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AlbertJayNock

Writer's Block: Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars

What goals do you hope to achieve by the end of this year?


This probably doesn't sound like a very worthy goal, but I want to write a java program to create a lottery wheel for powerball. For those unfamiliar, a lottery wheel is a combination of plays for a lottery that either guarantees winning or greatly improves the odds.

My wheel will generate 39 powerball plays, each with a different powerball. Since matching the powerball  always guarantees a win of some prize, it will guarantee I will win at least a dollar.

In addition,  it will assure that no pair of numbers occurs in more than one ticket. That is, if one ticket is 1-2-3-4-5, then none of the other tickets will have, say, a 1 and a 2. There are no prizes for matching two numbers, but this will also maximize the number of 3-combinations. (If the pair <1,2> occurs only once, certainly no triple containing 1 and 2 will occur more than once.)

I may or may not actually play the numbers. Right now I have a spreadsheet that keeps up with how much money I have left in my stake for the year, and computes a recommended  wager  based on how many drawings are left, how much money is left in my stake, and the jackpot amount. So I'd like to get the program written by the time the recommended wager is 39 dollars (which will take a while, so that should be easy.)

For those out there who are cringing as they read this, I do understand I will probably not win more than 1 dollar using this program (although it will slightly increase my odds of a big prize.) My main purpose is to make myself do more programming. I 've decided that as a computer science professor, I need to spend more time programming. I know  java well enough not to make a fool of myself when I'm teaching it or using it in classroom examples, but  that's not enough. There are insights you gain from using a language to solve problems that you don't get just preparing for a lecture.

In general, I want to do more things this year to keep my programming and other IT skills sharp and current, and more than merely adequate. I owe it to my students. And plus, it's fun. :)

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