Math trades

You're reading Mikko Saari's blog Life and opinions. This entry was written 06/17/2006, at 07:31.

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Math trades are a fairly popular thing on BoardGameGeek, where people keep trading games using them. The idea is simple: instead of traditional one-on-one trades where two people exchange games, people list what they have for trade, then form want lists of the stuff other people have listed and then computer takes the lists and checks who gets what. The goal is to maximize the trades so that as many items trade as possible.

TradeGenie is the de facto standard for running the math trades. However, while the program is fast and works well, it's not ideal. The biggest problem for me is the fact it only runs on Windows. I need something that runs on Mac as well. TradeGenie has some other limiting factors as well.

Since I enjoy programming, the obvious solution is to create my own software to calculate the trades. I was curious: am I able to do this? It turned out to be fairly easy. Currently my program, TradeResolver, written in Java for platform independence, can actually beat TradeGenie on some lists, finding more results faster. Of course, if faced head-to-head, competing for speed, TradeResolver loses hands down. That doesn't really matter, because even TradeGenie is too slow to completely go through bigger lists.

You can find TradeResolver at SourceForge. It's open source, so the source code is included in the release package (found on the SourceForge download page).

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