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Mathematician Claims Breakthrough in Sudoku Puzzle
from Nature News
An Irish mathematician has used a complex algorithm and millions of hours of supercomputing time to solve an important open problem in the mathematics of Sudoku, the game popularized in Japan that involves filling in a 9X9 grid of squares with the numbers 1-9 according to certain rules.
Gary McGuire of University College Dublin shows in a proof posted online on 1 January that the minimum number of clues--or starting digits--needed to complete a puzzle is 17; puzzles with 16 or fewer clues do not have a unique solution. Most newspaper puzzles have around 25 clues, with the difficulty of the puzzle decreasing as more clues are given.
The emerging consensus among mathematicians at a conference in Boston, Massachusetts, on 7 January was that McGuire's proof is probably valid and an important advance in the growing field of Sudoku maths.
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VIDEO: How Hair Ice Grows
In 2013, American Scientist featured an article on odd ice formations on plant stems, including these curling ribbons of ice. One of the types of ice discussed in the article was hair ice—long, thin strands of ice that grow under quite specific conditions. The only problem is that a new study shows the theory put forth at the time—that gas pressure pushes the water out—isn’t correct... (click the link above to read more).
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