{Latest update: 13 April 2009}


In learning how to solve the classic Rubik's Cube, my intention was to introduce the kids to some basic mathematical concepts, such as the idea of algorithm. They were quite impressed to realize that, by following certain formulas, one can always reach the same point and, in so doing, also realized that certain mathematical structures certainly seem to underlie reality. This is all quite powerful, I think. Besides, playing with the cube is fun!


The name makes it sound far more comple than it truly is. An algorithm is nothing more than a finite sequence of instructions (a step-by-step procedure) that helps us solve a problem. The name comes from the Persian mathematician, astronomer and geographer Muhammad ibn Musa Khwarizmi. Algorithms are really important in the world of computer programming too.

Here are the algorithms that helped us solve the Rubik's Cube. But first, let's become familiar with the notation we'll use:

  • U: move upper sideclockwise.
  • D: move lower side clockwise.
  • R: move right side clockwise.
  • L: move left side clockwise.
  • Xi: move X side in an inverted or counter-clockwise motion.

Now, here are the actual algorithms. They won't make much sense to you, unless you spent sometime viewing the videos first or are familiar enough with the Rubik's Cube.

  • Solving the first layer:
    • Fi U Li Ui
    • Ri Di R D
  • Solving the second layer:
    • U R Ui Ri Ui Fi U F
    • Ui Li U L U F Ui Fi
    5) F R U Ri Ui Fi 6) R U Ri U R U U Ri 7) U R Ui Li U Ri Ui L 8) Ri Di R D


Here are the videos we have used to solve the puzzle. Dan Brown's videos from YouTube: