Thursday, January 4, 2024

UTSA psychology student to compete in Rubik’s Cube competition

UTSA psychology student to compete in Rubik’s Cube competition

UTSA student Brandon McClelland poses for a photo at the CubingUSA Nationals 2023 in Pittsburgh this past July, where he ranked 196th out of 1,014 challengers.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2023 — lt took Brandon McClelland a minute-and-a-half the first time he tried solving a Rubik’s Cube. The UTSA junior now competes against others in state and national competitions where he averages about 10 seconds to solve the puzzle.

While practicing at home, he’s reduced his speed a few times to the coveted four- or five-second mark. He learned this skill the way a lot of people learn things these days-watching YouTube videos.

“When I was in middle school, it was kind of a craze in Boerne,” McClelland said. “Everyone wanted to solve it, but it seems I am the only one who stuck with it. I latched on to it and I just really, really enjoyed it.”

McClelland started competing in 2017 but took a short hiatus during high school. Recently, he began competing again and has participated in two competitions this year with a third already lined up.


“Learning to recognize patterns and recognizing them quickly definitely feels like a good skill to have that can be applied to other things in life.”



He ranked 196th out of 1,014 challengers at the CubingUSA Nationals 2023 in Pittsburgh this past July. McClelland's next competition will be Cube with Attention in Denton on September 16, where he will be one of a hundred challengers vying for a top score-five seconds or less.

“It’s a lot of memorizing algorithms, which is just a sequence of moves that make the pieces move around the way you want them to,” he said. “For the standard method most people use to solve the cube, there are about 80 algorithms you have to learn.”

McClelland continued, “The top Rubik’s Cube solvers in the world know hundreds to thousands of algorithms and it is part of what makes them faster than everyone else.”

He’s spent hours twisting and turning the small multicolored cubes with the single goal of having each face of the cube a solid color.

He knows about 70 to 80 algorithms.

Part of the attraction to solving a Rubik’s Cube for McClelland is the effect it’s had on him.

“It’s relaxing to me, kind of therapeutic,” McClelland said. “I can sit for hours and continuously practice and solve. My mind is focused on that, even though I usually I watch TV when I am doing it. But it gives me an escape from everything else. Plus, being a part of these competitions is a great way to meet new people and make new friends.”


EXPLORE FURTHER
Learn more about the UTSA Department of Psychology.

McClelland is a psychology major who is minoring in criminal justice in the College for Health, Community and Policy. He hopes to put his problem-solving skills to work with his local law enforcement agency by joining the department's community division.

“Every time you solve a Rubik’s Cube it is a different scramble; it’s not always the same,” he said. “Learning to recognize patterns and recognizing them quickly definitely feels like a good skill to have that can be applied to other things in life.”

Michelle Gaitan



UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu.


UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.


Spotlight

Spotlight

dtc-utsa-sign_680.png
University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.