Solving the Rubik's Cube Systematically

Introduction

You probably have seen many ways to solve the cube. Some claimed to be the fastest, because they take the smallest number of elementary steps to complete. But how much time and effort are required to remember these "optimal" sequence of steps? How much time is required to practise with them so that you don't forget one of those long meaningless sequences of steps? If you stop playing with the cube for some time, would you still remember how to solve it using these optimal methods?

This is a real life story. I haven't touched the cube for more than ten years. I have forgotten each and every sequence of moves I used to restore the cube. One evening my baby cousin scrambled the cube and noticed that she is incapable of restoring it. She got afraid and started to cry. If it were you, could you have unscrambled the cube quickly?

The method I described here is good not because it is fast. You won't win championships using it. However, it is not the sequences themselves that are important, but the reason why these sequences worked. My method makes sense. Like a good meme, making sense prevents copying errors. You notice that you understand what you are doing. You find that the sequences are much easier to remember. The best of all, you actually don't need to remember them. Even if you have forgotten everything, you can easily reconstruct the algorithms without trouble. Don't try to remember what I am doing — concentrate to see why I am doing those things.

Memes

What? You haven't heard of what a meme is? Didn't you study memetics? How then do you plan to survive the mental plague that is already upon us? To secure your free will, innoculate against the Virus of the Mind before it is too late! The first chapter (Introduction) of the book is available on-line, free. If you like the book, buy it at Barnes & Noble (this link marks me as your referer, so please use this one).

Since you haven't heard about memes, I would bet that your best friends aren't innoculated against the virus neither. Help them out by inviting them to read the book. Better still, buy them one!

The Strategy of 8 Corners

These pages describe basic rules in designing algorithms to solve the Rubik's Cube. Based on these rules, a strategy (the Strategy of 8 Corners) is built. You would develop a new perspective of the cube, with which you can design algorithms and strategies on your own.

Some prior experience on meddling with the cube and on using algorithms are needed.

The algorithms are demonstrated using Neil Rashbrook's java applet showing the Rubik's Cube. Learn how to use it before you start! Also, you should turn off the JIT compiler to order to use the applet.

If it is your first visit, start with the first link (Background and Naming of the Parts) below. Otherwise, jump directly to the page you left off last time:

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