SAT


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There are some puzzles that just beckon to be solved by computer. Stuff with lots of tedious logic, or six grids of the exact same puzzle. First you figure out a representation and type it all in. Then you try to write a constraint propagation solver, though tricky edge cases make you fall back onto brute force in places. Then you start profiling the solver so it actually finishes within an hour. Finally it finishes, only to claim that there are no solutions. You pull half your hair out trying to find the bug, and the other half trying to find someone who knows the language you work with and is willing to review your code. Twelve hours later you've got a solver that accounts for 95% of the puzzle but still needs a human to verify the solution because one of the rules was a bit hairy. During a Mystery Hunt, it was a good day if I could solve two whole puzzles without assistance.

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