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are we near the nether edge where real
and virtual are just a-and-b-sides for
the theme music for the march of genes?
analogue wonder of our bag of meat and
bones eclipsed by a digital perfection
where we can wallow in spotless dreams?
communal fragmented into isolated pods
reveling in the instantaneous illusion
of sharing thought divorced from being?
hunkered down in always online bunkers,
who will see the new barbed-wire fence
surrounding shrinking personal freedom?
to me the choice's clear: to hell with
virtual suicide by FaceBook or Twitter
published under the CPOPL License (Code Project Open Poetic License)
«... thank the gods that they have made you superior to those events which they have not placed within your own control, rendered you accountable for that only which is within you own control For what, then, have they made you responsible? For that which is alone in your own power—a right use of things as they appear.» Discourses of Epictetus Book I:12
Yup. The evolution of homo sapiens resulting in the creation of machines that allow us to create virtual realities simply points out how what has always exist: the need to escape the dull and boring present into magical/violent/sensual/transwarp alternates.
to hell with virtual suicide by FaceBook or Twitter
I wrote a small (85 lines of C# code) backtraking Sudoku solver - primarily to illustrate the idea of backtracking. (After all, the fun of Sudoku is not "Press this button to se the solution", but exercizing your brain .)
Wikipedia claims that the general problem of solving a Sudoku "is known to be NP-complete". So I thought finding a Sudoku problem that could really stress a PC would be simple. Not true. The most difficult I have found until now solves in 3.4 milliseconds, evaluating about 110,000 tentative digit placements (about 30 ns per evaluation).
A typical "trait" of backtracking is that on the average it usually performs well, but the worst case performance may be bad. So I am searching for examples of that worst-case performance .
Where can I find Sudoku boards that are truly difficult to solve, even for a PC?
NP complete problems are extremely dependent on problem size, and 9 by 9 is not exactly a large problem. My solver can handle any board size, but I made a very quick and dirty user interface that handles 9 by 9 only, so I would like to stay within that size.
My backtracker makes 970 checks to fill an empty Sudoku board correctly, in about 30 microseconds.
Don't ask me how that CPU can do the check in 30 ns/check, but it does. The program has a single thread; before I started coding I was considering how to do multithreaded backtracking, but when a typical problem is solved in a handful milliseconds, then you don't do multithreading to improve response time. Actually, one reason why I would like a really difficult, time consuming one is to see if I can make it faster by multithreading.
You might not find what you're after. The accepted minimum number of clues that produces a *unique* solution is currently thought to be 17 so I'd look for boards with that number of clues. However less clues doesn't make it "harder", it just means there are possibly multiple solutions. If I was you I'd probably make my own starting solutions using a range of clues form various locations to see if you can work out what is a computationally hard board yourself.
And then again, zero clues (all empty board) is super-simple, for finding the fist solution.
I have not yet given my solver any "search further" function; the first solution is accepted. I haven't often seen "real" uses of backtracking with a need to find all solutions, so until now I haven't seen the need for it. Maybe finding all solutions would take significantly more time.
The minimum number of squares for a solvable sudoku is 17. It may take more. Worked out long ago by a mathematician. Note that this is not a Japanese invention - it just became popular there, first.
Sudoku is solved logically - not by trial-and-error. The contents of the boxes are determine uniquely to solve it. As the puzzle gets more complex, the required abstractions are more complex - but the values entered are deduced - not guessed.
A Sudoku with more than one solution (like many here suggested) is not solvable. Sudoku, as a proper puzzle, must have one and only one solution or an impasse will be caused whereby a unique entry in a particular square cannot be determined.
The computational solution, I was disappointed to learn, was basically trial and error, with unwinding at an impasse and retrial until the board is completed. This is very different for determining difficulty than the human-difficult. For the same reason, the computer would solve a Sudoku that has multiple solutions - it doesn't check for that (does it?). Thus, difficulty by PC standards will probably need to be determined by using many puzzle version and looking for a trend, or analysis on the part of the programmer to determine how to force his algorithm to be stressed.
I first became interested in Sudoku when it was comparatively new in US Newspapers. I was interested in solving it analytically by computer. The simple algorithm worked, solving in 3-4 passes. Then more difficult puzzles began to appear. I came up with another layer. Fortunately . . . with a bool didChange flag so it wouldn't iterate forever. It rapidly became more complex than I had time for. I must say, however, converting the thought process into code was a great exercise.