Tuesday, January 10, 2006

A couple of days ago, I realised cracking Sudoku was not all that enjoyable anymore. Here's why:

Human brain seems to operate at two levels. There is a computer-ish brain that follows set logical rules. At a higher level, there is a pattern recognizer (PR) at work. The PR part of the brain passes sets the logical rules for the computer to carry out. Quite often, the PR works at an unconscious/sub-conscious level. In my case I realised that while solving a sudoku, I was actually following a set of rules without consciously coming up with them. In hindsight, I had formed these rules by a combination of pattern-recognition and brute force. But now that I've become conscious of the rules, solving a Sudoku is nothing more than running an algorithm through another set of input data. The joy of solving the Sudoku was in the using the pattern-recognizer part of the brain. But now that is gone forever - or at least until I try solving a Sudoku that is tougher than the ones I usually solve (and hence would require some more activity on the part of my PR).

I had posted the above as a comment here. It seems to make sense on its own, and hence am reproducing it.

3 Value-adds:

Anonymous Anupadmaja said...

Good one!

This post reminds me of the following:

1. Aaha effect. Hitting the right pattern while solving a seemingly unknown problem.

2. Practice makes things easier.

3. Memory plays a role in intelligence.

4. Solving a tough problem is like writing a poem.

5. Boredom is a result of solving a problem over and over.

6. Some can solve problems faster than others. Also, the same person can take 2 hours to crack a problem at one time and 2 minutes at some other time.

7. Whoa i hate this one: misguided by a wrong pattern, takes me in circles until i realize break out of it. Its so important to clearly understand the problem and its details. I am sure there atleast one other person in this world that can share this.

8. Complex/large problems are tougher coz there are more patterns and data to remember at the same time.

January 11, 2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger eV said...

Wow. You've taken my post to its logical conclusion. Nanri Hai.

When I read your second point, I instantly decided to respond with "Practice makes things boring" - but I see you've mentioned that as well in the 5th point. So there's nothing left for me to say.

January 11, 2006 11:36 AM  
Blogger Harsha V. Madhyastha said...

I have undergone the same thought process in my experiences with Minesweeper. The only difference there is that even after the set of patterns get ingrained into your head, the challenge of trying to improve your best time remains.

January 11, 2006 10:58 PM  

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