How To Beat SuDoKu, Google Style

By Nathan Weinberg

Google’s resident puzzle genius, Wei-Hwa (he created all the excellent Da Vinci Code puzzles) wrote two posts explaning his “Sledgehammer” method for beating SuDoKu. If you ever needed proof that Google hires people immensely smarter than you or I, this is it.

Post 1 explains the Sledgehammer method, which seems to involve imagining the SuDoKu puzzle as 324 different possible groupings, as opposed to nine numbers. See, if you are able to think about so many possibilities at once, this actually is faster, since you have a set number of possible answers, and are no longer having to think about which number goes with what other number. By examining the premises and conclusions, you can deduce the answers and solve the puzzle far faster.

Of course, to do this you’d have to be capable of visualizing on this level, something few of us could manage. Hence the reason Wei is a “puzzle genius” whereas I am known as a “Mets fan” and “frequent spiller of carbonated beverages”.

If you want to get further into this, Wei’s second post has diagrams, but I hear terms like Venn diagram and decide that I need a hug.


May 23, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

2 Responses to “How To Beat SuDoKu, Google Style”

  1. Devin Says:

    Interestingly enough I found the Google/Da Vinci version of Sudoku to be immensely easier because the areas were mis-shaped and would sometimes span an entire column/row. Cool blog though, thanks for the point.

  2. NIck Says:

    On the subject of whether Sudoku is maths, I have a Math(s UK) degree and it would be nice to think that it is.

    I was thinking about it in the last 24 hours and I have concluded that Sudoku is a set of 27 overlapping circles (ie sets) making a Venn Diagram. Each circle/set contains the numbers 1,…,9 except that the puzzle is such that some of the numbers are blank - in algebra they would be represented by a letter.

    Chesswise there are columns 1,…,9 and rows A,…,I There are also squares a,…,i

    Each of the 27 sets where j=1,…,9, A,…,I a,…,i has elements Xsubscriptj,n n=1,…,9 which are unique and equal 1,…, 9

    Clearly the problem can be stated mathematically but like chess, it is easier to do in the head, than to solve mathematically.

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