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Inspired by the previous question.

Golomb's self-describing sequence g(n) is a sequence where any natural number n is repeated within the sequence g(n) times.

The first few numbers in the sequence are:

n    1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
g(n) 1  2  2  3  3  4  4  4  5  5  5  6  6  6  6  7  7  7  7  8

You can see that g(4)=3, and that "4" is repeated 3 times in the sequence.

Limitations: n<100000.

Smallest code wins.

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For naïve approaches this is the same as the previous question except that it uses n rather than 2 - n % 1. Do you have any reason to expect answers to be significantly different? –  Peter Taylor Sep 18 '12 at 9:41
In Haskell, you can use this: golomb=1:2:2:concat(zipWith replicate(drop 2 golomb)[3..]) –  FUZxxl Sep 18 '12 at 10:01
@PeterTaylor: I didn't know that. –  beary605 Sep 18 '12 at 23:19

13 Answers 13

up vote 2 down vote accepted

GolfScript (31 chars)

~([1 2.]2{.2$=[1$)]*@\+\)}3$*;=


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Nice, but have you really tried this with n=99999, and if so, how long did it take? (When I tried it, it ran for an hour before hitting the 100 MiB memory limit I'd set for it and crashing.) –  Ilmari Karonen Sep 24 '12 at 2:43
@IlmariKaronen, no. The question doesn't set any limits on memory or time efficiency, so I assume that the bound on the input size is for those languages which have fixed-width ints. –  Peter Taylor Sep 24 '12 at 7:06

PHP - 63 Chars

function g($n){for(;++$i<=$n;){for(;++$j<=$i;){echo $i;}$j=0;}}

Fast AND short.

I appear to have had the wrong sequence in mind. Derp.

This is CORRECT, fast, and short.

function g($n){for(;++$i<$n;){echo round(1.201*pow($i,.618));}}

Accuracy may suffer past the required 100,000 mark, but I did in fact meet the mark.

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This recursive version is shorter (60) but computationally inefficient:

function g($n){return$n==1?1:1+g($n-g(g($n-1)));}echo g($n);

This is much faster but longer (78):


Much faster, but at 89 characters would be:


Which is O(n)

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Python - 60 chars

for i in range(3,n):g+=[i]*g[i-1]
print g[n]
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That's nice. I didn't think doing [i]*g[i-1] would do that so I bent over backwards to do it another way; I thought it would behave more like multiplying a matrix by a scalar for some reason... –  chucksmash Sep 22 '12 at 2:12

Javascript, 93 chars

c=[,1],i=c.length;function g(n){for(i;i<n;i++) c[i]=g(i);return c[n]||(c[n]=1+g(n-g(g(n-1))))}
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J, 43 characters

f=:3 :'<.@:+&0.5(p^2-p)*y^p-1[p=:(+%)/20$1'

Defines a function using the asymptotic expression given on the wikipedia page.

   f 5
   f 20
   f 100000

Annoyingly 9 characters are used just rounding to the nearest integer.

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int k=2,l=2,c=2,j=1,m,t;
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Python - 76 chars

n=20;g=[1,2,2];[[g.append(i)for j in range(g[i-1])]for i in range(3,n)];g[n]
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This actually fills the list with a bunch of Nones. Seems to be the "correct" amount of Nones tho :) –  daniero Sep 22 '12 at 0:10
@Daniero yeah it's kind of weird code. I had to run it a couple of times to convince myself it actually worked. It fills the list comprehension with a bunch of Nones since list.append() returns None type. I just used the nested list comprehensions to achieve a nested loop. The only purpose of the list comprehensions here is to cause the code to loop the right number of times - they are throw away values –  chucksmash Sep 22 '12 at 2:05
It saves two characters over if I had done traditional nested loops :) –  chucksmash Sep 22 '12 at 2:09

Perl, 48 chars


Input on stdin, output to stdout. Needs Perl 5.10+ and the -M5.010 to enable the sayfeature. Takes about O(n2) time due to inefficient array manipulation, but still fast enough to easily calculate up to the 100,000th term.

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using namespace std;
int main()
    float T=(1+pow(5,.5))/2;
    long long int t,n,i;

        float f,g;
        if(f*g - (long long int)(f*g)>=0.5)
            cout<< (long long int)(f*g)+1<<"\n";
            cout<< (long long int)(f*g)<<"\n";
    return 0;
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Haskell, 30 27 Chars

g 1=1
g n=1+(g$n-g(g$n-1))
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Welcome to the site! –  Jonathan Van Matre Mar 12 '14 at 23:39
Thanks! I hope to stick around. –  user1502040 Mar 12 '14 at 23:50

JavaScript - 48 Characters


Creates a 1-indexed array g containing the sequence values.

Edit - JavaScript - 46 Characters


Creates a 1-indexed array v containing the sequence values.

Edit 2 - ECMAScript 6 - 27 Characters


The first two are reasonably fast - the third is very slow

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Julia - 28

By a recursive way:



[a(i) for i=1:20]'
1x20 Array{Int64,2}:
 1  2  2  3  3  4  4  4  5  5  5  6  6  6  6  7  7  7  7  8
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