Paper by Martin L. Demaine

Reference:
Erik D. Demaine, Martin L. Demaine, Michael Hoffmann, and Joseph O'Rourke, “Pushing Blocks is Hard”, Computational Geometry: Theory and Applications, volume 26, number 1, August 2003, pages 21–36. Special issue of selected papers from the 13th Canadian Conference on Computational Geometry, 2001.

Abstract:
We prove NP-hardness of a wide class of pushing-block puzzles similar to the classic Sokoban, generalizing several previous results [5,6,9,10,15,17]. The puzzles consist of unit square blocks on an integer lattice; all blocks are movable. The robot may move horizontally and vertically in order to reach a specified goal position. The puzzle variants differ in the number of blocks that the robot can push at once, ranging from at most one (PUSH-1) up to arbitrarily many (PUSH-*). Other variations were introduced to make puzzles more tractable, in which blocks must slide their maximal extent when pushed (PUSHPUSH), and in which the robot's path must not revisit itself (PUSH-X). We prove that all of these puzzles are NP-hard.

Comments:
This paper is also available from ScienceDirect.

Length:
The paper is 19 pages.

Availability:
The paper is available in PostScript (497k), gzipped PostScript (133k), and PDF (289k).
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Related webpages:
Pushing Blocks (Erik Demaine)


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Last updated December 13, 2016 by Martin Demaine.