Towers of Hanoi

Towers of Hanoi

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Towers of Hanoi. Sequence showing the minimum number of moves needed to complete the Towers of Hanoi game for four discs. This mathematical game was devised in 1883 by the French mathematician Edouard Lucas (1842-1891). There are 'n' number of rings on the first of three poles, and the task is to move the rings to the third pole (at right), but only by moving one ring at a time and ensuring that the rings remain stacked with the larger ones under the smaller ones. For three pegs, the optimal solution is one less than 2 raised to the power of n. For four rings this optimal solution is 15 moves, as shown here.

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