[W]e had to end the show with a setup where everybody was back in the universe they should be in and all the boxes were in a place where they could not be destroyed, and I know we spent an entire night on it. There was one zero base universe where there was only passing through it. The deal was also that you could actually take one box into another box, outside its own universe. That was a useful trick. We came up with an algorithm, essentially a breadth-first way of putting boxes into boxes and cycling way back, at the end of which you toss the final superbox into the standard universe and then everything was done. We proved the correctness. It was a linear time algorithm.
We went back and pitched it to the number one room - the non-scientists in particular stared at us as though we were completely insane and had come from another planet through the parabox ourselves to tell them this story. So in the end, we used a much simpler and cheaper solution, where you can magically pull a box through a box. That was very disappointing because we were all extremely proud of our result. It was close to publishable, I would say, in something like information processing. We would do that kind of stuff occasionally.
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