Welcome to my second article on simulation. If you’d like to read my first article on what simulation is, click here! This article focuses on the different domains that simulation has been used in. In my next article, I describe how we use simulation at rideOS to improve our partners’ fleet.

tl;dr of this article: Simulation can and has been used in a wide variety of domains.

In my previous article, we learned how simulation is about making something “similar enough”, and we primarily considered two domains: video games and professional training. …

I’ve given a number of talks about simulation, such as at the Women of Silicon Valley conference, at Tech Talks Singapore, and at a Tech Ladies webinar, and I figured that the content should be shared more broadly, so that more people learn what simulation is. As such, I’ve decided to convert parts of my talk(s) into a series of articles! In general, I try to add as many videos as I can into my talks, to make it more interesting, so I will insert video links to this article when appropriate.

tl;dr of this article: Simulation is about creating a virtual world that is “similar enough” to the real one.

Many months ago, I saw an ad that caught my attention: Paint with Diamonds! The premise was simple: by placing colored gems one by one on a grid, eventually you end up with a beautiful work of act. It reminded me of cross-stitching, except without the cross-stitching 😉

I was really interested, and began browsing the online store. It seemed relatively easy to do, and the results looked amazing. However, each kit was pretty pricey! After thinking on it for some time (no spur of the moment purchase for me!), …

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Photo by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash

With the COVID-19 pandemic still wreaking havoc around the world, many of us have been stuck at home with shelter-in-place orders. In Singapore, similar “circuit breaker” orders have been given. When I was in Singapore and my family were still in the USA, we tried to find activities that we could do together online. Being fans of board games, we decided to play board games online. We primarily used board game arena to host and play board games, especially those that our daughter could also play.

The three of us played a variety of board games, such as Sushi Go!, Color Pop, Buttons, and Battle Sheep. When my daughter was occupied with other activities, my spouse and I would sometimes play those games, and others like 7 Wonders and Reversi. Unfortunately, all of these games are competitive in nature, and it was difficult to find a cooperative board game that we could play online — we had previously played games like Pandemic and Forbidden Island at Sunny Pair’O’Dice, a local board game store, but we couldn’t find a good co-op board game to play online. …

I recently started fostering a cat. There were many reasons for doing so, the primary reason being that COVID-19 keeps me at home almost all the time, and unable to travel internationally for some time. I’d been thinking of fostering a cat before this, but my frequent traveling made it difficult to commit to the recommended fostering period of one to three months.

Before I flew back to Singapore, I discussed getting a foster cat with my family, and my spouse was supportive, since I would be the primary caretaker of the cat. My daughter wasn’t as thrilled. Not because she doesn’t like cats, or pets. On the contrary, she loves them and she has been wanting a pet for ages! She wasn’t thrilled because she wanted a pet, and I would have been fostering the cat while she wasn’t around, so she would miss out on it. …

Over the past week or so, we had been hearing news of countries having more travel restrictions and/or closing their borders. A few days before my flight from the Bay Area to Singapore, we heard that Singapore had added more travel restrictions, namely that from Monday, March 23rd, short-term visitors would not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore. Even though my flight would arrive in Singapore on Tuesday, March 24th, the new restrictions didn’t affect me since I am a Singapore citizen, so I wasn’t overly concerned about it.

However, when I arrived at the San Francisco airport to check in, the United staff member initially told me that I couldn’t fly to Singapore. She said that Singapore had closed its borders, and they had had to turn back some people from checking in. I said that the restrictions didn’t apply to me since I was a Singapore citizen, but she said that the borders were completely closed. I felt puzzled and worried. Mostly worried, because my spouse and daughter had just dropped me off at the airport, and I might need a ride back home after all. …

Welcome to the final article of my series on solving Match-3 games with graph algorithms! In the first five articles, we have introduced the Match-3 game, discussed algorithms that solve a Match-3 game that does not have swaps, and a Match-3 game that has gravity. Then, we added swaps and introduced an optimal algorithm that solves simplified Candy Crush, and then discussed optimality and introduced another optimal algorithm that solves the game with special blocks.

In this article, we will be considering other features of Match-3 games that we previously mentioned, i.e., features that bring us close, if not equal, to Candy Crush Saga. In particular, we will be considering two features. First, we will consider different goal states, other than reaching a maximum number of points in a fixed number of actions. For example, the goal might be to clear all thick blocks (see my previous article for a description of the blocks), regardless of the number of points attained. Second, we will consider that the blocks that fall down due to gravity, outside the player’s game board, are unknown. Previously, we assumed that the entire N by m game world was known, and we will be lifting that assumption, so the player is only aware of the n by m game board that they can pick actions from. …

Setting up a booth, speaking on a panel, attending incredible talks, and chatting with a partner across the world about their autonomous buses successfully running on rideOS’s systems: these were all in a day’s work. I attended Wonder Women Tech 2019 at Long Beach, CA last week, and it was a wonderful whirlwind of activity.

Wonder Women Tech is a conference held annually at Long Beach (and at other locations too), and their mission is to “highlight, celebrate and educate women and the underrepresented in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)”. …

Welcome back to my series on solving Match-3 games with graph algorithms! In this fifth post, we will be adding even more features to the Match-3 game, to bring it closer to a game like Candy Crush Saga. In my previous post, we discussed a simplified version of Candy Crush Saga that has only colored blocks, and introduced the breadth-first search algorithm to solve the game.

In this post, we will be including “special” blocks to the Match-3 game! What do I mean by special blocks? Previously, blocks in the Match-3 game were identical other than their colors, and could only be removed by the player’s actions, such as swapping adjacent blocks. …

Welcome back! In this fourth post of my series on solving Match-3 games with graph algorithms, we will be continuing to add more features to our Match-3 games. In my previous post, we described the Swapless Match-3 with Gravity (SM3G) game, where the goal was to find contiguous lines of the same color, and blocks would “fall down” into empty spaces.

In this post, we will be adding swaps to the game! The Match-3 game will continue to have gravity, so blocks fall down as the player removes some of them. The key difference is that instead of selecting horizontal/vertical lines with contiguous colors, the player’s action now involves swapping two adjacent blocks to form such lines, which will then be removed. …


Allison Liemhetcharat

Proud mom, roboticist, software engineer.

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