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The Basics

Meet the Cube

The Rubik’s Cube is a 3D combination puzzle originally invented in 1974 by Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture Ernő Rubik. It is originally called the Magic Cube and consists of six colored sides. There are many different kinds of cubes are available now on the market, but we think that for magic, the best is the original design.

As an interesting side note, we, as Hungarians, had the opportunity to connect with Ernő Rubik, the inventor of the cube, about our CubeSmith app. We were fortunate to be able to reach out to him and he was impressed with our efforts. Despite having transferred the rights of the cube, he remains fascinated with the topic and has even written a book detailing the history and story of his creation (Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All – available in Hungarian, English, and German), which we highly recommend reading.

Since its invention in 1974, the cube has gained widespread popularity around the globe and has become the subject of many research studies, including studies in the fields of mathematics, engineering, and computer science. The cube has also given birth to the speedcubing community, where people compete to solve the cube in the fastest time possible and there are multiple World championship events, which are held every year. Even with the aid of modern technology, the most efficient algorithm to solve every possible state of the cube remains an open problem in the field of combinatorial mathematics, known as “God’s algorithm”. The CubeSmith app is designed to find a solution quickly, with as few moves as possible, using just a mobile phone without the need for a supercomputer.

In addition, the Rubik’s cube has been a source of inspiration for many other puzzles, creating a whole genre of twisty puzzles. Many variations have been created, with different shapes, numbers of layers, and methods of movement. These variations include but are not limited to Pyraminx, Mirror cube, Skewb, and many more.

Sides and Layers

Each side of the cube is made up of nine smaller squares, each of which can be rotated. The goal of the puzzle is to return the cube to its original state, where each side is a solid color.

The six sides of the cube are typically colored white, red, blue, orange, green, and yellow. Each of the nine squares on a side can be one of these colors. The cube has a total of 26 smaller pieces, called “cubies”, which can rotate independently of each other.

The cube has six basic layers:

  1. The Up (U) layer, which is the top face of the cube.
  2. The Down (D) layer, which is the bottom face of the cube.
  3. The Front (F) layer, which is the face facing the solver.
  4. The Back (B) layer, which is the face opposite the Front face.
  5. The Left (L) layer, which is the face to the left of the solver.
  6. The Right (R) layer, which is the face to the right of the solver.

And have additional layers beyond the six basic ones:

  1. The Middle (M) layer, which is the layer that runs horizontally through the center of the cube, perpendicular to the Front and Back layers.
  2. The Equator (E) layer, which is the layer that runs horizontally through the center of the cube, perpendicular to the Left and Right layers.
  3. The Standing (S) layer, which is the layer that runs vertically through the center of the cube, perpendicular to the Up and Down layers.

These three layers are for more advanced solving methods, the standard method does not use them, and it’s only used in some speed-solving methods. The CubeSmith app is not using them.

The cube can be manipulated by twisting its different layers, each of them can be rotated clockwise or counter-clockwise, and they are referred to by the letter of the layer, followed by the direction of the turn (e.g., U for a clockwise turn of the Up layer, or U’ for a counter-clockwise turn of the Up layer).


There are several different algorithms and techniques that can be used to solve the cube. One popular method is called the “layer by layer” method, where the solver starts by solving one layer of the cube, then moves on to the next layer, and so on until the entire cube is solved.

Another method is called the “CFOP” method, which stands for “Cross, F2L, OLL, PLL.” The cross algorithm is used to solve the top layer of the cube, the F2L algorithm is used to solve the second layer, OLL algorithm is used to orient the last layer, and the PLL algorithm is used to permute the last layer.

There are also several other algorithms and methods that can be used to solve the cube, such as the Roux method, Petrus method, and ZZ method, to name a few.

In solving the Rubik’s cube, there are a few terms that are commonly used such as:

  • Scrambling: Mixing up the cube in a random way before attempting to solve it.
  • Algorithm: A specific sequence of moves used to accomplish a certain task on the cube.
  • Move notation: a standard way of describing the rotations of the cube, for example, R for turning the right face 90 degrees clockwise.

Learning Cube Solving

Solving a cube can be a challenging but rewarding experience. While you don’t have to know it to solve the cube with the CubeSmith app, we are recommending learning at least the basics.

It requires patience, practice, and a good understanding of the different algorithms and techniques that can be used to solve the cube. With practice, anyone can learn how to solve a Rubik’s cube.