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Google Goggles Solves Sudoku

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the better-it-than-me dept.

Google 206

mikejuk writes "Ever been frustrated when you can't solve a Sudoku? Well, now there's an app for that. It is just one more capability in the latest version of Google Goggles. All you have to do is point your phone's camera at a Sudoku puzzle, take a snapshot, and pattern recognition and a bit of game logic sorts out the answer. Have you ever had the feeling that AI is getting to be just a little too commonplace?"

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better-it-than-me? (1)

intellitech (1912116) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836190)

No, better-at-it-than-you!

Re:better-it-than-me? (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836436)

No it was fine the first time. "better-it-than-me".

You've never heard the expression "Better him than me." ?

In this case "him" is an "it" ("google goggles"), so its "Better it than me.", as in "better that it have to figure out sudoko, than for me to have to figure out sudoko".

Of course, its possible that the author just messed it up, and meant what you said, but it is hardly self evident that is so.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836206)

No, not really.

Re:No (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837058)

I've been looking around.

How come there isn't a version of Goggles for iPhone yet?

Re:No (1)

dargon (105684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837172)

Grab the base google app for iPhone, it has goggles built into it

Sudoku porn (2)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836212)

Ever been frustrated when you can't solve a Sudoku

No. Never been unable to solve one. :)

Re:Sudoku porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836462)

Yes, I have. I then wrote a program to solve it (unoptimized, naive) and it told me, after 6 hours of calculation, that there were 8 possible solutions.

That was in a printed, paid-for magazine too.

Re:Sudoku porn (2)

Yold (473518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836612)

after 6 hours of calculation

Holy moley, my unoptimized naive (backtracking) solution written in C would solve the hardest puzzles in under 30 seconds, on my 900mhz netbook no less. What language did you write it in (not trolling here)?

Re:Sudoku porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836976)

I'm going to assume that he brute-forced the entire grid to find all possible answers. There's no way why anything like that should take six hours.

Re:Sudoku porn (1)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836982)

backtracking is not that naive
naive is usually a full deep first space search

Re:Sudoku porn (3, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837006)

Holy moley, my unoptimized naive (backtracking) solution written in C would solve the hardest puzzles in under 30 seconds, on my 900mhz netbook no less. What language did you write it in (not trolling here)?

We had a little office competition to see who could write the fastest solver, back when the Sudoku craze kicked off.

I think all our solutions came up with a solution in a fraction of a second; but I don't think any of them would have found all the solutions to a grid which had more than one. Indeed I bet some of the algorithms would have stalled on such a grid -- since one of us limited himself to applying the kind of rules that a human might apply.

(He was able to programmatically classify grids into difficulty levels, by counting how many of the rules were necessary to solve it)

who needs to think? (1)

starblazer (49187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836214)

Lazyness abounds....

Re:who needs to think? (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836760)

Sometimes it seems as if the best and likeliest future for every member of the human race might be to shove a stick wand mixer through the top of everybody's skull to puree their brains, which can then be ingested though a straw, since that's all they're good for.

Let's face it: sudoku is purely a way to waste time. If you can't solve it, then put it down and find something else to do. I personally don't see why that should be so hard.

If we are so fucked that we have to have an app to waste time for us, then we might just as well never get out of bed.

Just like "Sudoku Grab" on the iPhone has done for (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836230)

The developer of Sudoku Grab for the iPhone - which solves Sudokus via the camera - has a blog post explaining how he did this (in June 2009.)

http://sudokugrab.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-does-it-all-work.html

So...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836234)

What's so exciting about this? Sudoku solvers have been around for ages. Personally I have even programmed one myself when I was 16...

Also, I'm sure Goggles isn't the first app to have this functionality.

Re:So...? (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836538)

What's so exciting about this? Sudoku solvers have been around for ages. Personally I have even programmed one myself when I was 16...

Also, I'm sure Goggles isn't the first app to have this functionality.

Yes. The Goggles, they do nothing that we haven't seen before.

Need more AI (2)

krou (1027572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836242)

Have you ever had the feeling that AI is getting just a little be too commonplace?

Could do with some more English AI apps, if you ask me.

Re:Need more AI (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836420)

Something makes me think that you don't really believe the quote in your signature.

Re:Need more AI (1, Flamebait)

krou (1027572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836470)

Funny thing is, if I don't believe it, that makes me imperfect, so ... ;)

Re:Need more AI (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836476)

Have you ever had the feeling that AI is getting just a little be too commonplace?

That's the final straw! If you slobs can't even watch your grammar, we can do without you.

-- SkyNet

Re:Need more AI (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836558)

Have you ever had the feeling that AI is getting just a little be too commonplace?

That's the final straw! If you slobs can't even watch your grammar, we can do without you.

-- SkyNet

Hey, I'm not sure if I think what you're doing is right.

  -- John Henry

we hath defeated the purpose (4, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836266)

OK, it's cool technology, but this is almost as pointless as Homer Simpson's book of already-solved crossword puzzles.

Re:we hath defeated the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836468)

OK, it's cool technology, but this is almost as pointless as Homer Simpson's book of already-solved crossword puzzles.

You should have mentioned his book of already-solved sudoku (from the same episode) since it's more on topic.

Re:we hath defeated the purpose (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836484)

Too on-the-nose.

Re:we hath defeated the purpose (2)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836512)

now that's a contemporary reference...

Re:we hath defeated the purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836820)

I don't know... it's so day-before-yesterday.

Re:we hath defeated the purpose (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836778)

Solving Sudoku is trivial. The pattern recognition to read the puzzle is a bit more intriguing.

Re:we hath defeated the purpose (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837140)

Why? Sometimes it's good to solve problems just for the sake of intellectual curiosity. Why do we even do Sudoku puzzles in the first place if there's nothing to be gained from solving them? And I mean, if you're, say, driving to work in the morning while solving the Sudoku (or maybe just taking the train), and then you arrive and have to go to work and just want to know what the solution is - well now you can have it and get on with your day (of course, having admitted bitter defeat and succumbing to puzzle-solving mortality).

And I think there's a lot that could potentially be gained from solving Sudoku via AI. What if more complex or heuristic problems could be modeled as solving a sudoku puzzle? And I can't imagine there's nothing to be gained in other fields - case studies and thought experiments in algorithms, threading, and so on. I can't imagine it was that hard to implement, just some signal processing to create the puzzle in memory and then applying some generic sudoku AI to solve it. And in the end, I guess the developers just wanted to have some fun and see what they could do. So no, I don't think it's totally useless

Sudoku (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836268)

I think I remember hearing during my CS university days that solving Sudoku was relatively easy compared to actually coming up with puzzles that satisfied the rules of Sudoku.

Re:Sudoku (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836298)

Solving Sudoku is easy compared to the visual processing they're doing to recognize the puzzle from an image in the first place. I wonder how robust it is.

Re:Sudoku (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836386)

They probably didn't do the image processing from scratch, they probably used a pre-existing image comparison tool to check for something like

###
###
###

Then chopped each square into its own, verified the symbol, and filled their arrays and got Cracking.

Re:Sudoku (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836536)

Yeah, probably. But try implementing like that sometime, it isn't easy to make it really work well.

Re:Sudoku (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836656)

I red a blog post from the guy who did this on the iPhone a while back. His algorithm was basically:
1. convert image to grey-scale
2. use flood fill to identify dark and light regions
3. detect edges to find the squares
4. use an neural net for OCR
5. run sudoku solver on extracted puzzle.

I'd expect this app does basicly the same thing (me even have been written by the same guy).

Re:Sudoku (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837106)

(me even have been written by the same guy).

You're an AI which has been written by the same guy who wrote the iPhone Sudoku solver?

Re:Sudoku (2)

drosboro (1046516) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836646)

I think I remember hearing during my CS university days that solving Sudoku was relatively easy compared to actually coming up with puzzles that satisfied the rules of Sudoku.

True enough... although it's not really that hard to generate puzzles that satisfy the rules of Sudoku, either. What is a bit more challenging is coming up with interesting puzzles that solve the rules of sudoku, as is assigning a difficulty rating to them. I still haven't found a Sudoku app (including my own, unfortunately!) that generates puzzles as interesting as a skillfully hand-created puzzle. Some are better than others (one hopes mine is on the upper end, of course), but it's still hard to write an algorithm for making really good Sudoku puzzles.

Re:Sudoku (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837076)

Some are better than others (one hopes mine is on the upper end, of course), but it's still hard to write an algorithm for making really good Sudoku puzzles.

You sound like you know what you're talking about. Sudokus which claim to be hand-created do generally seem more satisfying to solve. I assume, though, that creating them is machine-assisted in some way. Am I right? I'm imagining some sort of interactive grid editor which shows you the ramifications of your number placement, tells you when you've constrained the grid to a single solution, etc.

solving Soduku (2, Insightful)

56ker (566853) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836282)

I thought the fun was in trying to solve it yourself, not through having a machine give you the correct answer.

Re:solving Soduku (2)

ILMTitan (1345975) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836360)

I always thought the fun failed because it was easier to tell a computer how give you the correct answer than to solve it yourself.

Re:solving Soduku (1)

courteaudotbiz (1191083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836410)

I totally agree with you. But sometimes, when you're stuck and can't find another number, it would be cool that this app just gives you a hint, instead of solving the entire sudoku.

Re:solving Soduku (5, Insightful)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836438)

go get your coat and hand in your geek card at the door. The fun is in writing the program that solves the puzzle

Re:solving Soduku (2)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836532)

Given your sig, are you being sarcastic?

It is also fun (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836586)

Writing an application that can solve any Soduku you give it.

Both can be enjoyable.

-Rick

Stunning (1)

spywhere (824072) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836286)

I just tried it with a Sudoku puzzle of "Evil" difficulty, and my iPhone 3gs solved it in about five seconds.
I grew up on Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein, but this is truly science fiction.

Re:Stunning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836314)

Yikes, that is evil.

Seriously, five seconds is a *long time* for a computer. Any computer.

Re:Stunning (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836392)

What AI though? Sudoku is pattern recongintion. It doesn't take an AI to solve one. There is more processing spent on image analysis than actual problem solving.

When I think AI I think of some that can create on it's own. Not learn, not solve but create.

Re:Stunning (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836560)

most real intelligences can't create, I'm not sure why you have such lofty ideals for an artificial one.

Re:Stunning (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836738)

False. It may not always be pretty, but I do not know a single person who can't create a doodle.

Re:Stunning (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836992)

"Real stupidity beats artificial intelligence every time.
        Terry Pratchett, Hogfather"

AI, in general, isn't what most people think it is. You can make a stupidly-hard-to-beat game where the opponent plays "perfectly" against you, with perfect timing and unencumbered by the physical constraints of a controller, and you get what happens in most of the Street Fighter series (or about any other fighting game), where the "hardest difficulty level" or end-boss is unbeatable, seems to always get off the perfect shot, block, tech hit, avoidance roll, etc, until you start abusing a game-breaking technique or bug yourself to beat the game. That's actually pretty easy.

What's harder is making a game AI that acts somewhat seemingly like real opponents, that makes real mistakes and leaves openings for the player to work with while not feeling like you're just handing them the game.

Of course, on most systems (Nintendo's underpowered consoles most of all), the designers don't even bother, they just code in whatever the AI they want and the altered difficulty levels give the enemy bigger guns, more health/armor, or just drop even more enemies in a level to chew through. Or else the difficulty levels leave the enemy alone, but screw with the player's health bar and damage output to much the same effect.

As we start dropping "AI" into other frontiers, it doesn't get much better. Translation AI is still relatively poor, able to handle some word-for-word translations passably but being lousy the moment you come across colloquialisms, figures of speech, neologisms, parallel synonyms, malapropisms, simply typos, failures of homonym (there/their/they're, our/hour, its/it's, principle/principal). There's a reason it's so easy to tell when you get a tech call response that's outsourced to somewhere in Asia - most of them know just enough Engrish [engrish.com] to try to translate word-for-word what they want to say, and so they come up with constructions like "Tech support welcomes you, may I please know the problem you have today" that could just as easily come out of Babelfish [yahoo.com] or Google Translate [google.com] .

For pure problem-solving and pattern-matching, AI's proceeding slowly. Maps and GPS routing have their benefits but are certainly not perfect yet [tumblr.com] . "Automatic response answers" chat stuff is best tossed in the garbage bin, usually right next to a company's crappily written FAQ page.

Re:Stunning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836720)

So if I created a program to **create** (read: generate) sudoku puzzles, would that be considered "AI"? By your definition, of course ;)

Re:Stunning (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837110)

Image analysis counts as AI under the more generous definitions. Learning counts under most definitions.

Creating is easy. There are lots of programs that "create" music, or art, or whatever.

Re:Stunning (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837162)

"computers are useless. they can only answer questions"

-pablo picasso

Re:Stunning (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836652)

I just tried it with a Sudoku puzzle of "Evil" difficulty, and my iPhone 3gs solved it in about five seconds.

I grew up on Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein, but this is truly science fiction.

Science Fiction? Really?

I mean, in terms of visual recognition the pattern of the puzzle is pretty rigidly structured - a grid of numbers, probably with lines. If the image recognition can deal with things like working around the user's attempts to solve the puzzle, that's pretty good - but there are much more impressive image recognition feats out there. (Maybe Kinect is a good example?)

In terms of problem solving... The problem is an easy one for a computer program to attack, and the problems aren't very large.

it really works, its quite amazing (5, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836288)

i had a meeting with my boss today and he gave me a list of new requirements for extending the inhouse app. i pointed my cell phone at my notes from the meeting, it snapped a picture of my poor handwriting and the list of new requirements, i sent the picture to google goggles, i went to lunch, and when i came back google goggles was busy writing jquery code and extending the xslt transforms we use. i may even get a raise. thanks google goggles

Re:it really works, its quite amazing (1)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836324)

goggles is pretty slick... but my $.02, I use Evernote for that and it does the same.

A not so strange coincidence, I'm working on jquery mobile at the moment... love those guys.

Re:it really works, its quite amazing (2)

ziggyzaggy (552814) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836328)

I tried that, but instead of a solution the google goggles sent a Terminator that killed my boss. Now my company is outsourcing our whole department, to google. thanks a lot, google goggles.

Re:it really works, its quite amazing (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836442)

You think that's impressive?

I've been having trouble satisfying my girlfriend in the bedroom. Tried everything, hours of foreplay, tools, toys, you name it! Then Google came along and changed everything. I simply took a picture of her lying naked on my bed with my cell phone, uploaded the picture to Google, and went to go grab some chinese food. By the time I got halfway through the Schezwan Chicken, she was having multiple orgasms! Thanks to Google, my relationship has never been better!

Re:it really works, its quite amazing (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836564)

Make it so Number One!

There is no need for logic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836300)

I never understood the appeal of sudoku.

Sudoku puzzles are so simple that a simple brute-force approach is quick & easy. Sudoku was one of those programing 101 assignments from a while back.

Re:There is no need for logic... (1)

tukang (1209392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836498)

Sudoku is an np-c problem (actually the hitting set problem or graph coloring problem), so it's "hard" by definition. It may be easy to brute force a small grid but the problem gets exponentially more difficult as you increase the grid size and brute-force quickly becomes extremely slow.

Re:There is no need for logic... (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836676)

Sudoku is an np-c problem (actually the hitting set problem or graph coloring problem), so it's "hard" by definition. It may be easy to brute force a small grid but the problem gets exponentially more difficult as you increase the grid size and brute-force quickly becomes extremely slow.

This is true, but it's just as NP complete whether you solve it by hand or by computer. Nobody's going to be publishing grids so large that a human can't solve it in reasonable time -- so it will always be easily solvable by a computer.

I'd say that the optimal algorithm is a bit more refined than "brute force" (which so me suggests "try every solution until it passes"). Prolog almost does it for you -- define the constraints in code, and off it goes into a depth-first search for the solution.

i like this trend (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836310)

Next it will have my cake and simultaneously eat it. Sometimes I already feel that my computer does not need me, it can get busy or really busy by itself.

Re:i like this trend (1)

DrData99 (916924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836440)

The cake is a lie!

Re:i like this trend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836518)

The goggles, they do nothing!

Sudokus (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836342)

While I do enjoy a good Sudoku while on a long flight or perhaps while on the train, I've never understood everyone else's insatiable fascination with them. From a programming perspective, it's an easy puzzle to solve. All you need to know is the various techniques for solving a square. Though also from a computing standpoint, you could quite easily brute force your way through it in a few minutes, no doubt. And like the famous Rubiks Cube - you COULD essentially do it if you had enough memory to preform the pattern recognition, as there are truly only so many ways things can line up, once you look at them abstractly and not as individual numbers. Then you can have it rotated any of the 4 ways but basically, this is not that hard of an App to write, I'm wondering which approach it is they took.

I find it more fun to do with something less easy to work with. Most people think that Sudoku is a math puzzle because its often associated with numbers, but thats not really the case as you can do it with any 9 unique identifiers. I personally like a rainbow ROYGTBPVM of colours instead of numbers, it adds a bit of flavour to the challenge and lets me use up all those old school supplies. Not that I ever have them with me whenever I travel, but someone had the idea to throw one of those Sudoku puzzle books in a stocking one year and I pull it out on occaison when the power goes out and I need that mental interaction that video games provide.

Ken Ken - have you tried it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836404)

Now that's a math puzzle :)

Re:Sudokus (1)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836418)

...it's an easy puzzle to solve....

I presumed that the point was to activate the part of your brain that does things with numbers.

It's not so much that it needs to be an easy or hard puzzle to solve, just doing things with numbers---

Or has that been debunked now?

Re:Sudokus (5, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836474)

It's not even to do with numbers, it's just unique identifiers.

You could do it with animals. 1 = cow, 2 = sheep, so one so forth. I like to do it with colours, red, blue, yellow, etc. You could do it with Letters, ABCD...

There is no addition, subtraction, no real computation done with any of the numbers. The only rules are that there has to be 1 of every 9 symbol in each box and each row, and that rule will enforce the subsets that most other people apply (no two identical symbols in the same row or box).

Re:Sudokus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836800)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTzjC4yTAqU that's how this works... without ocr

Re:Sudokus (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836918)

I presumed that the point was to activate the part of your brain that does things with numbers.

It's not so much that it needs to be an easy or hard puzzle to solve, just doing things with numbers---

Or has that been debunked now?

It's not a number puzzle. It's a logic and reasoning puzzle.

People do crosswords too, and I'm sure there's also ways to have those solved by computers.

Last I heard a few months ago, Sudoku was being investigated as a possible way to transmit data or other thing as well - the math behind it is apparently quite interesting.

And people's facination isn't that computers make it trivially easy to solve, but just it's an interesting way to while away a few minutes of time that doesn't require staring at a screen. Computers can solve sudokus that are impossibly hard (by brute forcing, usually) for humans (the harest sudokus that are solvable are nowhere near how hard they can be).

Re:Sudokus (2)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836804)

Most people think that Sudoku is a math puzzle because its often associated with numbers, but thats not really the case as you can do it with any 9 unique identifiers.

Well, set theory isn't to (necessarily) do with numbers, and it's still maths.

Sudoku's a lot easier for a human to solve when the nine symbols happen to be numbers (or anything else with a well defined order), because you frequently count through the symbols to see which ones are missing.

Kakuro FTW, by the way.

Seriously? (1)

weltbrand (1951836) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836346)

Can't believe this... Pretty cool.

It's not AI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836350)

It's just a parlor trick to impress your non-techie friends with. Even programming from scratch, it's not hard to write a program that can recognize printed numbers. Call me when it can actually learn!

wharrgarbl (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836358)

Be common too place to the whatsit?

I am torn (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836380)

Ok, its pretty amazing that this kind of thing is possible, but what is the point in using it? If you are going to just have your phone solve the puzzle for you, why bother picking up the sudoku in the first place?

Re:I am torn (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836576)

This application is nothing terribly exciting, but the idea of being able to take a picture on a cheap mobile device, that device being able to analyze the picture for content, decide it's a certain kind of thing, and then attempt to analyze and solve that kind of problem is pretty neat.

I could see applications of this that would examine, say, a pile of items and an empty space and then suggest an ideal packing strategy to fit them all most efficiently. Or, as someone who does a lot of "some assembly required" type projects, I could see IKEA wanting to use something like this where people could buy a thing, lay out the parts, take a picture of that part layout with their phone, and get video instructions showing them how to put it all together, in sequence, along with common mistakes. (Can you guess that I've broken or otherwise fucked up a number of IKEA assemblies?)

Lots of potential for ubiquitous real-time assessment and analysis of visual data, but yes, sudoku isn't terribly exciting.

Re:I am torn (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836844)

That's what I ask myself too...

Why pick up a sudoku in the first place?

I prefer the weekly crossword puzzle in "Die Zeit". That is still fun even if you use google/wikipedia to solve it.

"AI is getting just a little be too commonplace?" (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836414)

It isn't AI. AI is whatever it is that machines can't do yet.

Re:"AI is getting just a little be too commonplace (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836482)

It isn't AI. AI is whatever it is that machines can't do yet.

It's a funny old term, AI. So much so that someone coined the term "machine intelligence" to mean what AI used to mean.

In pursuing machine intelligence, computer scientists developed a load of techniques which came to be generally useful for other purposes. LISP and Prolog came out of this. As it happens, Prolog is a very good choice of language if you ever want to write a Sudoku solver. And LISP is a good choice of language if you want to write an image recognition algorithm which processes photographs of Sudoku grids (which is the impressive part of this).

Re:"AI is getting just a little be too commonplace (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836752)

It isn't AI. AI is whatever it is that machines can't do yet.

I'm glad you said that. So many people react immediately with "This isn't AI!", and you defined AI perfectly.

Re:"AI is getting just a little be too commonplace (1)

mr_gorkajuice (1347383) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836862)

Indeed. By that logic, I'd claim AI got too commonplace by the time I could carry an electronic device capable of multiplication.

Re:"AI is getting just a little be too commonplace (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836922)

by Google Goggles (2) on Tuesday January 11, @11:23AM

It isn't AI. AI is whatever it is that machines can't do yet.

I prefer the term "Artificial Person" myself.

Accuracy? (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836496)

I just tried it on my phone and it had trouble recognizing some of the printed numbers. So It did the sudoku puzzle without all of the clues. It gave a correct answer for what it recognized, but it placed the wrong numbers in the places that it had left out a clue so the back of the book answer was wrong. It found the correct answer on the second try but it still dropped a clue on that one also.

Hey! (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836510)

Hey that's cheating!

Oh right, that's what Google is for.

Maybe You Could... (1)

GreenSeven (1970506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836520)

Have your phone solve the puzzle before you start, don't look at it, solve it yourself and then use the phone to check your answer?? Just trying to think of how this is useful... But really, most of the time the puzzles come with the answer anyways...

Re:Maybe You Could... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836902)

Have your phone solve the puzzle before you start, don't look at it, solve it yourself and then use the phone to check your answer?? Just trying to think of how this is useful... But really, most of the time the puzzles come with the answer anyways...

If it were a puzzle in a newspaper or something, the answer might not appear until the next issue.

Mostly I think the purpose of something like this is to impress onlookers with the power of one's (software-augmented) mighty Sudoken attack. It's also a testbed for future cybernetic implant versions.

Re:Maybe You Could... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836988)

Checking if the rules are met isn't very difficult or time consuming; it probably takes less time than launching the app, taking the picture N times until it successfully recognizes it and wait for it to solve.
Besides, are all sudoku puzzles required to have only one solution? You might find a good solution that doesn't match the Goggles' one.

Gentoo already did it (1)

korgitser (1809018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836574)

Portage can solve sudokus in no time. Can't find the link now but just make ebuilds of the squares.

Re:Gentoo already did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836660)

Portage can solve sudokus in no time. Can't find the link now but just make ebuilds of the squares.

I think you mean Debian [algebraicthunk.net] .

Though, it's completely missing the point: The fun part of this is the fact you just need to snap a quick picture without having to enter the values manually.

when I can snap a picture of my chess board... (1)

jbuck (579032) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836692)

...and goggles gives me it's next move, I'll be impressed.

Machine Vision is the only 'AI' here... (1)

Vornzog (409419) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836702)

[quote]Have you ever had the feeling that AI is getting just a little be too commonplace?[\quote]

I wrote a 'human' version of a sudoku solver on vacation a couple of years ago - on the flight between two Hawaiian islands. It would have been easier/shorter to write the recursive solver that will solve any sudoku board, but I wanted to write code that works the puzzle similar to how I do it by hand. There wasn't much there deserving of being called 'AI'.

The only thing vaguely AI about this is the 'Machine Vision' needed to recognize a sudoku board and ocr the numbers. I'm no AI expert, but since the board is a well-defined grid and the numbers are printed in a clean, bold, large computer font, it seems to me that most machine vision researchers could hack together to code to do this in an afternoon, made mostly from pre-existing code they had lying around anyway.

Don't get me wrong - I love my Android phone, I'm drooling at the prospect of upgrading to a faster one in the next year or so, Google Goggles is a sweet app (it impressed the hell out of my non-technical, non-gadget-loving sister, and that is hard to do), etc, etc.

But this isn't AI - this is sophomore algorithms homework, graduate-level (but not at all new) machine vision, and decent camera phone hardware. This isn't revolutionary, and it almost doesn't qualify for evolutionary. It comes closer to being inevitable. But think of how much more productive we can all be now that computers will solve all those pesky sudokus for us!

Is This Really AI & Developed By Eugene Varsha (1)

ClockEndGooner (1323377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836764)

I think the question at the end of the post, "... AI is getting just a little bit too commonplace?" isn't relevant to using AI to solve a Sudoku puzzle. I thought part of the definition of AI was the ability for a system and/or application to dynamically adapt and learn and apply new rules based on previous input criteria and patterns where no known patterns exist? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence). Since each valid Sudoku puzzle should have one and only one solution, there are different well defined algorithms and or approaches to solve a Sudoku puzzle solely on the correct application of logical rules, does this really count as AI?

Nonetheless, I wonder if the Google Goggle Sudoku Solver was implemented by Eugene Varshavsky? ( Fraud Suspected At Sudoku Championship: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114215648 [npr.org] ) {:-)

a future scenario (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836794)

A well dressed man infiltrates a Google data center after yet another night of single malt, high stakes card games, playing with gadgets, and a roll in the hay with an exotic lass. Needing to take down the center for not complying with his archaic sense of 'dishonor' in not forcing carriers to update their damn software, he quickly sketches out an unsolvable Sudoku puzzle, snaps a picture with his Galaxy S from Verizon still stuck on crappy Android 2.1, and sends it off to be (un)solved by the data center's machines. Alarms go off, geeks panic, and the magic smoke begins to leak out of everything. With a chuckle, he heads back to the hay wagon ...

NP-complete (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836802)

The AI part is image recognition of the grid and clues. That's interesting, but it's been done already. I'd like to know how they implemented the solver. The Soduku problem is considered NP-complete. Which is just about the only thing that is interesting about the puzzle. I've never bothered to solve one myself, since I don't think there is anything to learn from it. Actually implementing a solver might be an interesting waste of time though.

Fully-automated Sudoku solution (2)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836856)

1: Set up a cron job on the home machine to periodically check Amazon for new Sudoku books and buy them
2: Build a package receiving conveyor to bring the packages in once delivered.
3: On the conveyor, set up imaging sensors to analyze the package, and robot arms to remove the packaging.
4: Once the book is freed from its packaging, remove its binding.
5: Move the individual pages through a paper-feed system. Along the paper-feed system there will be an examination station in which lights will illuminate the page as the phone takes a picture of the puzzle and solves it. The page is then inverted and any puzzles on the opposite side are also solved.
6: Once each page is solved, it is no longer needed: the pages are deposited in paper recycling.

From there, the operator just needs to take the bin out to the curb every week... I love Sudoku!

Re:Fully-automated Sudoku solution (1)

Ksevio (865461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837094)

Should probably add a step where the pages are run through a printer where the answers are printed back on the page. Then you could just have the printer output directly to the recycling.

The Bus Pants Utilization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34836860)

Hey! Google stole this from last weeks episode of The Big Bang Theory. I'm tellin.

Old technology, but very neat. (1)

impossiblefork (978205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34836940)

This feels like the sort of logic oriented AI from the 1970s that involved expert systems, LISP, prolog and constraint satisfaction problems (a sudoku solver even used to be a mandatory assignment in a class on programming paradigms) and the OCR-part is, I think, not very novel either.

Taken all-together the thing does however look very polished and I suspect that we'll see much more like it in the future once the average programmer becomes more familiar with older research.

Seriously? That's the source? (1)

csagedy (1903302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837114)

Is there a particular reason this links to the bowels of the web instead of, oh I don't know, the official Google blog on the subject [blogspot.com] ?

Nothing new, Sudoku Grab for iOS already does this (1)

EMR (13768) | more than 3 years ago | (#34837116)

The Sudoku Grab for the iphone has done this for quite some time..

Nothing new here, move long.

#you Fa1l It!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34837164)

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