20: God's Number

How many moves does it take you to solve a Rubik’s Cube?  Whatever your answer is, I am sure it is better than mine – which is none.  As in no number of moves.  I just give up before I am even halfway there.

Rubik’s Cube enthusiasts will know, however, that there is such a thing as God’s Algorithm.  The whole idea is to discuss the ways one can solve the Rubik’s Cube, and to come up with the minimum number of moves needed.  The use of God is an allusion to the notion that the Supreme Deity will have the information necessary to come up with least number of moves.

This brings us to God’s Number, which has finally been determined.So, the magic number is 20.  God’s Number is 20.

On to the who and how…

The team behind the effort: Tomas Rokicki, a programmer from Palo Alto, California, Herbert Kociemba, a math teacher from Darmstadt, Germany, Morley Davidson, a mathematician from Kent State University, and John Dethridge, an engineer at Google in Mountain View.

With the help of idle computer time – 35 CPU years worth, no less – given by Google, the team was able to practically solve every possible position of the Rubik’s Cube.  Exactly how they did it? You can check out the whole process in the team’s web site.

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After reading this post, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than a handful of you guys start scrambling around to find a Rubik’s Cube and try putting God’s Number into practical application.

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