## Monday, August 10, 2015

### MineField

Problem:

 TopCoder Problem Statement - MineField Single Round Match 169 Round 1 - Division I, Level One

Overview:

Given a set of coordinates representing bombs, generate a board suitable for playing MineField.

Java Source:
```     1 import java.util.*;
2 import java.math.*;
3 import static java.lang.Math.*;
4
5 public class MineField {
6
7  private static final int SIZE = 9;
8  private static final char MINE_CHAR = 'M';
9
10  char[][] mineField = new char[SIZE][SIZE];
11
12  public String[] getMineField(String mineLocations) {
13
14   // Initialize the mine Field
15   for (int row = 0; row < SIZE; row++)  {
16    for (int col = 0; col < SIZE; col++)  {
17     mineField[row][col] = '0';
18    }
19   }
20
21   // Converts all parenthesis and commas to spaces.
22   String input = mineLocations
23       .replaceAll("\\(", " ")
24       .replaceAll("\\)", " ")
25       .replaceAll(",", " ");
26
27   // A scanner that uses spaces as the delimiter
28   Scanner sc = new Scanner(input);
29   sc.useDelimiter("\\s+");
30
32   while (sc.hasNextInt())  {
33    int row = sc.nextInt();
34    int col = sc.nextInt();
36   }
37
38   // Create the return value.
39   String[] result = new String[SIZE];
40
41   for (int i = 0; i < SIZE; i++)  {
42    result[i] = new String(mineField[i]);
43   }
44
45   return result;
46  }
47
48  private void addMine(int row, int col)  {
49
50   mineField[row][col] = MINE_CHAR;
51
52   /*
53   * Increment the value in all surrounding squares
54   * checking to ensure that we stay within the bounds
55   * of the board, and that the other square is not
56   * already marked as a mine.
57   */
58   for (int r = row - 1; r <= row + 1; r++)  {
59    for (int c = col - 1; c <= col + 1; c++)  {
60
61     if ((r >= 0) && (r < SIZE) &&
62       (c >= 0) && (c < SIZE) &&
63       (mineField[r][c] != MINE_CHAR))  {
64
65      // Increase the value of the neighbor.
66      mineField[r][c]++;
67     }
68    }
69   }
70
71  }
72 }
```
Notes:

This is a pretty easy Divison 1 problem, with just a few tricks to overcome. First, I'll begin by saying I was tripped up by the ordering of the coordinates. I assumed that the numbers were in the form (x, y). They're not. The description says they're given as (row, col). In other words (y, x). After seeing my output sideways, I tracked the error down and fixed it.

The first problem to solve is parsing the input. For this, first I replaced all parenthesis and commas with spaces. Then I created a scanner that uses whitespace as the delimeter. With that, I can just use a pair of nextInt() calls to get the coordinates until they run out.

I find these problems much easier to work with using char arrays. I'll often convert the given String[] into a char[][] just to simplify. In this case, I represent the mineField as a char[][] and then convert it to a String[] when returning the result.

With the coordinates, and the mineField, the next problem is to add the mine to the current board. That's just a matter of setting that location to 'M', and then updating all the neighbors. I use a nested for loop to visit all the neighbors of the given location working top to bottom and left to right. For each location, check to ensure that we're not outside the boundaries of the array, and that the square is not already marked as a mine. If that test passes, then increment the value stored there. Since we can treat chars as ints here, mineField[r][c]++ will work nicely.