From cube-lovers-errors@mc.lcs.mit.edu Wed Dec 9 12:45:11 1998
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Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 23:24:09 -0500
From: michael reid
Message-Id: <199812090424.XAA00740@euclid.math.brown.edu>
To: cube-lovers@ai.mit.edu
Subject: Re: Optimal Cube Solver
matt monroe asks
> This question is directed to both Herbert and Mike Reid in case he's
> reading this list: With all this discussion of the "Professor Cube"
> lately, how hard would it be to extend either Optimal cube solving program
> to handle 4x4x4 and 5x5x5 cubes in addition to the traditional 3x3x3?
> Considering reasonable table files (50 - 100 mb), how much longer would
> the computation time be extended by. If either of you would find the time
> to implement this modification, I would be very interested in trying out
> the program.
i think it's reasonable to say that an optimal solver for the 4x4x4
(or 5x5x5) is currently far out of reach. one could write a program
that theoretically finds optimal solutions after running for enough
time. but it would be feasible only for positions a few turns from
start; other positions would take years, centuries, millenia, ...
on the other hand, a sub-optimal solver is certainly possible.
just teach the computer your favorite method. this would be more
"sub" than it is "optimal", so next we'd ask to make it as good as
possible. the real question is: are computer methods superior to
human methods for the larger cubes? so far, probably not, but not
much work has been done on sub-optimal solvers for larger cubes.
mike