## World's Oldest Puzzle Solved 78

An anonymous reader observes:

*"The Loculus of Archimedes, the world's oldest puzzle, has been solved. It has 536 solutions. You can find the details here."*
This discussion has been archived.
No new comments can be posted.

Work expands to fill the time available. -- Cyril Northcote Parkinson, "The Economist", 1955

## Eureka! (Score:2, Funny)

## Thank you, Bill Cutler... (Score:2, Funny)

## I thought (Score:1)

## I thought (Score:1)

## Re:I thought (Score:3, Informative)

## Re:I thought (Score:1)

## Re:I thought (Score:1)

On a similar vein, it is either 1/2 full or 1/2 empty, depending on whether it in the process of being filled or emptied, although getting to the o

## is it just me ? (Score:1)

## it's pretty simple really (Score:2, Informative)

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:3, Informative)

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:1)

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:3, Insightful)

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:1)

Nothing like the ignorant leading the blind.

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:2)

You suck at the reading.

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:1)

DOH!

## Re:it's pretty simple really (Score:2)

## Wrong...this is older (Score:5, Funny)

"So, Mr. Pterodactyl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a -- "*CRUNCH*.## Computation (Score:5, Interesting)

If computers can do all this and solve puzzles that have plagued our minds for centuries, where will the limit be? Perhaps one day the effect of a drug in a patient or the release of software into a market will be fully simulated through computation.

We will soon be replacing our market analysits and physicians with programmers!

## Re:Computation (Score:4, Interesting)

Computers are good at doing mechanical computations, but we have yet to perfect computation of organic systems...as a matter of fact, some would say it's impossible.

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

Computational Biology [cornell.edu] now allows us to take our genetic code and develop 3-dimensional models of the enzymes that regulate 9 out of 10 reactions in our bodies.

Perhaps some systems are infinitely more complex than others, but none is organically impossibly to characterize.

After all, as Edward O. Wilson argues, Biolo

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

## Re:Computation (Score:3, Insightful)

It's very likely we won't have the computing power available to simulate these accurately for another 20 years - but so far there doesn't seem to be anything that would prevent you from, in principle, modeling organs on a sub-cellular basis and obtaining a reasonable simulation of their macroscopic behav

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

And if you say that doesn't count, then I don't want you developing any drugs I'm going to be taking...

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

Unless you believe there is something inherently "magical" about human beings (i.e., we have a soul) then we are simply following the laws of physics which determine how the matter and energy in our bodies will behave.

Does that mean we could simulate human society? Maybe. The effects of the uncertainty principle, quantum mechanics, random radioactive decay etc. mean that you can't do it perfectly, but how well you can do it depend

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

To say that we "follow" the laws of physics gives a misleding connotation. Physical "law" decribes how things act, it doesn't determine how things act.

If there were something about human beings such that the matter that makes up our bodies behaved differently than matter ourside of bodie

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

You see, people have a misconception that the world can be divided into natural and manmade. It's an easy mistake to make that is ingrained in our way of thinking. Look at foods and cosmetics being touted as "organic" or "natural" when they really just mean that humans haven't screwed around with what was already there. If something is 'organic' or 'manmade', it's still a physical system

## Re:Computation (Score:2, Funny)

We will soon be replacing our market analysits and physicians with programmers!No, we'll be replacing them with programs.

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

No, we'll be replacing them with programs.This reminds me of the "Doctor" on Voyager.

But seriously, I think that this will be the case. There is no compensation required by a diagnostic program. How long until there is enough computing power for your initail health screening to be performed by a computer program? Productivity-wise and cost-wise, this is most likley where we are headed. I see some form of this happening in my lifetime.

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

There is no compensation required by a diagnostic program.That's easily remedied by a suitable license agreement.

## Re:Computation (Score:3, Insightful)

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

Isn't it amazing that a computer could compute in minutes what has taken humans thousands of years to solve? We're in a time in which the sheer calculating power of computers can predict stress and failure in complex structures (FEA), lift and drag of fluid flows (CFD), and even the way a polypeptide will fold into a protein.And still can't do a 3D model of a supernova explosion. Heck, TWO dimensions is still really pushing it. There are a lot of problems that Moore's law won't catch up with for quite som

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

## Re:Computation (Score:5, Insightful)

Isn't it amazing that a computer could compute in minutes what has taken humans thousands of years to solve?And yet humans can solve in minutes some things which a computer couldn't solve in a thousand years.

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

And yet humans can solve in minutes some things which a computer couldn't solve in a thousand years.And I have proof [hotornot.com]!

## Re:Computation (Score:2, Insightful)

Isn't it amazing that a computer could compute in minutes what has taken humans thousands of years to solve? We're in a time in which the sheer calculating power of computers can predict stress and failure in complex structures (FEA), lift and drag of fluid flows (CFD), and even the way a polypeptide will fold into a protein.I will be more amazed when a computer actually comes up with its own algorithms to solve those problems. As it stands now, a computer only crunchs numbers once it's given a very s

## They already are (Score:3, Interesting)

readme [newscientist.com]

## Re:They already are (Score:2)

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

"The world's oldest puzzle finally has a complete answer. Bizarrely, it really wasn't that hard. None of these solutions would be particularly hard to find. Most of them are easily derived from other solutions, by swapping, reflecting, and rotating various sections. With a systematic approach, I'm sure that Archimedes, or anyone following him, could have listed all the distinct solutions within a few weeks of work."

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

We will soon be replacing our market analysits and physicians with programmers!Just like market analysts replaced 'pure luck' and 'guessing' and just like physicians replanced 'religious belief' and 'priests'.

Without computer, we might _never_ been able to solve these problems? Isn't that cool? We finally can move on to tougher stuff.

Or IHBT?

## Re:Computation (Score:2)

Isn't it amazing that a computer could compute in minutes what has taken humans thousands of years to solve?Humans did solve the puzzle...we just used a better tool.

We will soon be replacing our market analysits and physicians with programmers!Maybe market anaylists and physicians will learn more programming?

## Re:Computation (Score:1)

## Re:Computation (Score:2, Interesting)

In the 60's I was a programmer/statistician with no medical background for a large group of physicians engaged in clinical trials of cancer chemotherapy. I created a simulation model of the human blood system that was able to predict the future toxic effects of the chemotherapy after only a few doses.

The doctors rejected it because I was not a doctor. My theory was con

## "solve" it? (Score:1)

I couldn't be less interested in the notion that a computer barfed out all possible solutions. Somehow I imagine we are being denied the real interesting part of this. What seems interesting is the parts mentioned about how certain pieces were always found in a pair. I'd also be interested in how one solution maps into another solution. What clumps and individual parts can be interchanged. Also, someone should do one that fits on the surface of a sphere. (though, probably already been done)## WRONG (Score:5, Funny)

## Re:WRONG (Score:2, Funny)

Everyone knows the world's oldest unsolved puzzle involves women!!Replace the word involves with

is## Thanks for nothing! (Score:5, Funny)

Thanks for ruining it for me! I'd only made it to the 535th solution! =p

## so this is basically... (Score:1)

## Re:so this is basically... (Score:1)

## Re:so this is basically... (Score:1)

## Same "kind" of idea, but different problem. (Score:2, Insightful)

## Re:so this is basically... (Score:1)

Quick summary:

What is the minimum number of colours one can use to colour a map, with no two adjacent sections sharing the same colour?

It was (supposedly) proven by a computer algorithm going through all possible configurations. (In the ~1800 range, I'm told)

Of course, some mathematicians summarily rejected this as proof. (It is experimental proof.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four%20color%20the

## Where the hell did all the geeks go? (Score:1, Offtopic)

## Do as I say, not as I do. (Score:3, Insightful)

This is just as offtopic as the parent, and I was going to post anon, but fsck it. Put it in your journal pally.

## Re:Where the hell did all the geeks go? (Score:2)

Does anyone else know where they are?

P.S. - whilst I'm on a rant, when are we going to bring back segfault?????

## hmmm (Score:1)

## On to the next challenge (Score:1)

Wait -- I've just been informed that it's actually

Locutus(with a t) and definitely not a puzzle. Never mind then. We'll not even concern ourselves with that.## Can we guess the original cuts? (Score:3, Insightful)

For example the fact that the vast majority of 536 solutions are bilaterally symmetric suggests that the first cut in the creation of the puzzle was right down the middle. I'd also wager that cuts that bisect fragments are more likely than cuts that nick a fragment. Such straight-line, bisecting cutting behaviors are more likely than cutting polygons out of the middle of the whole square.

It may be a math puzzle solved by a computer, but I wonder if we can learn something about how people think from it.

## Re:Can we guess the original cuts? (Score:3, Insightful)

For example the fact that the vast majority of 536 solutions are bilaterally symmetric suggestsBut the bilateral symmetry also

explainsits own frequency: each solution for the left half forms a complete solution when paired with any solution for the right half (assuming they use disjoint sets of pieces, if I understand the rules of the game properly).## Re:Can we guess the original cuts? (Score:2)

But the bilateral symmetry also explains its own frequency: each solution for the left half forms a complete solution when paired with any solution for the right half (assuming they use disjoint sets of pieces, if I understand the rules of the game properly)Very good point. Assuming the pairing that you describe, bilateral symmetry would multiply the number of seemingly unique solutions by a factor of 8.

Even so, only 48 of the solutions lack the bilaterally symmetric 2-rectangle construction. 488 sol

## Puzzle list/book (Score:2)

The other day I wrote a complete (and I think optimal) word-search puzzle solver (final solution relied on standard iteration interfa

## Oh... (Score:1)

## Serious Question: (Score:2)

What, exactly, am I supposed to learn from solving a puzzle like this?

## Actually... (Score:2)

536 distinct solutionsIncluding mirror and rotation, there are 666 distinct solutions. I think we've found or anti-christ.

## There are older puzzles (Score:2)