God’s Number and the Rubik’s Cube

Breaking news from the International Symposium on Symbolic and Algebraic Computation in Waterloo, ON (I’m not making this up): any Rubik’s Cube (remember these things?) can be solved in less than 26 moves:

The study brings scientists one step closer to finding the so-called “God’s Number” which is the minimum number of moves needed to solve any disordered Rubik’s cube.

It is so named because God would only need the smallest number of moves to solve a cube. Theoretical work suggests that God’s Number is in the “low 20s”.

While I’m a bit flabbergasted that a toy is being studied so seriously, I’m also fascinated. More here.

Does this mean that somewhere a couple grad students and a network of computers are trying to figure out how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll? ‘Cause that damn Mr. Owl always screwed up previous studies:

One Comment

  1. So the tootsie-pop company actually has info on the whole tootsie-pop-lick question. Problem is due to human factors (such as saliva, tongue size, time of each lick/time tongue touches said pop, etc) there are no consistant results. I personally agree with the owl…and bite the darn thing.

    As for the Rubik’s cube there is amazing research done on that little toy. There were even classes taught on how to solve it at some of the top engineering/science schools when it first came out. The toy is just one giant mathmatical equation. I actually know several people that can solve it in the proposed minimal solution every time…I need my cheat-sheet to do it.

    I think the words you are looking for right now are nerdy-dork! 😀

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