# Advent of Code 2016 - Day 1 - No Time for a Taxicab

Having enjoyed documenting my progress in completing the Advent of Code 2015 advent calendar in TypeScript, I have decided to do the same for 2016. However, for this year I wish to instead explore Python.

I have decided on Python as I’ve been very impressed with how consise and expressive some of the solutions for the 2015 calendar I have seen on the AoC subreddit have been.

### Part 1

The initial problem for the 2016 calendar requires us to navigate our way from our ‘airdropped’ location to Easter Bunny HQ. In doing so we are required to work out how many blocks away the location is (using Manhattan distance).

We begin by parsing the provided directions into tuples of the form `(direction, steps)`.

``````def parse_instructions(input):
return [[i[0], int(i[1:])] for i in input.split(', ')]
``````

With the instructions now parsed we can (from our starting postion of `0,0`) navigate our way to the final destiation.

``````COMPASS = [(0, 1), (1, 0), (0, -1), (-1, 0)]

def part1(input):
dir = 0
pos = (0, 0)

for turn, steps in parse_instructions(input):
dir = (dir + (1 if turn == 'R' else -1)) % len(COMPASS)
pos = tuple(map(lambda p, d: p + d * steps, pos, COMPASS[dir]))

return sum(map(abs, pos))
``````

We are able to calculate what the revised directional cordinates which need to be applied to the current position upon each instruction using the provided `COMPASS` lookup table. Once we have applied all the moves we return the Manhattan distance of the final position to return the desired answer 🌟.

### Part 2

For part two we are required to instead now work out what the first position that we see twice is. This can be achieved storing the seen positions within a Set and short-circuiting the instruction application upon seeing a position again 🌟.

``````def part2(input):
dir = 0
pos = (0, 0)
seen = {pos}

for turn, steps in parse_instructions(input):
dir = (dir + (1 if turn == 'R' else -1)) % len(COMPASS)
for _ in range(steps):
if (pos in seen):
return sum(map(abs, pos))

raise Exception('No repeated position')
``````

### Alternative Solutions

Like the 2015 calendar, I found that for the first couple of days solutions I had the time to devise several different ways in which to solve the problem.

Having a chance to explore the Python standard library I was able to take advantage of Deque which is a double-ended queue implementation. This allows me to efficently rotate the queued items in a very succient mannor.

``````def part1(input):
dir = collections.deque([(0, 1), (1, 0), (0, -1), (-1, 0)])
pos = (0, 0)

for turn, steps in parse_instructions(input):
dir.rotate(1 if turn == 'R' else -1)
pos = tuple(map(lambda p, d: p + d * steps, pos, dir[0]))

return sum(map(abs, pos))
``````

Having explored storing the positonal state (x and y cordinates) in tuples several times I was very excitied to see that instead we could take advantage of Complex numbers and model them in this form instead. Using this method we were able to get away from the directional lookup table concept and instead just apply left and right rotations using multiplication directly.

``````TURNS = {'R': 0+1j, 'L': 0-1j}

def manhattan_distance(pos):
return abs(int(pos.real)) + abs(int(pos.imag))

def part1(input):
dir = 1+0j
pos = 0+0j

for turn, steps in parse_instructions(input):
dir *= TURNS[turn]
pos += dir * steps

return manhattan_distance(pos)
``````

This is by far my favourite way in which to solve this problem, and highlights some of the powerful features that Python has to offer. I look forward to continuing on with my journey in solving the 2016 calendar in future posts.