Programming Competition: Background

For a while I've been interested in how you could select the order in which vocabulary is learnt in order to maximise one's ability to read a particular corpus of sentences. Or more generally, imagine you have a set of things you want to learn and each item has prerequisites drawn from a large set with items sharing a lot of common prerequisites.

As an abstract example, imagine you want to be able to read the "sentences":

{"a b", "b a", "h a b", "d a b e c", "d a g f"}

where we assume you must first learn each "word". Further assuming that all sentences are equally valuable to learn, how would you order the learning of words to maximise what you know at any given point in time?

One approach would be to learn the prerequisites in order of their frequency. So you might learn in an order like

<a, b, d, c, e, f, g, h>

However, had we put h before d, we could have had an overall learning programme that, although equal in length by the end, enabled the learner, at the half-way mark, to understand three sentences instead of just two.

The goal of the vocab ordering programming competition is to come up with the best ordering of prerequisites (words) given a list of sentences.

The original post was in the category: programming_competition but I'm still in the process of migrating categories over.