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After a year and a half of no forward progress, I'm finally regaining interest in Project Euler, which is a series of programming/problem-solving/math challenges. As the Project Euler FAQ puts it:

Project Euler is a series of challenging mathematical/computer programming problems that will require more than just mathematical insights to solve. Although mathematics will help you arrive at elegant and efficient methods, the use of a computer and programming skills will be required to solve most problems.

Obviously, if I have a question about the programming required to solve a PE challenge, it belongs on Stack Overflow. Similarly, if I have a question about the mathematics underlying the challenge, I should be asking it on Math.SE. But what if I have a question about the process of solving a challenge?

For example, here is the actual question I was considering asking, which led to this meta question:


Should I just brute-force Problem 11?
Other than checking to see if any of the four digits in the equation are zero, I don't see any good way to avoid calculating the product of each 4-item sequence in the block. Is brute force the 'right' solution, or should I be looking deeper? Problem 11 is pretty early on, I don't know if I'm making things harder than they need to be.


The Gaming FAQ says "puzzle solving" questions are on-topic, and I think Project Euler is probably a game (because I can't think of an argument that disqualifies Project Euler which doesn't also disqualify SpaceChem), so...

Are Project Euler questions that relate to the process of solving the puzzles on topic?

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    It's not a game. – Raven Dreamer Mar 10 '12 at 6:27
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    Nope. Maybe some are good for comp sci/programmers though – Ben Brocka Mar 10 '12 at 6:36
  • @RavenDreamer - Can you explain in more detail why you think that? (My intent is not to argue, just to understand) – Steve V. Mar 10 '12 at 6:39
  • Disregard that, it's not relevant. I'll delete the comment when I'm on an actual PC. – Steve V. Mar 10 '12 at 6:47
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Project Euler is not a video game (the most basic way to describe the "games" that are on-topic here), and as such isn't on-topic here. Just like board games and tabletop games aren't on-topic here.

High-level, conceptual questions in programming—whatever the context—like your example are generally on-topic for Programmers.SE. A cursory search on Programming Puzzles and Code Golf.SE indicates they're also on-topic there, as well.

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