From Richard Ressler
An Analysis of IQ-Link (TM)
Speaker: Donna Dietz, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, American University
Date: Tuesday November 17, 2020
Abstract: From the moment I first opened my new IQ-Link puzzle (created by Raf Peeters), I felt a very strong attraction to the toy. As Raf says, "It almost seems like the puzzle pieces are jewels or are made of candy... The object of the game is to make all puzzle pieces fit on the game board.'' The pieces themselves are colorful, shiny, translucent, and smooth to the touch. They even resonate with a gently musical percussive sound on their board! The toy is portable and inexpensive, so it makes a great gift. But what is it, really? Should you bother? You get a sense that you're trying to solve a problem that has connections to molecular chemistry, but what if you're just being fooled by its superficial beauty? Perhaps you, like me, feel the Sudoku "strategy'' of trial-and-error-until-you-drop is not really strategy at all. According to computer security expert Ben Laurie, "Sudoku is a denial-of-service attack on the human intellect''. Peter Norvig in an attempt to cure his wife from this "virus'', wrote an article on his website, "Solving Every Sudoku Puzzle''. His code fits on a single page and can solve the hardest Sudoku puzzle he could find in only 0.01 seconds. What if IQ-Link is a game of that sort? In the puzzles of yesteryear, puzzles were created by hand and intended to be solved by hand. Now, computers can generate endless "puzzles'' for humans, but are they really anything other than clerical speed and accuracy drills? When we, as recreational mathematicians, speak to this point, we can give puzzlists a general idea about new games when they come out on the market. This gives a sense of who would like the toy. In this discussion, I shed light on this complexity question for IQ-Link, a game for which I have found no published theoretical research.