Date: Wed, 16 Sep 81 00:03:00 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dan Hoey <Hoey@CMU-10A >
~~~ Subject: Re: lower bounds

Hi. I'm really pressed for time, but I'll drop a couple of

Alan pretty well said it--there are half-twisters and there
are quarter-twisters and the included message is one of the former.
I strongly favor the latter, since then all the moves are
equivalent, (M-conjugate, to you archive-readers). But Singmaster's
book, though in the other camp, is too good to ignore.

To extend the argument I gave on 9 January to the case
where quarter-twists and half-twists are counted equally (we call
such a move a `htw' whether it is quarter or half) let PH[n] be the
number of (3x3x3-cube) positions at exactly n htw from SOLVED. Then

```PH[0]  = 1
PH[1] <= 6*3*PH[0]
PH[2] <= 6*2*PH[1]   + 9*3*PH[0]
PH[n] <= 6*2*PH[n-1] + 9*2*PH[n-2] for n > 2.
```

Solving yields the following upper bounds:

```htw        new        total      htw        new         total
0           1            1       10    2.447*10^11   2.646*10^11
1          18           19       11    3.267*10^12   3.531*10^12
2         243          262       12    4.360*10^13   4.713*10^13
3        3240         3502       13    5.820*10^14   6.292*10^14
4       43254        46756       14    7.769*10^15   8.398*10^15
5      577368       624124       15    1.037*10^17   1.121*10^17
6     7706988      8331112       16    1.385*10^18   1.497*10^18
7   102876480    111207592       17    1.848*10^19   1.998*10^19
8  1373243544   1484451136       18    2.467*10^20   2.667*10^20
9 18330699168  19815150304
```

At least 18 htw are required to reach all the 4.325*10^19
positions of the cube. This is the same argument that was used in
Singmaster's fifth edition, p. 34, and is the best I know. Lest ye
be tempted to pull the trick I did in the January message, remember
that half-twists are even permutations, so there is no assurance
that half the positions are an odd distance from SOLVED. This is
illustrated in the 2x2x2 case, where more than half of the
positions are at a particular odd distance.

And yes, all of Thistlethwaite's analysis seems to use the
half-twist metric. I am quite surprised, however, to hear the rumor
of 41 htw. As of Singmaster's fifth edition, the figure was 52 htw
``... but he hopes to get it down to 50 with a bit more computing
and he believes it may be reducible to 45 with a lot of
searching.'' If anyone has harder information on the situation, I
would like to hear it.

Well, back to real work. I saw a Rubikized tetrahedron in a
shop window earlier this evening; I'm not sure whether I'm relieved
or infuriated that the store was closed for the day.