Tag Archives: Sudoku

Sudoku has a mathematical solution

When I first discovered Sudoku puzzles I looked at the boxes and the numbers and said “well, this MUST have a mathematical solution.” I mean, come on, it’s 9 rows, 9 boxes, 9 sets, each with a solution set of numbers 1-9. It seemed perfectly ordered to me and seemed like a mathematical solution was obvious.

So, I started doing some research and it turns out that all the brilliant-est math minds steadfastly held that there was NO mathematical solution for Sudoku. Until today.

I’m not going to pretend that I understand the math in the actual paper but I do understand this:

What Crook has done … is more or less systematized what the average mind does and made it into some sort of computer algorithm – which is a step-by-step procedure.

This means that you can now solve Sudoku puzzles using a computer program. I’ve always maintained that we just need more programs that help us solve all of life’s puzzles.


Filed under Math, Technology Pulse

Meetings, meetings, meetings

The flavor of the week is meetings.

I am on just three committees and yet this week I have no less than 7 hours devoted to meetings.

Part of the problem of being a UWT Library employee is that some of these meetings take place in Seattle (Web Services is having one on Thursday). If I want to be part of the community up there I have to spend at least an hour and a half in travel time. And if they hold the meetings in such a way that they end between 4pm and 5pm then you can add another hour (at least) on to the commute. The point is, meetings take up a lot of my time.

And meetings are invaluable. You just cannot develop a community without some kind of face to face meetings.

Recognizing this, technology has tried to come to the rescue.

Yugma is a more traditional tool, combining VoIP and screen sharing technology. Meh. Not too impressed.

LiveLOOK is just a screen sharing tool but I can already think of dozens of handy applications. Like when a faculty member calls me and can’t get into ERES? It would be so nice to be able to have him share his computer with me so that I can see exactly what he’s doing wrong. Too bad, not free.

There are so many…

I have to spend some time one day and get around to looking at them.

UPDATE:  things have been so crazy around here that I forgot to add in to this post a blurb about how solving a sudoku puzzle is like scheduling a meeting.

For example, scheduling committee meetings for various groups in different time slots can pose a similar mathematical challenge. Each vertex represents a different committee, and two committees are joined by a line if they have a member in common. If some of the committees have already been assigned time slots, scheduling the remaining committee meetings involves extending a partial coloring to a proper coloring, so that all meetings are allotted times that don’t conflict with any other meetings

So, next time you’re trying to schedule a meeting and you wonder why it’s so difficult, remember, it’s a lot like a sudoku.


Filed under Technology Pulse