The latest world record for solving the Rubiks cube was made by a Clarksville youth, christened Lucas Etter. The 14-year-old solved the scrambled Rubik’s cube in an incredible 4.904 seconds.

Etter performed this astonishing feat in Maryland this week. It is noteworthy to mention here that it takes a maximum of 20 face turns and 26 quarter turns to solve a scrambled cube. Rubik’s cube offers 43 quintillion, (exactly 43,252,003,274,489,856,000) permutations or possible configurations.

The Rubik’ cube aficionados from around the world have developed some cube solving tools, which essentially are a shortcut to solving the cube by employing short sequences of turns.

After sufficient practice, one can execute one set of Rubik’s solving tools after the other. However, it requires a lot of trials and practice till you achieve sufficient proficiency to perform these moves flawlessly.

Most of the experiments result in a completely scrambled Rubik’s cube. Thus, the only option you are left with is to disassemble the cube with a screwdriver and reassemble it; or buy a new one.

The sequence of the cube moves is also termed as a group. The nomenclature follows that for a series of moves named A, A^{-1} will refer to the same movements performed in reverse sequence. Thus, A followed by A^{-1} will result in the same cube position as the initial cube.

For another sequence of moves called B, the ultimate position of the Rubik’s cube depends on the relation between A and B. If A and B form a group of commutators, then the sequence of A and B can be interchanged without affecting the outcome. This implies that doing A followed B will give the same result as doing B followed by A.

The best thing about solving a cube using the Rubik’s cube solving tools is that you don’t need to formulate a strategy. All you need is to use each tool that you have discovered or learned so as to inch closer to the winning chamber of the Rubik’s cube.

It has mathematically been proven that the winning chamber of the Rubik’s cube can be reached at the maximum of 26 moves. However, the paper by Rokicki and Davidson cautions that the tools you may employ can also lengthen the cube solving process rather than speeding it.

Each chamber of the Rubik’s cube is thought of as a compartment housing a particular state. Each chamber is connected to twelve doors leading it to the other chambers. Each chamber represents the quarter turn of the six faces of the cube. The solver attempts to move towards the ultimate goal of navigating his way through each chamber and return the cube to its original, immaculate pattern.

Lucas Etta must not only have memorized a lot of tools but would also have undergone extensive practice sessions. Similarly, the quality and smoothness of the Rubik’s cube also enhance the solving efficiency. Other remarkable Rubik’s cube solving competitions involve blindfold solving and solving the Rubik’s cube while it is held in your hands behind you.

Have you ever tried a similar technique to solve a rubiks cube? Let us know in the comments section.

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