Discussions on the mathematics of the cube

Five generator group of the 3x3x3 cube

As is well known we can dispense with one of the Singmaster generators to still realise the whole of the 3x3x3 cube e.g. using the generating set . Apologies if this has come up before - I was wondering if there has been any analysis on the likely diameter with these five generators including inverses in the QTM? I am guessing that it will be in excess of 26.

About 490 million positions are at distance 20

Even though we now know the diameter of Rubik's Cube group in the half-turn
metric, there is still much yet to be discovered. The diameter in the QTM
and the STM are unproved (although they are almost certainly 26 and 18,
respectively). The exact count of positions at distance 16, 17, 18, 19,
and 20 in the half-turn metric is unknown. This note reports some progress
on an estimate for the count of 20's in the half-turn metric.

It is fascinating to me how problems of distinctly different difficulty
exist around the 3x3x3 cube in the half-turn metric. Initially, back in
the early days, we could solve individual positions non-optimally.

Symmetrical Twist Assignment, a chimera

A corner cubie may be moved to any of the eight corner cubicles in three different ways; untwisted, with clockwise twist or with counterclockwise twist. The standard convention is to assign the twist with reference the orientation of the cubie's U/D facelet vis-a-vis the cubicle's U/D face. If the cubie's U/D facelet is on the cubicle's U/D face the cubie is untwisted. If the cubie's U/D facelet is rotated 120° clockwise from the cubicle's U/D face the cubie has clockwise twist and vice versa. The disturbing thing about this convention is that it is unsymmetrical. Under this definition the 12 q-turns have different effects on the twist of the cubies turned. Turns of the U and D faces have no effect on the twist of the cubies while a q-turn of any of the other four faces twist two cubies clockwise and two cubies counterclockwise. Since all the faces are symmetry equivalent it has always seemed to me that there ought to be a way of defining corner cubie orientation which preserves this equivalence.

3x3x3 edges only calculations restored

I restored Tom's 3x3x3 edge only calculations from 2004 back to the God's Algorithm Calculations file. It was the waybackmachine to the rescue this time. Somehow the newer version of the file was overwritten. Hopefully it will be updated again soon.

3x3x1 rubik square is isomorphic to ( U2, D2, F2, B2 ) cube subgroup

I hacked up a quick simulator for the 3x3x1 Rubik's Square today and I noticed that the number of positions at each level was the same for the ( U2, D2, F2, B2 ) subgroup of the normal 3x3x3 cube.
Analysis of ( U2, D2, F2, B2 )
------------------------------

Level   Number of Positions
                
   0             1
   1             4
   2            10
   3            24
   4            53
   5            64
   6            31
   7             4
   8             1
               ---
               192
Everyone agree? I'm not sure if this has been pointed out before.

Square subgroup in QTM

The square group analysis in HTM is as follow :
        Analysis of the 3x3x3 squares group
        -----------------------------------

                                          branching
Moves Deep       arrangements (h only)     factor      loc max (h only)

  0                    1                      --             0
  1                    6                      6              0
  2                   27                      4.5            0
  3                  120                      4.444          0
  4                  519                      4.325          0
  5                1,932                      3.722          0

Subgroups using basic moves

In QTM, the whole cube is generated using U,D,R,L,F,B moves.
If we drop some moves we end up with some subgroups. The subgroups are:
1) I [the identity]
2) U  
3) U,D
4) U,F
5) U,D,F
6) U,F,R
7) U,D,F,B
8) U,D,F,R
9) U,D,F,B,R

I know the depth table for subgroups 1) 2) 3) and 4):
The subgroup 1) generated by "no move", has the following obvious table:
Moves Deep       arrangements (q only)     

  0                    1                   
                   ------
                       1
The subgroup 2) generated only by the move U, has the following table:

Symmetry Reduction of Coset Spaces

Having repeatedly shot myself in the foot by mishandling the symmetry reduction of coset spaces, I finally sat down, laid out the math and put together a set of notes on the matter. These notes follow.

Coset Spaces

Solving Rubik's cube either manually or by computer usually involves dealing with coset spaces. A group may be partitioned into cosets of a subgroup of the group:

     g * SUB          where g is an element of the parent group and 
	              SUB is a subgroup of the parent group

RUF Group Enumeration

I recently bought a new computer and wanted to put it through its paces. I dusted off my RUF three face coset solver and spruced it up a bit. Since I now have three iMacs in my household connected on an airport network, I rewrote the program using a server–client model. With this I can have all three computers working on a problem in parallel with as many as 14 cores. With these tools I have extended the enumeration of the three face group out to twenty q–turns:

Three Face Enumerator Client

Fixed cubies in subgroup: UF, UR, UB, UL, DF, DR, FR, FL, BR.
92,897,280 cosets of size 1,837,080

Server Status:
Three Face Group Enumerator
Sequential coset iteration
Enumeration to depth: 20

Snapshot: Friday, February 22, 2013 9:28:02 PM Central Standard Time

 Depth             Reduced             Elements
   0                     1                    1 
   1                     1                    6 
   2                     4                   27 
   3                    12                  120 
   4                    51                  534 
   5                   213                2,376 
   6                   914               10,560 
   7                 4,038               46,920 
   8                17,639              208,296 
   9                78,234              923,586 
  10               344,175            4,091,739 
  11             1,524,115           18,115,506 
  12             6,722,358           80,156,049 
  13            29,739,437          354,422,371 
  14           131,158,304        1,565,753,405 
  15           578,971,538        6,908,670,589 
  16         2,546,820,524       30,422,422,304 
  17        11,174,670,698      133,437,351,006 
  18        48,528,827,222      579,929,251,620 
  19       205,901,170,504    2,459,821,160,421 
  20       814,027,054,726    9,731,195,124,049 

 Sum     1,082,927,104,708   12,943,737,711,485 

92,897,280 of 92,897,280 cosets solved

Back from the Brink

Well, the server had a hard drive failure and I decided that it was time for an operating system upgrade. Unfortunately in the last 9 years everything had changed, e.g. the new versions of php and drupal and mysql were all incompatible with the old versions, and in various ways.

You can imagine my horror when I realized just how much work would be involved in salvaging the forum and make it usable again. I thought all I could do is make the drupal mysql file available to the web and figure out a way of upgrading later.

Finally as a last ditch effort I remembered the Ultimate Boot CD which has a hard drive cloning program and it was able to copy all the sectors still readable to another hard drive. The fact that the critical files were readable and there were multiple kernels bootable on the old failing hard drive was enough to get the server to at least boot, and I was able to restore the last missing files from another backup.