Last Friday when I was in the gym doing my cardio warm up on the cardio theater’s screens it was playing a phone-in game show. The quiz that the players were asked to solve was to find a word, the letters of which were presented jumbled up. The gym’s owner was there and we tried quite hard to find the answer but after a few minutes we gave up, recognizing that is indeed a very hard problem. We exchanged some comments about how in earth is it possible for people to pay all that money to phone in trying to find the right answer and then getting in a lottery to win a small prize. After that the owner was called to attend to something and I was left alone.
The first try
Having 10 more minutes on this very boring part of my workout I started to think. How could I solve this problem using a computer. There must be a database of all the Greek words that I can search on? My first though was to take all the permutations of the letters and search them against the word database but then I counted the number of letters which were 12. Thinking the number of possible permutations would mean factorial of 12 possibles to check. But wait… factorial can get huge fast so no, that would probably not work. (I run the numbers at home and actually 12! = 479,001,600 !).