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Modelling and solving English peg solitaire. (English) Zbl 1086.90070
Summary: Peg Solitaire is a well known puzzle, which can prove difficult despite its simple rules. Pegs are arranged on a board such that at least one ’hole’ remains. By making draughts/checkers-like moves, pegs are gradually removed until no further moves are possible or some goal configuration is achieved. This paper considers the English variant, consisting of a board in a cross shape with 33 holes. Modelling Peg Solitaire via constraint or integer programming techniques presents a considerable challenge and is examined in detail. The merits of the resulting models are discussed and they are compared empirically. The sequential nature of the puzzle naturally conforms to a planning problem, hence we also present an experimental comparison with several leading AI planning systems. Other variants of the puzzle, such as ’Fool’s Solitaire’ and ’Long-hop’ Solitaire are also considered.

MSC:
90C90 Applications of mathematical programming
90C08 Special problems of linear programming (transportation, multi-index, data envelopment analysis, etc.)
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