i haven't read it, but wikipedia tells me that the eric frank russell short story now inhale refers to the tower of hanoi game as "arkymalarky." myself, i think tower of hanoi, or even tower of brahma or tower of benares, is a much more dignified name for this compelling little math game.

the object is to move a set of graduated spherical solids from one position to another, usually indicated by pegs. there must be at least one empty peg on which to hold the spheres, a sphere may not be placed atop another with a smaller diameter, and the final tower must exactly mimic the starting configuration.

naturally, there are algorithmic ways to approach the puzzle and it gets more challenging as the number of spheres increases. here's a fun little virtual tower to play with.

1 comment:

D for genius said...

Trying the puzzle on the site you linked to made this person--whose LSAT score devastated his ego to the point of anomie and enraged despondency--feel a little better.

Better enough, in fact, to turn on her who helped me by pointing out that those are actually circular prisms, not spherical solids.