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30-Year Quest to Find Least Number of Moves to Solve Rubik’s Cube Ends

by Shane McGlaun

Being six when the Rubik’s Cube was hot back in the 80’s meant that each Christmas for a few years there you were guaranteed someone would get you one of the damned puzzles. For me the only thing worse than opening up a box Christmas Day and finding a Rubik’s Cube was opening that box and finding underwear.

The only way I was ever able to solve one of the things was by peeling the stickers off and rearranging them. One geek in the UK liked the cube so much that he decided to make a career in mathematics just to figure out the least number of moves that the thing could be solved in. It took the guy 30-years to get that answer.

rubiks_minimum_moves_solution

According the man, Professor Morley Davidson from Kent State University the magic number of moves is 20. Some configurations can be solved in fewer moves than that though. Apparently finding the solution involved a “good PC” and about 30 seconds for each solution with about 20 billion possible configurations.

[Cube20 via BBC News]





Comments (1):

  1. peter says:

    the method is not right. the number of the first step are 12 instead of 18. (the number of first step are 18 in case of that one step can be two quarter moves. but frankly speaking, it is stupidity because I think one step must be one quarter move and not two ones. So the number of first step are 12 thus this man’s method is wrong. Independently this, the end of this case (20 moves) can be possible. Or not?
    (ahapeti@freemail.hu)

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