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A Working 5D Rubik's Cube 171

Melinda Green writes "Readers who enjoyed the previous Slashdot postings regarding the 4-dimensional Rubik's cube called MagicCube4D will be interested to know that a couple of brilliant developers have recently created a working 5-dimensional Rubik's cube. Operating a 5 dimensional puzzle projected all the way down to a 2D computer screen may seem a hopeless task but the full 5D puzzle has already been solved by 3 people. Also noteworthy is the fact that the 4D puzzle has now been ported to Java and is available as both a full-featured desktop application and as an Applet."
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A Working 5D Rubik's Cube

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:05AM (#15466021)
  • I see that... (Score:2, Informative)

    by jgartin ( 177959 ) requires .NET. Thanks. I don't mind downloading and installing 30MB's of framework just to play with a Rubik's cube. Really, I don't.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, because everyone knows that .NET is a Framework for 5D rubik's cube applications only.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:11AM (#15466045) requires .NET. Thanks. I don't mind downloading and installing 30MB's of framework just to play with a Rubik's cube. Really, I don't.

      You don't need to explain your reasons not to solve this puzzle. ;)

    • Re:I see that... (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by cdrudge ( 68377 )
      Then don't download it. For the thousands of us who already downloaded it for another program, it's not that big of a deal.
    • Re:I see that... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pla ( 258480 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:39AM (#15466130) Journal
      it requires .NET. Thanks. I don't mind downloading and installing 30MB's of framework just to play with a Rubik's cube. Really, I don't.

      I see you've gotten spanked as a troll... Unfortunate. Personally, I don't suspect you of trolling, just stating a fact. However...

      Whether you like it or not (and I say this as a .NET developer who does not), since Visual Studio 2005 builds to .NET 2.0, just about everything will use it within a year or two. Add to that Vista's intended use of WinFX (basically just .NET 3) as the core API, and you can pretty much kiss Win32 goodbye.

      A pity, really, because .NET has truly abysmal performance. Who cares about the size on disk - I care far more that it eats memory like a kid with a box of tic-tacs. (Cue someone parroting that you can get 4GB for about $250 nowadays, which I think you'll agree completely misses the point).

      Regardless, you would do yourself a favor to get used to .NET; Sooner or later you will have no choice, so why deprive yourself of cool toys that (unfortunately) use it now?
    • Re:I see that... (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by TeknoHog ( 164938 )
      I wouldn't mind downloading and installing such a framework, if it were available on a real operating system. What the fsck are you Windows users doing on Slashdot anyway?-)
    • by DrunkenTerror ( 561616 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @11:11AM (#15466496) Homepage Journal
      You know, the Nazis had pieces of framework that they made the Jews download.
    • the applet uses both left, right, and control clicks, which means people browsing the web via mac get the shaft too
    • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:30PM (#15466898) Homepage Journal

      Oh my god, you're right! It does look like he wrote this application in .NET solely for the purpose of being a huge burden on everyone! After thinking about it, I guess it really does have nothing to do with .NET probably being the language he's most familiar with. I'm sure that he probably did want to spend several months learning a new language for something that could best be described as an amusing diversion, but chose not to because he wanted to waste the few minutes it would take you to download and install .NET. Come to think of it, I'm sure the fact that most people already have .NET installed probably just makes him mad, because it mitigates the toll his application will take on society.

      The fact that it's kind of cool is only a ruse in his more diabolical agenda of making your life miserable for five or so minutes. The fact that we are compelled to install it by means I don't quite understand yet only makes the situation worse. If only we had a choice whether or not we wanted to play with a 5-dimensional Rubik's Cube!

      Personally, I think that if you're as outraged as I am, since you're obviously so much smarter then me, you should rewrite his application in a morally superior language. The kink in this fool's plan is that he seems to have forgotten to patent the application (but be careful, it could be another trick!), which leaves the door open for anyone to simply rewrite it!

      Please start working on it right away, as this outrage must not go unanswered!

  • by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:09AM (#15466039)
    the full 5D puzzle has already been solved by 3 people.
    No doubt, they just pulled it apart and put it back together with all the blocks in the correct orientation. Saw my kid sister do that with the 3-D version.
    • No no, it's quite simple once you learn the patterns. There's only D to the Nth power cubed to infinity different matrices to solve through.


    • Pfft! Why go to all that trouble. When I bought my Rubik's cube I just took it out of the box, looked at each side and it was done! It's sat on my windowsill ever since! Far too easy...
      • When I bought my Rubik's cube I just took it out of the box, looked at each side and it was done!

        Wait! You mean you actually looked at five sides of the cube, and ... and then spent your time to look at the last one? What a waste of time!

      • I used to love taking a "solved" cube and moving the sides in a very ordered pattern till it looked random. I would then repeat the pattern in the opposite direction and amaze people.. (Actually people were rarly amazed as they would see me follow a distint pattern.)
    • by rk ( 6314 ) *

      The problem with that is if you take apart and reassemble a 4D or 5D Rubik's Cube, you also turn the universe inside-out.

  • after seeing the picture on the front page.. Given that i probably will be dead within the next 100 years i doubt i'll have time to finish it anyways, it's just to many dimensions..
  • by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:13AM (#15466052) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know where you can buy a real 5D cube? I hate trying to solve them on a computer screen. Much easier in real life.

    Also I will need a spare set of 4 dimensional stickers in case the original ones fall off.
  • by d_p ( 63654 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:19AM (#15466066)
    ...peel off the stickers in 5 dimensions?
  • I remember having recieved a rubic cube as a gift many years back. It took up a lot of my time in solving the cube. Heck the cube was so popular that there were entire books written detailing how to solve the cube. And the least time in which I could solve the cube was 20 minutes. Now a five dimentional rubic cube (albeit a software one) - that could be a real challenge even for rubic cube champions themselves. Too bad the software require microsoft dot net framework to run.
    • Funny - I ran the Java applet version one on my SuSE Linux machine in Firefox.
      Unless the normal SuSE 10.1 distro comes with the .NET framework pre-installed, I'm going to have to say 'no, it runs just fine with zero Microsoft software necessary.'
    • by MarkByers ( 770551 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:32AM (#15466101) Homepage Journal
      And the least time in which I could solve the cube was 20 minutes.

      Using a few simple, easy-to-learn algorithms, and with a few weeks practice it is possible for pretty much anyone to solve the 3D cube in just 2 or 3 minutes. Using a layer-by-layer method you can solve each piece one at a time in the first two layers, then learn 4 algorithms to fix the last layer (not necessarily in this order):

      1) Rotate edges
      2) Rotate corners
      3) Permute corners
      4) Permute edges

      Sometimes you will have to use an algorithm twice. Each algorithm takes about 10 moves, and at a slow speed of one move per second and a bit of luck you can solve the last layer in under a minute. Here's a beginner's guide: n.html []

      If you want to get faster you need to learn more algorithms so that you can complete two steps at once.

      A popular method which can be used to get very fast times is the Fridrich method, but it requires a lot of memorisation and lots and lots of practice: []

      Personally I managed to get times of under 1 minute by practising the cube every day in the bus to and from work.
      • Using a few simple, easy-to-learn algorithms, and with a few weeks practice it is possible for pretty much anyone to solve the 3D cube in just 2 or 3 minutes. Using a layer-by-layer method you can solve each piece one at a time in the first two layers, then learn 4 algorithms to fix the last layer (not necessarily in this order):

        So what you're saying is that the GP is slow, just not in so many words. :)
  • by MojoMagic ( 669271 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @09:32AM (#15466104)

    Damn... And I thought I was hopelessly nerdy.
    I must look positively herculean next to these guys.

    I remember spending the better part of an afternoon last summer trying to solve my girlfriend's father's 20 year old rubiks cube.
    I was really close to solving it when it litterally fell apart in my hands. Turns out one of the (now grown up) kids had once tried to forcibly solve it with a screwdriver. Now, whenever you it get into a certain configuration (ie: a near-finished state) it loses all structural integrity.
    I could have cried... I WAS SO CLOSE!!!

    I was crazy to spend so long on a three diementional rubik's cube.
    But, I don't know which is crazier... That someone made a four diementional version, or that people have already solved it. ... And don't get me started on the five diementional one...
  • If I remember my 4th grade physics correctly, the 5th dimension is a tesseract. I fully intend to use this "cube" to teleport around the universe!!! muhahahhhahaa
    • A 4 Dimensional Cube is called a Tesseract, unless you assume time is a dimension (which it frequently is/is cited as being).
  • 4d Java Applet (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) < minus herbivore> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:30AM (#15466324)
    That 4d java applet is amazing! It even runs perfectly fast on my Pentium II.
    • It really shouldn't take a lot of horsepower to render a ~600 faces of a 3d model using flat shading. I wouldn't be surprised if your pentium II could handle 10 or 100 times as many.
  • Really 4D/5D? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beaverfever ( 584714 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @11:22AM (#15466551) Homepage
    Is there anyone reading with the brains/training to confidently/accurately answer some questions please?

    "These are Rubik's cubes of the form 3d [], with the original popular puzzle being 33. We label the puzzles like this because they are a d-dimensional cube broken into 3d smaller pieces or "cubies" of the same dimension. For example, the 3D cube has 33 or 27 total 3-dimensional cubies."

    Does adding cubies really mean adding a dimension, or does it mean simply making a more complicated 3D puzzle and giving it a fancy name? (Behold: the Fifth Dimension! Amaze Your Friends!)

    I noticed in the 4D model [] that elements disappear and reappear with each move. What's up with that? What do the green cubes represent? Where are the pieces which disappear supposed to be going, and why can't we see the changes being made to this set of cubies? Is the invisible set a cheat on the part of the designers?

    I have not played with the 5D version, and so have no questions about that one.
    • It's been a while since I played with that applet, but the green cubes are just one side of the cube. In a 3D space, you can't physically see all of the 4D cube. As in the documentation, you can Control-click a side to center it in your view. Which ever side you focus on will prevent you from seeing one of the other sides.

      Technically, your view in the 4D applet is inside the hypercube. The side you don't see is the closet one to you, but they made it invisible in order to let you see as many sides as po
    • Re:Really 4D/5D? (Score:2, Informative)

      by blechx ( 767202 )
      I noticed in the 4D model that elements disappear and reappear with each move. What's up with that?

      You just cannot see all sides of the cube simultaneously, just as with it's 3d-counterpart.
    • Re:Really 4D/5D? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Surt ( 22457 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:33PM (#15466913) Homepage Journal
      It's a true 4 dimensional puzzle in the sense that this is what you could build as a rubik's cube equivalent if we lived in a 4d universe rather than a 3d universe.

      The green cubes that appear and disappear as you make moves are from the 'hidden' face of the hypercube, which has 8 faces. Their projection is using a base unfolding, to understand what they've done consider the parallel from unfolding a 3d cube into 2d. Imagine you are staring precisely face on at a cube:


      Now unfold all the sides connected to the X's so you can see them straight on:


      If you started playing a game of rubik's cube on this, you'd soon see another letter show up whenever you made a move, let's call it G for green. Where do the G's come from? From the sixth face of the cube that wasn't visible due to the choice of unfolding. The face exactly opposite of the X's ... the 'rear' of the cube if you will.

      Same thing in the 4d case. There are 8 faces, only 7 of which are visible due to their poor choice of unfolding technique.

      Here's wolfram's hypercube page for more info: []

      • Ahh, but you could unfold it completely as such:


        And be able to see the entire contents. It may not be as pretty but it would all show up.
        • Indeed, that's why I referred to their unfolding choice as 'poor'. The same unfolding option is straightforward for 4d as well, and there are others that make for an even better visual presentation of the puzzle (at least in terms of effectively being able to solve it).

    • These puzzles are true higher dimensional analogs. Every characteristic of MagicCube4D is "upped" a dimension from the original puzzle. For example, on the 3D cube stickers are 2D, but on the 4D cube, stickers are 3D. This is also true for the puzzle "faces".

      Have we really added a dimension? Well, perhaps not because the higher dimensional portions of the puzzle are being projected down to our real lower dimensions. So in a sense, yes these are just "more complicated 3D puzzles". But they are not just
      • The question is, with a 4d cube only having 27 sides (Is that correct?), why can you not do this? I wrote this in the 3D version:

        Side 1: RRR/RRR/RRR
        Side 2: GGG/GGG/GGG
        Side 6: BBB/BBB/BBB?
    • They're not really accurate representations of 4D or 5D cubes. A 4D Rubik's cube would be made up of little 4D cubes, not 3D cubes like in the games. As the cubes rotate in and out of our 3 dimensional space, they would all look like blobs constantly changing shape, just as a 3D cube rotating through a 2D surface will leave an ever-changing cross-section in the 2D world. These programs simply give you the numerous access points for each of the "cubies", and their 4 or 5 axes of rotation to choose from.
  • The title is misleading, it the cube isn't written in ruby.
  • If the three dimensions are length, width, heighth, and the fourth is time -- how do you accurately depict that? What is the 5th dimension? How can these be anything more than an extended 3D object? I know someone out there knows what's going on, please fill me in?
    • If you exist in one dimension, is the 2nd dimension neccessarilry width, or is it height? There are many other choices, but we tend to pick time because it is easily understood by us.
    • Re:4D ? 5D? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Easy2RememberNick ( 179395 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:30PM (#15466899)
      What is the 5th dimension?

        They were a 1970's group, they had a hit called "Aquarius".
    • Re:4D ? 5D? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ngileadi ( 966224 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:02PM (#15467070)
      When they say 4D they actually mean 4 spatial (geometrical) dimensions.
      Although time is said to be the 4th dimension is time, it is only an analogy. Time appears in several physical equations in a context similar to the 3 spatial dimensions, but it is always treated differently.
      For example, the spacetime "distance" is calculated by:
      Notice the negative sign and the additional speed-of-light factor.

      If there were 4 spatial dimensions, the distance would be calculated by
      sqrt(x^2+y^2+z^2 + v^2)
      taking v as the displacement in the 4th dimension.

      The Rubik's cube programs work by projecting 4 or 5 dimensions onto a 2 dimensional plane (your screen), basically in the same way that perspective is used to project 3D pictures onto 2D planes.

      So the 4th and 5th dimension aren't mathematically or conceptually different to the familiar 3 dimensions. The only difference is that we cannot comprehend them.

      • Re:4D ? 5D? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cgibbard ( 657142 )
        That's just because it's not 4-D Euclidean space. Space-time is still considered as a 4-dimensional manifold, it just has a different metric on it. The term used is Minkowski space. []
    • Because the fourth isn't time. Time may be a dimension in the real world (although not the "fourth" since numbering them is arbitrary), but there's no requirement to include it in this simulation. Just like no one looks at a 2d graph and says, "Where's the third dimension?"

      In this simulation, the extra two dimensions are spatial. They're just like the regular three, except they're two other directions. Naturally we can't depict them as a four dimensional being would see them, but we can represent them in a
  • Both of these guys who wrote this are my co-workers at my day job. They're both really brilliant guys. IIRC Roice has actually solved a 3D cube behind his back before...

  • Psh~ (Score:3, Funny)

    by FFOMelchior ( 979131 ) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:48PM (#15466988)
    Why must people always strive to make things more complicated. I say someone should design and implement a 2D Rubik Cube. Personally, I'd find that far more fun.
  • that some people have too much time to play with toys.

    Anyway - it is actually an interesting piece of work. The original cube itself is also very nice. One must recognize that even the original cube does actually contain more than one solution. If you replace the stickers on an original cube with 6 different images then you will reduce the number of solutions to one single. The catch is that the center piece can on an original cube have four different positions that all are correct. This means that the or

  • What they neglect to tell you is that if you solve this puzzle, you get to meet and be a permanent guest of Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites.

  • The fourth dimension is time isn't it? Or is this six dimensional?

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.