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 Timed Puzzle Limits 
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Posted on: Sun Aug 28, 2011 5:42 am




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Post Timed Puzzle Limits
Rather frequently the timed puzzles get compared to races, so I thought I'd point out something associated with that correlation.

http://machineslikeus.com/news/there-li ... rld-record

Basically, there is a limit to what the human body, and also presumably the mind, is/are capable of in terms of speed, and so theoretically the top 100 meter time, or top marathon time, has a value at which no human can run one that fast. So using the same logic to apply to Timed Calcudoku puzzles, how close could we be to hitting that same type of threshold?

By that, I mean the 2 best times for each of the 3 sizes aren't exactly close to the next best of that size. Each the overall best times is at least 10% better than the third best time(Actually, this is a mild assumption, since I can't actually conclusively say what the third best 6x6 is, since the average of the best 3 is mistakenly double counting my 24 second one, but I'm pretty sure it's in the vicinity of 31 seconds.), so we seem to be hitting a plateau in which no one's even approaching the current records.

Roger Bannister's lungs didn't explode, and it used to be that a 1 minute 6x6 was among the fastest for the day easily, not to mention that as I was writing this a fourth person broke the 7 second barrier on a 4x4, but still, how close are we to hitting a plateau, and what will that plateau be?


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Posted on: Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:18 am




Posts: 422
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Post Re: Timed Puzzle Limits
Interesting topic. It's hard to know exactly where the plateau is. But maybe if all the conditions were correct and the puzzle were arranged in a way that made more obvious answers available at the top left corner of the puzzle (because the cursor always starts there) maybe the plateau would be how fast a person could physically type in the numbers. Like, if we assume typing speeds of 400cpm and if cursor movements were optimized, that would be a minimum of 31 keystrokes for a 4x4 puzzle which would be 4.65 secs. For a 6x6 puzzle, probably more cursor strokes are needed. Minimum would be 71 keystrokes. 140 keystrokes would be 21 seconds. A 6x6 also requires more thinking, but there is always someone who can think faster than you.


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Posted on: Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:41 am




Posts: 175
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 2:11 am
Post Re: Timed Puzzle Limits
sneaklyfox wrote:
Interesting topic. It's hard to know exactly where the plateau is. But maybe if all the conditions were correct and the puzzle were arranged in a way that made more obvious answers available at the top left corner of the puzzle (because the cursor always starts there) maybe the plateau would be how fast a person could physically type in the numbers. Like, if we assume typing speeds of 400cpm and if cursor movements were optimized, that would be a minimum of 31 keystrokes for a 4x4 puzzle which would be 4.65 secs. For a 6x6 puzzle, probably more cursor strokes are needed. Minimum would be 71 keystrokes. 140 keystrokes would be 21 seconds. A 6x6 also requires more thinking, but there is always someone who can think faster than you.

The thing is, though, that I feel like I effectively hit two strokes at a time when moving diagonally, which could even further shorten the overall time. Then I can actually hit the number simultaneous to moving, which also speeds up the number of strokes. Just because at 800 cpm, which is what occurs if you hit 400 hitting 2 at a time, that puts a 4x4 in 2.325, but that seems imfeasible. Further, I feel like 400 is a high standard only with a full numpad. The other issue here is that we're assuming that we can instantaneously solve these, when our eyes have to have time to focus, and then our brains need a few tenths of seconds to process. I think that's what will eventually be the most limiting factor. So yeah, I'm not sure if, though we may be physically capable of going at some speeds, I'm not sure the human mind is capable of thinking that fast, and more likely, that the human eye is physically capable of seeing the puzzle fast enough to approach our theoretical physical limits.


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Posted on: Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:51 pm




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Post Re: Timed Puzzle Limits
Agree with you starling, which, with all the other factors you mentioned, makes it very difficult to determine the "plateau". I'm sure we are not the fastest or smartest people on the planet.


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Posted on: Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:04 am




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Post Re: Timed Puzzle Limits
sneaklyfox wrote:
Agree with you starling, which, with all the other factors you mentioned, makes it very difficult to determine the "plateau". I'm sure we are not the fastest or smartest people on the planet.

Oh, I'll agree with that definitely, but we might be the fastest in terms of this because speed is built by practice. Like, the amount of time it takes a Chess grandmaster to determine their move is generally much less than the amount of time it takes someone new to chess, and chess has been shown to have minimal actual correlation to intelligence past a certain level. Thus, just having done that many more puzzles makes this work in our favor overall.


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Posted on: Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:53 am




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Post Re: Timed Puzzle Limits
Agree again. I definitely notice my times being a lot better now than when timed puzzles were first introduced. Also, 4x4s are probably more limited by typing speed while 6x6s are more limited by the brain.


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Posted on: Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:03 am




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Post Re: Timed Puzzle Limits
sneaklyfox wrote:
Agree again. I definitely notice my times being a lot better now than when timed puzzles were first introduced. Also, 4x4s are probably more limited by typing speed while 6x6s are more limited by the brain.

Yeah, and I feel like that increase has occurred across the board. I remember back in the early days on the 6x6's where I thought a time faster than 1 minute to be something my brain couldn't do repeatably.

I'll also definitely agree with the 4x4's being limited by typing speed and 6x6's by the brain, but there's also an element in which the way I use my mind on 4x4's that's totally different than how I use it on 6x6's. I shift my focus on to columns and rows moreso than cages, I guess, but I also shift my thoughts to how I've placed things at the start of the puzzle for finishing quickly.


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