Hanoi Jane

Counting in binary to solve the Towers of Hanoi

Surely there are easier ways to do this?

Yes, there are. This is very much a Solved Problem. However, I was inspired to implement this solution after watching 3 Blue 1 Brown's fascinating video, in which Grant relates the Towers Of Hanoi to the Rhythm Of Counting In Binary:


Running it

bundle exec rake
bundle exec rake install
hanoi console

(or just gem install hanoi-jane, of course)

Constrained version

There is a constrained variant of the problem, with the restriction that a disc may only move to an adjacent stack. I've also implemented the solution for this (which maps to the Rhythm Of Counting In Ternary) - you can run this with

hanoi console --discs 6 --constrained


To use it in your own code, try something like:

require 'hanoi/jane'

towers = 2
towers.each do |state|
  puts state.inspect

which will give you:

{:stacks=>[[1, 0], [], []], :moves=>0, :moved=>{:disc=>nil, :from=>nil, :to=>nil}, :ternary=>"00"}
{:stacks=>[[1], [0], []], :moves=>1, :moved=>{:disc=>0, :from=>0, :to=>1}, :ternary=>"01"}
{:stacks=>[[1], [], [0]], :moves=>2, :moved=>{:disc=>0, :from=>1, :to=>2}, :ternary=>"02"}
{:stacks=>[[], [1], [0]], :moves=>3, :moved=>{:disc=>1, :from=>0, :to=>1}, :ternary=>"10"}
{:stacks=>[[], [1, 0], []], :moves=>4, :moved=>{:disc=>0, :from=>2, :to=>1}, :ternary=>"11"}
{:stacks=>[[0], [1], []], :moves=>5, :moved=>{:disc=>0, :from=>1, :to=>0}, :ternary=>"12"}
{:stacks=>[[0], [], [1]], :moves=>6, :moved=>{:disc=>1, :from=>1, :to=>2}, :ternary=>"20"}
{:stacks=>[[], [0], [1]], :moves=>7, :moved=>{:disc=>0, :from=>0, :to=>1}, :ternary=>"21"}
{:stacks=>[[], [], [1, 0]], :moves=>8, :moved=>{:disc=>0, :from=>1, :to=>2}, :ternary=>"22"}

where moved is the disc that was moved last


In order to over-engineer this, I've wrapped a very thin Flask app around the MicroDot pHAT. Try

hanoi phat --phat <address_of_your_pi> --interval 0.1

to watch this all play out on the pHAT:



Who hasn't, at some time in their life, wanted to play Towers of Hanoi on the Github commit-history graph? I've now built a formatter to generate output suitable for this - see hanoi-painter for more on how it all works