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In general, each pattern must be tried in each of 8 different permutations, to reflect the symmetry of the board. But some patterns have symmetries which mean that it is unnecessary (and therefore inefficient) to try all eight. The first character after the `:' can be one of `8',`|',`\',`/', `X', `-', `+', representing the axes of symmetry. It can also be `O', representing symmetry under 180 degrees rotation.
transformation I - | . \ l r / ABC GHI CBA IHG ADG CFI GDA IFC DEF DEF FED FED BEH BEH HEB HEB GHI ABC IHG CBA CFI ADG IFC GDA a b c d e f g h |
Then if the pattern has the following symmetries, the following are true:
| c=a, d=b, g=e, h=f - b=a, c=d, e=f, g=h \ e=a, g=b, f=c, h=d / h=a, f=b, g=c, e=d O a=d, b=c, e=h, f=g X a=d=e=h, b=c=f=g + a=b=c=d, e=f=g=h |
We can choose to use transformations a,d,f,g as the unique transformations for patterns with either `|', `-', `\', or `/' symmetry.
Thus we choose to order the transformations a,g,d,f,h,b,e,c and choose first 2 for `X' and `+', the first 4 for `|', `-', `/', and `\', the middle 4 for `O', and all 8 for non-symmetrical patterns.
Each of the reflection operations (e-h) is equivalent to reflection about one arbitrary axis followed by one of the rotations (a-d). We can choose to reflect about the axis of symmetry (which causes no net change) and can therefore conclude that each of e-h is equivalent to the reflection (no-op) followed by a-d. This argument therefore extends to include `-' and `/' as well as `|' and `\'.
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