Play for Science

Computer scientists are developing programs to win popular games. In the process, they are developing solutions for other, more serious, puzzles.

By Julie Rehmeyer, 00:00 AM September 24, 2007

Daniel Kunkle spent most of his time in graduate school playing with a colorful puzzle called a Rubik's Cube. And for 20 years, Jonathan Schaeffer worked on winning at checkers.

The two researchers weren't goofing off. With clever computer programming, Kunkle figured out that any Rubik's Cube can be solved in 26 moves or fewer. The previous record was 27. And Schaeffer proved that if both opponents in a checkers game play flawlessly, the game will always end in a tie.

Playing games and puzzles is a great way to sharpen your problem-solving skills.

Playing games and pu...

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