Algorithms For Present Wrapping
Written by Lucy Black   
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

How do you wrap yours? If you are a programmer, or I suppose a mathematician, you might just follow an algorithm. Here's a video that shows you how to wrap different shapes for that perfect package. 

Do you, like me, sort of take a run at it and just hope that the paper and the present come together in an aesthetically pleasing way? Some people have been rude enough to ask if I just throw the present and the paper then attempt to subdue them with lots of tape. I also have to agree that tape overuse is one of my failings when it comes to wrapping. I'm a bit like a spider wrapping its prey in silk thread.

Well this year everything is going to be different. After watching Katie Steckles perform wonders of mathematical wrapping I think I've got sufficient algorithmic wrapping loaded and ready to run to deal with any shape:



Wasn't she economical with the tape! Once piece for a whole package!

The diagonal wrapping technique is worth knowing about. It was discovered a few years back and quickly adopted by chocolate bar makers as a way of saving money on foil - it uses a lot less foil than the obvious way of wrapping. 



Apart from ensuring my presents look like something that Luke Skywalker might want to feel, it is also a reminder that algorithmic thought is everywhere. I also have to make sure that I put a selection of chocolates into gift boxes so they just fit. Thankfully I understand the knapsack problem and the greedy algorithms needed to solve it.

And they say you shouldn't teach programming in schools!

They deserve poorly wrapped presents.


Credit:The Man's Guide To Wrapping Presents

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Gift wrapping algorithm

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Gift wrapping algorithm

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 22 December 2015 )