Food for Thought

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Food for Thought
A Contentious Feast by Jesse McGrew

Food for Thought
Author(s) Jesse McGrew
Publisher(s) n/a
Release date(s) 26-May-2007
Authoring system Inform 7
Platform(s) Z-code
Language(s) English
License(s) Freeware
Color effects none
Graphics none
Sound/Music none
Cruelty scale Merciful

How It Begins

You are an employee carrying nothing at the legendary Dining Hall of Time, where six philosophers are seated around a circular table. A large serving bowl of spaghetti is in the center of the table, and it's so delicious one needs two forks to eat it. But there are only six forks on the table, each of which is between two adjacent philosophers and must be shared by them.

The philosophers will get hungry as random times and must cooperate using the limited number of forks in order to feed themselves. Will they succeed and leave you a big tip, or will they starve?

Notable Features

  • Puzzleless, not a game, and not very interactive either. The player character is only a passive observer and can only really examine things or wait.
  • An implementation of the dining philosophers problem, which if implemented incorrectly, can result in deadlock if all the philosophers are waiting for a fork that their fellows won't relinquish, or starvation if a philosopher doesn't get to eat within a reasonable time after he gets hungry. (This problem is very well known by computer programmers and is used as a practical example of computer scheduling issues between processes trying to access limited resources.)
  • If more than one philosopher is doing the same thing, the game usually reports that action in one combined statement, rather than reporting one statement per philosopher.


Release 1

  • Food for Thought (Jesse McGrew; 26-May-2007; Z-code).
    • Release 1 / Serial number 070526 / Inform 7 build 4U65 (I6/v6.31 lib 6/11N)
    • IFID: 52B34075-D0C5-47EE-83BE-BD7C0B967230
      IFID links: IFDB
    • Download food_for_thought.zblorb from the author's site.
Classical Conundrums in Math and Science
Spyder and Jeb (1998)
The Knapsack Problem (2001)
Schroedinger's Cat (2001)
Food for Thought (2007)