Anyone around in the '80s certainly played with a Rubik's Cube at some point. And many of those people probably ended up peeling stickers off to solve the infuriating puzzle. Researchers from the University of California-Irvine have created an AI system that is able to solve the Rubik's Cube in just over a second; it's called DeepCubeA.
The scientists say that the AI system can solve the puzzle without any in-game coaching from humans or specific domain knowledge. In some circles, the Rubik's Cube is still a big deal, in 2015 a teen set a world record for solving a Rubik's Cube in 5.25 seconds. The AI system can solve the puzzle cube in a fraction of that time.
Study senior author, Pierre Baldi, UCI Distinguished Professor of computer science, says that AI can defeat humans in chess and Go, but computers hadn't solved the Rubik's Cube. The DeepCubeA AI was able to solve 100% of all test configurations. It was able to find the shortest path to the solution 60.3% of the time. The researchers say their algorithm usually takes about 20 moves, solving the puzzle in a minimal number of steps.
The scientists say that solving the Rubik's Cube involves more symbolic, mathematical, and abstract thinking. The algorithm they created shows that a deep learning machine that can solve this sort of puzzle is closer to being a system that can think, reason, plan, and make a decision.
The scientists are trying to create the next generation of AI systems with projects like DeepCubeAI. What the scientists want to do is to create an advanced AI that is smarter, more robust, and capable of reasoning, understanding, and planning. The team says that DeepCubeAI is a step towards that goal.