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In the mid-1970's, Erno Rubik invented the Rubik's cube.
But that doesn't mean knew how to solve it.
It took him a few months to figure it out.
By the time the first World Rubik's Cube Championships were held in 1982, the winner - he could solve the cube in a little less than 23 seconds.
And these days? (news montage of Collin's record)
This is world record holder Collin Burns, and today, we find out how he did it.
It could last another week; it could last another few years.
The previous record lasted for just over 2 years.
But with...especially with single solve, you just need to get lucky.
Or at least that's a big part of it.
Collin tends to downplay his skills but it's worth noting there are two types of world records.
The way speedcubing competitions work is that volunteers scramble the cubes according to instructions that are generated by a computer, so competitors all get the same scramble.
They do 5 solves and their three middle scores are averaged.
So Collin holds the world record for a single solve.
But the world record for an average score is held by a 19-year-old in Australia.
Still, Collin's record is a huge deal.
At the competition where we met up with him, kids were asking him for his autograph.
Are you that famous cube guy?
He's now being sponsored by a cube company and by a cube retailer, which are paying for him to travel internationally.
And he wants people to know, you could do this too.
The biggest misconception about cubing is that it's difficult, which it really isn't.
Pop culture treats the Rubik's cube like some sort of IQ test, but it's not.
At least not anymore.
I recently bought a cube online and it came with instructions for beginners.
And if you memorize those, you can solve the cube in a couple minutes.
It helps to understand the design of the puzzle.
At first glance, it looks's a cube made out of cubes — right, three layers of nine.
But if you look closer, you'll see there aren't actually any cubes here.
So that tells you that the corners will always be corners, the edges will always be edges, and the middle pieces determine the color of that face.
Speedcubers will buy special cubes.
They can lubricate them and adjust the tension.
But the real key to their speed is efficiency.
They're looking several moves ahead, and they use fewer moves to get the same result.
So there are 43 quintillion possible arrangements for the cube.
A few years back, some researchers borrowed computing power from Google to find out that any scramble can be solved in 20 moves or less.
They call it God's Number.
But humans just aren't that good.
The beginners' method that I learned uses 100 to 200 moves.
Speedcubers use more around 50 to 60 moves.
And they can do that, in part, because of the knowledge gained by the previous generation of speedcubers.
When the cube first spread around the world back in the 80s, people had to learn through trial and error.
This was happening in a lot of math departments and campus clubs.
People were discovering the cube at the same time, and they were sharing what they learned.
The method that Collin uses was developed by Jessica Fridrich.
She's an engineering professor who was a college student at the time.
It starts with a cross on one of the faces.
And that face becomes the bottom layer.
Then what they do is solve the corners of the bottom layer and the middle layer simultaneously.
So, you can see now that all of this is solved.
And for the final layer, they're choosing from dozens of algorithms that they've memorized.
And those are sequences of moves that will mess up the cube temporarily to move certain pieces into place.
And then put the rest of the cube back where it was.
The Rubik's cube has made a comeback in recent years along with that same ethic of sharing tips and strategies.
So all of resources you need are there.
There's just one other thing.
This is Collin nearly 5 years ago.
World records are not built in a day.
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How a 15-year-old solved a Rubik's Cube in 5.25 seconds

2402 Folder Collection
Leonard published on May 15, 2019    Vvn Chen translated    Evangeline reviewed
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