J-POP: Japanese Puzzles as Optimization Problems

Huw Lloyd, Matthew Crossley, Mark Sinclair, Martyn Amos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
226 Downloads (Pure)


Japanese puzzle games such as Sudoku and Futoshiki are familiar recreational pursuits, but they also present an interesting computational challenge. A number of algorithms exist for the automated solution of such puzzles, but, until now, these have not been compared in a unified way. Here we present an integrated framework for the study of combinatorial blackbox optimisation, using Japanese puzzles as the test-bed. Importantly, our platform is extendable, allowing for the easy addition of both puzzles and solvers. We compare the performance of a number of optimization algorithms on five different puzzle games, and identify a subset of puzzle instances that could provide a challenging benchmark set for future algorithms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-402
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Games
Issue number3
Early online date19 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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