Juha-Matti Santala
Community Builder. Dreamer. Adventurer.

Advent of Code - 2021

This is a solution to Day 17 of Advent of Code 2021.

Day 17 - Trick Shot

You finally decode the Elves' message. `HI`, the message says. You continue searching for the sleigh keys.

Ahead of you is what appears to be a large ocean trench. Could the keys have fallen into it? You'd better send a probe to investigate.

The probe launcher on your submarine can fire the probe with any integer velocity in the x (forward) and y (upward, or downward if negative) directions. For example, an initial x,y velocity like `0,10` would fire the probe straight up, while an initial velocity like `10,-1` would fire the probe forward at a slight downward angle.

The probe's x,y position starts at `0,0`. Then, it will follow some trajectory by moving in steps. On each step, these changes occur in the following order:

• The probe's `x` position increases by its `x` velocity.
• The probe's `y` position increases by its `y` velocity.
• Due to drag, the probe's `x` velocity changes by `1` toward the value `0`; that is, it decreases by `1` if it is greater than `0`, increases by `1` if it is less than `0`, or does not change if it is already `0`.
• Due to gravity, the probe's `y` velocity decreases by `1`.

For the probe to successfully make it into the trench, the probe must be on some trajectory that causes it to be within a target area after any step. The submarine computer has already calculated this target area (your puzzle input). For example:

``````target area: x=20..30, y=-10..-5
``````

This target area means that you need to find initial x,y velocity values such that after any step, the probe's x position is at least 20 and at most 30, and the probe's y position is at least -10 and at most -5.

Given this target area, one initial velocity that causes the probe to be within the target area after any step is `7,2`:

``````.............#....#............
.......#..............#........
...............................
S........................#.....
...............................
...............................
...........................#...
...............................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTT#TT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
``````

In this diagram, `S` is the probe's initial position, `0,0`. The x coordinate increases to the right, and the y coordinate increases upward. In the bottom right, positions that are within the target area are shown as T. After each step (until the target area is reached), the position of the probe is marked with #. (The bottom-right # is both a position the probe reaches and a position in the target area.)

Another initial velocity that causes the probe to be within the target area after any step is `6,3`:

``````...............#..#............
...........#........#..........
...............................
......#..............#.........
...............................
...............................
S....................#.........
...............................
...............................
...............................
.....................#.........
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................T#TTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
``````

Another one is `9,0`:

``````S........#.....................
.................#.............
...............................
........................#......
...............................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTT#
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
....................TTTTTTTTTTT
``````

One initial velocity that doesn't cause the probe to be within the target area after any step is `17,-4`:

``````S..............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
.................#.............................................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT................................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT................................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT................................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT................................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT..#.............................
....................TTTTTTTTTTT................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
................................................#..............
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
...............................................................
..............................................................#
``````

The probe appears to pass through the target area, but is never within it after any step. Instead, it continues down and to the right - only the first few steps are shown.

If you're going to fire a highly scientific probe out of a super cool probe launcher, you might as well do it with style. How high can you make the probe go while still reaching the target area?

In the above example, using an initial velocity of `6,9` is the best you can do, causing the probe to reach a maximum y position of `45`. (Any higher initial y velocity causes the probe to overshoot the target area entirely.)

Find the initial velocity that causes the probe to reach the highest y position and still eventually be within the target area after any step. What is the highest y position it reaches on this trajectory?

After yesterday's long day of struggle, I was so happy to see today's puzzle. Something completely different for a while. Took me less than 30 minutes all together to get two stars.

``````import re

from utils import read_input

def transformer(line):
_, area = line.split(': ')
coordinates = re.match(r'x=(-?\d+)..(-?\d+), y=(-?\d+)..(-?\d+)', area).groups()
return ((int(coordinates[0]), int(coordinates[1])), (int(coordinates[2]), int(coordinates[3])))

target_area = read_input(17, transformer)[0]``````

For any given position, we need to be able to know two things: did we hit the target and did we overshoot the target.

Hitting is simply seeing if our `x` is withing the boundaries of target's `x`s and same for y.

We overshoot the target if either `x` or `y` is beyond the boundaries.

``````def hit_target(point, target):
x, y = point
return target[0][0] <= x <= target[0][1] and target[1][0] <= y <= target[1][1]

def overshoot_target(point, target):
x, y = point

if x > max(target[0]):
return True
if y < min(target[1]):
return True

return False``````

To calculate the highest y position for any given trajectory, we start from `(0, 0)` and move one step at the time as long as we don't overshoot. If at any point we hit the target, we return `True` and the highest y point.

If we overshoot, we return `False` and the highest_y.

``````import math

def calculate_highest_y(trajectory, target):
point = (0, 0)
highest_y = -math.inf
while not overshoot_target(point, target):
x, y = point
if y > highest_y:
highest_y = y
if hit_target(point, target):
return True, highest_y

point = x + trajectory[0], y + trajectory[1]

new_traj_x = trajectory[0]
new_traj_y = trajectory[1] - 1
if new_traj_x > 0:
new_traj_x -= 1
elif new_traj_x < 0:
new_traj_x += 1

trajectory = new_traj_x, new_traj_y

return False, highest_y``````

Part 1

So far, in the first 16 days we've solved things with programming techniques sprinkled in with proper math.

Today, we're using the scientific method: fooling around and making notes.

There is probably a way to calculate the needed boundaries for `x` and `y`. But since we're solving a puzzle, I just made them 1000 and -1000 (other than for x because we want to start with positive momentum) and ran the code to see if that got the right result.

It sure did.

The important point to note here: this is not universally working code. It does not guarantee the right answer for any other input than mine.

``````import math

highest_y = -math.inf
top_trajectory = None

min_x = 1
max_x = 1000
min_y = -1000
max_y = 1000

x, y = 1, 0

for x in range(min_x, max_x + 1):
for y in range(min_y, max_y + 1):
hit, high_y = calculate_highest_y((x, y), target_area)
if hit:
if high_y > highest_y:
highest_y = high_y
top_trajectory = (x, y)

print(f'Solution: {highest_y}')
assert top_trajectory == (17, 124)
assert highest_y == 7750``````

Solution: 7750

Part 2

Maybe a fancy trick shot isn't the best idea; after all, you only have one probe, so you had better not miss.

To get the best idea of what your options are for launching the probe, you need to find every initial velocity that causes the probe to eventually be within the target area after any step.

In the above example, there are 112 different initial velocity values that meet these criteria:

``````23,-10  25,-9   27,-5   29,-6   22,-6   21,-7   9,0     27,-7   24,-5
25,-7   26,-6   25,-5   6,8     11,-2   20,-5   29,-10  6,3     28,-7
8,0     30,-6   29,-8   20,-10  6,7     6,4     6,1     14,-4   21,-6
26,-10  7,-1    7,7     8,-1    21,-9   6,2     20,-7   30,-10  14,-3
20,-8   13,-2   7,3     28,-8   29,-9   15,-3   22,-5   26,-8   25,-8
25,-6   15,-4   9,-2    15,-2   12,-2   28,-9   12,-3   24,-6   23,-7
25,-10  7,8     11,-3   26,-7   7,1     23,-9   6,0     22,-10  27,-6
8,1     22,-8   13,-4   7,6     28,-6   11,-4   12,-4   26,-9   7,4
24,-10  23,-8   30,-8   7,0     9,-1    10,-1   26,-5   22,-9   6,5
7,5     23,-6   28,-10  10,-2   11,-1   20,-9   14,-2   29,-7   13,-3
23,-5   24,-8   27,-9   30,-7   28,-5   21,-10  7,9     6,6     21,-5
27,-10  7,2     30,-9   21,-8   22,-7   24,-9   20,-6   6,9     29,-5
8,-2    27,-8   30,-5   24,-7
``````

How many distinct initial velocity values cause the probe to be within the target area after any step?

Our solution is the same code as above but this time we keep track of all the trajectories that hit.

``````min_x = 1
max_x = 1000
min_y = -1000
max_y = 1000

x, y = 1, 0

all_hits = []

for x in range(min_x, max_x + 1):
for y in range(min_y, max_y + 1):
hit, high_y = calculate_highest_y((x, y), target_area)
if hit:
all_hits.append((x, y))

result = len(all_hits)
print(f'Solution: {result}')
assert result == 4120``````

Solution: 4120