Simon trying out the D3 library

Simon spent hours studying the D3 library on Sunday, it’s a very popular JavaScript library using SVG images he had never tried before. He also found it great how the annotations are in English, Russian, Chinese and Japanese and showed it to his Chinese teacher today.

He also created an account on the library website, but couldn’t figure out how to create a new project. We should look at it together this week when I finally have more time.

These are two small videos of Simon trying the D3 library out:

 

 

D3 16 Jul 2017

How to double a cube?

We continue reading the Russian adventurous math books by  Vladimir Levshin (1904-1984) – see an older post about it – and Simon is often excited about the challenges discussed. This time however, he first thought that something was impossible (and the Russian book said that, too), but our amazing favourite Murderous Math thought otherwise! It was one of the three oldest “unresolved” problems in the world, about how to double a cube (and let it remain a cube), which basically boils down to “how to draw the cube root of 2”:

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Some more unrelated notes that Simon made recently, while listening to the Russian adventurous math book:

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Evolutionary Steering Behaviors Game

Note: See the update at the bottom of this post!

We’ve had quite a dramatic situation here for the past couple of days, after Simon turned Daniel Shiffman’s Evolutionary Steering Behaviors Coding Challenge into a game in Processing (Java) and then also in JavaScript (with p5). After completing the game in JavaScript, Simon wanted to add a new feature – a checkbox he programmed using the p5.js library. The checkbox would give the player the option to play with or without the timer, adjust the timer and also had a “New game” button. In the end it turned out that the checkbox didn’t really work. Simon was very upset and it took me hours to talk him into putting the game online even though the checkbox didn’t function (he wanted everything to be perfect) and ask for advice. “I have got a problem with a p5 element: In my setup function, I defined my checkbox. In my reset function, my checkbox is undefined. Why?” – Simon asked in the “Share Work” section of the Coding Train Slack channel, where he has the opportunity to communicate with experienced programmers. He received quite a lot of help and was enthusiastic about it at first, but for some reason, he hasn’t tried the solutions he was suggested. Perhaps it’s his gut feeling that the bind function suggested is still too difficult at the moment. I have decided not to push anymore and trust him on this one, although it’s always a dilemma for me whether I should sometimes “force” him into taking instructions from others or let him solely rely on his fantastic intrinsic autodidact mechanisms. The second seems to work better in terms of the learning process, but I do push him into sharing his work.

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Evolutionary Steering Behaviors game. Asking help in Slack 10 Jul 2017 2

Simon’s game is online at: https://simon-tiger.github.io/Game_SteeringBehaviorsEvolution/SteeringBehaviours_EvolutionGame_p5/

In the videos below Simon shows how he made the game. It’s an ecosystem type of genetic algorithm (with no generations), where the organisms (autonomous steering agents) clone themselves. The autonomous steering agents evolve the behavior of eating food (green dots) and avoiding poison (red dots). Simon added two invaders into the game, one giving food and the other randomly spreading poison. The player can control the “good” invader by moving him and making new food. The goal of the game is to make the agents survive for as long as possible.

The Processing (Java) version:

The thinking behind the game (Simon explains everything at the whiteboard):

The JavaScript version (now online):

In the last video, Simon talks about his problem with the p5 element.

 

Evolutionary Steering Behaviors game seek algorithm part 1. DESIRED equals TARGET minus POSITION:

Evolutionary Steering Behaviors game seek algorithm part 1. DESIRED equals TARGET minus POSITION 4 Jul 2017

Evolutionary Steering Behaviors game seek algorithm part 2. STEERING equals DESIRED minus VELOCITY:

Evolutionary Steering Behaviors game seek algorithm part 2. STEERING equals DESIRED minus VELOCITY 10 Jul 2017

UPDATE: When Simon saw Daniel Shiffman’s comment on Slack this morning (Daniel saying Simon did a fantastic job and that he might even include Simon’s game in the next Live Stream), he sat down and applied the bind function as suggested by his older peers above – without any incentive on my behalf! And it worked! I think we’ve hit a true milestone again. Simon has this growing feeling that he’s got friends out there, his tribe, who understand and who are ready to help.

One day later: Simon had another chat with his friends on Slack and got a lot of help with the last remaining small bug in his game (the New Game button didn’t start a new game if the player had chosen to play with no timer but jumped to Game Over instead). In the video below, Simon shows how that problem got solved:

Simon’s Codea Tutorials and the Arc-Tangent

A set of awesome Codea tutorials that Simon recorded for those who are just starting to program in Codea. Simon ported examples from Processing (java) into Codea (Lua):

In the second tutorial (in two parts), Simon explains how to write a physics simulation program in Codea using forces like gravity, friction and spring force. Anyone watching will get to use some trigonometry and see what arc-tangent is for! The original code in Java comes from Keith Peters (Processing).

Here are some notes from when Simon was explaining the arc-tangent to me the other day:

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Sound Synthesis Project. Simon’s own code.

This is a sound synthesis project that Simon created using p5 references. It’s quite intense sound, so maybe you should turn the volume down a notch. It’s funny how Simon is now writing sound programs similar to those used in the LittleBits synthetic sound circuits – something he got for his 7th birthday almost a year ago. Amazing to see how much he has learned in one year.