Date: 31 Aug 1982 1022-PDT From: ISAACS at SRI-KL
Could you explain to me how you got the formula of your message
of 23 Aug.
There are SF different shallow hypermoves and DF different deep
hypermoves, and two similar hypermoves in succession can be
collapsed into one. The formula expresses the number of
alternating sequences of length at most four, which is the sum of
the ``Number'' column below.
Length Type Number 0 1 1 S SF 1 D DF 2 SD SF * DF 2 DS SF * DF 3 SDS SF^2 * DF 3 DSD SF * DF^2 4 SDSD SF^2 * DF^2 4 DSDS SF^2 * DF^2
I can see more-or-less what you're doing, but I haven't been
able to parse the formula.
Well, I did leave out the multiplication signs.
Also, I haven't seen your notation before. I take it that "U3"
is equivalent to "D1'", except hold the D1 in place.
Right. I used this notation in "Lower Bounds for the 4x4x4" on 2
June and "Invisible Revenge" on 9 August.
How do you represent half twists? Only by two quarters, or is
there a shorthand?
There is U3^2, not much of a shorthand. For the U slice move, I
hinted at U21'.
From a group theory perspective, is it easier to talk about
hypermoves than slice moves?
Hypermoves are a curiosity that Jim Saxe dreamed up. Any sequence
of depth 1 (or 3) moves is a single hypermove, as is any sequence
of depth 2 moves. I assume you mean to ask whether it's easier to
talk the way I usually talk, in terms of what I will call "twist
moves" to distinguish them from "slice moves".
The question boils down to what set of generators (moves) you want
to use when counting the length of a process. This topic was
endlessly rehashed in 1980 when people were trying to decide
whether to call a half-twist a single move or two. Jim Saxe nearly
sent a message in 1980 about using only two generators to solve
Rubik's cube. [As I recall, computer failure trashed the message
and he never retyped it.] Certainly we can all do slices and
half-twists. The question is how many moves to charge for such an
operation. The richer the set of generators, the fewer the number
of moves, but the more complex the explanation of the generators.
I use the "quarter-twist" convention for the 3^3. The generators
are 90-degree rotations of faces. This seems natural, because it
is the minimal set that satisfies the following criteria.
1. Every possible cube position can be created using these
generators, up to whole-cube moves. This is a basic
2. The inverse of every generator is a generator. This is
necessary so that we have a metric.
3. Any position that can be reached by performing part of a
generator is a generator. This criterion ties the
mechanical operations used in the cube to the
permutation group. Otherwise we could have generators
like FUF and F'U' and perform F with their composition.
Charging two moves for F in that circumstance is
4. Every M-conjugate of a generator is a generator. This is
an aesthetic consideration. We could leave out the D
and D' twists and still solve the 3^3, but that breaks
up the symmetry of the puzzle.
Why do I want the generator set to be minimal? Well, we could make
it maximal, but then we would have ``over 3 billion'' generators.
What I am looking for is a canonical set, and minimality seems like
the best way of choosing among metrics. Thus we exclude slice
moves as generators because they are not necessary.
For the 3^3, this set is particularly fortunate, because the
converse of criterion 4 holds: Every two generators are
M-conjugate. This allows us to identify some local maxima without
long computations (14 December 1980) and to tighten lower bounds
using parity principles (9 January 1981).
Will that also be true on the 5^3, 6^3, etc?
I would just as soon stick with a compatible metric. This is not
to say that there cannot be abbreviations for these moves, simply
that for the sake of asking ``how many moves does this take'' we
count the number of quarter-twists.
We unfortunately don't have the converse of criterion 4 for cubes
larger than 3^3. For the 4^3, for instance, there are two flavors
of move: deep and shallow. Dave Plummer (26 September 1981)
described certain positions of the 4^3 as local maxima, but I have
convinced him that we cannot demonstrate the truth of that
assertion using known techniques other than exhaustive search. My
note of 2 June was able to use only one kind of parity in the lower
bound argument. Both problems are due to the lack of the converse.
From a solving perspective, it seems clumsy.
I'll agree that the generators are few in this scheme, but it is
possible to generate macros. For instance, consider describing a
slice move on the 3^3 cube. Singmaster uses the notation Fs to
denote the F1B1' = F12'3 slice move. We can now also talk about
the F12' slice move, which is how everyone actually does the move.
I think this is much easier to remember than Allan Wechsler's IJK
notation (introduced 18 July 1980) or Doug Landauer's HPS notation
(27 August 1980) for dealing with whole-cube moves.
I'm still not too happy about the state of RubikSong, but I think
it's a matter of human engineering, and I like to stick with the