Design your own Bongard problems!
How about designing your own Bongard
problems and mailing them to me? I could then publish them on
my index page, and include them in my program's standard input
data file as "challenges" to my program's abilities,
provided they are unique (here is a complete index of those known to me).
No, I do not seek ways to take advantage of free labor. Recall
that while this project was developed I
was a Ph.D. student in cognitive science; I am not a
profit-seeking organization. I happen to enjoy designing and
collecting Bongard problems as much as I suppose you will, if you
undertake the task, that's all.
Some readers have asked me what kind of Bongard problems I
would prefer to see created: easy ones, hard ones -- what
exactly? In my view, which might not coincide with yours, the
most esthetically pleasing BP's are not always the hardest ones.
Often, those that appeal to my sense of neatness come with an
easy-to-see answer, but they are based on a new idea, or a unique
combination of ideas. Making a problem hard is easy: just add
"noise" to it (features & objects irrelevant to the
solution). But beautiful things can't be made a dime a dozen. So,
the degree of difficulty is not always a good measure of
neatness. The latter is rather an art, which has to be
"felt" by the designer. If you like your BP,
it's a good one! Send it here!
What you get if you send me a
- An answer back, thanking you for your kind contribution.
- Publication of problem through my index
page, along with your name on that page, and on each
problem you design.
- Inclusion of your problem in my program's standard input
file. If the problem is not unique (if somebody else has
come up first with the same idea) it will be placed in an
alternative input file, for "additional problems to
- Each problem includes a note about its designer, (e.g.,
Bongard, Hofstadter, me, you, etc.) so your name will be
made available through the program's interface. If
provided, a link to your home page will also appear.
- A notification will be mailed to you for downloading the
program, when it becomes available. (Which means,
"when the program becomes sufficiently bug-free, and
can solve a decent number of BP's".) The program was
officially born (was able to solve its first problem) on
March 13, 2000. The data file with your problem, and a
help file explaining what to expect, will be included
with the downloaded package.
How to send me a problem: there are various ways.
- The easiest one: email to me
the image as an attachment. It will be best if you allow
each of the 12 boxes to be 100x100 pixels. That way I
will not have to resize your creation. Resizing often
involves some loss of information, implying work on my
part to restore it. If you feel 100x100 is too
restrictive, don't worry too much about it; but if you do
choose to work within a resolution of 100x100, consider
dowloading one of my GIFs (you know, those with the
binder rings that appear everywhere in my pages, e.g., here) and modify it with
your favorite image-editing program.
- Some people prefer to hand-write the images, as this
gives them a different kind of freedom on what to draw
(and makes qualitatively interesting images). In that
case, please scan your hand-made image, or take a picture
of it with your camera, etc., so that you can send me a
digital image in a reasonably common format (JPEG, GIF,
BMP, PNG, TIFF, PCX, etc.).
- The hardest one for me (and least desirable): Send me the
solution in verbal form, trusting that I will find it
interesting enough to draw the problem myself. I would
prefer to work on the image of your problem though,
actually trying to solve it, and thus get an idea of how
difficult it is. If you just mail me the solution, the
fun part will be spoiled.
What information to include in your email:
- The attachment/URL/solution, as explained above.
- Your full name, so I can include it with the problem's
- Your home page URL, if you have one, which is another
piece of the problem's data (your e-mail address, of
course, is not part of the problem's data).
- If you provide the image of the problem, hide the
solution in the email somehow (e.g., by prepending a
sufficient number of blank lines).
- If your regular email address is not the same as the
sender's, remember to include your regular address, too,
so I can answer back to you.
Once again, thank you for your creative donation to the BP
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"main" research page