News & Events

Parabon Sponsors Competition to Solve Rubik's Cube

In conjunction with the 2009 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO), Parabon Computation, the leading on-demand computation utility, announced today that it will sponsor a $2,000 prize competition in which contestants are challenged to evolve a program that can solve an arbitrarily-scrambled Rubik's Cube in the fewest number of moves (as measured by the face-turn metric). The competition is designed to demonstrate the combined capability of two complementary computing technologies provided by Parabon. The Origin(tm) Evolutionary SDK (software development kit) uses computer-based evolutionary processes to derive (evolve) desired results and the Frontier Grid Platform harnesses the computational power of thousands of computers to deliver supercomputing as a service.

Rather than writing a computer program to solve an arbitrarily scrambled Rubik's Cube (several such programs already exist), contestants must instead write a program that will evolve another program that is able to solve the cube in a minimal number of twists. The evolved programs start off with little or no capability, however, they are shaped by algorithms that mimic biological evolution — for example, algorithms for selecting "parent" solvers from a population, breeding them and possibly mutating offspring solvers. Gradually, over a sufficient number of generations, a population of solvers will emerge that not only solve the cube, but do so with ever improving efficiency. For such evolutionary programs to be effective, large-scale computation must be applied, and that's where Parabon's grid service comes into play. The company's on-demand computing utility will provide contestants with high-performance computing capacity in the weeks leading up to the conference to demonstrate the ease and affordability of the service. Contestants will submit their best solvers for judging ahead of the conference and the winner will be announced at GECCO 2009, which is to be held July 8-12 in Montreal.

Contest Rules are attached.

For more information contact:
Paula Armentrout
Parabon Computation, Inc.
703-689-9689 x250