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Solving Rubik's Cube As Simple As Counting to 20

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Not satisfied with calculating pi to five trillion places, experts in the field of excessive triviality have determined that as scrambled as a Rubik's Cube becomes, it can always be solved within 20 moves. And no, slamming the toy on the ground and rearranging the loose pieces doesn't count.

The team -- including a mathematician from Kent, a programmer from Palo Alto, and an engineer from Google -- broke down the 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 possible positions of the cube and ruled out symmetrical and mirrored sets. From that astronomical number, the team narrowed the possibilities down to a far more manageable 55,882,296 sets to be entered into the computer system.

The sets were run through a complex algorithm on a large data bank of computers over the course of a few weeks. So large, in fact, that it would take 35 years for a single computer to run through the entire length of the program -- about as long as the team can work up the nerve to talk to a girl.

Fifteen years after the introduction of the Rubik's Cube, engineers discovered a position requiring no less than 20 moves to solve it. But it took another 15 years to prove that no position could ever surpass 20 moves.

So, if done correctly, this gag from Weird Al's UHF wouldn't have lasted much longer.

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