The algorithmics of solitaire-like games

Backhouse, Roland, Chen, Wei and Ferreira, João F. (2012) The algorithmics of solitaire-like games. Science of Computer Programming . ISSN 0167-6423 (In Press)

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One-person solitaire-like games are explored with a view to using them in teaching algorithmic problem solving. The key to understanding solutions to such games is the identification of invariant properties of polynomial arithmetic. We demonstrate this via three case studies: solitaire itself, tiling problems and a novel class of one-person games.

The known classification of states of the game of (peg) solitaire into 16 equivalence classes is used to introduce the relevance of polynomial arithmetic. Then we give a novel algebraic formulation of the solution to a class of tiling problems. Finally, we introduce an infinite class of challenging one-person games, which we call ``replacement-set games'', inspired by earlier work by Chen and Backhouse on the relation between cyclotomic polynomials and generalisations of the seven-trees-in-one type isomorphism. We present an algorithm to solve arbitrary instances of replacement-set games and we show various ways of constructing infinite (solvable) classes of replacement-set games.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Solitaire, tiling problems, cyclotomic polynomial, cyclotomic game, replacement-set game, seven-trees-in-one, algorithm derivation, invariants, type isomorphism
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Backhouse, Professor Roland C
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2013 10:11
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 20:21

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