## Card Stacking is a game on a computer starting with an array of $N$ cards labelled $1,2,\ldots,N$.

A stack of cards can be moved by dragging horizontally with the mouse to another stack but only when the resulting stack is in sequence. The goal of the game is to combine the cards into a single stack using minimal total drag distance.

For the given arrangement of 6 cards the minimum total distance is $1 + 3 + 1 + 1 + 2 = 8$.

For $N$ cards, the cards are arranged so that the card at position $n$ is $3^n\bmod(N+1), 1\le n\le N$.

We define $G(N)$ to be the minimal total drag distance to arrange these cards into a single sequence.

For example, when $N = 6$ we get the sequence $3,2,6,4,5,1$ and $G(6) = 8$.

You are given $G(16) = 47$.

Find $G(976)$.

Note: $G(N)$ is not defined for all values of $N$.

### The key to understanding this problem is to find a pattern in the way the cards are initially arranged and how to move them in the optimal way. After observing the game for small values of $N$, we can find a pattern in the form of a binary tree. This tree has the property that the value of each node is greater than all values of its left children and less than all values of its right children.

The arrangement of the cards is a permutation of $1,2, \cdots , N$, where each card $n$ is placed at the position that is $3^n mod (N + 1)$. The modulus operation wraps the values around, so that when $3^n$ is more than $(N + 1)$, it will start from $1$ again. This creates a cyclic effect, making the problem more complicated.

For stacks of cards, it is optimal to move the smallest card first as it will never need to be moved again. Therefore, we need to calculate the distance to move the card $1$ first, then card $2$ and so on.

The initial position of card $n$ is $3^n mod (N + 1)$, so the distance to move card $n$ is $abs(3^n mod (N + 1) – n)$ where $abs()$ is the absolute function.

We can calculate $G(N)$ by summing up the distances to move each card. Note that this doesn’t take into account the order of moves, so we need to adjust the distances according to the order of moves.

However, calculating the exact solution for $G(976)$ using this method is not feasible as it would take too long. We need to find a more efficient approach. The efficient approach would most likely involve some form of dynamic-programming or recursive solution, but there isn’t enough information here to define that solution. I recommend looking for patterns in the permutation for small values of $N$, or trying to take advantage of the properties of the tree structure. The full solution might be quite complex and might involve non-trivial number theory or combinatorics.

##### More Answers:

A Messy DinnerTriangular Pizza

Near Power Sums