Volume 12, Number 24
11 April 2006

Click, to go back to the contents of this issue

This Week

We appreciate feedback from our readers
Browse through the collecton of older issues


Starting last month, instead of our usual Bilkent News word puzzle, we have been offering a different game, called Sudoku. But where did it came from?

Sudoku, although not actually a Japanese puzzle, is the name given to it by puzzle publisher Nikoli Co. Ltd in Japan. Sudoku is the abbreviation of "suuji wa dokushin ni kaguri," meaning "the digits must remain single." However, it is also possible to use any set of distinct symbols in place of numbers, such as letters, shapes or colors.

The puzzle was originally designed by Howard Garns, a 74-year-old American architect. Garns was inspired by Euler's Latin squares. The puzzle's solution is actually a special case of Latin squares. The first such puzzle was published in 1979 in New York by Dell Pencil Puzzles and Word Games, with the title "Number Place."

The puzzle was first published in Japan in 1984 by “Monthly Nikolist” under the name "suuji wa dokushin ni kaguri." This name was given to it by the president of Nikoli, Kaji Maki. The name of the puzzle means, literally, "single, celibate, unmarried." In 1989, Loadstar Softdisk Publishing programmed "Digithunt" on the Commodore 64. This was the first home computer version of the puzzle. Around the end of 2004, the game started gaining popularity around the world.

So, how does this interesting game affect our lives? It is said that Sudoku has a positive influence on brain activities. The game allows the brain to use skills related only to logic. This concentration on a single mental activity allows us to feel relaxed.

However, a new problem has appeared: there are people who have become addicted to this game. They use all their free time to solve Sudokus, and start to lose contact with their families and stop participating in other hobbies. This is not as serious an issue as other addictions that have negative effects on people’s health. Still, we should perhaps be aware that people who tend to disassociate from society use this addiction as an escape from their daily problems.

So, while solving your Sudoku, be careful not to become an addict. I know it sounds funny, but don't forget that there are people who have become addicted to their computers and are getting divorced because of this addiction.

Anyway, I have a couple of words to add about Sudoku's effects on mental health. Some say that doing this puzzle can help you to regain the mental powers that you had 14 years ago. It sharpens your mind.

So, I hope you will enjoy this week's modified game, without becoming an addict. Have an excellent week, and take advantage of the good weather if you have the time--unfortunately, I don't right now. Does anybody know how to make the days longer?


Sıla Türkü Kural (EE/IV)

 Click, to go back to the contents of this issue

Bilkent News Welcomes Feedback From Readers.
This newsletter will print letters received from readers.
Please submit your letters to bilnews@bilkent.edu.tr
or to the Communications Unit, Engineering Building, room EG-23, ext. 1487.
The Editorial Board will review the letters and print according to available space.