Duke PhD student Devang Thakkar shares his inspiration and methodology for creating a Wordle Archive
wordlea daily internet game invented by Josh Wardle where users are given six opportunities to guess a random five-letter word, has exploded in popularity since its inception in October 2021. But Wordle resets itself every day, leaving users unlucky if they wish. go back to previous words they missed.
That’s what inspired Devang Thakkar, a fourth-year doctoral student in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Duke School of Medicine’s Dave Lab, to create the Wordle Archives.
“I walked into Wordle around Christmas. And I think about a week after that, I missed one just because I forgot to do it one day, and so I wanted to go back to it,” Thakkar said. “So I was like, ‘How can I do this?'”
Upon realizing that there was no way back to the Wordle of the day before, Thakkar became determined to create a solution himself.
“I realized that if I changed my computer’s time to the day before, it would make the browser think it was yesterday, so I was able to solve today’s Wordle,” Thakkar said. It took a few hours for Thakkar to figure this out, which inspired him to want to make it easier for others.
Thakkar first turned to Twitter, where people were posting each day’s Wordle grid. He made a script that took around 200 tweets for the model each day, which allowed him to narrow down the list of potential words to five to 10 words. He then wrote a script that would change the date in his computer, automatically go into Wordle and retrieve the answer and store the solution in a file.
After spending an entire weekend testing these various scripts and patterns, Thakkar realized that the answer actually lay in the source code itself. “So I could have done it in five minutes,” he said.
After a week and a half since Thakkar missed today’s Wordle, he managed to create an archive which allowed access to all previous Wordles.
“Technically, the [archive] the wordlist goes to 2027. I can run it for about 2,000 words,” Thakkar said.
The Wordle archive, which posted on January 9, is an open source project, which means that all code is publicly available on GitHub. Other coders keep suggesting various features to add, such as storing previous user replies for them to review.
“That’s the beauty of open source. People just write code for you,” Thakkar said.
There were 4,600 users on the archive’s website as of February 11, according to Thakkar. The previous week, there had been 2.2 million total users.
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Despite his success, Thakkar did not study website development at Duke. He studies computational biology, writes codes for design and data visualization while researching possible causes of mutations that occur in blood cancers.
“I don’t think I care what I’m using it for as long as I’m solving a problem using code,” Thakkar said. “I just like solving problems.”
And of course, Thakkar still puts his problem solving skills into solving the Wordle every day.
Madeleine Berger is a sophomore at Trinity and the editor of college news for the 117th volume of The Chronicle.