The "eight queens problem" has been known in the chess world since 1850. Its condition is as follows: it is necessary to arrange 8 queens in such a way that they would not be able to "attack" each other in one move. According to experts, this task has a lot in common with programming.
Researchers from the British University of St. Andrews, led by Professor Ian Ghent, asked programmers to find a simple solution to this old chess puzzle. The challenge is to write a program that can solve the "Queens Problem" for big boards with sufficient speed. The winner will receive a substantial prize of $ 1 million.
The reason for such a high award is simple - according to the calculations of mathematicians, this task is impossible. It is calculated that on a 64-square (8 x 8) board the number of possible positions of eight queens is 4 426 165 368, and the number of "correct" positions in accordance with the conditions of the problem is only 92. However, if the board has a configuration of 1000 x 1000 squares, computer programs will simply freeze without having mastered a gigantic number of options.
According to Professor Ghent, if a computer program is written that can solve this super problem with sufficient speed, it can be adapted to solve many important problems - in particular, to decrypt the most complex cryptographic algorithms.