goldkin: i has book (goldkin bookly)
While riding home on the bus a month ago, I came up with a neat puzzle for the computational theorists and enthusiasts in the audience. It's what I consider a simple tree search puzzle that I'm posting here mostly for entertainment purposes. You can probably do better than my solution, though; I'll leave the answer to all of you.

Suppose you are trying to write a speedrun in the vein of those for You are given a series of picross puzzles -- pictorial puzzles where the objective is to etch a black-and-white drawing into an NxN grid (for finite N) that initially starts as white and lets you fill in the black bits. As a further constraint on gameplay, the game was designed with cursor control in mind, meaning that you can only move the cursor to tick off boxes in one block increments, horizontally or vertically. Fortunately, because you've completed this game and mapped it all out, you know what the solutions are in advance. Oh, and the cursor always starts at the same location (we will assume (0,0), the upper left origin).

Given these constraints, write a solver that takes the fewest number of cursor moves to complete each puzzle.

Good luck! If you require hints, feel free to poke me by private message or by commenting here. Oh, and do feel free to use your work to post a video of the speedrun.

October 2015

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