I remember to read in the Blue Book about a Game Of Life solution based on the BitBlt operation. I wondered if it was only a smart and elegant demonstration or it may be a useful tool in the case you need parallelism, even in non-graphical contexts. I've never seen BitBlt used to solve non-graphical problems, but I don't have experience with BitBlt in my everyday work, so maybe I'm biased.
I've found a paper by Leo J. Guibas and Jorge Stolfi (https://www.cs.tufts.edu/~nr/cs257/archive/leo-guibas/language-bitmap.pdf) about a "calculus of bitmap operations" including an specific language called MUMBLE, but I suspect it is not a common use case.
Anyway, I've experimented with this option to solve the Advent of Code's Day 3 challenge. The puzzle consists of counting the number of trees you will encounter traversing a given map with open squares and trees, starting at the top-left corner and following a certain slope ((https://adventofcode.com/2020/day/3).
After implementing the straight-forward and iterative solution, I tried using Form instances representing the map and the slope and a BitBlt operation for ANDing both forms in order to leave only bits where you encounter a tree (see attached image). In this alternative solution I like how the iteration is replaced by only one "BitBlt>>copyBits" operation. Additionally, I understand that BitBlt operations are native primitives that could be hardware optimized.
However, I didn't know how to count the resulting bits without recurring again to the iteration of the Form's bits. This is my current implementation:
| mapForm |
mapForm := self form.
(BitBlt toForm: mapForm)
copyForm: self slopeMaskForm
to: 0 @ 0
rule: Form and.
^ mapForm bits count: [ :bit |
(Color colorFromPixelValue: bit depth: 32) green
precision: 0.1 ]
You can find all the sources at the following repository: https://github.com/luque/AdventOfCode2020
Any comments about BitBlt use cases or this specific puzzle will be of interest for me.
Captura de pantalla 2020-12-21 a las 10.50.26.png (492K) Download Attachment
I do not have your answer but I see that you are having fun… :)
I’m playing with VM implementation for the exact same reason :)
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