Image of the Week: Rubik's Cube question solved?
Articles in the technology press say that researchers have solved the age-old question of the minimum number of moves needed to unscramble a Rubik's Cube. This minimum has jokingly been referred to as "God's number."
20 moves or less.
Which sounds an awful lot like the answer to Douglas Adams' science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which the answer to life, the universe and everything is . . . 42.
One thing we're curious about is how the researchers came up with the answer. According to a BBC interview with one of the researchers, ". . . the team had planned to process the batches on a supercomputer. 'Then Google stepped forward and offered to run the computation,' he said. 'We still don't know what machinery they used.' "
Cloud? Cluster? Grid?
What do you think?
Some information about the team's thinking process can be found here.
If you want to pool ideas with other iSGTW readers think about how the researchers did it - and if 20 really is the answer - join the thread on the iSGTW Forum on Nature Networks.
-Dan Drollette, iSGTW. For "everything you need to know but couldn't be bothered to ask" about the Hitchhiker's series, click here.