How to rearrange array using Python?

Mark Lawrence breamoreboy at
Fri Jul 31 00:21:03 CEST 2015

On 30/07/2015 21:31, Martin Schöön wrote:
> Here is a problem I think I should be able to solve using Python but
> after having searched the internet for the better part of this
> evening my head spins and I would apreciate some guidance.
> Disclaimer
> My formal programming training happened 35+ years ago and
> initially involved F77 and later Pascal. Python is something
> I have picked up lately and for fun. I don't master Python by any
> stretch of imagination. I know some linear algebra and numerical
> methods but don't practice any of this on a daily basis...
> Problem background
> I am just back from visiting my sisters and the younger of them
> was busy planning a youth orchestra summer camp. For some reason
> the kids are allowed to wish with whom they want to share rooms
> and my sister spent several evenings placing kids in rooms
> according to these wishes. It struck me that at least some of this
> work could be done by silicon running code.
> My thinking so far
> I have played around a little with something called DSM
> at work and think entering all wishes into a 2D array
> for further processing and overview should be a good idea.
> An added piece of information is the number of and sizes
> of rooms. I want to overlay this on the array and re-shuffle
> until as many of the wishes as possible are fulfilled.
> Here is a picture that may help understanding what I am after:
> In this example I have 25 individuals (each allowed two wishes),
> one 5-bed room, two 4-bed rooms and four 3-bed rooms.
> Wishes are marked by "1" so a wants to sleep in the same room
> as i and n etc. The rooms are shown as light grey squares
> along the diagonal. Scores to the right show how many wishes
> are fulfilled in each room and at the bottom right corner I
> have the total score. The goal is to re-shuffle the array
> to maximize this score.
> How do I go about doing that?
> Note: This example is worse than the real life problem as
> most kids go to this camp with friends and wishes are
> highly coordinated. I used a random number generator to
> create wishes... The real problem involves some 80 kids.
> There are some more differences but let us leave them out
> for now.
> /Martin

I'm not absolutely certain but I think you're into what's known as a 
constraint satisfaction problem, in which case this is as good a starting 
point as any.  If I'm wrong we'll soon get told :)

My fellow Pythonistas, ask not what our language can do for you, ask
what you can do for our language.

Mark Lawrence

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