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Math Windows Games

How Windows FreeCell Gave Rise To Online Crowdsourcing 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the mastering-the-game dept.
TPIRman writes "In 1994, a physics doctoral student named Dave Ring assembled more than 100 math and puzzle enthusiasts on Usenet for what became one of the earliest online 'crowdsourcing' projects. Their goal: to determine if every hand in Windows' FreeCell solitaire game was in fact winnable, as the program's help file implied. Their efforts soon focused in on one incredibly stubborn hand: #11,982. They couldn't beat it, but in the process of trying, they proved the viability of an idea that would later be refined with crowdsourcing models like Amazon's Mechanical Turk."
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How Windows FreeCell Gave Rise To Online Crowdsourcing

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  • by roothog (635998) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @10:20AM (#39658241)

    FTFA:

    So when that final push on No. 11,982—an effort aided by humans and even a handful of game-solving programs—met with failure, Ring celebrated. Is every hand in FreeCell winnable? No. Thirty-one thousand nine hundred ninety-nine hands are winnable. And one isn’t. He proved that.

    No he didn't. Unless the exploration of the game space was exhaustive, there's no proof. A bunch of people playing the game and failing to solve it isn't a proof.

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