[next] [prev] [up] Date: Tue, 15 Jun 82 10:45:00 -0400 (EDT)
[next] [prev] [up] From: Dan Hoey <Hoey@CMU-10A >
~~~ ~~~ [up] Subject: Patterns for Rubik's Revenge


I confirm Dave Plummer's result that it is impossible to make a
checkerboard on all faces of a cube of even side. Proving this for
the 2^3 is sufficient, and implies the corollary I sent last year
that it is impossible to make S or Z or Zig-Zag patterns on all
sides of the 3^3. This time I will outline my analysis of the

What we are asking for in each case is a pattern in which every
face has matching diagonally opposite corner facets and contrasting
adjacent corner facets.

First, consider any position in which diagonally opposite corner
facets match on each face. If we connect every pair of corner
cubies that have diagonally opposite corner facets we get two
tetrahedrons of corner cubies. A quick examination will show that
the four cubies in such a tetrahedron must either be

1) Not all from the same cube,
2) Four copies of the same cubie, or
3) Four different cubies from the same cube, in the correct
position and orientation relative to each other.

Assuming case 3, we may place one tetrahedron in the home position
and consider how the other tetrahedron has been rigidly rotated
with respect to the first. There are 12 rotations of the
tetrahedron. One is the identity, three are 180-degree rotations
about the midpoints of two opposite edges, and six are 120-degree
rotations about a vertex.

In the identity every face's adjacent corner facets fail to
contrast. The 180-degree rotations have the corners like the 3^3
Zig-zag pattern, where two faces have noncontrasting corners. The
120-degree rotations would make checkerboards, but violate the
corner twist invariant.

Approximate checkerboards can be made from the 180-degree rotation
and from the 120-degree rotation with one corner twisted. In the
180-degree approximation, two faces have two wrong facets each. In
the 120-degree approximation, three faces have one wrong facet
each. Both are achievable with the 2^3 and 4^3, and I think these
are as close as you can get on any even-sided cube.


Spot patterns of the 4^3 are those which have the pattern
on all nonblank faces. There are a lot of them: every permutation
of the centers is possible. There are thus 6! = 720 spot patterns.
We may cut this number down by identifying positions that are
M-conjugates (recolorings) of each other.

As long as I am listing the permutations by conjugacy class, I may
as well break them down by recoloring type. Last July I asked a
question about the possible rearrangements of colors on the cube.
I worked on the solution long enough to find that given a
``standard'' cube, there are five kinds of recoloring up to
Identity -- The standard coloring.
Reflection -- Identity in a mirror.
Swap -- Identity with two adjacent colors exchanged.
Wrench -- Identity with three adjacent colors cycled.
Befuddler -- Wrench in a mirror.
The Identity and Reflection are unique colorings. There are twelve
Swaps and eight each of the Wrench and Befuddler recolorings. Each
recoloring corresponds to 24 face permutations, achievable by
whole-cube moves.

Here, then, are the spot patterns. Columns correspond to the
number of spots in the pattern. The row groupings show the kind of
cube coloring the spot pattern comes from. The patterns are given
as a permutation of faces: (...XY...) and (Y...X) both mean that
face X has a spot colored Y, as shown at the beginning of this
message. The number of permutations in each conjugacy class is
also given.

				Number of spots
	   0     2	 3	      4	            5		   6
Identity  :8                   (BUFD):6                 (BUL)(FDR):8
	    		     (BF)(UD):3               (BF)(UL)(DR):6
Reflection  (BF):3	     (BU)(FD):6                   (BULFDR):8
Swap	   (BU):12 (BFU):24   (BFUD):12    (BUFDL):48    (BFULDR):48
			    (BF)(UL):12  (BF)(UDL):24  (BF)(UDLR):12
				         (BU)(FDL):48  (BU)(FDLR):48
Wrench		   (BUL):16   (BUFL):24    (BFUDL):48    (BFULRD):24
				         (BU)(FLR):48   (BUL)(FRD):8
Befuddler		      (BFUL):48    (BFULD):48    (BFUDLR):16
			    (BU)(FL):24	                 (BUFLDR):24

The answer: Fifteen six-spot patterns, six five-spots, eight
four-spots, two three-spots, two two-spots, and one no-spot.


What cross patterns are possible on the 4^3? We must first ask
what a cross pattern on the 4^3 should look like. I consider the
following two kinds of cross.

Thick Cross Thin Cross

X O O X		 X O X X
O O O O		 O O O O
O O O O		 X O X X
X O O X		 X O X X

Every thick cross pattern is a rigid rotation or reflection of the
edge and face center pieces with respect to the corners. This is
just like the 3^3 case except that the 3^3 has face centers that
are fixed relative to each other, and so does not allow reflec-
tions. So in addition to the thick versions of Plummer's Cross and
Cristman's Cross, there are three new crosses.

    Thick Pons Cross                        Thick Fliptwist Cross
                       Thick Interlaced Cross
         U D D U                                   U L L U
         D D D D              B U U B              L L L L
         D D D D              U U U U              L L L L
         U D D U              U U U U              U L L U
                              B U U B
L R R L  F B B F  R L L R                 L D D L  F B B F  R U U R
R R R R  B B B B  L L L L     U L L U     D D D D  B B B B  U U U U
R R R R  B B B B  L L L L     L L L L     D D D D  B B B B  U U U U
L R R L  F B B F  R L L R     L L L L     L D D L  F B B F  R U U R
                              U L L U
         D U U D                                   D R R D
         U U U U     L F F L  F D D F  R B B R     R R R R
         U U U U     F F F F  D D D D  B B B B     R R R R
         D U U D     F F F F  D D D D  B B B B     D R R D
                     L F F L  F D D F  R B B R
         B F F B                                   B F F B
         F F F F              D R R D              F F F F
         F F F F              R R R R              F F F F
         B F F B              R R R R              B F F B
                              D R R D

For thin crosses, we first examine those in which the arms of the
crosses meet at the edges. Again the figure facets are rigidly
rotated and reflected with respect to the ground. This time cubie
conservation becomes an issue, because of the impossibility of
flipping an edge cubie, so there are only three such thin crosses.

     Thin Pons Cross			      Thin Plummer Cross
		       Thin Interlaced Cross
	 U U D U				   U U R U
	 U U D U	      B B U B		   U U R U
	 D D D D	      B B U B		   R R R R
	 U U D U	      U U U U		   U U R U
			      B B U B
L L R L  F F B F  R L R R		  L L B L  F F U F  R F R R
R R R R  B B B B  L L L L     U U L U	  B B B B  U U U U  F F F F
L L R L  F F B F  R L R R     U U L U	  L L B L  F F U F  R F R R
L L R L  F F B F  R L R R     L L L L	  L L B L  F F U F  R F R R
			      U U L U
	 D D U D				   D D L D
	 U U U U     L L F L  F F D F  R B R R	   L L L L
	 D D U D     F F F F  D D D D  B B B B	   D D L D
	 D D U D     L L F L  F F D F  R B R R	   D D L D
		     L L F L  F F D F  R B R R
	 B B F B				   B B D B
	 B B F B	      D D R D		   B B D B
	 F F F F	      R R R R		   D D D D
	 B B F B	      D D R D		   B B D B
			      D D R D

When we relax the constraint that thin cross arms must meet at the
edges, the figure is no longer rigidly transformed with respect to
the ground. Indeed, we might expect that adjacent crosses whose
arms do not meet might have colors that are opposite on the cube.
I carried out a long examination of the cases, and found that this
does not happen. In fact, only one new color permutation arises.

>Thin Fliptwist Cross

L R L L  F F U F  R L R R  B D B B
L R L L  F F U F  L L L L  B D B B
R R R R  U U U U  R L R R  D D D D
L R L L  F F U F  R L R R  B D B B

The only other thin cross patterns in which not all crosses meet at
the edges are 43 versions of the Thin Pons Cross (modulo my missing
a case or two in the analysis).

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