# Super IQ Cube Solved The Single Possible Unique Solution

The ONLY possible solution to this tricky 5x5x5 cube puzzle is given below!
[ Tetris Cube SOLVED | Bedlam Cube SOLVED | Big Brother Cube SOLVED ]
[ Super IQ Cube SOLVED | Soma Cube SOLVED | Steinhaus Cube SOLVED ]

This page is for puzzle nuts, math and computing whizzes, and the truly despondent in need of a way to put the Super IQ cube back into its box.  If you want to solve it without help do not read any further!

My software determined the single unique solution using a rigorous exhaustive combinatorial search.  Complete details, including my analysis, solution and download of my software program and source code, are below.

There is, however, a trick that makes solving it without technology rather easy!

Vast Search Space?

The Super IQ cube, by Horst Heinz at Profi-Produkte (Professional Products), is composed of 17 wooden pieces of 3 different basic kinds: six composed of 12 cubes in a 2x2x3 block and half of which are blue and half red, six composed of 8 cubes in a 2x1x4 block and half of which are red and half yellow, and 5 having a single 1x1x1 light-blue cube. This cube puzzle is very unlike the 4x4x4 Tetris, Bedlam and Big Brother cubes, which each have a set of unique pieces. I have not seen the packing but it allegedly indicates that of 1,001 possible piece combinations, only 1 fits into the box. The assembled cube photo below was tiled by Jörg Gehrmann from my software solution.

 The 3 different kinds of pieces All 17 pieces Assembled Super IQ cube Photos courtesy of Jörg Gehrmann

Of the 17 puzzle pieces, 6 may be rotated into 6 possible orientations, 6 may be rotated into 3 possible orientations, and 5 may be rotated into 1 possible orientation.  This means there are at most 66 x 63 x 51 = 50,388,480 possible piece orientation combinations to try. If the pieces were unique it would be possible attempt to fit them into the 5x5x5 cube in at most 17! = 17x16x15x(...)x2x1 = 355,687,428,096,000 possible piece ordering permutations, however because of many identical pieces there are only 17!/(6!x6!x5!) = 5,717,712 unique piece order permutations to try, significantly more than the 1,001 figure alleged to be on the product package. The product of these numbers is 288,106,816,757,760 (288 trillion) steps to try every possible orientation of every possible piece order permutation!

I had to modify my solver code, which was originally written for puzzles having all-unique pieces, to allow it to take advantage of the identical pieces by maximally advancing the piece order permutation sequence.  Normally, the initial piece order would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 so the next becomes 2,1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 and then 3,1,2,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 etc.  When the permutations are fully exhausted the piece order is, finally, 17,16,15,14,13,12,11,10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1.  But since pieces 1-6 are identical, and 7-12 are identical, and 13-17 are identical, whenever the permutation order has two or more identical pieces adjacent in the sequence it is possible to skip all the useless permutations that would therefore be the same.  For example, for the Super IQ cube the initial piece order permutation order is instead {6,5,4,3,2,1}{12,11,10,9,8,7}{17,16,15,14,13} where the identical pieces within their brace-enclosed groups are sorted descending.  Moreover, for any new permutation we always move the largest piece number of the identical group into the ordered position for any lower-numbered piece in that same group.

Because the cube is a rather snug 5x5x5 box there are many piece orientations that simply will not fit into the box with other pieces in their own various orientations, as anyone who tries to manually assemble a Super IQ cube knows from personal experience!  Consequently, the number of permutations and therefore the number of piece orientations to attempt to tile into the box are drastically diminished. For the initial permutation, say pieces 6 and 5 are already in the box but none of the orientations for piece 4 fit. Therefore, all the piece order permutations that would have followed piece 4 having pieces 6 and 5 in the box are immediately eliminated from having to be attempted, multiplied by the number of possible orientations for each of those pieces in all those discarded orientations. This can happen at any stage of the search, so the search space is in practice vastly smaller than the 288 trillion steps figure above, bringing it into reach of a software program. NOTE: the software internally uses piece numbers 0-16 rather than 1-17.

Of the 5,717,712 possible piece ordering permutations only 3 produce a completed cube (see below, Search Results). This means you have about 1 chance in 1,905,904 that a random lineup of the pieces can be put into a cube.  No wonder it's not so easy!  The Super IQ cube is therefore about 140 times harder than the Bedlam cube for which you have about 1 chance in 13,523, and 940 times harder than the Tetris cube, for which you have about 1 chance in 2,028, and 104 times harder than the Big Brother cube, for which you have about 1 chance in 18,301.

There is, however, a trick that makes solving it without technology rather easy, and therefore perhaps it's not so difficult after all!

Search Algorithm

Each of the 17 pieces is arbitrarily assigned a unique number, 1 to 9 continuing with A to H (see diagram below). The software encodes the 3-dimensional coordinates of each cube of each piece, and then rotates them in 4 possible positions around each of the 3 axes (x,y,z) to generate every possible unique orientation, eliminate mirror image symmetry piece orientations, and build a quick reference lookup table.  The piece order permutation order is initialized (for reasons given above, and to bias the tiling of the largest pieces first and allow the small single cube pieces to fill in the remaining holes) to 6,5,4,3,2,1,12,11,10,9,8,7,17,16,15,14,13 and the orientation of each piece is reset to 1.  A 5x5x5 3-dimensional box is encoded and the initial empty cube is scanned starting at (x,y,z) coordinates (1,1,1). NOTE: the software internally uses piece numbers 0-16 rather than 1-9 continuing with A-H.

The first orientation of the first piece in the permutation is fitted (or not) into the box. If it doesn't fit, the next orientation is tried, etc. If the piece fits, the next empty cube in the box is scanned along the x-axis, then y-axis, then z-axis. If the next empty cube is isolated, the last piece orientation fitted into the box is removed and its remaining orientations are tried. If the next empty cube is not isolated, the next piece in the permutation order is attempted the same way.  If none of the orientations of a piece fit into the box without isolating the next empty cube, the piece order permutation is advanced so the next piece in the ordering becomes the next piece to try, and it's first orientation is attempted, etc. Note the permutation algorithm is different from the solver for cubes having all-unique pieces to attempt to maximally advance the sequence due to the identical pieces.

By repeating this process, literally every possible orientation of every possible ordering of pieces is visited by my search software program, an undeniably rigorous method. This method will produce multiple rotated copies of each unique solution, so a further step in the program spins the solved cube around each axis and compares each rotation with a catalog of saved solutions.  Because of the identical pieces in the Super IQ cube, the duplicate solution detection algorithm code was also modified to treat all the pieces of an identical group as though they were a single unique piece.  Only new unique solutions are then added to the catalog as the permutation sequence progresses, guaranteeing the correct catalog is produced.

 Diagram of the 17 Super IQ Cube pieces, as 3 distinct 'kinds' and the arbitrary numbers 1 to 17 assigned to each in the software program and solutions catalog. Pieces 1 to 9 are labeled by their own numbers and 10 through 17 are labeled A through H, respectively. Note that three yellow pieces are identical to three red pieces among the pieces labeled 7-C and are treated here and by the software cube solver indistinguishably and interchangeably. Similarly, three red pieces are identical to three blue pieces among the pieces labeled 1-6 and are treated here and by the software cube solver indistinguishably and interchangeably.

Search Results

Exactly 1 unique solution was found. Because of diagonal symmetry,  one for each possible opposing-corner diagonal axis through the cube, my software actually assembled 3 cube solutions but it discarded 2 duplicates as copies of the single unique solution.  The software search completed in 29 seconds on my old 2 GHz Pentium 4 laptop. The 1 unique solution, however, was found within the first 10 seconds and the remaining 19 seconds completed permutations that resulted in 2 non-unique copies. The search space was, as expected, enormously reduced to a 'mere' total of exactly 35,941,923 piece order permutations visited, including dead-end orientation paths.  The program attempted to fit pieces into the box exactly 116,432,571 times and succeeded fitting them exactly 16,405,961 times. Indeed, 116 million is MUCH smaller than 288 trillion!

Super IQ Cube Solution

Below is the software's startup analysis, the single possible solution, and the search conclusion outputs, rigorously determined using 'brute-force' combinatorial techniques.  Pieces are mapped to numbers 1-17 and their identification is aided by the descriptive cube counts and labeling in agreement with the diagram above.  The solutions are given in layers of the 5x5x5 box, with the top layer of the cube on the left and ending with the bottom layer on the right.  Pieces 1 to 9 are given in the solutions by those numbers, and pieces 10 through 17 are given as A through H respectively.

It takes a bit of visualization to see the pieces in the printed solution and it helps to refer to the diagram above.  In the solution below, particularly challenging to visualize are pieces spanning cube layers, which in the outlined examples of blue piece 3 and red piece 9 in the solution span the top (leftmost) layer through layers 2, 3 and 4, and the light-blue single cube pieces D, E, F, G, H run diagonally through the cube.  Get out your Super IQ cube and try it... it's rather easy once you get the hang of it.

The trick seen by the astute observer might appear obvious. A cube having so many like kinds of pieces suggests the piece tiling would necessarily include 'crystal-like' symmetry that renders the solution rather trivial to find.  And indeed, that is in fact the case.  The pieces form a diagonal corner-to-opposite-corner spiral-flower-like symmetrical tiling, forming two triangular pyramids that meet at their jagged bases to make the assembled cube, with the light-blue single-cube pieces starting at the top of each pyramid and going straight 'down' the assembled cube's diagonal and meeting at a shared light-blue single-cube piece in the center of the assembled cube, between the two jagged pyramid bases.  So a software solution is not necessary, but it was, at least, correct!

```Heinz IQ Cube Solver, (c)2009 www.scottkurowski.com

Piece 6 has 12 cubes, labeled 2x2x3
Piece 5 has 12 cubes, labeled 2x2x3
Piece 4 has 12 cubes, labeled 2x2x3
Piece 3 has 12 cubes, labeled 2x2x3
Piece 2 has 12 cubes, labeled 2x2x3
Piece 1 has 12 cubes, labeled 2x2x3
Piece 12 has 8 cubes, labeled 2x1x4
Piece 11 has 8 cubes, labeled 2x1x4
Piece 10 has 8 cubes, labeled 2x1x4
Piece 9 has 8 cubes, labeled 2x1x4
Piece 8 has 8 cubes, labeled 2x1x4
Piece 7 has 8 cubes, labeled 2x1x4
Piece 17 has 1 cubes, labeled 1x1x1
Piece 16 has 1 cubes, labeled 1x1x1
Piece 15 has 1 cubes, labeled 1x1x1
Piece 14 has 1 cubes, labeled 1x1x1
Piece 13 has 1 cubes, labeled 1x1x1

Piece 1 has 3 unique rotational orientations
Piece 2 has 3 unique rotational orientations
Piece 3 has 3 unique rotational orientations
Piece 4 has 3 unique rotational orientations
Piece 5 has 3 unique rotational orientations
Piece 6 has 3 unique rotational orientations
Piece 7 has 6 unique rotational orientations
Piece 8 has 6 unique rotational orientations
Piece 9 has 6 unique rotational orientations
Piece 10 has 6 unique rotational orientations
Piece 11 has 6 unique rotational orientations
Piece 12 has 6 unique rotational orientations
Piece 13 has 1 unique rotational orientations
Piece 14 has 1 unique rotational orientations
Piece 15 has 1 unique rotational orientations
Piece 16 has 1 unique rotational orientations
Piece 17 has 1 unique rotational orientations

Solution 1
TOP                                           BOTTOM
```
```All permutations exhausted, 1 unique solutions found, 2 duplicate rotations/piece-exchanges discarded
Total permutations = 35941923, tiles attempted = 116432571, tiles succeeded = 16405961
Total run time = 00:00:29, Total time to find last unique solution = 00:00:10
Average piece order permutation rate = 1239376 / second```
`Super IQ Cube Solver Software`

Download the program HeinzIQcube.exe, a simple console application without buttons or windowing and its 800 lines of C language source code file HeinzIQcube.c, in HeinzIQcubeSolved.zip. Run it yourself!  Every 1,000,000 piece order permutations are output to the console screen.  Email me at the address at the bottom of the page and tell me the kind of computer you used and how long it took to run.  This code was originally written to solve all 9,839 solutions of the Tetris cube and with a few trivial tweaks determined all 19,186 unique solutions of the Bedlam cube puzzle, all 14,177 unique solutions of the Big Brother cube puzzle, all 480 unique solutions of Piet Hein's Soma cube puzzle in 10 seconds (note: this linked reference cites only 240 unique solutions, a mystery for which I'd appreciate a solution from any reader), both unique solutions of Hugo Steinhaus' cube in 1 second, and would work for other 3D box-tiling puzzles.  Note there are copyright restrictions given in the HeinzIQcube.c source module and readme.txt files to observe regarding modification of the source code and/or re-publishing the code or output data file.

Background and Credits

I owe this particular puzzle-solving adventure to my son Dylan, who had challenged me in March 2008 to find "even one solution, daddy!" and witnessed my struggle to manually restore his Tetris Cube to its plastic box.  I told him there was a way to use a computer to find every possible solution, so we encoded the cube coordinate positions of the 12 Tetris cube pieces on paper, and I later put that into this software over the span of a handful of days.  Thank you, Dylan!

Thanks to Jörg Gehrmann in Oberhausen Germany for bringing the Super IQ cube ("würfel") puzzle to my attention, and providing the photos of the product box and pieces, and for verifying the program produced the correct actual solution.

In 1986 I wrote a software program to exhaustively solve and catalog all solutions of the 2-dimensional pentomino puzzle, to the later delight of Stanford Professor Emeritus Donald Knuth, which has tens of thousands of solutions in various box dimensions (3x20, 4x15, 5x12, 6x10 and 8x8 with several 2x2 hole positions) even after sifting out reflected and rotated copies.  I also have over a decade of experience creating  and running  supercomputer-capacity  research projects so I was fully prepared to organize any "heavy duty processing power" required to catalog all the solutions and verify their number as claimed by the Tetris Cube's creators, but a laptop computer was enough.

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Last updated February 5, 2009