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Hanoi's towers


You have a small collection of disks and three piles into which you can put them The disks all start on the leftmost pile, and you want to move them to the rightmost pile, never putting a disk on top of a smaller one. The middle pile for intermediate storage.

History of the game

The Towers of Hanoi puzzle was published in 1883 by French mathematician Edouard Lucas, under the pen-name, N. Lucas de Siam. The "legend" which accompanied the game stated that in Benares, during the reign of the Emperor Fo Hi, there was a temple with a dome which marked the center of the world. Monks in a temple have to move a pile of 64 sacred disks from one location to another. The disks are fragile; only one can be carried at a time. A disk may not be placed on top of a smaller, less valuable disk. And, there is only one other location in the temple (besides the original and destination locations) sacred enough that a pile of disks can be placed there. So, the monks start moving disks back and forth, between the original pile, the pile at the new location, and the intermediate location, always keeping the piles in order (largest on the bottom, smallest on the top). The legend is that, before the monks make the final move to complete the new pile in the new location, the temple will turn to dust and the world will end.

Since it would take at least 264 -1 moves to complete the task, we're safe for now. Assuming one move per second, and no wrong moves, it would take almost 585,000,000,000 years to complete.