R20. Dynamic Programming: Blackjack

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pointed questions
before we go over blackjack?
you start blackjack
can you go through
the rules again?
rules of the game?
Well I’m going to
do something better
than going through the rules.
I’m going to abstract
the rules away.

So I’m going to say that
a game of blackjack has,
let’s start here.

So a game of
blackjack has a deck.
And we have x-ray vision
or some other illegal way
in which we know what the deck
looks like from the beginning.
How many cards in a deck?
So say from 0 to 51 because
we like zero-based indexing.

So the way that the game
starts is you get two cards,
the dealer gets two cards.
What is the only decision
that you make in the game
if you already have
perfect information?

So you know the deck already.
You don’t need to
wait for each card
to know what it’s going to be.
So as the game starts you
have to make one decision.
What’s that decision?
AUDIENCE: Hit or stand.
that’s assuming you
care what you get each time.
So if you have to
look at the card
then you have to decide each
time if you hit or stand.
If you know all the
cards in advance–
AUDIENCE: How much to bet?
PROFESSOR: I think our
game has that fixed.
AUDIENCE: When to restart?
is hit or stand,
but I want to restate that.
Because you don’t actually
have to decide after every card
if you want to hit or stand.
You know what the cards
are going to be in advance.
AUDIENCE: When to restart?
Like how many cards to pick?
many cards to pick.
Yeah that’s pretty
much the same thing.
So you don’t have to decide
every time hit or stand,
you know ahead of time I
want to hit three times,
or I want to hit once.
Because you know
the entire deck.
You don’t need to actually
look at the cards.
So each game the only
decision that I make is–
suppose this is one
game– the only decision
that I have is h, how many
cards I’m going to hit.
And then after I
make this decision
the game will eat up some cards.
I get two cards, the
dealer gets two cards,
then I hit some cards then
the dealer gets some cards.
And this is the number of
cards that have been consumed.
Some number of cards that
were played in this game.
And the other thing
that comes out of it
is how much money I make.
For our simple rules it’s
either I make $1, or nothing,
or I lose $1.

Fair enough?
Everyone follows?
So I’m going to abstract
all this in a helper method.
I’m going to say that I have
a method called round outcome.

Where I say, look out
of the entire deck
I’m going to start at card i, so
this is where my round starts.
So I tell it which
cards I start at.
And how many cards
I’m going to hit.
And it gives me back a
tuple, where the first item
is how many cards are played.
So number of cards played.
And the second item in the tuple
is how much money do I make.

h is how many cards
I’m going to hit.
So i says that I already
played this many cards
in previous games.
So a game starts
with a full deck.
And then I play some rounds.
Each round I do a whole
exchange with the dealer, where
I hit some cards, and then
the dealer hits some cards.
And then I win or
lose some money.
AUDIENCE: I don’t understand
why h and cp are different.
PROFESSOR: So cp is how many
cards are played in total.
And this looks at
the initial cards.
So first I get two cards,
the dealer gets two cards.
And then after I hit some cards
the dealer also has to hit.
And the dealer has a pretty
find algorithm, right?
So the number of
cards played includes
the cards that were
dealt initially
and the cars that the
dealer has to hit.
So this little thing has all the
blackjack rules encoded in it.
Everything is already there.
AUDIENCE: So blackjack,
that’s roughly 2h?
cp is 2h, something like that?
PROFESSOR: 4 plus 2h maybe.
Because you get two
cards, he gets two cards,
and if you both deal
h on average then–
AUDIENCE: So is cp the
number of cards this round?
PROFESSOR: This round, yeah.

OK so intuitively
I already know,
so I already know
the entire deck.
So the decision that
I have to make is,
would I play
optimally every round?
Or do I want to maybe
lose the first round
and leave some good
cards for later?
So I have to figure
out how many cards I’m
going to hit each time so
that overall I make the most
amount of money when
I leave the table.
And when I run out of
cards I leave the table.
The dealer says
shows over, gotta go.

Do the rules make sense?
OK so I propose we
approach this in two ways.
First we model it
as a graph problem,
because we’ve already
done this a few times.
And then we model it as a
dynamic programming problem.
And we see how the
two are related.
Make sense?
Is this too simple for everyone?
You guys already get everything?
So how would I model
this is a graph problem?

already know the order
that you’re going to
get all these cards in?
lecture we briefly
talked about having
your starting node go
to a bunch of other
nodes that would
be your potential
next move, and then
you just calculate your
shortest path distance
from there to the x value.
PROFESSOR: So that’s
the general approach.
How do we do this for cards?
So what would be nodes?
What are the most intuitive
nodes you could think about?

OK maybe intuitive for me.
So nodes show our state, right?
Show the state that the
game is currently in.
AUDIENCE: Your hand.
Like your current cards.
Is that your state?

So from I guess 2 to ace.
AUDIENCE: From 2 to ace, in
terms of the number of choices
you have.
the problem is you
have four cards of
each type, right?
And you don’t know where
they show up and everything.
So I think this my code
more complicated than it
needs to be.
AUDIENCE: Like the rest
of the cards in the deck
that are remaining?
a good [INAUDIBLE]?
PROFESSOR: How many cars I
have left in the deck, right?
So basically I would have one
node for each of the cards
And that says I start a
new game at this card.

OK so I’m going to
draw some circles.

Say these are our nodes.
Maybe I draw a bit
too many of them.
Where do we always start?
AUDIENCE: The left side.
PROFESSOR: First one, right?
We start with 52 cards.
So circle 0 means that we played
0 cards, we have 52 cards left.
When do we draw an
edge between nodes?
What does an edge mean?

AUDIENCE: That’s how
many cards you’ve chosen,
so the number cp.
PROFESSOR: OK so the number cp.
It means I played a game, right?
So one edge is a game.
And it goes from one
state to the next state.
So if I’m, say I’m at node i.

How do I draw the edges?
Say I’m somewhere here.
So I already played i cards.
through all h’s, cp’s.
So for h in what to what?
What’s the smallest h?
AUDIENCE: The smallest h is 1.
Do I have to hit?
AUDIENCE: Wait isn’t it 4?
Because you’re
always dealing out 4.
PROFESSOR: Yes, so I might as
well not count them, right?
So h is how many cards I hit
after the initial ones were
So that I can start at 0,
a nice and easy number.
And where do I end?
Rough approximation.

AUDIENCE: You could go to
infinity and then break.
It’s still 11 because 11 at
most– oh no, 11 minus 4, 6.
You need to know the
rules of the game.
PROFESSOR: OK if you know the
rules of the game it’s that.
If you don’t know the rules
of the game it’s 52 minus i.

OK so what’s first thing I do?
So how do I draw an
edge representing
a game where I hold h cards?

AUDIENCE: So you draw an
edge from your current place
to the output of round
outcome with the 0 element.

PROFESSOR: So then let’s
store this output somewhere.
Let’s say o is round outcome.
What do I give round outcome?
AUDIENCE: i and h.
picked good names.
They’re exactly
what I have there.
So I draw an edge
from i to what?

AUDIENCE: To the output of
round outcome, which is o.
So it’s 0.

the node at o is 0.

So suppose I’m at i
and I’ve already played
five cards, right?
So say i equals 5, for example.
And I know that if I hit
once the dealer will also
have to hit once.
So in total I’ve played 6 cards.
And suppose I won.
Then the output
would look like this.
6 cards were played and I won.
So plus 1.
So I would draw an
edge from 5 to what?
5 to 11 hopefully.
So what’s 11?
11 is 5 plus all of 0.
OK, what am I missing there?

AUDIENCE: i to i

So this tells me how many
cards I played in this game.
I want to look at
each game separately.
I don’t want to have to keep
track of previous states.
So this output is
localized to this game.
It tells me how
many cards have been
drawn in this game in total.
And how much money
I made in this game.
If I already played i cards
before starting the game,
after I play all of 0, the total
number of cards is i plus 0.
Tiny detail, but you’d
probably lose a point off
of an exam or something
if you forget it.
OK so keep track of your state.
It makes sense to write
down this is my state,
and then make sure that
you’re always representing it.
So what’s the cost of the edge?

And then our answer would
be what path do I want?

I want to make the
most amount of money,
so that’s the longest path.
How do I convert this to
a shortest path problem,
because this is what
you know how to solve?
Where I put it?
PROFESSOR: Good answer, there.
Right there.
OK so this builds
the graph, then
I run some algorithm on it.
What’s the best algorithm
I can run on it?
AUDIENCE: Dykstra because
you can [INAUDIBLE].
But you can add everything on.
The lowest negative edge
weight is 1, or negative 1.

PROFESSOR: Are there
negative cycles?
PROFESSOR: Everything
goes right, right?
So even if I don’t
get hit any card,
at least four cards
will be played.
So all these arrows go right.

So then I heard a
fancy term that I like.

Can someone say it again?
What’s this graph?
All the edges go one way.
So this is a DAG.
And that means that I
can run what algorithm?

PROFESSOR: Topological
sort plus DFS,
the one that we talked about
last time when everyone was out
for Thanksgiving.
So you have to
believe me that it
exists, or look
at lecture notes.
So top sort plus
DFS will give me
the shortest path in
order of V plus E.
So this is better than Dykstra,
which is E plus V log V. OK?

OK I’m guessing
most of you don’t
know how that algorithm works.
Well good news,
we’re going to do
this using dynamic programming.
So we’re going to represent
the graph implicitly.
And we’re going to
write everything
without needing to
know the algorithm.
If you know it, it helps because
you can see how they relate.
But if you don’t we should still
be able to solve the problem.
But before we do that, does
everyone understand this?

Some nods would be nice
so that I can feel good.

AUDIENCE: Like the
number 5 there,
that’s only if you hit, right?
Or that’s the number
of cards remaining.
Is there a particular
reason you picked 5?
choosing an example for i.
So good question,
what does i mean?

So this means I’m– assume
that I’m starting a game.
So starting– sorry, a round.

A new round.
And I have already played i
cards in the previous round.

So I started a new round
and the first 5 cards
are out of the deck.
What’s the best
strategy I can have?
What’s the most
money I can make?
AUDIENCE: But there’s
some nodes that
connect to the next card
over that won’t necessarily
end the game, so
there aren’t going
to be any earnings, right?

You could have 5 connect
to 6, and that wouldn’t–
PROFESSOR: Here I’m just
trying to emphasize the point
that all the edges move,
all the edges point forward.
But yeah, the edges have to
go at least across four nodes.
So assume there are some
more nodes around here.

AUDIENCE: You were
saying how you
have to be careful
with something
or else you’ll lose a point.
What was that?

draw your edges.
Or when we switch to
dynamic programming, what
you write in your recursion.

OK so last chance
to ask a question
before we do a conceptual jump
and use another algorithm.

OK how do we do this using
the dynamic programming?
So what are we going to
have instead of nodes?

Well so you still have
states in both cases.
But here you represent
them with nodes in a graph.
In dynamic programming you
represent them using– yeah,
the states are
basically sub-problems.
And what do we, when we
compute stuff, what do we use?

Numbers is a vector
or in a matrix.
So there’s no
graph to work with.
There are no extra
algorithms to call.
We just straight up
compute to the numbers,
we trade the answers
to the problem.
So we’re going to have an array.

How many elements in the array?
Can anyone guess?
All right, I heard 52.

If I’m at element i, say i
equals 5 because we used that
before, what does this represent
in the dynamic programming

It’s very similar
to node 5 there.
So what does it represent?
The fact that we’re
starting a game after we
played the first five cards.
Sorry, we’re starting
a round after we’ve
played the first 5 cards.
And we want to maximize
our earnings from here on.

So then the problem
is, how do we
maximize our earnings
starting here?
So given that the
deck has these cards,
so the cards from 5 to 51.
What’s the maximum
amount of money
we can make by
playing optimally?

So maximum number
of money we can
win by playing optimally,
starting around at card i.

Starting at i.

So if I want to compute
this– by the way, speaking
of bad variable names,
we did this before.
When people don’t know
how to name this array
they name it dpi.
I think we did that in our PSet.
So this is the most useless
name you can have for the array.
It just tells you that we’re
using dynamic programming.
But it doesn’t really
tell you what it means.
So we’re going to go
for it, because it’s
nice and easy to write.
So if I want to compute
dp of i, how do I do that?

[INAUDIBLE] problems.
PROFESSOR: OK, so what
are the sub-problems?

function at i’s past 5
where the i’s are [INAUDIBLE]
through this manner.
PROFESSOR: OK so I’d want to
have something very similar
to this, right?
What are my decisions?
So what are my choices?
What do I iterate over?
AUDIENCE: How many hits.
PROFESSOR: Yep, exactly the
same thing as before, right?
Starting a node at i.
I was starting a node at i here.
So the choices are
exactly the same.

So I’m going to start
by looking at this line.
Do I need to make any changes?
Or do I copy straight over?

So this is the algorithm
for computing dp of i.
For i in 0 to 52.
Sorry h in 52 minus i.
All right.

I hope we can do a
bit better than that.
AUDIENCE: So we know that
it’s a max of 6, right?
So can we just put
that in instead?
That’s given the rules.
If you’re smart you can.
I’m not, so I’m
just writing this.
So this helper function
that I have here,
that I call the
magic that implements
the rules of bag
check will save me.
So if I say that oh, I
want to hit 10 times,
and that’s impossible,
then it’ll probably give me
an earning of minus
infinity, which makes sure
I never choose that path.
So all that is hidden in there.
You’re smart enough in
blackjack so you can write 6.
I’m not so I can’t.
So 52 minus i.
OK what I do next?
Do I copy this next line?
Or do I change it?

Yeah let’s copy it over.
Sounds good.

How about this?
Do I copy this?
Trick question.
Come on guys.

So do I copy this line or not?
Do I have a graph here?
Can I draw edges?
OK so I’m not going to copy it.
What do I do instead?
By trick I mean easy.
So what do I do instead?
I compute my answer directly.

So if I hit h cards,
what am I looking at?
mean like a function?
PROFESSOR: A function, sorry?
AUDIENCE: You add the
dp of o 1 or of o 0.

PROFESSOR: OK so first
let’s see if I have i cards,
and say I hit, I do the same
exact thing that I did before.
I look at i is 5 and h equals 2.
So then that function gives
me the same answer, 6 1.
So then I know that after this
I’m going to end up in a state
where I played the
first 11 cards.
So I’m going to end up at 11.

How much money did
I make overall?

OK, so 1 in this case.

So how much money I made is
o of– I think it’s o of 1.

And after I land here, how
much money I’m going to make?
Assuming I’m still
playing optimally.

PROFESSOR: dp i plus.


So i plus o of 0 is
used to compute–
so dp of i plus o of 0 is
used to compute dp of i.
This is the same thing as–
AUDIENCE: dp is a function here?

So you’re wondering
what the hell?
Why will that work, right?
Let’s get to that in a minute.
That will work, we
have to make it work.

So here I’m drawing an edge
from i to i plus o of 0.
And the cost of the
edge is minus o of 1.
So here we’re looking at edges.
Here I’m assuming
that they already
computed the answer here
using some black magic.
It’s already available.
And I want to compute
the answer here.
So I have the cost of the
edge plus whatever I had here.

So if, suppose I know
that if I start here
and I finish the
deck, I can make $20.
So suppose I know
that this is 20.
What will the answer be here?

1 plus 20 which is?

So if I hit– how many times
did I say there– if I hit twice
I guess I’ll make 21.
So this is a possible answer.
And I have to go over
all possible answers.
So this is how much I’m making
if I hit h cards, right?

Now I’m looking at
multiple choices here.
This is the answer
for each choice.
Which answer do I
want in the end?
The largest.
So let’s say I’m going to
start with a choices array that
stores all the answers.
So here I’m just going
to pend the answer,
the possible answer.
Choices append this guy.
And then at the
end of the for loop
I’m going to take
the max of choices,
and I’m going to
assign it where?


PROFESSOR: So I promised I’m
going to compute dp of i.
I just finished
computing dp of i.

Now there’s a
little problem here.
In order to compute
this guy, I need
to already have the
answer for this guy.
And maybe for some
other guys here.

So an answer here depends
on future answers.

The arrows here are the same
as the arrows here, right?
They represent possible
moves in the game.
At the same time the arrows
here represent dependencies.
This answer depends
on this answer,
this answer depends on this
answer, so on and so forth.
When we hear the
word dependencies
what do we think of?

Topological sort.
PSet, which one?
PSet 6 still brings
painful memories?
Not anymore.
We have a new one.
So in order to
compute this I need
to compute the answer to
a few other sub-problems.
To make sure that I have these
answers ready by the time
I compute this.
So to make sure that
this code doesn’t
crash I have to compute all
the answers to the sub-problems
in the topological sort order.
That’s where topological
sort fits in here.
What’s an obvious
topological sort,
if all the edges are
pointing this way?
PROFESSOR: Yep, thank you guys.

So start at the easiest problem.
What do you do if
you have one card?
And then go look at bigger and
bigger and bigger problems,
until we tackle
the hard problems
of what I do with
the entire deck.
So when I compute this problem
I’m going to go to iterate how?
From where to where?
AUDIENCE: 52 minus i to the 0.
You’re actually–
PROFESSOR: So this is i.
AUDIENCE: Oh, that’s i.
do i go from here?
AUDIENCE: 51 to 0.
PROFESSOR: All right.

So now whenever
I access this guy
I know it’s already computed.
So the code isn’t
going to crash.

OK and this thing is
my topological sort.

So the advantage of
this is that the code
is a lot smaller, right?
Here I’m building the graph.
So I’m calling
some graph methods.
And then I would have to
have the code for computing
the shortest path in a DAG.
And then I would have to
have some code for extracting
the answer using that.
Here this is all the code.
It’s a few lines.
And it’s because the graph
is represented implicitly.
The topological sort is
represented implicitly.
The edges are
represented implicitly.
So this looks like magic.
But if you know where to
look you’ll find the items.
You’ll find the things that tell
you what the graph looks like.
AUDIENCE: So that tells
you how much money
you can make, but
does it tell you can–
PROFESSOR: How you make it?
Not yet.
Parent pointers.
Yeah that’s a good point.
Let me see how
we’re doing on time.
I can talk parent pointers.
Am I missing anything else?

There’s one decision
that I’m missing,
that I missed here too.

If things look bad
for you, if you
know you’re going to lose
money, what can you do?

Walk away.
How much do you get?
So you always have an
edge that takes you
all the way out with cost 0.
So the way I represent that here
is I start with a choice of 0.

OK now let’s do parent pointers.
What’s the easiest way
of doing parent pointers?

AUDIENCE: Keep track of
the max of– [INAUDIBLE].

PROFESSOR: So I want to keep
track– for every answer here
I want to keep back of the h
that led me to that answer.

So in the dynamic
programming vector,
instead of just storing
the maximum cost,
I’m going to store the maximum
cost and the number of hits
I have to make to get there.
So instead of having one
number here that’s 21
I’m going to have two numbers.
I’m going to have
21 and the 1 that
says you have to hit– sorry,
2– you have to hit twice.
And then you’ll go on this
arrow and so on and so forth.
And if you know
how many hits you
have to make you
can follow this–
you can follow these
parent pointers
and they will tell you how
to play the entire game.
You start at 0 and
play the entire game.
Do we want to change the
pseudocode to do that?
OK, it’s not too hard.
How many people want to
see the pseudocode changes?
All right, I guess I don’t
have to write it then.
OK any questions on this?
So the change is really simple.
Instead of storing one
number you store a tuple.
And then because
tuples are sorted
the right way
maximum still works.
You don’t have to
change that, you just
have to change what
you store down there.
AUDIENCE: So you just
add h in, into your–
PROFESSOR: Yeah, you add one
more parentheses for the tuple.
Wait, I already have
two, OK, never mind.
AUDIENCE: You have to go through
your choices, so you just–

AUDIENCE: Is there any
difference in making
a separate dictionary
for parent pointers?
Does it make any
difference in run time?
PROFESSOR: Absolutely no
difference running time.
The code is, it might
be more complicated,
it might be more
simple, depending
on how your brain works.
It’s easier to
patch existing code
to add in parent
pointers this way.
If you’re writing
new code it might
be easier for you to have
a separate dictionary.
This is fewer lines
of code though.
OK any questions on this?

generalize and say
that if you have
a topological sort
you can do everything backwards.
Otherwise you should
use memoization.
PROFESSOR: So actually
you’re doing it
in the order of the
topological sort.
You’re not doing it backwards.
AUDIENCE: Oh, OK sorry.
If you have a
topological sort then
you should do it in that order.
But if you don’t have
a topological sort
then you should do memoization.
PROFESSOR: If you don’t
know the topological sort.
But there has to be one, right?
Because otherwise you
have infinite loops.
If you have an infinite loop
in your dependency graph,
then you’re not going
to have an answer.
So that means you’re
dp formulation is bad.
Fortunately for all
the problems that we
have the topological
sort is pretty obvious.
It either grows from 0 to the
problem size or the other way
memoization is?
memoization is, it’s
more of a proof
of concept thing.
It shows you that if
you have the recursion,
everything else can
be done automatically.
So like if you build a graph
then you can run top sort
and get the answer, you
don’t have to think about it.
We think about it because
the code is smaller
if we do it this way.
If I’d have to
write memoization I
would add 4 or 5
more lines, right?
But the point of doing it
that way is, all you need
is that recursion.
If you have this– so
this is the magic part.
If you have this, so this line
here of what your choices are
and max, how you combine
them, then everything else
is mechanical.
Once you’ve solved
enough problems
everything else is just
follow the process.

So this is the equivalent
of in graph problems,
the hard part is figuring
out what the state is.
Once you know what
the state you know
that these are the
vertices, and you
know how to draw
edges between them.
And then you know
what algorithm to run.
So the hard part is still
knowing what the state is.

Anything else?

So this is dynamic programming.
Smaller code.
This is the graph approach.
They essentially
compute the same thing.
This is more code,
this is less code.
And if you see the
correspondence between them
then you understand the
problem a little bit better.
The main point is when
you have a new problem
you can approach it either way.
If you see the dynamic
programming solution right away
write it down, you’re done.
If not, draw the graph.
Think of what the state
is, draw the edges.
And then after that
you can write the math.

OK let’s talk about
a new problem.

Let’s talk about the problem
that shows up on interviews.
People excited about interviews?

OK suppose you have a
sequence of numbers,
I’m going to draw
a sequence here.

And you want to
find the shortest
increasing sub-sequence.
So you get to choose some
numbers out of these numbers.
And they have to form
an increasing sequence.
So for example
this is a sequence.
It happens to be increasing.
This is also a sequence,
but it’s not increasing.
So it’s not a valid answer.
And I want the longest sequence,
the longest sub-sequence
that is increasing.

Does the problem make sense?

How do we solve it?
Do we want to solve it
using dynamic programming
or using graphs?

OK so votes for
dynamic programming.
Votes for graph.
Well too bad, it looks
prettier as a graph.
So how do we solve it as a
dynamic programming problem?

What are the sub-problems?

largest sub-sequence
somewhere, right?

I’m going to go off
that answer because I
know how to go off of it better.
So say start here.
Say start at 4.
Or actually say I start at 3.

I have two choices.
5, which is closer to me.
And 4.
Well I have a few more choices,
but they’re further away.

So these are my
choices starting at 3.
If I decide that I’m
going to go from 3 to 4
and the next number
I choose is 4,
now I want the
longest sub-sequence
starting at 4, right?
It still has to be
longest sub-sequence.
So from here on, no matter
what happened before,
my behavior still
has to be optimal.
If instead I chose 7, I don’t
care what happened before.
The behavior still
has to be optimal.
So a sub-problem says
start at number i.

So starting at number i.
By the way we’re going to
use zero-based indexing again
because we like it.

So starting at number
i, what’s the longest
sub-sequence I can get?

So the length of the
blah, blah, blah.
The length of,
you get the point.

OK so I’m going to have
an array again, right?
Which stores the answers.
The array is going
to be named dp.

If I have N numbers I’m going
to have N elements, from 0
to N minus 1.
Suppose I’m at element i.
And suppose this original
array is called a.
I’m in the mood for good
variable names today.
So how do I compute dp if i?

Let’s write some
pseudocode for it.

N minus i–

PROFESSOR: So what’s h?

AUDIENCE: The number of
steps we want to take–
PROFESSOR: So if I’m going
from 3 to 4 h would be what?
I’m going to have
to do additions
and subtractions,
and this is going to confuse me.
So how about I propose this.
What you say is perfectly
valid, but instead, to make sure
I don’t make too
many mistakes, I’m
going to look at the
number I land at.
At the index directly.
So I’m going to say I
start at i and end at j.
So the next step is j.
And then your h is j minus i.
So I’m not going to look at the
number of numbers I hop over,
all I care about
is where do I land.
So what’s the next number
in the sub-sequence?
If I do it that way,
where do I start?

AUDIENCE: i plus 1.
So I can choose the same
number twice, right?

So plus 1 to n.
And then I’m going to have
a choices array here that I
start, initialize with nothing.
And then what’s the
candidate, if I’m at j?

So what answer am I looking at?
AUDIENCE: dp of j.
So if I’m at i, and I’m
considering choosing j
as the next element, then my
sequence will be– my sequence
length will be dp of j almost.
Plus 1.
OK, can I choose all the–
can I go through all the j’s?
Can I go from 3 to 2.
The number at j
is greater than–
PROFESSOR: If the number at j
is greater than the number at i
then I have this new
choice, dp of j plus 1.
What do I do with it?
AUDIENCE: Stick it in choices.
PROFESSOR: Stick it in choices.

Sorry this is append.

And afterwards?
And by the way, this
thing is under the if.


missing one choice this way.
What’s my default choice?
So what’s the sequence
length if I just stay there?
PROFESSOR: So if I decide to
not choose anything after 3
then I have a number, 1.
Small detail, again
one of those things
that costs you one point
if you get it wrong.
OK so I have a default.
So I know that this is
going to be well-defined,
and I have all my
possible choices.
AUDIENCE: dp of j
representing a [INAUDIBLE].
saying, if I’m at i,
and the next number
in the sequence
is j, what’s the longest
sub-sequence– the length
of the longest
sub-sequence starting at j?

So let’s run the dp for
this example actually.
Let’s get a feel for why
it works and how it works.
So I’m going to
copy it again here.
8, 3, 5, 2, 4, 9, 7, 11.

So this is a.

And dp is here.
Where do I start by the way?
the algorithm here,
how do I iterate?
For i in–
AUDIENCE: N minus N is 0.
1 all the way to 0.
So in this case we’re going
to start at 11, right?

The default choice is 1.
Do I have any other choice?
Can I go forward?
So this is going to be 1.

Now for 7 my array of
choices has a default of 1.

And then for– let me
write the indices too,
so I don’t get confused.
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
And these are i’s.

So we’re at 7, i equals 6.
For j equals 7, is a of
j greater than a of i?
So then 7, 11 is a
possible choice, right?
So if I choose 11 as the
next point in my sequence,
what’s the total
sequence length?
And 1 plus dp of 7 equals 2.
So this is good.
So far the answers add up.
So I have 1 and 2
as my candidates
for the answer 2dp of 6.
What’s the maximum?
All right.
Works so far.
How about 9?

What are the possible
answers for 9?
So what’s choices?
First there’s 1,
there’s always 1.
And then for j equals
6, will the if be true?
I can’t add a 7
after a 9, right?
So go to the next one.
For j equals 7,
will the if be true?
So this append
will happen, right?
What will be appended
in the array?

And this means that if I’m at
9, and then the next element is
11, the longest sequence
I can get has length 2.
OK, what’s the answer for 9?

So if I start at 9 the
longest sequence I can make
has length 2.
Let’s look at 4 now.

AUDIENCE: Just in general
that’s– the problem is defined
as, OK in this case
you go from 9 to 11.
Or do you have to go from
9 to the next element?
PROFESSOR: So this is
the longest sub-sequence
if I do– so the longest
sub-sequence I get overall.
I don’t have to go
to the next element.
So if my problem looks like
this, what is the best answer?
almost defined as–
problem is defined
as, this is your first
element in the sub-sequence.
What’s the best
answer you can get?
AUDIENCE: I thought in
that case it would be 1
because there’s nothing
following it that’s greater.

is greater, right?
AUDIENCE: Unless it skips.
PROFESSOR: So it’s a
sub-sequence, not a sub-string,
which means it can skip.
I hope I got these right.
So you can skip,
otherwise the answer
would be a bit
easier to compute.
OK how about 4?

So let’s start with 1
because that’s the easy one.
And then?
AUDIENCE: 1, 3, 3, 2, right?
Because it’s going
to be 3 for that one.
AUDIENCE: And then
3 for this one.
PROFESSOR: 3 for this one.
AUDIENCE: And then 2.
PROFESSOR: So all these
are bigger, so all of them
are possible next candidates.
And these are the
sequence lengths
that I can get if I choose them.
Final answer?
PROFESSOR: 3 maximum.
AUDIENCE: But for setting
the parent pointers
you’d want to take the
closest thing, right?
PROFESSOR: As long as it’s
a maximum I don’t care.

So what are possible
parent pointers here?
The 2’s, right?
So either this or this.
Do I care which one I chose?
AUDIENCE: No, I guess I don’t.
as I choose a 2.
From a 3 I know I
have to go to a 2.
I can’t go to 1
because otherwise it
wouldn’t be as long as possible.
And then from 2’s
I have to go to 1,
and I don’t care which one.
OK how about 2, what’s dp of 2?

Does everyone else see it?

So these are all
possible choices
because they’re
all bigger than 2.
And I get 1 if I don’t
choose anything, 4, 3, 3, 2.
So 4 is the biggest answer.
Let’s look at this one, this
one’s a bit interesting, 5.
So what are the choices here?
1 if I don’t look
at anything else.

There’s a 3, 4, then 9.
A 3, 4, then 7.
And a 2 for the 11.
So this if is going to skip
these two elements, which
I can’t use to make an
increasing sub-sequence.
And then it’s going
to look at these ones,
and it’s going to add
1 to the numbers here.
And I get 3.

What is the answer for 3?
is the answer for 8?

PROFESSOR: Right, the
choices are 9 and 11.
Starting with itself
and then 9 and 11.
So now what’s the longest–
what’s the answer overall
for this problem?

So it’s not dp of 0, right?
Before when I had
blackjack I knew
that I have to start
at the first card.
So the answer was dp of 0.
In this case it’s not
dp 0, it’s the maximum
of all the dp’s here.
Because I can start my
sequence anywhere I want.
So I have to take the maximum.
And that’s the overall answer,
which in this case is 4.

OK does it make sense now?
So if you don’t
understand please look
at how you’d represent
this as a graph.
The idea is that the
numbers are nodes
and you draw an edge
between numbers,
where the first number is
smaller than the second number.
Write that formulation, write
the shortest path for that,
and see how that
matches to this.


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