10 is a wondrous thing but when push comes to shove, a 1280×600 resolution is too small for Visual Studio work – especially when you want to see a PDF at the same time.

## Conics (or Khanics?)

I’ve been reading over the course material for MS221 (I quit this module’s last presentation for personal reasons).

Khan Academy has a very good series of videos. Plus it gives you points (seriously I’m addicted to rewards – you should see me driving for PS3 trophies).

Anyway, for block A part 1 try these: Introduction to Geometric Sequences, Sequences and Series (part 1 and part 2) and Write a Fibonacci Function; for part 2 try Introduction to Conic Sections through to Foci of a Hyperbola and Parabola Focus and Directrix.

## Pythagorean triplet

Project Euler again, this time its problem 9.

A Pythagorean triplet is a set of three natural numbers, abc, for which:

$a^{2}+b^{2}=c^{2}$

For example:

$3^{2}+4^{2}=9+16=25=5^{2}$.

There exists exactly one Pythagorean triplet for which abc = 1000.
Find the product abc.

My first draft is simply brute force checking:

Module Module1

Sub Main()
Dim beganAt As Date = Now

Dim answer As Integer = pythagorean(1000)

Dim endAt As Global.System.TimeSpan = Now.Subtract(beganAt)
Dim took As Integer = endAt.Milliseconds

Console.WriteLine(answer.ToString + " in " + took.ToString + "ms.")
End Sub

Private Function pythagorean(ByVal thisNumber As Integer) As Integer
For a As Integer = 1 To thisNumber
For b As Integer = 1 To thisNumber
For c As Integer = 1 To thisNumber
If a + b + c = 1000 Then
If (a * a) + (b * b) = (c * c) Then
Return (a * b * c)
End If
End If
Next
Next
Next
Return -1
End Function

End Module

It takes 375 milliseconds but gives the correct answer.

## The 10001st prime number

Project Euler time again, I’ve come out of sequence – here’s problem 7:

By listing the first six prime numbers: 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, and 13, we can see that the 6th prime is 13.

What is the 10001st prime number?

I’m going to start at the beginning and check if each is a prime, until I find the 10001th.

Module Module1
Sub Main()
Dim beganAt As Date = Now
Dim n = 10001
Dim prime As Integer = 0
Dim counter As Integer = 0

' Check each number until you've got 10001 prime numbers.
Do Until prime = n + 1
counter = counter + 1
If isPrime(counter) Then
prime = prime + 1
End If
Loop

Dim endAt As Global.System.TimeSpan = Now.Subtract(beganAt)
Dim took As Integer = endAt.Milliseconds

Console.WriteLine(counter.ToString + " in " + took.ToString + "ms.")
End Sub

Private Function isPrime(ByVal thisNumber As Integer) As Boolean
' Prime numbers other than two are odd...
If thisNumber = 2 Then
Return True
ElseIf thisNumber Mod 2 = 0 Then
Return False
End If

'Check it isn't divisible by up to its square root
'(consider n=(root n)(root n) as factors)
For counter As Integer = 3 To (Math.Sqrt(thisNumber)) Step 2
If thisNumber Mod counter = 0 Then
Return False
End If
Next
Return True
End Function

End Module

I used a function for finding primes, it keeps coming up. It takes an integer and returns true or false by discounting even numbers except 2 and checking for divisibility up to the integer’s square root. If you consider $n=sqrt{n} times sqrt{n}$ then if you have not found a number that divides into $n$ evenly once reaching $sqrt{n}$, its factors can only be one and itself. This significantly reduces processing time and appears to be how my HP40gs works out its ISPRIME() function.

It gives the answer 104743 in 125 milliseconds.

## Largest prime factor of a composite number

The prime factors of 13195 are 5, 7, 13 and 29. What is the largest prime factor of the number 600851475143 ?

Prime factors are prime numbers that can be multiplied together to make a given number. One way to find them is to start by dividing the number by the first prime (2) and continuing to do so until it cannot be divided, then moving on to the next.

Module Module1
Sub Main()
Dim beganAt As Date = Now
Dim n As Long = 600851475143
Dim factor As Integer = 2
Dim highestFactor As Integer = 1
While n > 1
If n Mod factor = 0 Then
highestFactor = factor
n = n / factor
While n Mod factor = 0
n = n / factor
End While
End If
factor = factor + 1
End While
Dim endAt As Global.System.TimeSpan = Now.Subtract(beganAt)
Dim took As Integer = endAt.Milliseconds
Console.WriteLine(highestFactor.ToString + " in " + took.ToString + "ms.")