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ZBLL history and making the case for a name change (PHLL / HPLL)

Athefre

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Jul 25, 2006
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I’m going to quickly cover the history of one of the most popular algorithm sets in the puzzle community. I’ve been talking for a while about the history of this last layer subset in the ZZ and Reddit Discord servers. I think it’s time to discuss this with the entire community.

Around 2001 and 2002, Zbigniew Zborowski and Ron van Bruchem proposed the idea of solving the final F2L corner and edge while orienting the last layer edges. Then the solver finishes the last layer using a single algorithm. Below is a link to the original website.

ZB Method website

Zbigniew and Ron called this a new 3x3x3 method, the ZB method. They didn’t call the final last layer step ZBLL. That is something that the community started calling it. The earliest use of the acronym ZBLL that I’ve found comes from Makisumi Shotaro in a post where he is discussing how algorithm sets should be named.

However, there is a problem. The Petrus method already existed with an all edges oriented last layer. Further, someone by the name of Bernard Helmstetter generated all of the algorithms for a single look Petrus last layer before the ZB method was proposed. Even more, these algorithms were published by Ron on speedcubing.com, his own website. The entire community knew about and was using this website. The fact that Ron and Zbigniew themselves knew about this last layer subset having already been generated for the Petrus method is further evidenced by the fact that Zbigniew says on his site “The conception of above combine is not new! Bernard Helmstetter created this for Lars Petrus a few years ago.” then provides a link to Helmstetter’s algorithms. Lars Petrus had even started trying to learn the full set and said that a one look all edges oriented last layer is "a very good way to exploit the advantage of the Petrus method".

Bernard Helmstetter's website

Zbigniew Zborowski's last layer page (with mention of Helmstetter's work)

Lars Petrus’ last layer page (with discussion about Helmstetter’s algorithms)

Helmstetter's algorithm list on speedcubing.com

1651321224973.png

My proposal is that it is most logical to call the oriented edges last layer subset PHLL or HPLL. P for Petrus and H for Helmstetter. Or a generic acronym as with CFOP. As mentioned, it seems that Ron and Zbigniew didn’t create the acronym ZBLL. The core idea of the ZB method was "ZBLS" then using the already existing idea (Petrus, Helmstetter, and others) and algorithms (Helmstetter) for a one-look oriented edges last layer. The last layer name appears to have been a mistake by the community. Extending the ZB acronym from the proposed ZB method through to the last layer.

I know the immediate reaction from some will be opposition to the proposal of a name change. It’s a natural occurrence in almost every situation. People don’t like change. The easy rebuttal being popularization. However, I think that just like the Fridrich -> CFOP situation, this one makes sense. Giving the most credit in the form of the name of the last layer subset.
 
Last edited:

Athefre

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Jul 25, 2006
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As kind of an update, most of the discussion has occurred on FaceBook. There haven't really been many argument points against this. Just some anger at the thought of a name change. A bit of doubt and push back on who was involved in development and a point was brought up that in the early 2000s Lars Petrus and the rest of the community didn't think a one look last layer was a good idea and so Ron and Zbigniew get big points there. However, that is actually an incorrect claim. In 2003 Lars Petrus had been trying to learn the full set and said that it is "a very good way to exploit the advantage of the Petrus method". I have added a screenshot of this to the main post. Also, in those years the community had been trending towards the discussion of a one look last layer in the Speed Solving Rubik's Cube Yahoo group.

Name changes are difficult. But we should at least change the wiki page. The proposers, proposal year, and the history. Because Zbigniew Zborowski and Ron van Bruchem certainly didn't propose solving the last layer in one step. In fact, their proposal was "F2L-1 > ZBLS > Use Helmstetter's algorithms from the Petrus method to solve the last layer" as written right on the ZB method website. The ZB method wasn't the first to have an all edges oriented last layer. The big method with that came 20 years before - the Petrus method. Many people had likely thought of a one look last layer (edges oriented or not) during the 80s. As far as we know Zbigniew and Ron weren't involved in the development and definitely not the proposal. They were involved only in the popularity. This is in contrast to CFOP where Jessica Fridrich had provided her own development in additional F2L solutions and OLL + PLL.
 

Billabob

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Jul 12, 2018
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Hi, what's the status on the terms HPLL or PHLL? I haven't seen them used or even mentioned outside of this thread. Asking because someone made a rather clunky edit to the Wiki that inserted "/HPLL/PHLL" a few more times on the ZBLL page. It makes sense for there to be a passing reference to the history of the method but I don't think it's necessary to list all 3 names every time, especially if the revised terms see no actual use. Would love to know how widely used it is though as I'm not active in the Facebook sphere of cubing.
 

Athefre

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Jul 25, 2006
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Hi, what's the status on the terms HPLL or PHLL? I haven't seen them used or even mentioned outside of this thread. Asking because someone made a rather clunky edit to the Wiki that inserted "/HPLL/PHLL" a few more times on the ZBLL page. It makes sense for there to be a passing reference to the history of the method but I don't think it's necessary to list all 3 names every time, especially if the revised terms see no actual use. Would love to know how widely used it is though as I'm not active in the Facebook sphere of cubing.
I just checked and yeah, I see the change.

I'm not sure how to handle the name. It depends on how the community as a whole feels. If we want a name change, then the new name has to be used in various places so that everyone is aware. If we don't want a change then just leave it as it was and keep this post there as a reference to the history of the LL subset. I said a couple of times in the Facebook discussion that this isn't any kind of world ending issue. Only that I believe in making corrections and crediting the right people. Others don't really care and maybe that's ok.
 

OreKehStrah

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It’s really a weird situation. On one hand I’d would be nice for proper credit to be given but changing the name when ZB is such a colloquial term these days would be hard and problematic. I’d rather see all names be removed from it and just call it something descriptive like OELL (oriented edges LL) or something like that.
 

IsThatA4x4

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It’s really a weird situation. On one hand I’d would be nice for proper credit to be given but changing the name when ZB is such a colloquial term these days would be hard and problematic. I’d rather see all names be removed from it and just call it something descriptive like OELL (oriented edges LL) or something like that.
I think something like you said could be a really good approach, not only because it removes actual names from the equation, but often we see people in the community asking what ZBLL is; if it was called OELL or EOLL, that would happen less.
 

TheEpicCuber

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I think something like you said could be a really good approach, not only because it removes actual names from the equation, but often we see people in the community asking what ZBLL is; if it was called OELL or EOLL, that would happen less.
Uh, CEOPLL. Corner+edge orientation+permutation of last layer.
 

xyzzy

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Dec 24, 2015
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I am opposed to "EOLL" and "OELL" for two reasons:
1. These names are already used to refer to the EO step in two-look OLL.
2. The corner-analogues of those names, "COLL" and "OCLL", don't mean analogous alg sets. (Arguably, that's because "OCLL" and "COLL" have bad names…)

As far as renaming ZBLL to "HPLL" or "PHLL" goes, I could get behind that, but it would really help if someone could just decide once and for all which order to use instead of the currently clunky "HPLL or PHLL".
 
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