Solving jigsaw puzzles by computer


An algorithm to assemble large jigsaw puzzles using curve matching and combinatorial optimization techniques is presented. The pieces are photographed one by one and then the assembly algorithm, which uses only the puzzle piece shape information, is applied. The algorithm was experimented successfully in the assembly of 104-piece puzzles with many almost similar pieces. It was also extended to solve an intermixed puzzle assembly problem and has successfully solved a 208-piece puzzle consisting of two intermixed 104-piece puzzles. Previous results solved puzzles with about 10 pieces, which were substantially different in shape.

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Work on this paper has been supported by Office of Naval Research Grant N00014-82-K-0381, National Science Foundation Grant No. NSF-DCR-83-20085, and by grants from the Digital Equipment Corporation, and the IBM Corporation.

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Wolfson, H., Schonberg, E., Kalvin, A. et al. Solving jigsaw puzzles by computer. Ann Oper Res 12, 51–64 (1988).

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  • Computer vision
  • curve matching
  • jigsaw puzzle assembly
  • traveling salesman
  • assignment
  • pattern recognition
  • 2-D shape