We used to solve puzzles for fun when we were young. And even though, mathematics is not our strongest suit, we are amazed by this new puzzle which has scientists offering a $1 million booty to anyone who can crack it.
The puzzle is based on the eight queen’s puzzle which has been around since 1848. As it is the puzzle is extremely difficult to solve, but it has been done by humans. This one is even more difficult because it’s the n-Queen’s puzzle. “The new research concerns the n-Queens Completion Problem, where not only is the board larger, but also some queens have already been placed. That is, if some queens have already been placed on the n-by-n board, can you find a solution to the n-Queens puzzle without moving any of those queens?,” computer scientist Ian Gent said.
“If you could write a computer program that could solve the problem really fast, you could adapt it to solve many of the most important problems that affect us all daily. This includes trivial challenges like working out the largest group of your Facebook friends who don’t know each other, or very important ones like cracking the codes that keep all our online transactions safe,” he added.
Can you hope to crack it? We think not. “In practice, nobody has ever come close to writing a program that can solve the problem quickly. So what our research has shown is that – for all practical purposes – it can’t be done,” said Dr Peter Nightingale, who too is associated with the research.
But just in case you’d like to take the challenge? Here is where you can do it.
The study was published in Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, and the money is awarded by Clay Mathematics Institute.
You can read more about the puzzle here.