"There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction."-Salvador Dali
Question #93039 posted on 04/21/2020 4:33 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are any of you Excel/Google sheets experts? I'm good enough at regular everyday tasks, but this one has me stumped as I don't know how to phrase my search....

Say I have a task that lasts 8 minutes. I want to play a set of songs everytime I do that task, with the set lasting 8 minutes. I can go to my playlist and choose two 4-minute songs or four 2-minute songs, but what if I want to include a song that has an uneven time?

Is there a way to take a list of times for the songs I have, and have excel or google spreadsheets make groups that equal 8 minutes?


-Zwerg Zwei

A:

Dear ZZ,

This goes into combinatorics, which I have to admit were never really my favorite. I haven't the faintest idea of how you would do this in excel, but a naive solution would be to iterate through all possible time combinations given a set list of songs. For a much better solution, use dynamic programming to determine song groups.This seems like a simplified version of the knapsack problem, so if you google solutions to the knapsack problem in vba, you can probably modify it to fit your needs here.

~Anathema

A:

Dear ZZ Top,

If you listen to Africa by Toto and then Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley it takes EXACTLY 8 minutes. Coincidence?

No. I think the universe is trying to tell us all that this is the only playlist we need.

Peace,

Tipperary