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posted by janrinok on Wednesday March 12 2014, @06:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the so-my-childhood-wasn't-wasted dept.

nobbis writes:

"Toby Walsh at the University of NSW Australia has, as reported in New Scientist, studied a generalized version of the popular game Candy Crush Saga and found it be an NP-hard problem, indeed he suggests 'Part of its addictiveness may be that Candy Crush is a computationally hard puzzle to solve.'

His paper shows that early rounds in the game can be modeled as a collection of 'wires' transmitting information across the board, with candies forming inputs and outputs, which can be seen as equivalent to logical statements, this reduces the game to an example of a Boolean satisfiability problem which is known to be NP-complete. A similar technique has been used to show that Super Mario Brothers and Zelda are also NP-hard.

Given that people have spent millions of hours playing the game he notes 'It would be interesting to see if we can profit from the time humans spend solving Candy Crush problems, perhaps we can put this to even better use by hiding some practical NP-hard problems within these puzzles?'"

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by slartibartfastatp on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:51PM

    by slartibartfastatp (588) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @07:51PM (#15478) Journal

    I don't think the interesting thing here is to solve the general problem, but instances of it. You can generate a huge database of solutions, that could be used to solve other instances by approximation methods.

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by space_in_your_face on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:43PM

    by space_in_your_face (224) on Wednesday March 12 2014, @10:43PM (#15589)
    This idea is intersting in problems for which humans are good and computer bad (for example image recognition).

    In the case of NP-(hard|complete), humans can only solve small problems. And for those, computers are much faster. Try this game [] if you are not convinced (it's probably hard for you, but a computer can solve it in a fraction of a second).