In this tutorial, you will learn about Backtracking and its approach to solve constraint satisfaction problems such as crosswords and puzzles

What is Backtracking?

Backtracking is a method for solving a constraint satisfaction problem by incrementally building candidates to the solution and abandoning a candidate as soon as it can not satisfy the constraint

Let's see a specific example

The N-Queen puzzle

Write an algorithm to place N chess queens on an NxN chessboard so that no two queens threaten each other; thus, a solution requires that no two queens share the same row, column or diagonal

Backtracking approach

int[][] board = new int[8][8] all cells default value are 0

isValid(board, row, col) ensures no two queens share the same row, column or diagonal

enumerate(board, col) tries all possible candidates starting from column 0 to 7, backtracks to remove the queen from the board as soon as can not build the solution

col == board.length means all queen are placed on the board

board[i][col] = 1 places a queen on the board at rows i and column col

board[i][col] = 0 removes the queen at rows i and column col from the board