Erno Rubik and the Rubik's CubeA Think Like a Coder Story
Invented in 1974, the Rubiks Cube still remains one of the most popular puzzle games worldwide. Just about everyone had one in the 1980’s. when I was a kid – and I’m sure that we weren’t the only ones whose cube had the coloured stickers removed and hastily placed back in a vain and frustrated effort to ‘solve’ the cube. In the interview with Erno Rubik, inventor of Rubik’s Cube and many other puzzles, he states that the cube exists somewhere between analog and digital. It’s a great way to exercise abstract thinking and learn something cool and new!
Over 40 years later and the cube is still going strong. It’s almost become a standard among school children to have a go at seeing how fast they can solve it. There are even smartphone apps to help you solve it, and people are even building their own cube-solving robots out of LEGO Mindstorms. If you want to go about solving it the regular way (using your brain!), you’ll a couple of things:
- Being able to recognise what state the cube is in and how to get it to a solved state
- The algorithms (or recipes if you will) that will get the cube back to a solved state based on what state it is currently in.
As much as I love the Rubik’s Cube, my favourite is the Rubik’s Magic, which requires a few flips and twists to solve. I got to a point where I can do it pretty quickly, and it’s as satisfying to flip around as a fidget spinner! Whatever your choice, having a physical puzzle nearby is a great way to exercise your brain and hand-eye coordination, especially when you need a break from solving other problems.