Sam Loyd (1841–1911), American chess player and puzzle maker, created the sliding tiles puzzle in the 1870s. The puzzle is represented by an m×n grid, where m is number of columns and n is number of rows, and each cell can be any imaginable value (number, letter, image, and so on.)
The purpose of the puzzle is to rearrange the initial configuration of the tiles to match another configuration known as the goal configuration. The rearrangement task is achieved by swapping the empty tile with some other tile in all possible directions (up, down, left, and right).
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