Come and compete in the CSI Rubik’s cube competition!

November 14, 2013, College of Staten Island of CUNY, 1S-107, 2:30 pm.

Sponsored by MTH 339, and the CSI Math Club.

As a part of the undergraduate course in abstract algebra (MTH 339), which I am teaching this semester at the College of Staten Island, we shall hold a Rubik’s cube competition on November 14th. In class, I have used the Rubik’s cube as a source of examples to explain various group-theoretic concepts, and I have encouraged the students to learn to solve the cube. Several have now already mastered it, and there seems lately to be a lot of Rubik’s cube activity in the math department. (I am giving extra credit for any student who can solve a scrambled cube in my office.)

Several students have learned how to solve the cube from the following video, which explains one of the layer-based solution methods:

**The Competition**. On November 14, 2013, we will have the Rubik’s cube competition, with several rounds of competition, to see who can solve the cube the fastest. Prizes will be awarded, and best of all, there will be free pizza!

Results Of the Competition

The event has now taken place. We had 15 competitors, from all around the College and beyond. We organized two qualifying heats of 7 and 8 competitors, respectively, taking the top four from each qualtifying heat to form the quarterfinalist competitors. The top four of these formed the semifinalist competitors. And the top two of these headed off in the championship round. The champion, Sam Obisanya, won all the rounds in which he competed, and his cube was a blaze of lightning color as he solved it. Honorable mention goes especially to Oveen Joseph, who faced Sam in the championship round and who came out to the college from middle school I.S.72, where he is in the 7th grade, and also to Justin Mills, who had extremely fast times.

## Quarterfinals:

Itiel Cohen (CSI math major)

William George (CSI math major)

Oveen Joseph (middle school I.S.72, 7th grade)

Wing Yang Law (CSI math major)

Justin Mills (CSI psychology major)

Mike Siozios (CSI math major)

Sam Obisanya (CSI nursing major)

James Yap (CSI math major)

## Semifinals:

Oveen Joseph

Justin Mills

Sam Obisanya

James Yap

## Championship round:

Oveen Joseph

Sam Obisanya

## Final Champion:

Sam Obisanya

Congratulations to our champion and to all the competitors.

Aw man, free pizza?

How are you going to ensure that the cubes are distributed fairly between the contestants? Are they all going to be rotated using the same algorithm (with perhaps variances in the initial orientation of the cube), or are you going to rely on chance and just have them solve three cubes or so?

Nice point Asaf! Justice is very important! In Sudoku competitions at our department we have a hierarchy of easy, medium and hard tables.

Asaf, well, we specifically discussed this, and decided to just scramble the cubes randomly, with a take-your-pick chance element, although we will have several rounds. I think we’ll have about fifteen or more contestents, so well go to the top eight after the first round, and then top four, top two and then championship.

Ah, that sounds reasonable within probability.

Now, what about that free pizza? Do you actually have to show up at CUNY for that, or can any grad student claim a slice?

I’m all for serving hungry graduate students, wherever they may be, so I took the trouble to add some pizza to the post…

Cool!

Cool competition. Shame I missed it.

that was a fun competition! by the way it was I.S.72 it was a great opportunity representing my school.

We were all impressed by you, Oveen, and you definitely represented your school in a good light! (And thanks for the correction, I have edited.)