Computer Scientists Figure Out What’s the Longest Distance You Could Sail at Sea Without Hitting Land

Back in 2012, a red­di­tor by the name of “Kepleron­ly­knows” won­dered what’s the longest dis­tance you could trav­el by sea with­out hit­ting land. And then s/he haz­ard­ed an edu­cat­ed guess: “you can sail almost 20,000 miles in a straight line from Pak­istan to the Kam­chat­ka Penin­su­la, Rus­sia.”

Six years lat­er, two com­put­er scientists–Rohan Chabuk­swar (Unit­ed Tech­nolo­gies Research Cen­ter in Ire­land) and Kushal Mukher­jee (IBM Research in India)–have devel­oped an algo­rithm that offers a more defin­i­tive answer. Accord­ing to their com­pu­ta­tions, “Kepleron­ly­knows was entire­ly cor­rect,” notes the MIT Tech­nol­o­gy Review.

The longest path over water “begins in Son­mi­ani, Balochis­tan, Pak­istan, pass­es between Africa and Mada­gas­car and then between Antarc­ti­ca and Tier­ra del Fuego in South Amer­i­ca, and ends in the Kara­gin­sky Dis­trict, Kam­chat­ka Krai, in Rus­sia. It is 32,089.7 kilo­me­ters long.” Or 19,939 miles.

While they were at it, Chabuk­swar and Mukher­jee also deter­mined the longest land jour­ney you could take with­out hit­ting the sea. That path, again notes the MIT Tech­nol­o­gy Review, “runs from near Jin­jiang, Fujian, in Chi­na, weaves through Mon­go­lia Kaza­khstan and Rus­sia, and final­ly reach­es Europe to fin­ish near Sagres in Por­tu­gal. In total the route pass­es through 15 coun­tries over 11,241.1 kilo­me­ters.” Or 6,984 miles. You can read Chabuk­swar and Mukher­jee’s research report here.

via the MIT Tech­nol­o­gy Review

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