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.

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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.

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