This next article was inspired by two sources:

An Advent of Code puzzle from 2017

An evolute is a matrix whose cells are numbered to spiral out from the center.

```
17 16 15 14 13
18 5 4 3 12
19 6 1 2 11
20 7 8 9 10
21 22 23---> ...
```

The first question asks us to find the Manhattan distance between some positive integer cell and the 1st cell.

I see two ways to do this:

- Build the evolute, find the location of the integer and then calculate the distance
- Calculate the coordinate with respect to the center directly and take the sum of the absolute value of the coordinates.

I will start with the second method because it is simpler. If we look at the structure of the evolute we will see that each new layer of the matrix will have an odd square in it’s bottom right corner. 1 9 25 49 ….

That means we can locate the layer by finding the nearest odd square root. Here is the code for that:

f:{j:floor sqrt x; j - not j mod 2}

q)f 10

3

q)f 25

5

q)f 24

3

Next we can find the grid coordinate or how far we are from the center for that corner. I plugged in max x so we can use the function on lists of numbers. The ‘?’ verb is being used to find index which corresponds to the steps away from the center.

g:{(1+2*til max x)?f x}

q)g 10

1

q)g 25

2

q)g 24

1

Now all we need to do is figure out where we are on the layer.

We can be in one of 5 places:

- Exactly at the end of a layer
- Between the bottom right corner and the top right corner
- Between the top right corner and the top left corner
- Between the top left corner and the bottom left corner
- Between the bottom left corner and the end of the layer

We can divide by the size of the layer to calculate this. We can also find the remainder to know how far between we are. This gives us the following code:

place:{(x-j*j) div 1+j:f x}

offset:{(x-j*j) mod 1+j:f x}

q)place 1+til 25

0 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 0

q)offset 1+til 25

0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0 1 2 3 0

This allows us to write the full function to calculate the coordinate. All we need to do is to check which of those conditions are met fill in the coordinates from g, plus the appropriate offset and correct sign.

coordinate:{[x]

x:(),x;

f:{j:floor sqrt x; j - not j mod 2};

g:{(1+2til max x)?y}; place:{(x-yy) div 1+y};

offset:{(x-yy) mod 1+y}; j:f x; brc:x=jj;

grid:g[x;j];

p:place[x;j];

o:offset[x;j];

?[brc;flip (grid;neg[grid]);

?[0=p;flip (grid+1;neg[grid]+o);

?[1=p;flip (grid+1-o;grid+1);

?[2=p;flip (neg[grid+1];1+grid-o);

flip (neg[grid+1]+o;neg[1+grid])]]]]

}

q)coordinate 1+til 9

0 0

1 1

1 1

0 1

-1 1

-1 0

-1 -1

0 -1

1 -1

At this point we can find the coordinate of any cell number. Since we can do this for all the points, we should be able to create the evolute for any dimension by generating all the coordinates and then shifting them to the appropriate column/row number and inserting them into that matrix. We can do this cleverly by sorting the row and column separately, since we want a particular orientation and sorting each of them corresponds to either a horizontal transposition or a vertical transposition.

evol:{t:`row`col!(x div 2)+flip cordinate j:1+til x*x; (x;x)#exec val from `col xdesc `row xasc flip update val:j from t}

q)evol 7

37 36 35 34 33 32 31

38 17 16 15 14 13 30

39 18 5 4 3 12 29

40 19 6 1 2 11 28

41 20 7 8 9 10 27

42 21 22 23 24 25 26

43 44 45 46 47 48 49

Now that we can create a evolute and we see that given an evolute we can find the coordinates, we also see that permuting the row and column indexes gives us different orientations. This leads us to see how Joey Tuttle/Eugene McDonnell created an evolute from scratch. Let’s raze an evolute:

q)raze evol 5

17 16 15 14 13 18 5 4 3 12 19 6 1 2 11 20 7 8 9 10 21 22 23 24 25

Now let us permute it by the magnitude and then look at the differences:

q)iasc raze evol 5

12 13 8 7 6 11 16 17 18 19 14 9 4 3 2 1 0 5 10 15 20 21 22 23 24

q)deltas iasc raze evol 5

12 1 -5 -1 -1 5 5 1 1 1 -5 -5 -5 -1 -1 -1 -1 5 5 5 5 1 1 1 1

q)deltas iasc raze evol 3

4 1 -3 -1 -1 3 3 1 1

We now see a pretty clear pattern. We are repeating a pattern of 1,neg x,-1,x.

Each time we are taking 2 elements from the pattern. We take an increasing number of them and continue until we take x elements in shot. Here is Eugene’s explanation translated into q

f:{-1+2*x}

g:{(-1;x;1;neg x)}

k:{(f x)#g x}

h:{1+til x}

j:{-1 _ raze 2#'h x}

l:{-1 rotate raze (j x)#'k x}

m:{iasc sums l x}

n:{(x;x)#m x}

q)f 5

9

q)g 5

- -1 5 1 -5

q)k 5

-1 5 1 -5 -1 5 1 -5 -1

q)h 5

1 2 3 4 5

q)j 5

1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5

q)l 5

-1 -1 5 1 1 -5 -5 -1 -1 -1 5 5 5 1 1 1 1 -5 -5 -5 -5 -1 -1 -1 -1

q)m 5

24 23 22 21 20 9 8 7 6 19 10 1 0 5 18 11 2 3 4 17 12 13 14 15 16

q)n 5

24 23 22 21 20

9 8 7 6 19

10 1 0 5 18

11 2 3 4 17

12 13 14 15 16

Combining this into function we get:

evolute:{(x;x)#iasc sums -1 rotate raze (-1 _ raze 2#'1+til x)#'(-1+2*x)#(1;neg x;-1;x)}

We can shorten it just a bit and make it a bit faster by seeing that grabbing parts j,k,l can make use of how kdb overloads ‘where’. In KDB ‘where’ gives you the indexes of the 1s in a boolean mask. For example:

q)where 101b

0 2

However, a little thought reveals that we are returning the index of the element the number at that index. So we return one 0, zero 1,one 2. Generalizing this, we can think that where of 1 2 3 should return one 0,two 1s and three 2s and indeed KDB does this.

q) where 1 2 3

0 1 1 2 2 2

Knowing this, we can rewrite j k and l, which make heavy use of each and remove all the razing.

I am going to show how I built this up.

q){((x-1)#2),1} 5

2 2 2 2 1

q){1+where ((x-1)#2),1} 5

1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5

q){(where 1+(where ((x-1)#2),1))} 5

0 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8

q){(where 1+(where ((x-1)#2),1)) mod 4} 5 /so that we cycle

0 1 2 2 3 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 0

q){(1;neg x;-1;x)(where 1+(where ((x-1)#2),1)) mod 4} 5

1 -5 -1 -1 5 5 1 1 1 -5 -5 -5 -1 -1 -1 -1 5 5 5 5 1 1 1 1 1

q){-1 rotate (1;neg x;-1;x)(where 1+(where ((x-1)#2),1)) mod 4} 5

1 1 -5 -1 -1 5 5 1 1 1 -5 -5 -5 -1 -1 -1 -1 5 5 5 5 1 1 1 1

The last step recreates l. So the whole function using where looks like this:

evolute:{(x;x)#iasc sums -1 rotate (1;neg x;-1;x)(where 1+(where ((x-1)#2),1)) mod 4}

Part 2 of the advent of code is even more interesting. It describes us filling the spiral by summing the neighbors, the center square starts at 1. Here is the description from advent.

Then, in the same allocation order as shown above, they store the sum of the values in all adjacent squares, including diagonals.

So, the first few squares' values are chosen as follows:

Square`1`

starts with the value`1`

.

Square`2`

has only one adjacent filled square (with value`1`

), so it also stores`1`

.

Square`3`

has both of the above squares as neighbors and stores the sum of their values,`2`

.

Square`4`

has all three of the aforementioned squares as neighbors and stores the sum of their values,`4`

.

Square`5`

only has the first and fourth squares as neighbors, so it gets the value`5`

.

Once a square is written, its value does not change. Therefore, the first few squares would receive the following values:

```
147 142 133 122 59
304 5 4 2 57
330 10 1 1 54
351 11 23 25 26
362 747 806---> ...
```

What is thefirst value writtenthat islargerthan your puzzle input?

Now given our earlier coordinate function, we just need to add elements in into empty matrix of 0s and sum the neighbors at each step to determine what to add. First, let’s write the simple pieces of finding the neighbors and summing them. Then we will conquer the composition.

/To find the neighbors according to our rule,

/ we basically find the coordinates for (1..9)

/ then we can add to x pair so it's centered around that one

neighbors:{x+/:coordinate 1+til 9}

q)neighbors (1;0)

0 1

1 1

1 2

0 2

-1 2

-1 1

-1 0

0 0

1 0

/We need to shift our coordinate system depending on the size of the matrix

shift:{i:div[count x;2]; (i+y)}

q)shift[3 3#0;coordinate 5]

0 2

/calculate the sum of the neighbors

sumN:{sum over .[x] each neighbors y}

q)(1+evolute 5)

17 16 15 14 13

18 5 4 3 12

19 6 1 2 11

20 7 8 9 10

21 22 23 24 25

q)(1+evolute 5)[2;3]

2

/Manually sum the neghbors of 2

q)sum 4 3 12 1 2 11 8 9 10

60

q)sumN[1+evolute 5;(2;3)]

60

Okay, we are going to start with a matrix that has single 1 in the center.

center1:{.[(x;x)#0;(a;a:x div 2);:;1]} /we are ammending a 1 at the x div 2

q)center1 5

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 1 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0 0

Now that we see how easy it is to amend an element at a particular index, we can combine this with the notion of a fold(over). The idea is that we will keep updating this matrix with new elements based on the neighbor sum:

cumEvolute:{{.[x;y;:;sumN[x;y]]}/[j;shift[j:center1[x]] coordinate 1+til (x*x)]}

q)cumEvolute 5

362 351 330 304 147

747 11 10 5 142

806 23 1 4 133

880 25 1 2 122

931 26 54 57 59

/If we want to rotate it we can simply reverse flip

q)reverse flip cumEvolute 5

147 142 133 122 59

304 5 4 2 57

330 10 1 1 54

351 11 23 25 26

362 747 806 880 931

Using cumEvolute we can find when we generate the first integer bigger than the input, by creating a stopping condition and counting the number of iterations.

stopCum:{{$[z<max over x;x;.[x;y;:;sumN[x;y]]]}/[j;shift[j:center1[x]] coordinate 1+til (x*x);y]}

q)stopCum[5;20]

0 0 0 0 0

0 11 10 5 0

0 23 1 4 0

0 0 1 2 0

0 0 0 0 0

q)max over stopCum[5;20]

23

q)max over stopCum[10;100]

122