[Elements of a Super-hero PIC]

SpellChecked Heroes


Chris Sims' The Periodic Table of Super-Powers at ComicsAlliance is a thing of great beauty and wit.

As I studied the table, I started to wonder what superhero names you could construct from the elements. For example, you can obtain "man" from combining elements 5 and 72 ("M" and "An"), but what about "superman"?

My 'real' job, when not visiting ComicsAlliance, is to write software. So, I quickly cobbled together a little Java application which can help me. It generates all the permutations of the elements letters, up to a maximum of 4 elements, and checks if they make a word found in a dictionary.

For example, the first few lines of output are:

oasis  {1, 2, 4, 68}
oar    {1, 2, 6}
oars   {1, 2, 6, 4}
oater  {1, 2, 67, 6}
oat    {1, 2, 69}

The string of numbers after each word are the element numbers that go together to create the word.

I've restricted the search to at most 4 elements due to very time-consuming job the program as to do. For example, I've been running the program on my machine for about 1 hour, and it's only part way through "R" (element no. 6).

If you want to try the program out, you can download the software in a zipped file (848 KB). It includes instructions on how to compile and run it, but you'll need to have Java installed on your machine.

When my program finishes, I'll post a link to its output here.

Dr. Andrew Davison
E-mail: ad@fivedots.coe.psu.ac.th
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