You're lost in a maze. Assuming you have no breadcrumbs or sense of direction, what do you do?
1. You could move randomly.
2. You could always turn left. (Or right)
Classic methods. But what if there were another way? In a corn maze (or hedge maze), you are lost with a bunch of other people. Could you use them to help you out?
That question is the premise of this simulation.
So I introduce a new method:
3. Fear the Known: Move randomly. But when you reach an intersection, if you see people coming towards you, assume they are coming from a dead end. Go the other way.
Basing your actions on those who are just as lost as you? Could that possibly make sense? Where would the information come from? Would that ever be a better idea than methods (1) or (2)?
What better way to figure it out than test it? With this simulation, you can perform trial after trial in randomly generated mazes. What gets you out of the maze in fewer moves? Strategy (1), (2), or (3)? Try out different size mazes. Try out simple mazes, or mazes with loops. Does it even matter?
Perhaps next time you're lost in a corn maze, you'll have a new strategy under your belt.
Select the type of maze (size and loops/no loops). After that, just let the maze-goers cycle through, and see who does best!
October 2011: Released! And it turns out, the vision I had in a corn field truly does have some merit! Now to see if I can use this strategy next fall.
October 2012: Oops! Rainy days mean nobody else in the maze. Will have to wait another year to give this strategy a try.