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Eight Queens Problem using VB.NET

, 4 Jan 2009
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Backtracking solution approach to solve the eight queens problems and get all unique solutions

Introduction

The Eight Queens Problem is a famous problem in AI field and a famous example about AI algorithms used to solve such a problem using backtracking method.

Background

The solution shows all unique solutions to the eight queens problem which are exactly 92 solutions, 12 of which are distinct. The application also allows you to play the game yourself and try to find your own solution. The algorithm uses backtracking and depth first limited search to level 8 (8 queens) to find a solution.

Using the Code

The Queen class is the basic object used in the algorithm and all over the project for graphics display too. It's fairly simple:

Public Class Queen
    Private mRow As Integer
    Private mColumn As Integer

    Public Sub New()
        mRow = 0
        mColumn = 0
    End Sub

    Public Sub New(ByVal Row As Byte, ByVal Column As Byte)
        mRow = Row
        mColumn = Column
    End Sub

    Public Property Row() As Integer
        Get
            Return mRow
        End Get
        Set(ByVal value As Integer)
            mRow = value
        End Set
    End Property

    Public Property Column() As Integer
        Get
            Return mColumn
        End Get
        Set(ByVal value As Integer)
            mColumn = value
        End Set
    End Property
End Class	

The ChessBoard user control draws the board and is actually where the algorithm of finding all solutions takes place. The function of interest is the MoveQueen function which moves a queen across the board, then checks if the new position is a good place or that the queen is attacked. The process is repeated recursively until all 8 queens are placed in a safe place.

    Private Sub MoveQueen(ByVal Level As Integer)
        If Level > 7 Then
            For j As Integer = 0 To 7
                For i As Integer = 0 To 7
                    If (Queens(j).Row = j) And (Queens(j).Column = i) Then
                        mCells(i, j) = True
                    Else
                        mCells(i, j) = False
                    End If
                Next
            Next
            Solutions.Add(mCells.Clone)
            Exit Sub
        End If
        For j As Integer = 0 To 7
            If Level < 8 Then
                Queens(Level).Row = Level
                Queens(Level).Column = j
                If CheckAll(Level) Then MoveQueen(Level + 1)
            End If
        Next
    End Sub	 

Finally, a call to GetSolutions will initiate the MoveQueen function starting from the first level, which is the depth of the current position in the depth tree. Reaching a level of 8 means we have found a solution. Otherwise, 1 level is decremented to the previous level and the search continues using different values. This process is called Backtracking.

    Public Sub GetSolutions()
        mUserPlay = False
        Playing = False
        Queens.Clear()
        ResetCells()
        DrawBoard()
        For j As Integer = 0 To 7
            Queens.Add(New Queen)
        Next
        For i As Integer = 0 To 7
            Queens(0).Row = 0
            Queens(0).Column = i
            MoveQueen(1)
        Next
    End Sub 

Points of Interest 

What's interesting here is that the solutions are ordered according to the board from top-left to bottom-right so you can have all solutions by repeating click on solve button.

History

  • 4th January, 2009: Initial post 

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Ali Tarhini
Software Developer (Senior) Microgen
Lebanon Lebanon
For more articles and extreme topics please check out my personal website www.alitarhini.com

Comments and Discussions

 
Generalur coding is very well Pinmemberganeskumar27-Jul-09 22:30 
GeneralGood start... PinmvpDave Kreskowiak8-Jan-09 8:44 
Generalvery interesting Pinmemberabou lwiss7-Jan-09 10:20 
GeneralThe code is nice, but the article needs...well...text PinmemberShane Story6-Jan-09 3:13 
GeneralExplanation PinmemberBaconbutty5-Jan-09 21:23 
GeneralRe: Explanation PinmemberInvisionsoft6-Jan-09 6:52 
Generalgreat article PinmemberEngForce4-Jan-09 13:39 

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