The 80s were a time of testing our mental capacity, pushing the way we think and solve problems to the creative limits. Alright, so that may be a little dramatic in the age of hair bands and Pac-Man, but there was the infamous Rubik's Cube that boggled the mind—at least until those geniuses mastered it.
It has been proven that any Rubik's Cube can be solved in twenty moves or less, no matter how many times you twist and turn it. This is known as "God's Number," which is essentially how long it would take to get the shortest sequence of moves in the least efficient manner. It's the best-case scenario for solving the cube!
Thanks to Google, who donated 35 CPU-years of idle computer time, researched were able to solve each and every possible outcome of the Rubik's Cube, which was about 43,252,003,274,489,956,000 different positions. They considered a move to be one twist of a side, also known as the half-turn metric.
Once researchers partitioned positions down and were able to reduce the count of sets needed to solve using symmetry, they wrote a computer program that solved a single set in 20 seconds. Then it was a matter of waiting as it went through each of the 55,882,296 sets. Some scientists seem to have a lot of time on their hands!