The Weekly Challenge ‐ Perl and Raku

CY's Take on The Weekly Challenge #156

If you want to challenge yourself on programming, especially on Perl and/or Raku, go to, code the latest challenges, submit codes on-time (by GitHub or email).

Do tell me, if I am wrong or you strongly oppose my statements!

It's time for challenges in Week #156 !

image info

Two number theory tasks again.

Task 1: Pernicious Number

In order not to embarrass myself again like what happens in Week 138, I had checked out the official document for number-base convertion. OK, sprintf works well for dec -> bin and oct works well for bin -> dec.

Pernicious numbers appear quite frequently in the regime of positive integers. I just do a simple test:

Randomly choose an integer between one and a large number $X, what is the probability that you get a pernicious number?

For $X = 2_000_000, the probability is 0.332973; for $X = 20_000_000, the probability is 0.34483485.


Firstly I coded a simple version:

use Math::Prime::Util qw /is_prime/;
my $count = 0;

for (1..3*$N) {
    if (pernicious_simple($_)) {
        say $_;
    last if $count == $N;

die "bound too small\n" if $count < $N; # does not happen

sub pernicious_simple {
    my $num = $_[0];
    my $count_one = scalar
                      grep { $_ == 1 } split "", sprintf("%b",$num);
    return is_prime($count_one) ? 1 : 0;

I had thought that we could use combinations to complete the task. For the $N given, calculate an upper bound of number of binary digits needs, then generate some pernicious numbers, and finally sort them:

use Math::Prime::Util qw /next_prime/;
use Algorithm::Combinatorics qw/combinations/;

my $N = $ARGV[0] || 10;

my $list_size = $N;
my $ub = 3*$N;

my @pern_num = ();

for my $k (2..$ub) {
    my $prime = 2;
    while ($prime <= $k) {
        my @length_k_weight_p_num = ();
        my $iter = combinations([1..$k-1], $prime-1);
        while (my $c = $iter->next) {
            my @ch = ((1), (0) x ($k-1));
            $ch[$_] = 1 for @{$c};
            my $new_pern_num = oct("0b".(join "", @ch));
            push @length_k_weight_p_num, $new_pern_num;
        push @pern_num, @length_k_weight_p_num;
        $prime = next_prime($prime);
    last if scalar @pern_num >= $N;

@pern_num = sort {$a<=>$b} @pern_num;
say join ", ", @pern_num[0..$N-1];

To my surprise, this method is more effective for large $N:

$ # code modify to output the $N-th pernicious number
$ time perl 2000000 

real	0m18.420s
user	0m18.413s
sys	0m0.004s

$ # code modify to output the $N-th pernicious number
$ time perl 2000000

real	0m11.587s
user	0m11.527s
sys	0m0.056s

Therefore I have submitted the later version.

Sample Run:

$ perl 20
3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28

Task 2: Weird Number

Last week we have a task 2 which can be categorized into algebraic number theory, and this week we get a task 2 related to analytic number theory.

But after coding, I found that we need not apply any advanced number theory results on this task. Anyway, I think the concept of multiplicative [arithmetic] function is very interesting. You may take a look on this link (pdf) if you are also often amazed by mathematics.

Back to the task. The task can be divided into two parts:
1. find all proper divisors of the input number;
2. check whether there is a subset of the set of the proper divisors having sum which is equal to the input number.

Express this in code:

sub weird {
    my $num = $_[0];
    my @proper_divisors = proper_divisors($num);
    return 0 if (sum @proper_divisors) < $num;
    return !subset_sum($num, [@proper_divisors]);

For the first part, I choose to use the trivial integer factorization with help from Math::Prime::Util. (Originally I wanted to try something cool and new to me, and I eyed on wheel factorization, but I found the wheel factorization is primarily useful for checking whether an integer is prime or getting a non-trivial factor of an integer.)

sub factorization {
    my $num = $_[0];
    my @prime_factors;
    my $prime = 2;
    while ($num != 1) {
        if ($num % $prime == 0) {
            $num /= $prime;
            push @prime_factors, $prime;
        else {
            $prime = next_prime($prime);
    return @prime_factors;
sub proper_divisors {
    my @prime_factors = factorization($_[0]);
    my @pd = (1);
    while (scalar @prime_factors > 0) {
        my $n = shift @prime_factors;
        my @temp_pd = @pd;
        push @pd, $n*$_ for @temp_pd;
    @pd = sort {$a<=>$b} uniqint @pd;
    pop @pd;    # remove the largest factor -> the number itself
    return @pd;

For the second part, I have used the dynamic programming technique. (...I need more practice on dynamic programming and make it as one of my natural skills.) There is an established algorithm to do it.

sub subset_sum {
    my $sum = $_[0];
    my @A = $_[1]->@*;

    my $DP;
    $DP->[0][$_] = 1 for (0..scalar @A);
    $DP->[$_][0] = undef for (1..$sum);
    for my $s (1..$sum) {
        for my $k (1..scalar @A) {
            $DP->[$s][$k] = $DP->[$s][$k-1];
            if ($s >= $A[$k-1]) {
                $DP->[$s][$k] = $DP->[$s][$k]
    return $DP->[$sum][scalar @A];

Sample Run:

$ perl 30
30 is not weird.
ok 1 - n=12 (Example 1)
ok 2 - n=70 (Example 2)
ok 3 - n=100
ok 4 - n=4030 (term from wikipedia)
ok 5 - n=6000
ok 6 - n=9272 (term from wikipedia)
I wanted to try the signatures feature, but after a second thought I would like to improve my coding ability (style or algorithms) step-by-step.
And, I continue the colouring of the blogpost for political expressions. I have listed the "Humanitarian Law Education" course from the local Red Cross on my online resume since that page has been published. If I ignore the current crisis, I betray my education.

I wish I do not need to do the colouring soon.

Stay alert and healthy! □

The image of the sunflower field is from Wikimedia Commons. Image details.

Except from images and codes from other personnels, the content of this blogpost is released under a copyleft spirit. One may share (full or partial) content of this blogpost on other platform if you share it under the free and open content spirit.

link for CY's full codes:,

Contact on twitter: @e7_87.

Discuss via GitHub issues: here.

Email: fungcheokyin at

Created Date: 17th March, 2022.

Latest Modified Date: 20th March, 2022.