 Day 12 asks me to look at moons and calculate their positions based on a simplified gravity between them. In the first part, I’ll run the system for 1000 steps and return a calculation (“energy”) based on each moons position and velocity at that point. In the second part, I’ll have to find when the positions repeat, which I can do by recognizing that the three axes are independent of each other, and that I can find the cycle time for each axis, and then find the least common multiple of them to get when all three are in order.

## Challenge

The puzzle can be found here. I’m given starting positions (x, y, z) for four moons, and each is assumed to start with velocity 0. First, I’ll update velocity for each moon, but looking at each axis, and adding one for each moon with a greater position on that axis and subtracting one for each moon for a lesser position on that axis. Then, once all the moons have new velocities, I’ll update each position by adding the velocity. After 1000 iterations, I’m asked to return the total energy, which is the total sum of the positions times the sum of the velocities across the moons.

In part 2, I have to think a bit more algorithmically. I’m looking for the number of steps until all the moons are in a repeated position. The prompt tells me that it will just take too long (and likely require storing too many states) to just run this. I’ll need to think creatively.

## Solution

### Part 1

I struggled with where to add classes in this code. I eventually wrote a Moon class, though I’m not going to stand by any of this code as elegant or even not ugly. I also wrote a helper function to calculate energy, though it ended up being a one-liner:

class Moon:
def __init__(self, coords):
self.pos = [int(x) for x in coords]
self.vel = [0, 0, 0]

def energy(moons):
return sum([sum(map(abs, m.pos)) * sum(map(abs, m.vel)) for m in moons])


Now I’ll read my input and create a list of moons:

with open(sys.argv, "r") as f:
moons_str = [m.strip("\n<>") for m in f.readlines()]
moons_coords = [re.findall(r"x=(-?\d+), y=(-?\d+), z=(-?\d+)", m) for m in moons_str]
moons = [Moon(m) for m in moons_coords]


Next, I’ll run 1000 iterations, each time updating velocity, and then updating positions:

for t in range(1000):
for moon in moons:
for other_moon in moons:
for i in range(3):
if moon.pos[i] < other_moon.pos[i]:
moon.vel[i] += 1
elif moon.pos[i] > other_moon.pos[i]:
moon.vel[i] += -1
for moon in moons:
for i in range(3):
moon.pos[i] += moon.vel[i]

print(f"Part 1: {energy(moons)}")


Running this gives me the answer instantly:

$time ./day12.py 12-puzzle_input.txt Part 1: 10189 real 0m0.042s user 0m0.038s sys 0m0.004s  ### Part 2 The trick here is to realize that the x, y, and z coordinates are independent of each other. Even as these multiple moons are flying around, where a moon is in y and z doesn’t have any impact on the x for any other moon. That means I can find the cycles in each of the three coordinates, and then find the least common multiple (lcm) of the three cycle times to get the full cycle time. I kind of took a guess that the first position would be the one repeated and submitted that lcm, and it work. This code is ugly, and I probably could have added more structure around it, or worked it into the loops in part 1, but I just created new moons and re-ran a lot of the same code to advance the moons. This time, I keep three lists, each containing states, where a state is all of the positions and velocities on one axis at a given time. Once all three are at repeats, I know I’ve reached the cycle length for each. Then I can just find the lcm of the lengths of each of the three states: moons = [Moon(m) for m in moons_coords] x_states, y_states, z_states = set(), set(), set() while True: for moon in moons: for other_moon in moons: for i in range(3): if moon.pos[i] < other_moon.pos[i]: moon.vel[i] += 1 elif moon.pos[i] > other_moon.pos[i]: moon.vel[i] += -1 for moon in moons: for i in range(3): moon.pos[i] += moon.vel[i] x_state = tuple((m.pos, m.vel) for m in moons) y_state = tuple((m.pos, m.vel) for m in moons) z_state = tuple((m.pos, m.vel) for m in moons) if x_state in x_states and y_state in y_states and z_state in z_states: break x_states.add(x_state) y_states.add(y_state) z_states.add(z_state) print(f"Part 2: {lcm(len(x_states), lcm(len(y_states), len(z_states)))}")  This takes a few seconds to run, but isn’t too bad: $ time ./day12.py 12-puzzle_input.txt
Part 1: 10189
Part 2: 469671086427712

real    0m6.892s
user    0m6.756s
sys     0m0.136s


## Final Code

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import re
import sys

class Moon:
def __init__(self, coords):
self.pos = [int(x) for x in coords]
self.vel = [0, 0, 0]

def energy(moons):
return sum([sum(map(abs, m.pos)) * sum(map(abs, m.vel)) for m in moons])

def lcm(x, y):
a, b = x, y
while a:
a, b = b % a, a
return x // b * y

with open(sys.argv, "r") as f:
moons_str = [m.strip("\n<>") for m in f.readlines()]
moons_coords = [re.findall(r"x=(-?\d+), y=(-?\d+), z=(-?\d+)", m) for m in moons_str]
moons = [Moon(m) for m in moons_coords]

for t in range(1000):
for moon in moons:
for other_moon in moons:
for i in range(3):
if moon.pos[i] < other_moon.pos[i]:
moon.vel[i] += 1
elif moon.pos[i] > other_moon.pos[i]:
moon.vel[i] += -1
for moon in moons:
for i in range(3):
moon.pos[i] += moon.vel[i]

print(f"Part 1: {energy(moons)}")

moons = [Moon(m) for m in moons_coords]
x_states, y_states, z_states = set(), set(), set()
while True:
for moon in moons:
for other_moon in moons:
for i in range(3):
if moon.pos[i] < other_moon.pos[i]:
moon.vel[i] += 1
elif moon.pos[i] > other_moon.pos[i]:
moon.vel[i] += -1
for moon in moons:
for i in range(3):
moon.pos[i] += moon.vel[i]
x_state = tuple((m.pos, m.vel) for m in moons)
y_state = tuple((m.pos, m.vel) for m in moons)
z_state = tuple((m.pos, m.vel) for m in moons)
if x_state in x_states and y_state in y_states and z_state in z_states:
break