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05-MagicCube

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Marián Trenkler

Magic squares fascinated people throughout centuries. A magic cube is a generalization of a magic square.

Probably the first magic cube appeared in a letter of Pierre de Fermat from 1640.

A magic cube of order n is a cubical array

Mn = [mn (i, j, k); 1 ≤ i, j, k ≤ n], (1)

containing natural numbers 1, 2, . . . , n3 such that the sums of the numbers along each row (n-tuple of elements

having the same coordinates in two places) and also along each of its four great diagonals are the same, e.i.

n(n3 +1)

2 .

Figure 1 shows the magic cube M3 which was constructed using the formula (1). The element m3 (1, 1, 1) = 8

is in three rows containing the triples {8, 15, 19}, {8, 24, 10}, {8, 12, 22}. On the four diagonals there are the

triples {8, 14, 20}, {19, 14, 9}, {10, 14, 18} and {6, 14, 22}.

Here we gives an algorithm for making magic cubes of order n 6= 2. The proof of the correctness of our

formulas follows from [3] and [4]. We use the following notation:

x (mod n) := the remainder after division of x by n

x := n + 1 − x,

x ∗

:= min{x, x}

(

n

0 for 1≤x≤ 2

e :=

x n

1 for 2 < x ≤ n.

We construct a magic cube Mn = [mn (i, j, k)] of order n using the following three formulas:

1. If n ≡ 1 (mod 2) then

with ai,j,k = (i − j + k − 1) (mod n), bi,j,k = (i − j − k) (mod n), ci,j,k = (i + j + k − 2) (mod n)

2. If n ≡ 0 (mod 4) then

(

(i − 1) n2 + (j − 1) n + k if F(i, j, k) = 1

mn (i, j, k) = 2

(i − 1) n + (j − 1) n + k if F(i, j, k) = 0

Figure 1:

1

where

j+e

F(i, j, k) = (i + j + k + ei + e k) (mod 2)

n

3. If n ≡ 2 (mod 4) (in this case t = 2 is odd) then

where

u = (i∗ − j ∗ + k ∗ ) (mod t) + 1,

j+e

v = 4ei + 2e k + 1, and

4 )

d(1, v) 7 3 6 2 5 1 4 0

d(2, v) 3 7 2 6 1 5 0 4

d(3, v) 0 1 3 2 5 4 6 7

d(2x + 2, v) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

d(2x + 3, v) 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Using analogous formulas it is easy to make a computer program which constructs a magic square for every

n 6= 2.

References

[1] W.S.Andrews, Magic Squares and Cubes, Dover, New York, 1960

[2] W.H.Benson, O.Jacoby, Magic cubes, New recreations, Dover, New York, 1981

[3] M.Trenkler, A construction of magic cubes, The Mathematical Gazette, 84, 36–41, March 2000

[4] M.Trenkler, Magic p-dimensional cubes, Acta Arithmetica 96, 361–364, 1998

e-mail: trenkler@fedu.ku.sk

(Published - The ΠM E Journal, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 105-106, Spring 2005)

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