I recently got interested in algorithms for scaling pixel art images, such as icons or video game sprites. The Wikipedia page on the topic lists a handful of different algorithms that have been developed for that purpose.
I occasionally see references to the HDF5 file format, but I have never encountered it in the wild. But a recent project generated multiple data sets simultaneously, in addition to metadata. Was there a better way than maintaining a collection of flat files? This prompted me to look at HDF5.
The Diamond-Square Algorithm is the natural first stop for generating artificial landscapes. The algorithm itself is beautifully simple (more details below, and on its Wikipedia page). But a casual implementation ended up not working at all, prompting me to look for an existing implementation to learn from. However, most implementations I found looked hideously complicated (or just hideous), not necessarily correct, and/or used out-of-date programming languages and styles. It therefore seemed like a good idea to create a clean, simple “reference” implementation of this algorithm, using a contemporary and widely known programming language and style.
I recently came across a collection of old (1990s) “programming challenges”. I thought it might be amusing to tackle one of these challenges using technologies from the period in which they were posed, and compare the solution to one using contemporary techniques. In other words, do the same problem in C and Python.