### Shuffling things up: Applying Group Theory in Advent of Code

So it’s November, and Advent of Code season is in the air! It’s time for everyone’s favorite Santa-based light hearted learn-to-program-or-a-new-language holiday season programming challenge series. Every year a bunch of us gather around the fireplace, roast chestnuts, and brainstorm all of the interesting ways we can solve these cute themed puzzles every day. These puzzles are designed to accessible enough for most new programmers, but deep enough to provide entertainment for experienced ones. I’ve written many blog posts on some of the interesting insight some of the puzzles have yielded, and I also post my reflections on as many puzzles I can while solving them in Haskell. And if you’re solving things in Haskell, I also published an open-sourced rate-limited API library so you can fetch and submit answers from the comfort of your command line.

To kick off the season, I’ve decided to write about one of my favorite puzzles from Advent of Code 2019 – Day 22: Slam Shuffle. To me, it stands out because it’s a perfect example of how Haskell’s approach to mathematical abstraction nudges you into the direction of an efficient solution — in a way that other languages would obscure or make less obvious.

So, let’s dive in! In the end, hopefully this post can get you excited for this wonderful season, and maybe also shed some insight into what it means when we say that Haskell can help you leverage math to find good solutions to your real problems.

Of course, this post has spoilers for Advent of Code 2019 Day 22, if you are planning on trying to figure it out from yourself. If you haven’t tried it, I recommend you give it a shot and come back after! :D