Applied Intelligence

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 18–31

An efficient algorithm for solving nonograms


DOI: 10.1007/s10489-009-0200-0

Cite this article as:
Yu, CH., Lee, HL. & Chen, LH. Appl Intell (2011) 35: 18. doi:10.1007/s10489-009-0200-0


Nonogram is one of logical games popular in Japan and Netherlands. Solving nonogram is a NP-complete problem. There are some related papers proposed. Some use genetic algorithm (GA), but the solution may get stuck in local optima. Some use depth first search (DFS) algorithm, the execution speed is very slow. In this paper, we propose a puzzle solving algorithm to treat these problems. Based on the fact that most of nonograms are compact and contiguous, some logical rules are deduced to paint some cells. Then, we use the chronological backtracking algorithm to solve those undetermined cells and logical rules to improve the search efficiently. Experimental results show that our algorithm can solve nonograms successfully, and the processing speed is significantly faster than that of DFS. Moreover, our method can determine that a nonogram has no solution.

Japanese puzzle Nonogram Depth first search Chronological backtracking 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceNational Chiao Tung UniversityHsinchuROC

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