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Professor sets Elite Dangerous record using actual science

(Image credit: Frontier Developments)

Dr. Kevin Hamlen, a computer science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, was searching for the fastest route from Sol (that's our solar system) to Colonia, a system 22,000 light years away, in Elite Dangerous.

The previous record, set by Commander St4r Fox, was 1:55:32, but Hamlen and his six-year-old son Will managed the journey in 1:38:11.

"I realised that the problem of finding the fastest way to get from Earth to Colonia is actually a famous graph theory problem we teach in computer science," Hamlen told the UT Dallas magazine.

He says he solved the problem by analysing a "directed graph" to identify a "least-cost path", which I'm going to pretend I understand.

"I thought it would be fun to see how well I could do using science to solve it," he says. "I downloaded star map data and wrote some computer code to search for optimal flight paths, and then flew the route it discovered, with Will at my side calling out course corrections."

You can read more about Hamlen and his son's achievement on Sagittarius Eye.

If it’s set in space, Andy will probably write about it. He loves sci-fi, adventure games, taking screenshots, Twin Peaks, weird sims, Alien: Isolation, and anything with a good story. He lives in Yorkshire and spends far too much time on Twitter.