Bisection Search Like A (Human) Boss

Bisection search, or binary search for us developers, is a technique for finding the best value within a given range of values.

┬áTechnically speaking, Wikipedia says the “bisection method in mathematics is a root-finding method that repeatedly bisects an interval and then selects a subinterval in which a root must lie for further processing.”

This post describes tips for when you need to bisection search manually by hand (by “feel”), as opposed to when it can be automated by, say, a computer algorithm.

For example, say you’re very thirsty and need water fast so you pour yourself a glass of water: Pour too fast and it spills but too slow and it takes too long. You want to pour fast enough to quench your thirst as soon as possible but not so fast that it spills. The speed of pouring is your range of values (eg. slow to fast) and the consequences of the speed of pouring (how long it takes and if it spills) are your criteria to decide the best value. You try pouring the glass slowly and it’s too slow: Pour faster. You try pouring the glass faster and it spills: Pour slower but faster than the first time. You try pouring the glass “just right”: It’s fast enough and doesn’t spill. You’ve found the best pouring speed by bisection search!

Update 2020-10-04: Added link to Bisection Search Calculator Spreadsheet

Older updates are archived at the bottom under the Updates section.

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There is no spoon

Web developers rejoice! You are going to love this:

Web developers rejoice! You are going to love this:

This is a brilliantly polished, snappy service that delivers an app of your choice, virtualized, to your computer where you can run it as if you had installed it yourself without actually installing it.

It works better than I can write it. It works like a dream.

Check out their developer page where they explain what’s going on.

You may tear up the first time you see this. I admit I was little teary eyed.

I was also blown away, amazed and speechless.

It made me ask: What have we been doing all this time?

You owe it to yourself to check this out if you find yourself working to support different browsers and versions.