Monday, June 25, 2007

Rubik's Cube : The Search for God's Number

http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2007/06/25/the_search_for_gods_number_in_a_rubiks_cube/

I had no idea that the Rubik's Cube fad was back, but as a geek I have to appreciate the algorithmic approach to solving the problem.  God's Number represents the minimum number of moves it would take to solve even the most difficult of the puzzle's 43 quintillion possible combinations.  The current proof is apparently at 26, which is just insane if you think about it.  No wonder the world record is 9 seconds.

Way back in high school I was one of the kids that could solve the thing.  Classmates would bring me their cubes, I'd solve them and give them back.  I signed up for a competition once.  I got there are everybody began pulling out their books for some last cramming and memorizing, apparently.

Who knew you could use books?  I never used one.  Taught myself.  Reading the book was basically cheating, to me.

No, I did not win the competition.  But I did walk away from it with this odd sort of confusion about how you could actually care about winning if all you really did was memorize a book that told you how to do it in the first place.

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