Project Euler problem 17

Source code available on GitHub.

  If the numbers 1 to 5 are written out in words: one, two, three, four, five, then there are \(3 + 3 + 5 + 4 + 4 = 19\) letters used in total.  If all the numbers from 1 to 1000 (one thousand) inclusive were written out in words, how many letters would be used?  \footnotesize \textbf{NOTE:} Do not count spaces or hyphens. For example, 342 (three hundred and forty-two) contains 23 letters and 115 (one hundred and fifteen) contains 20 letters. The use of "and" when writing out numbers is in compliance with British usage.

This problem got me thinking about turning numerals into words, and I actually spent quite a while solving this problem much more fully than I had to. I’m not going to explain my full solution: that’s for a different post.

Suffice to say, I wrote a script that will print, in British English short-scale words, any integer from 0 to 10^{64} (10^{63} is one vigintillion, after which Wikipedia runs out of names). It took quite a lot of effort and made me realise just how subtle our numbering rules actually are. Here’s the code:

# D Falck. Run this file, the command line interface will ask you for a number to print (below 10^64 please)

import math

def digitsOf(N): # Separates N into a list of its digits
    N = abs(N) # Make positive
    length = math.floor(math.log10(N)) + 1 # How many digits
    separated = []
    separated.append(int(N % 10)) # We build the list in reverse order, starting with the units digit
    for i in range(1,length): # Every digit can be found from N modulo something and the previous digit
        new = int((N % 10**(i+1) - separated[i-1])/(10**i))
    separated.reverse() # Finally, put the list in the right order
    return separated

def inWords(N): # Returns the English words for N
    digitNames = ['zero','one','two','three','four','five','six','seven','eight','nine']
    teenNames = ['ten','eleven','twelve','thirteen','fourteen','fifteen','sixteen','seventeen','eighteen','nineteen']
    tensNames = ['twenty','thirty','forty','fifty','sixty','seventy','eighty','ninety']
    bigNames = ['thousand','million','billion','trillion','quadrillion','quintillion','sextillion','septillion','octillion','nonillion','decillion','undecillion','duodecillion','tredecillion','quattuordecillion','quindecillion','sexdecillion','septendecillion','octodecillion','novemdecillion','vigintillion']

    def hundreds(digits): # Deals with triplets of digits
        def units(digit): # Deals with single digits
            return digitNames[digit]

        def tens(digits): # Deals with pairs of digits
            if digits[0] == 0: # If there's a leading zero, pass to the units function
                return units(digits[1])
            elif digits[0] == 1: # If the number is in the teens
                return teenNames[digits[1]]
            else: # For any number higher than 19
                firstWord = tensNames[digits[0]-2]
                if digits[1] == 0: # If a multiple of 10, just return the first word
                    return firstWord
                else: # Otherwise, concatenate the tens digit with the units digit
                    return '{}-{}'.format(firstWord,units(digits[1]))

        if digits[0] == 0: # If a leading zero, pass to the tens function
            return tens(digits[1:])
        elif digits[1:] == [0,0]: # If a multiple of 100, just return 'thingy hundred'
            return '{} hundred'.format(units(digits[0]))
        else: # Otherwise, return 'thingy hundred and thingy'
            return '{} hundred and {}'.format(units(digits[0]),tens(digits[1:]))
    if N == 0:
        return digitNames[0]
    digits = digitsOf(N)
    length = len(digits)
    for dummy in range(40-length): # Add leading zeroes until the number is 40 digits long
    string = hundreds(digits[-3:]) # Start by adding the words for the hundreds digits
    for i in range(len(bigNames)+1): # Now recursively add the words for the thousands, millions, etc. digits
        if digits[-(6+3*i):-(3+3*i)] == [0,0,0]: # Don't append anything if the digits are zeroes
        elif digits[-(3+3*i):] == [0 for dummy in range((6+3*i) - 3)]: # If everything else is zeroes, make this the only thing in the string
            string = '{} {}'.format(hundreds(digits[-(6+3*i):-(3+3*i)]),bigNames[i])
        elif digits[-(3+3*i):-2] == [0 for dummy in range((6+3*i) - 3 - 2)]: # If no digits until the tens, add an 'and'
            string = '{} {} and {}'.format(hundreds(digits[-(6+3*i):-(3+3*i)]),bigNames[i],string)
        else: # Otherwise just add on these digits and a comma
            string = '{} {}, {}'.format(hundreds(digits[-(6+3*i):-(3+3*i)]),bigNames[i],string)

    if N < 0: # If negative
        string = 'negative {}'.format(string)

    return string

if __name__ == '__main__': # Only run this when executing this file itself
    continuing = True # Runs a basic command line interface
    while continuing:
        request = input('Enter the integer you want printed (or \'s\' to stop):  ')
        if request == 's':
            continuing = False

It will be a lot easier to code just the first 1000 numbers, which is all this problem calls for.

Anyway, with that out the way, we want to start a new python file and use our functions from this one (which I called To do that, we just put from numberprinter import * at the top along with our usual import math. All we do now is iterate through the integers from 1 to 1000 and find how long the string of words for each is.

(We get rid of any hyphens and spaces with .replace('-','').replace(' ','') since we’re not meant to count these.) The final code for this file is like this:

import math
from numberprinter import *

letterSum = 0
for i in range(1,1001):
    string = inWords(i)
    letterSum += len(string.replace('-','').replace(' ',''))

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