a thread to bin them all [puzzle]

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The most recent riddle on the Riddler consists in finding the shorter sequence of digits (in 0,1,..,9) such that all 10⁴ numbers between 0 (or 0000) and 9,999 can be found as a group of consecutive four digits. This sequence is obviously longer than 10⁴+3, but how long? On my trip to Brittany last weekend, I wrote an R code first constructing the sequence at random by picking with high preference the next digit among those producing a new four-digit number

tenz=10^(0:3)
wn2dg=function(dz) 1+sum(dz*tenz)

seqz=rep(0,10^4)
snak=wndz=sample(0:9,4,rep=TRUE)
seqz[wn2dg(wndz)]=1
while (min(seqz)==0){
  wndz[1:3]=wndz[-1];wndz[4]=0
  wndz[4]=sample(0:9,1,prob=.01+.99*(seqz[wn2dg(wndz)+0:9]==0))
  snak=c(snak,wndz[4])
  sek=wn2dg(wndz)
  seqz[sek]=seqz[sek]+1}

which usually returns a value above 75,000. I then looked through the sequence to eliminate useless replicas

for (i in sample(4:(length(snak)-5))){
 if ((seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-3):i])]>1)
  &(seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-2):(i+1)])]>1)
  &(seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-1):(i+2)])]>1)
  &(seqz[wn2dg(snak[i:(i+3)])]>1)){
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-3):i])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-3):i])]-1
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-2):(i+1)])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-2):(i+1)])]-1
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-1):(i+2)])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-1):(i+2)])]-1
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[i:(i+3)])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[i:(i+3)])]-1
   snak=snak[-i]
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-3):i])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-3):i])]+1
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-2):(i+1)])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-2):(i+1)])]+1
   seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-1):(i+2)])]=seqz[wn2dg(snak[(i-1):(i+2)])]+1}}

until none is found. A first attempt produced 12,911 terms in the sequence. A second one 12,913. A third one 12,871. Rather consistent figures but not concentrated enough to believe in achieving a true minimum. An overnight run produced 12,779 as the lowest value.

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