He hasn’t been on the blog for at least 2 days – do you think he’s OK?
Joking aside (where is he actually?), did you know someone has developed an algorithm for the quickest way to find Wally? (He’s called Waldo in America). Why don’t you check if this algorithm works by racing a friend to find Wally?
After tracking down the coordinate positions of all 68 Wally locations from the seven primary editions of the books, he was able to apply a genetic algorithm to find the statistically fastest search pattern.
“Genetic algorithms continually tinker with the solution — always trying something slightly different from the current best solution and keeping the better one — until they can’t find a better solution anymore.”
Before running the algorithm, Olson was able to determine Wally was almost never hidden in the top left corner of the page because that’s where the postcard is positioned and he was never in the bottom right as that’s where readers first look when turning pages of the book.
It only took five minutes before the algorithm was able to determine a method to save children of the future many, many hours of searching aimlessly for the character.
The theory encourages readers to start from the bottom left page before shifting their gaze to upper quarter of the opposite page and if he is still not found, people should check bottom half of right page.
“This path represents one of the shortest possible paths to follow on the page to find Wally, so if we followed this path exactly, we’d most likely find Wally much faster than someone following a more basic technique,” said Olson.