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Press Conference

Time Intermedia Creates Automated Number Place Puzzle Generator

SHINJUKU, Tokyo -- August 28, 2006

Time Intermedia Co. (Shinjuku, Tokyo. CEO: Takayuki Satoh, Operating Funds 123,250,000 yen) is pleased to announce the completion of a highly efficient automated Number Place (also known under the trademarked name Sudoku) puzzle generation system. In conjunction, Time Intermedia Co. will be holding a press conference and puzzle generation demonstration at the following time and place.

Time:   September 6, 2006  Registration:  13:00  Event: 13:30-15:00
Place:  Akihabara Dai Building 12th Floor
        Wakkanai Hokusei Gakuen University, Tokyo Satellite Campus
Access: Akihabara Cross Field, Dai Building

Created in 1979 in America, Number Place found maturity on the shores of Japan. In 1997 a traveler named Wayne Gould picked up a Japanese puzzle book. Inspired by the Number Place puzzles he found inside, Mr. Gould spent the next six years creating a computer program to automate the generation of puzzles. His program was adopted by British newspaper The Times in 2004, leading to an explosion in the popularity of Number Place. This year the craze expands to Japan where people are re-importing Number Place en masse.

While automated Number Place puzzle generation systems have existed for years, computer-generated puzzles have been considered inferior to their hand-made counterparts. However, this year things change. Time Intermedia has completed a new system founded in the thought processes of the world's expert puzzle makers. The system combines artificial intelligence, information engineering, and the latest tricks in the JAVA programming language to mass produce Number Place puzzles of the same quality as those produced by human experts. Witness the swift creation of puzzles via a simple button press.

Research and development of the system began in 2000 as part of the Information-Technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA) "Information Venture Enterprise and Support Software Development Enterprise" project. This year, the group compiled their research into a program that can easily create one book's worth of high quality puzzles over a single night of unsupervised processing.

In October, a website featuring puzzles created by the program will be released by popular puzzle magazine publishing company Gakushu Kenkyusha Gakken Co., LTD. International distribution of puzzles will be conducted with the cooperation of Neowing Co., an international distributor of Japanese CDs and DVDs (CDJapan).

Sample Automatically Generated Puzzles

Q1 Very Easy
Q2 Easy
Q3 Medium
Q4 Medium
  1. The numbers 1-9 can be used once in any 9-space column or row
  2. The numbers 1-9 may also only be used once in any 9-space box (defined by bold lines)
  3. Therefore, a number may only appear once in any column, row, or 9-space box.

Answers to Sample Questions


Press Contact:
Hirofumi Fujiwara fuji@timedia.co.jp
Time Intermedia Co.
Information Engineering Center (Chishiki Kogaku Center) Puzzle Project Room
http://www.timedia.co.jp/(Sorry, Japanese only)
03-5362-9009 (Phone)
03-5362-9008 (FAX)

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