People addicted to the current Sudoku craze can now log on to a UQ mathematics website to find helpful advice about solving these intriguing puzzles.
UQ Mathematics Professor Anne Street and Associate Professor Diane Donovan have created the website, http://www.maths.uq.edu.au/~dmd/puzzles-and-other.htm, which gives a step-by-step example of how to tackle a smaller version of the puzzles.
Professor Street said that while there was a popular perception that mathematical skills were not necessary to solve Sudoku puzzles this was incorrect.
â€œSolving these puzzles needs skills in logic and in critical and analytical thinking, all part of the tool chest of the mathematician.
â€œSudoku helps develop the same skills that underlie internationally-recognised research carried out by mathematicians and computer scientists at The University of Queensland.â€?
Research areas related to skills Sudoku can develop include: experimental design (used in agriculture, engineering and efficient survey sampling); educational and psychological testing; coding theory (used to correct errors in electronic transmission and for recording music on CD); and cryptology (used to protect confidential messages and PINs and for general computer security).
Associate Professor Diane Donovan, who coordinates a UQ maths club, Club Infinity, for high school students, said she was pleased Sudoku had gained widespread popular appeal.
â€œOur new website gives examples of puzzles based on squares and similar problems from past Australian Mathematics Competitions, a leading international assessment event for primary and high school students.â€?
â€œThe skills developed by tackling these and related logic problems will not only be useful for solving Sudoku puzzles but also for answering sections of the Queensland Core Skills Test or even the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT).â€?
UQ Club Infinity: www.maths.uq.edu.au/~infinity/
Australian Mathematics Trust - Westpac Competition /www.amt.canberra.edu.au/
Explore further: Explainer: How to solve a jewel heist (and why it takes so long)