Puzzles in Wood, Puzzles on Paper, and Puzzles in Bytes

Wednesday 26th November, AG07 College Building, 12:30 - 2pm

About 10 years ago, Marc van Kreveld began designing puzzles as a hobby and making them from wood.

This hobby made its way into his research and teaching in computational geometry and expanded to other puzzle types - like paper-based drawing puzzles on digital puzzles.

For all puzzle types, computation can be used to determine and achieve the best design: after thinking of a puzzle type, there may be many instances of that type and it becomes interesting to find the best instance.

Usually this means finding small puzzles that are difficult. However, difficulty is an ill-defined notion, so research into automated puzzle generation and analysis includes the topic of developing a useful definition of difficulty.

Part of the talk that Marc will give is a picture gallery showing some of his puzzle designs. These are interesting ideas and involve a variety of materials. The remainder discusses difficulty of puzzles - without getting too technical.

You are all very welcome - this is a great chance to see Marc's work and to relate some of the ideas and interests we have in games, physical objects, creativity and mathematical challenges.


Prof. Marc van Kreveld is professor in Computational Geometry and its application at the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Best known as a co-author of the textbook "Computational Geometry - Algorithms and Applications", Marc leads the Virtual Worlds division in Utrecht.

In addition to geometric algorithms Marc's areas of research interest include GIScience, movement data algorithms, graph drawing, and puzzle design - the latter being the focus of this week's seminar.