Suduko & Microscopy

March 13 2006 evyn 64
An algorithm created to help scientists process images of tiny specimens has unexpected applications for brain teasers. When Cornell physicist Veit Elser attempted to demystify an esoteric imaging problem for biologists, he had no idea his solution would also help subway riders and break room loiterers around the world figure out those challenging, Sudoku puzzles. While creating an algorithm that could render images of small and delicate biological specimens, Elser inadvertently found a universal solution for the popular Japanese brainteasers. "This algorithm, which was extremely effective in image reconstruction microscopy, was extremely general," he said. "If you just express it in the right mathematical language it could be used in all kinds of things."

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