Sudoku solves computing puzzle

A method of creating colour-coded Sudoku puzzles could help open the door to a radical new method of computer modelling

Researchers at Warwick University’s Department of Computer Science developed a colour based Sudoku Puzzle to help Sudoku players solve traditional Sudoku puzzles. But doctoral researcher Antony Harfield believes the colour Sudoko could also be 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 a key element in 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, which can help illustrate complex systems involving 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 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.’