Sudoku solved. Entirely.

I never really got into those puzzle things, but I'm the only one I know.

Fortunately, I don't have to worry about it. In the process of finding new methods for biological imaging, a Cornell physicist managed to develop an algorithm that solves Sudoku puzzles. All Sudoku puzzles.

The so-called difference-map algorithm, which Elser says could have applications from productivity optimization to nanofabrication, tackles problems for which the solution must meet two independent constraints. In the case of Sudoku, the constraints are simple: Each of nine numbers, considered alone, appears nine times in the grid so that there is only one per row and column. And all nine numbers appear within each of the nine blocks.

In X-ray diffraction microscopy, the constraints are more complex. But the beauty of the algorithm, as Elser demonstrates, is that complexity doesn't matter. By applying the algorithm to the jumble of raw data from such an experiment, researchers can now reconstruct from it a clear, detailed image.

I guess now millions of mass-transit riders will have to go back to pretending not to stare at each other.

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This page contains a single entry by published on March 8, 2006 4:52 PM.

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