Solving a puzzle with AMPL and Gecode

Here’s an interesting little puzzle posted by Ryan Ng on Google+:

A 5 digit number is written on a whiteboard. Ron erases one of its digits and adds a newly constructed number to the original one. The result is 41751. What is the original number?

It can be easily solved with constraint programming and I’ll demonstrate how to do it using AMPL and Gecode. The model is very simple, it’s just a few lines of code:

set Digits = 0..4;
var d{Digits} >= 0 <= 9 integer;
var original integer;

s.t. define_original: original = sum{i in Digits} d[i] * 10 ^ i;
s.t. relation:
  exists{i in Digits}
    (original + sum{j in Digits: j != i}
                  d[j] * 10 ^ (if j < i then j else j - 1) = 41751);

Digits is a set of digit positions starting from 0 for the least significant digit. The digits themselves are represented by the variable d. As the name suggests, the variable original holds the original number that we are looking for. It is defined in the constraint define_original using variables d. And finally, relation specifies that there should exists a number obtained from the original one with one digit removed which, when added to the original one, gives 41751.

We can use a free student version of AMPL to solve this model. The Windows version of AMPL is available from the download page on the AMPL website. Versions for other platforms are available from the AMPL repository on Netlib.

The model uses constraint programming (CP) features or, more specifically, logical constraints. So we need a CP solver such as Gecode to solve it. Gecode binaries for AMPL are available for download from the GoogleCode AMPL page.

Once AMPL and Gecode have been downloaded and extracted, and the model saved to the file puzzle.ampl, we can run ampl and solve the the problem:

ampl: model puzzle.ampl;
ampl: option solver gecode;
ampl: solve;
gecode 3.7.3: feasible solution
63299 nodes, 31647 fails
ampl: print original;
37956

This gives the solution 37956. To see which digit was erased, subtract original from 41751.

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