The game "Flow Free" in which you connect coloured dots with lines is very popular. A human can learn techniques to play it.
I was wondering how an AI might approach it. There are certain rules of thumb that a human learns, e.g. connecting dots on the edges one should keep to the edge.
Most of the time it appears the best approach is a depth-first search, e.g. one tries very long paths to see if they work. Combined with rules of thumbs and inferences such as "don't leave gaps". Also "Don't cut off one dot from another dot of the same colour".
But there are ways to "not leave gaps" such as keep within one square of another line. That humans seem to be able to grasp but seems harder for an AI to learn.
In fact I wonder if the rule of thumb "keep close to other lines" might even require some kind of internal language.
I mean to even understand the rules of the game one would think one would need language. (Could an ape solve one of these puzzles? I doubt it.)
So basically I'm trying to solve how an AI could come up with these technqiues for solving puzzles like Flow Free. (Techniques that might not work in all cases).
Perhaps, humans have an innate understanding of concepts such as "keep close to the wall" and "don't double back on yourself" and can combine them in certain ways. Also we are able to spot simple regions quickly bounded by objects.
I think a built in understanding of "regions" would be key. And the key concept that dots can't be joined unless they are in the same region. And we have got to a dead-end if:
- There is an empty region
- There is a region with a dot without it's pair
Still I don't think this is enough.