Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rubiks cube family... expanding!

I have been friends with this wonderful puzzle game since mid 1999. During those days this simple fact, that it can be rotated in all 3 directions without breaking, has made me so fascinated towards this game. I remember how desperately I've played with this on the very first day. It took almost a month for me to completely solve this. Huh, what a joy that I've felt when I've completely solved this. Mathematically, the total permutations of a solvable (3×3×3) original cube is given by:   {8! \times 3^7 \times (12!/2) \times 2^{11} \times (1) \times (1)} \approx 4.33 \times 10^{19} or 43 quintillion, in short. Highly unimaginable to list all those configurations by hand. The facts and figures of this game are always interesting. When I read that there are people who can solve this game just in 7.08 seconds I couldn't believe it. There is an extensive mathematical research that has taken place on how to solve Rubik's cube. It was found that any random configuration of the cube can be solved in just 26 steps. You can read the article here, quite mathlicated though! Well... that's just the tip an iceberg.

One fine day, when I was browsing for information on Rubik's cube, I came to know that there are 4X4X4 and 5X5X5 versions are available with fully functional models. Recently I have seen videos of 7X7X7 and 9X9X9 version of the game in fully functional form. What an amazing design. Just try to imagine its internal design. You'll surely come out with an expression of wow.

No... that's not all of it. There are softwares available to play the game online. If you are too bored and have already solved the smaller versions like say 9X9X9 manually, you can play the higher versions virtually. I was dumbstruck to see the videos of how people have solved up to 100X100X100. Checkout here to see how 20X20X20 is solved.

No... that's not all of it yet! There is a whole family of twisty games which come in various shapes (see the video of dodecahedron here, and read about Pyraminx here), sizes and complexities. I feel like buying all of those and try solving one by one! Huh, too high an ambition for an amateur like me!

Bottom line is... we humans, though very lazy, though very arrogant, though very egoistic and blah blah blah, are blessed with this powerful brute force. I guess, that's what is making us understand this mother nature step by step. If nature is not this beautiful and complicated, all our research efforts, and life in general, will lack motivation.

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