Approaching Perfection

I play alot of Freecell at work. Basically, my job is interesting and hard when there is work to do, but there are days when there is no work to do. I take my time when playing Freecell. I try to think out my moves eight or ten moves out, making sure I’m not getting myself blocked up. As such, I have ridiculous winning streaks like forty or fifty wins before I take a loss. The game keeps track of your wins and losses, and tracks the percentage wins. Mathematically, it round up at the half. So when I had 72.5% wins, it displayed 73%.

So I got to thinking… given that I can’t clear my scores (actually, I could probably hack the registry and ‘fix’ it), how many wins will I need in order to achieve 99.5% … or visually, 100%.

This exercise quickly illustrates the ideas of diminishing returns, and approaching infinity. Each win carries less weight on the percentage than the last. So, when I was trying to claw myself over the 70% mark, a handful of wins could put me over the top, while one loss would drop me back a bit. As of Monday afternoon, I have 972 wins and 359 losses. Its just more than 73% true, which makes it a 73% rounded. If I never lose again, I have to win 70,469 more times in order to get 99.5% so that the screen will show me a 100% win ratio. If I manage a similar play rate to the last six months, I should be able to get that in… twenty-nine years.

Perfection is a work in progress.

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