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(The Final) Countdown

13 pagesPublished: December 18, 2015


The Countdown game is one of the oldest TV show in the
world. It started broadcasting in 1972 on the french television
and in 1982 on British channel 4, and it has been running since in
both countries.
The game, while extremely popular, never received any serious
scientific attention, probably because it seems too simple at first sight.
We present in this article an in-depth analysis of the
numbers round of the countdown game. This includes a complexity
analysis of the game, an analysis of existing algorithms and the presentation
of a new algorithm that increases resolution speed by a large factor.
It also includes some leads on how to turn the game into a
more difficult one, both for a human player and for a computer, and
even to transform it into a possibly undecidable problem.

Keyphrases: computer games, countdown game, countdown game variants

In: Georg Gottlob, Geoff Sutcliffe and Andrei Voronkov (editors). GCAI 2015. Global Conference on Artificial Intelligence, vol 36, pages 14--26

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Jean-Marc Alliot and Charlie Vanaret},
  title     = {(The Final) Countdown},
  booktitle = {GCAI 2015. Global Conference on Artificial Intelligence},
  editor    = {Georg Gottlob and Geoff Sutcliffe and Andrei Voronkov},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Computing},
  volume    = {36},
  pages     = {14--26},
  year      = {2015},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2398-7340},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/66z4}}
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