What's the fastest way to find Wally, or Waldo as he's inexplicably called in the US and Canada? Why, with machine learning, of course.
The new method derived by a doctoral student at Michigan State University's High-Performance Computing Centre, entirely defeats the simple pleasure of aimlessly staring at a page covered in animated characters that look like Wally, but are in fact imposters planted by fiendish Martin Handford, creator of the Where’s Wally books.
"I was going to pull out every machine learning trick in my tool box to compute the optimal search strategy for finding Waldo. I was going to crush Slate’s supposed foolproof strategy and carve a trail of defeated Waldo-searchers in my wake," Randy Olson posted on his blog.
Olson had been trapped at home by a snow storm, which gave him time to spare. He used that time to derive the method for finding Wally fastest using a data set mapping out all of Wally's positions across all 68 of Handford’s books published since 1987.