How Many Moves to Solve Rubik’s Cube?

How Many Moves to Solve Rubik's Cube?Do you remember Rubik’s cube, that frustrating “toy” of the 1980s? The idea was to move the sides around, then restore them to their originalcolors in as few moves as possible. For most people, of course, that restoration proved impossible, and the cube moldered in a closet until being thrown out.

But it’s inspired a pair of graduate students from Northeastern University in Boston. They programmed a supercomputer to discover just how few moves could be used to return the cube to its pristine state. They presented their solution at the International Symposium on Symbolic and Algebraic Computation in Waterloo, Ontario.

The previous best has been 27 moves, but after 63 hours of number crunching, the supercomputer arrived at a solution that, quite literally, went one better – that it can be solved in no more than 26 moves.

Students Daniel Kunkle and Gene Cooperman approached the idea with some creative thinking, which was necessary as the 43 billion billion possible positions of the cube was too massive even for the computer. So they used a two-stage solution.

First they programmed the supercomputer to reach one of 15,000 half-solved solutions, which could then be closed in a few moves. Their results indicated that the puzzle could be solved in a maximum of 29 moves,but in most cases 26 moves or less.

From there they decided to focus on the small number of configurations that would require more than 26 moves to reach a solution. Since there were so few of these, it was possible to use the supercomputer to figure out the answer. Perhaps surprisingly, the computer could solve them all in fewer than 26 moves.

So what’s the point of all this? It brings mankind closer to the so-called “God’s number,” the minimum number of moves necessary to solve any Rubik’s cube. The name comes from the fact that God would only need the minimum number of moves, which theorists feel is in the low 20s.

How Many Moves to Solve Rubik’s Cube?

Health & Fitness

JLABS injects some tech into the medical industry

Innovating health care is expensive, risky, and complicated legally. One company is trying to remove these barriers with clever and altruistic approach.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Photography

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Computing

Convert your PDFs into convenient Word documents

PDF files are great, but few document types are as malleable as those specific to Microsoft Word. Here's how to convert a PDF file into a Word document, whether you prefer to use Adobe's software suite or a freemium alternative.
Product Review

If the Surface Studio 2 can't win over Mac fans, nothing can

Most creative professionals are staunchly planted in the Apple camp, but with the Surface Studio 2, Microsoft is making a serious attempt to win them over. Despite its niche appeal, you’ll wish you had a few grand to drop on this beauty.
Computing

These laptop makers produce the most reliable, quality hardware today

If you want to buy your next laptop based around a specific brand, it helps to know which the best brands of laptops are. This list will give you a good grounding in the most reliable, quality laptop manufacturers today.
Deals

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…
Deals

Here are the best laptop deals for November 2018

Whether you've started a new school year, are shopping for a student, or you just need a new computer, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Recover your beloved data with these great software tools

The best data recovery software isn't always free, but whether you've lost files on a hard drive, SD card, or even physical media like CDs and DVDs, there's a chance they'll be able to get that data back.
Computing

If the speed of AMD’s Radeon RX 590 doesn’t entice you, the game bundle will

AMD's Radeon RX 590 is a new video card that targets 1080p gaming at maximum detail. Starting at $280, it fills a gap between the Radeon RX 580 and the more expensive Radeon RX Vega. AMD says the new RX 590 can beat Nvidia's GTX 1060 Ti.
Computing

Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Everything you need to know

Microsoft's Surface Studio 2 comes with a new CPU, new graphics card, and a brighter display -- but is all of that worth the higher cost? Here's everything you need to know about the Surface Studio 2.
Computing

Want to use one drive between a Mac and Windows PC? Partitions are your best bet

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.