Posts tagged Solving

Solution time distribution graphs

I was tidying my desk earlier when I suddenly thought: wouldn’t it be fun to see exactly how your puzzle solving time compared with every other solver?!

And so now you can. If you play puzzles online at PuzzleMix then the statistics show a distribution of solution times, highlighting where you fitted:

Time distribution graphMy result is the yellow/pale blue bar, and as you can see I was the second or third fastest on this particular puzzle.  Previously all I’d have known is that I was better than average, and near the fastest. Now I can see just exactly where I fit in.

I think this is great! :) Of course, it’s a bit embarrassing when your highlight bar is off to the right, or doesn’t even fit on… (it only shows the top 90% of results when there are 20 or more, and omits all results longer than 2 hours).

Solving Sudoku using Robots!

Sudoku Solver robot

Sudoku Solver robot

Not a puzzle in itself, but I came across something related to Sudoku that’s so technically impressive that I just had to post about it.

There are plenty of online or interactive Sudoku solvers, and even some real-world ones which take the pages of a book, scan it in and then solve.  SudokuGrab for iPod/iPhone is one popular example, whilst other people have used a combination of Lego and a webcam to scan in and solve entire books.

But how about this?  A Sudoku solver robot which you can build yourself, and doesn’t even need a computer to drive it – it runs directly from a single Mindstorms Lego robotics kit.  It’s unbelievable to watch it work, using a single point light sensor which the robot waves back and forth over the paper to build an image – there is no Lego webcam which can be integrated with the Mindstorms robotic kit.  And then, as if it wasn’t already impressive enough, it uses a real pen to write in the solution.

It’s just amazing – take a look at the robot!