Michigan State University computer science graduate student Randal S. Olson has created some detailed mathematical breakdowns demonstrating the optimal method for finding Waldo in the seven primary books in the Where’s Waldo? series. It’s a shockingly complex undertaking.
To provide some context, that’s more possible arrangements than the number of atoms in the universe. That’s so many possible arrangements that even if finding Waldo became an international priority and the world banded together to dedicate the 8.25 million computing cores from the world’s 10 largest supercomputers to the job, it would still take ~9.53 x 1077 years — about 6.35 x 1067x longer than the universe has existed — to exhaustively evaluate all possible combinations.
images via Randal Olson