# Color sudoku puzzle demonstrates new vision for computing

##### Dec 18, 2007

Researchers at the University of Warwick’s Department of Computer Science have developed a colour based Sudoku Puzzle that will help Sudoku players solve traditional Sudoku puzzles but also helps demonstrate the potential benefits of a radical new vision for computing.

The colour Sudoku adds another dimension to solving the puzzle by assigning a colour to each digit. Squares containing a digit are coloured according to the digit's colour. Empty squares are coloured according to which digits are possible for that square taking account of all current entries in the square's row, column and region. The empty square's colour is the combination of the colours assigned to each possible digit. This gives players major clues as darker coloured empty squares imply fewer number possibilities.

More usefully an empty square that has the same colour as a completed square must contain the same digit. If a black square is encountered then a mistake has been made. Players also can gain additional clues by changing the colour assigned to the each digit and watching the unfolding changes in the pattern of colours.

Sudoku players can test this for themselves at: www.warwick.ac.uk/go/sudoku. (NB page requires Flash 9)

However the colour Sudoku is more than just a game to the University of Warwick Computer Scientists. For doctoral researcher Antony Harfield it is a way of exploring how logic and perception interact using a radical approach to computing called Empirical Modelling. The method can be applied to other creative problems and he is exploring how this experimental modelling technique can be used in educational technology and learning.

The interplay between logic and perception, as it relates to interactions between computers and humans is viewed as key to the building of better software. It is of particular relevance for artificial intelligence, computer graphics, and educational technology. The interaction between the shifting colour squares and the logical deductions of the Sudoku puzzle solver is a good illustration of the unusual quality of this "Empirical Modelling" approach.

Previously the researchers have been able to use their principles to analyse a railway accident in the Clayton Tunnel near Brighton when the telegraph was introduced in 1861. Reports at the time sought to blame various railway personnel but by applying Empirical Modelling the researchers have created an environment in which experimenters can replay the roles of the drivers, signalmen and other personnel involved. This has shown that there were systemic problems arising from the introduction of the new technology.

Dr Steve Russ of the Empirical Modelling group at the University of Warwick said:

"Traditional computer programs are best-suited for tasks that are so well-understood they can, without much loss, be expressed in a closed, mechanical form in which all interactions or changes are ‘pre-planned’. Even in something so simple as a Sudoku puzzle humans use a mixture of perception, expectation, experience and logic that is just incompatible with the way a computer program would typically solve the puzzle. For safety-critical systems (such as railway management) it is literally a matter of life and death that we learn to use computers in ways that integrate smoothly with human perception, communication and action. This is our goal with Empirical Modelling."

Source: University of Warwick

## Related Stories

#### Move over '123456': passwords to go high-tech

Mar 13, 2014

Internet users may soon have a secure solution to the modern plague of passwords, in which they can use visual patterns or even their own body parts to identify themselves.

## Recommended for you

#### Big data paves the way for big building and engineering projects

12 hours ago

A new UK start-up company is about to revolutionize the way in which civil engineering and construction companies choose where to build, by telling them what's under the ground before they start digging. ...

#### Novel graph method detects cyber-attack patterns in complex computing networks

Mar 27, 2015

As the perils of cyber security breaches continue to plague industries, governments, and citizens throughout the world, the need to detect these infiltrating events, as well as identify their attack patterns, ...

#### Big data allows computer engineers to find genetic clues in humans

Mar 27, 2015

Big data: It's a term we read and hear about often, but is hard to grasp. Computer scientists at Washington University in St. Louis' School of Engineering & Applied Science tackled some big data about an important ...

#### System to automatically find a common type of programming bug significantly outperforms its predecessors

Mar 23, 2015

Integer overflows are one of the most common bugs in computer programs—not only causing programs to crash but, even worse, potentially offering points of attack for malicious hackers. Computer scientists have devised a ...

#### Cooperative software framework helps tame "too big" data

Mar 23, 2015

Furthering work involving the Graph Engine for Multithreaded Systems, or GEMS, a multilayer software framework for querying graph databases developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, scientists from ...

#### Images that fool computer vision raise security concerns

Mar 23, 2015

Computers are learning to recognize objects with near-human ability. But Cornell researchers have found that computers, like humans, can be fooled by optical illusions, which raises security concerns and ...