Message #3300

From: Melinda Green <>
Subject: Re: [MC4D] Re: Greetings
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2016 00:07:04 -0800

On 2/24/2016 9:17 AM, Roice Nelson [4D_Cubing] wrote:
> These are great questions that I wish I had answers for. I will say
> that even though I’m marked as the "first no macro solution" in the
> Hall of Fame, I’ve always felt that not using that feature isn’t quite
> different enough to warrant its own category.

You don’t mind it being removed? Maybe that makes sense after Andrey
convinced us that he had done it earlier in an implementation of his
own, but it sure seemed to Don and I like a big milestone at the time.

> I think this just emphasizes what you’re saying about computer
> assisted categories being fuzzy. Maybe a useful approach here would
> be not to find the perfect categories right now, but to figure a way
> for them to grow or change easily over time? You seem to have laid
> out a good start in any case, with possible beginning categories like:
> 1. Human-only
> 2. Computer-assisted (>50% human solve, some computer state space
> searching)
> 3. Human-assisted (>50% computer solve, I question whether there will
> be enough here since implementations would likely just jump to the
> next category like Don did.)
> 4. Computer-only (humans are allowed to write the software)
> 5. Singularity award (computers must write the software)
> …with first and shortests for each. I’d vote to start with 1,2, and
> 4 I think. We might want to consider putting 2/4 on a completely
> separate page.

You mean 3 & 5?

Regarding 3, if the computer were in charge of a MC4D solution, I agree
that human help will only become less useful over time. I was just
imagining that the user would still be directing the overall solution
but the software would do all of the grunt work. So for example, it
might suggest a list of the shortest sequences it finds to move pieces
into their proper places. The user can select one and have it perform
all the work, or completely override it; sort of like how Google Maps
driving instructions find new routes when you’ve convinced it that
you’re not going to stick with the previously chosen one.

As for 5, I would dearly love to award that prize someday! I for one am
ready to become a pampered pet of our new AI overlords.

> On the topic of Go, I’ve had a background itch to learn for a long
> time, and when I read the news about AlphaGo beating the European
> champion, I finally decided it was time! I bought a board and some
> books, and have been playing a lot the last few weeks. In fact, I was
> at my first meeting with the Austin Go Club when your email came
> through last night. I had high handicaps and was still getting
> crushed, but as expected I’m finding the game extremely elegant,
> interesting, addictive, and fun - I can tell this is a hobby that will
> stick. What are your predictions for the match with Lee Se-dol? An
> Austin player I was talking to last night is betting on the human.
> I’m rooting for AlphaGo, and am really looking forward to following
> the drama!

That is so cool that you’ve just gotten into my favorite game! I used to
really enjoy chess but once I took up Go, I completely switched. While
it’s a great social activity, I also recommend finding good Go software
to play against, especially if it can adapt it’s handicap to your rapid
progress in the beginning. I started with IGoWin
<> because it was great to be able
to play hundreds of 9x9 games as fast as I liked. The better I got, the
lower handicap I got, and eventually it started taking larger and larger
handicaps for itself. That kept me challenged and helped me quickly
learn the most important patterns and a sense of what’s safe and what’s
not. I could just try any crazy thing that I’d be curious about but
unlikely to try against another person.

While I’m also rooting for AlphaGo, I honestly have no idea who’s going
to win. AlphaGo’s strength when it beat the European champion was
definitely not strong enough to beat LSD, but they wouldn’t have offered
a million dollar prize if they didn’t think they would be ready by
March. They’re certainly going to throw every bit of hardware they can
at it, and they’re tuning the algorithms and playing millions of
training games in the meantime. Here’s as much of a prediction as I
would bet on: The result will not be 5-0 in either direction, and if LSD
wins this time, he will lose 5-0 in a rematch the following year.
Exciting stuff!


> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 7:10 PM, Melinda Green
> <> [4D_Cubing]
> < <>> wrote:
> Welcome Thomas indeed! There’s nothing like breaking one of our
> most cherished records for waking us from blissful slumber.
> I’m happy to create new solution categories though I’d like to
> make sure we have a rough idea how to determine where potential
> new methods will fall. Tools like reset, undo & redo are forms of
> computer assistance but they seemed gentle enough to not detract
> from an otherwise pure human solution. Macros OTOH required quite
> a bit more introspection and we ended up categorizing them as
> another valid human solution, though not directly comparable to
> no-macro solutions.
> How should we now consider more sophisticated computer assistance
> that goes beyond simple mechanistic aid into some forms of real
> thinking? I definitely want to create a "shortest computer
> solution" category. So far we’ve only had one by Don Hatch which
> produces solutions with around 1,500 twists. Perhaps when we have
> a more efficient solution, we should create a "first" and
> "shortest" computer solution category pair like the others. I can
> also imagine a time in which a human only guides the broad strokes
> of an otherwise completely computer-driven solution. Would that be
> comparable to this new computer-assisted solution or should we
> then create a new "human-assisted" category in anticipation of our
> obsolescence? These are obviously more philosophical questions
> than practical ones but they might inform our immediate choices.
> I’m really hoping that someone will implement an efficient
> computer solution that can be integrated into MC4D and replace
> Don’s version which I sadly broke. It was nice having a true
> solution integrated, though 1,500 twists turned out to be just a
> bit too tedious to watch. Something around 200 twists seems much
> more practical, plus it could be merged with the current
> "cheating" solution such that states involving less than that
> number of twists will simply reverse all those twists (ideally
> with some compression which I also broke), and solutions longer
> than that will use the full computer solution. In fact if we do
> this right, the real prize for the shortest computer solution
> could be its integration into MC4D!
> And speaking of human obsolescence, are any of you also Go
> players, and have you been following the news regarding the
> upcoming human vs. AI match? Go has been a very difficult game to
> program due to the roughly 200 possible moves at every turn.
> Google’s AlphaGo AI recently crushed the European Go champion and
> next month will play against the legendary Lee Se-dol who has
> dominated the game for the last decade. That match has a
> $1,000,000 prize and could well be a watershed moment even bigger
> than when computers became the best chess players in 1996. The
> match begins on March 9th. Details here
> <>.
> Happy puzzling!
> -Melinda
> On 2/23/2016 9:35 AM, Roice Nelson
> <> [4D_Cubing] wrote:
>> Welcome Thomas!
>> My vote is that we mark this new solution as a first class record
>> in a new category, "shortest computer assisted solve". I’ve
>> considered trying to use the computer for attacks on the shortest
>> competition in the past, and it’d be great if more folks were
>> motivated to do this. With advances in this area we could, for
>> example, come closer to intuiting what God’s Number for the 3^4
>> might be. We don’t even have a rough idea of what it is right
>> now, upper OR lower bounds (as far as I know).
>> Congrats on your impressive solve, and happy to have you posting
>> here.
>> Cheers,
>> Roice
>> On Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 10:21 AM, Thomas Lehéricy
>> <>
>> [4D_Cubing] <
>> <>> wrote:
>> Indeed. I looked at the wiki page after my first solves, but
>> didn’t understand everything and preferred to keep going with
>> the method I was designing - at this point using an analogue
>> of CFOP was just the thing to do, seing how intuitive it is
>> when you know it well. Now that I read it again it looks very
>> clear, and it indeed looks the same as my own method up to
>> the last layer.
>> The last 3D face can be done in at most twice as many moves
>> as one would need for the 3D cube. To do that, one can simply
>> "regrip" (rotate) the cube so that the face one turns is
>> always the same. Of course it can be improved, for instance
>> when using URU’R’: a single regrip in the middle and all
>> moves will cancel… So it’s only an upper bound. I don’t
>> know of any general method to optimize this step, although I
>> would be extremely interested.
>> The human Thitlethwaite is not particularly efficient at
>> giving low-move counts solutions, but still better than CFOP.
>> I think you can hope for a 40-50 move counts on average if
>> you know all cases (which I don’t), without optimizing it for
>> too long. What is good is that each step is rather intuitive,
>> and it can be optimized and yields extremely good results:
>> Kociemba’s algorithm is derived from it.
>> Block-building methods seem the thing to do indeed. It seems
>> to me that Matthew Sheerin built his first two layers like
>> this in his record. It is not as optimized nor as flexible as
>> Heise, and it would be indeed interesting to see how well
>> Heise translates into 4D - but that’s far beyond my abilities
>> right now.
>> Thank you for your answer!
>> Thomas