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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Throwback Fact of the Week - Tower of Hanoi - 10/02/14

The Tower of Hanoi is an intriguing puzzle game made popular by French mathematician, Edouard Lucas, in 1883. 

The puzzle consists of disks of different sizes that can be moved onto any of the 3 pegs. At the start, the disks are all stacked on the leftmost peg in order of size, with the smallest at the top. The goal of the puzzle is to move the entire stack to the rightmost peg, while obeying these 3 simple rules:
  1. Only one disk at a time may be moved to another peg 
  2. You can only move the top disk from a stack of disks
  3. A larger disk cannot be placed on top of a smaller disk
The minimum number of moves necessary to solve the puzzle with n disks is 2n - 1. There are simple algorithms and strategies for solving this puzzle in the minimal number of steps. 

Check out the video below to see the game being played optimally starting with 5 disks (2^5-1 = 31 moves). 

Video Credit: Mohammad Al-Khanfar

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