[r-t] Exhausted search spaces

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Wed Feb 3 21:04:58 UTC 2010

Don writes,

> No, not really, at least in practice. Unlike the procedure I
> understand Mark uses, I rarely produce an inordinate number of
> compositions, and then use some sort of selection procedure to pick a
> few out of it. I generally iterate repeatedly, cycling between a
> little bit of computer search and a little bit of twiddling of what
> I'm asking the software to do

How I produce compositions varies enormously depending on the method and 
the particular type of thing I'm trying to come up with, but many of 
what I think of as my best works were produced using a procedure pretty 
close to what you describe. My short-course Bristol Major series, for 
example. Quite often a particular iteration will produce no results at 
all... sometimes hundreds of billions, of course.

There are certainly compositions which I have selected from a 
single-iteration brute-force search (the Yorkshire Max "Cosmic Joker" 
being one example I'm particularly proud of), and other compositions 
where computers have played no part other than to prove the finished 
result (typically Grandsire Caters or Stedman Caters and Cinques, where 
I am resolutely old-school in my ways).


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