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The Tower of Hanoi - Myths and Maths (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 31. Januar 2013

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From the reviews:

“This book takes the reader on an enjoyable adventure into the Tower of Hanoi puzzle (TH) and various related puzzles and objects. … The style of presentation is entertaining, at times humorous, and very thorough. The exercises ending each chapter are an essential part of the explication providing some definitions … and some proofs of the theorems or statements in the main text. … As such, the book will be an enjoyable read for any recreational mathematician … .” (Andrew Percy, zbMATH, Vol. 1285, 2014)

“This research monograph focuses on a large family of problems connected to the classic puzzle of the Tower of Hanoi. … The authors explain all the combinatorial concepts they use, so the book is completely accessible to an advanced undergraduate student. … Summing Up: Recommended. Comprehensive mathematics collections, upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty.” (M. Bona, Choice, Vol. 51 (3), November, 2013)

“The Tower of Hanoi is an example of a problem that is easy to state and understand, yet a thorough mathematical analysis of the problem and its extensions is lengthy enough to make a book. … there is enough implied mathematics in the action to make it interesting to professional mathematicians. … It was surprising to learn that the ‘simple’ problem of the Tower of Hanoi … could be the subject of a full semester special topics course in advanced mathematics.” (Charles Ashbacher, MAA Reviews, May, 2013)

“Gives an introduction to the problem and the history of the TH puzzle and other related puzzles, but it also introduces definitions and properties of graphs that are used in solving these problems. … Thus if you love puzzles, and more in particular the mathematics behind it, this is a book for you. … Also if you are looking for a lifelasting occupation, then you may find here a list of open problems that will keep you busy for a while.” (A. Bultheel, The European Mathematical Society, February, 2013)


This is the first comprehensive monograph on the mathematical theory of the solitaire game “The Tower of Hanoi” which was invented in the 19th century by the French number theorist Édouard Lucas. The book comprises a survey of the historical development from the game’s predecessors up to recent research in mathematics and applications in computer science and psychology. Apart from long-standing myths it contains a thorough, largely self-contained presentation of the essential mathematical facts with complete proofs, including also unpublished material. The main objects of research today are the so-called Hanoi graphs and the related Sierpiński graphs. Acknowledging the great popularity of the topic in computer science, algorithms and their correctness proofs form an essential part of the book. In view of the most important practical applications of the Tower of Hanoi and its variants, namely in physics, network theory, and cognitive (neuro)psychology, other related structures and puzzles like, e.g., the “Tower of London”, are addressed.

Numerous captivating integer sequences arise along the way, but also many open questions impose themselves. Central among these is the famed Frame-Stewart conjecture. Despite many attempts to decide it and large-scale numerical experiments supporting its truth, it remains unsettled after more than 70 years and thus demonstrates the timeliness of the topic.

Enriched with elaborate illustrations, connections to other puzzles and challenges for the reader in the form of (solved) exercises as well as problems for further exploration, this book is enjoyable reading for students, educators, game enthusiasts and researchers alike.

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Amazon.com: 2 Rezensionen
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An indispensible text on the Tower of Hanoi 15. März 2014
Von Robert Beeler - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book is written by four of the leading experts on the Tower of Hanoi. For this reason, it is destined to be an indispinsible resource for researchers interested in the Tower of Hanoi. One goal of the authors is to standardize notation and terminology in future manuscripts.

A bit about this book - It is not leisurely reading. This is a hardcore mathematical text. I would estimate that it is suitable for most first year graduate students and some advanced undergraduates. It is best read with a teacher and would make an excellent text for a special topics class or as a resource for a student doing a thesis/dissertation on the Tower of Hanoi. For this reason, I recommend it.

Some minor issues -
1) The book seems overly reliant on abbreviations. TH for Tower of Haoi is pretty self-explanatory and is used repeatedly. However, there are several abbreviations that the authors use a handful of times (even only once), with little fanfare. Given the existence of "search and replace," this seems like an unnecessary barrier to comprehension.
2) The book uses strange notation and often repeats its notation for different concepts. An example of their strange notation, at one point a formula features a box, stating that formula is true provided that the box is =,>,or <. Later they consider the case where "box =>" (i.e., the box is replaced with >).

In my opinion, the book is reasonably self-contained when it comes to the Tower of Hanoi. However, there are many techniques and concepts that go into this that the book either leaves out or skims over. For example, the reader should be confortable solving recurrence relations, elementary group theory, combinatorics (including Burnside's Lemma), graph theory, and algorithms. Fortunately, most of these concepts are developed as part of a good undergraduate education. At worst, these concepts can be fille in by a competent instructor or a dedicated student.

As I said, my concerns are minor and in no way should they deter an researcher or dedicated student from reading this book. However, like with all good math books, be prepared to spend a bit of time working through examples/exercises and making notes in the margins.
so it is not an easy read. The reader needs to know the Math 18. Februar 2015
Von Gregory P. Ludwa - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The Tower of Hanoi book has all you ever wanted to know about the history and mathematics of the puzzle. However, the book goes deep into the Math, so it is not an easy read. The reader needs to know the Math, but more importantly, the reader needs to know the Math Symbols. The book relies heavily on Math notation.
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