Cards deck problem

Ben Finney bignose+hates-spam at
Sat Oct 28 02:18:23 CEST 2006

Gabriel Genellina <gagsl-py at> writes:

> At Friday 27/10/2006 00:48, Michael Naunton wrote:
> >As noted in the problem, a deck has 52 cards.  cardsLeft(self)
> >therefore always returns 52.
> Uhm, maybe it's a matter of language, but how do you name the pile of
> cards remaining to be dealt once the game begins?

In English? I'd call that a deck. However, that deck doesn't contain
52 cards any more, so a thing that behaves that way doesn't fit the
definition of "deck" in the problem.

Perhaps a better definition would have used language like "... begins
with 52 cards" or the like, and described the properties of a deck to
be modelled.

Is this merely pedantic? If we were describing the rules of a game to
be played by humans, yes. But in this case we're describing parameters
of a problem to be modelled in a computer, hopefully independently by
each student in a class. Getting the problem defined precisely is
essential, otherwise judging the result fairly is impossible.

(good sigmonster, have a cookie)

 \     "We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!"  -- |
  `\     Vroomfondel, _The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy_, Douglas |
_o__)                                                            Adams |
Ben Finney

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