Message #703

From: Levi Wegner <>
Subject: Re: [MC4D] Re: 3^4 parity problems
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 09:01:51 -0700

I think allowing "cherry-picking" should be allowed, as it’s not enforcible. However as with 3^3 cubing and n^4 with macros, this should be mentioned by the solver. If someone happened upon a scramble which happened to have the 4c’s solved, this would increase their odds of setting a record (depending on their method). This sort of lucky scramble should be noted.

As far as speed hypercubing, there should be several classes. This seems like blindfolded cubing to me. Some people include the memorization time in their solutions. This requires a fast method of memorization and a less complex method during the actual solve. Solutions, counting memorization, range from approximately 1:30 to 10:00. Others only include the actual solve time in the solution. This requires a fast solution, typically by solving the cube in your head and memorizing this short sequence. If you include the memorization time, this method would take prohibitively long, yet the actual solution can be performed in seconds.
Back to hypercubing. I think macros would speed up most solves. But if someone is using them, they should be required to rewrite them for each solve under time. This would be very tedious, and there is no guarantee this would put macro/macroless times into the same ballpark. That’s where two or more categories come in. 
As far as computer aids are concerned, this is a difficult question. Anyone who wrote a program to produce minimal solutions, or any solutions for that matter, would be recognized for such an impressive accomplishment. But this shouldn’t be compared to a human only solution of a puzzle. I’ve wrestled over developing a program to automate my n^d solution when I make my attempt at the 7^5. This program would perform the exact method I would use. Inputting a log file and clicking run clearly isn’t the same as me sitting in front of the puzzle for weeks turning the puzzle and hashing out the solution myself. But using a computer to generate reusable macros or something similar could be OK. (I spent a day or two writing the macros I used to solve the 6^5, and as my laptop I saved them on died, I’ll be doing it again!) I’d compare this to climbing everest- would my name be added to the list of climbers if I built a robot to climb for me? How about if I use
GPS? Where do we draw the line?
There’s one final point I’d like to make in contradiction to everything I just said. We’re already such an elite subset of the magic cube solvers, dividing us up too much really defeats the point of competitions like speed solving or minimal solves.
Happy solving everyone!
— On Thu, 10/15/09, Melinda Green <> wrote:

From: Melinda Green <>
Subject: Re: [MC4D] Re: 3^4 parity problems
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2009, 2:44 PM


To answer Klaus’ question, it currently *is* possible with the current

puzzle to supply a scrambled log file that does not include the scramble

history. I’m not sure that makes much difference however because I

suspect it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to tell whether a solution

essentially backed out the scrambling, and it certainly wouldn’t

resemble any sort of human solution. There are definitely interesting

questions regarding which methods should be considered fair and how to

disallow or detect cheating. I already caught one attempt, so these are

not an abstract questions.

Early on we had to drill deeply into the question of macro use before

deciding that they are fair to use but that solutions using them just

shouldn’t be compared with ones that didn’t. Even still there are

unanswered questions such as whether they should be allowed during speed

solving competitions and if so, should they have to be created during

the actual timed runs or whether use of previously created macro files

should be allowed.

For the "shortest" category, my feeling is that just about anything

short of backing out the scramble should be allowed. If you can write or

find software to help, then power to you though I hope that you’d

declare any aids you used. OTOH, there’s still this issue of searching

for random scrambles that let you side-step parity problems or even

whole steps. As an extreme and completely impractical thought

experiment, imagine writing a program that can examine an ungodly number

of full scrambles in search of one that just so happens to be one twist

away from being solved. If you then solve it, can you really claim to

have performed the shortest solution to a full scramble with a single

twist? And even if we disallowed such cherry picking, and assuming we

could enforce that rule, then would it fair even then since some people

will simply get lucky sometimes. I certainly wouldn’t want to tell

someone that they have to finish each full solve before starting another

one! OTOH (I get at least 3 hands in 4D, right?) this is the idea behind

averaging several solves commonly used in speed solving.

For myself, I don’t worry about people cherry picking very much in most

cases largely because most puzzles are really 3 puzzles in one (2C + 3C

you with whichever element you like to solve first. It could however

help you to *decide* which element to start with since problems with one

element can be much harder than problems in another, but overall it

feels fair enough. My main concern is only with the 2^4 which has

nothing but corner pieces. These puzzles have always bothered me because

they’re oddballs in other ways too. In retrospect I suppose this was a

rather lengthy way of saying that I have no opinion. Sorry about that! :-)

To make it up to all of you who have read this far, I’ll let you in on a

bit of very juicy news: Roice and I have been hard at work generating a

new version of MC4D using a new puzzle generation engine from Don. The

new version will allow you to solve a whole bunch of beautiful new 4D

shapes other than the cube. It is also much improved in many other small

ways including sound effects, interactive arbitrary 4D rotations and a

much needed GUI facelift. Best of all, you get to be the first people to

try it out when we create our first beta testing version soon. So watch

this space for news of MC4D 4.0!

Happy puzzling!