Ariadne


Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus
Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Greek mythology Ariadne is the daughter of King Minos of Crete.

After Theseus defeats a Minotaur, he escapes a labyrinth by tracing a ball of thread that he unrolled while entering, a ball that Ariadne had given him for that exact purpose.

Theseus traveled with Ariadne to Naxos but he didn’t stay there. Ariadne then married Dionysus.

The “Ariadne thread” myth is often used by writers and depth psychologists to portray some kind of solution to a complicated or baffling problem. It’s also used in logic to describe a process of finding a solution to a problem by keeping track of all the logical steps made in the analysis.

In computer programming, especially games, it refers to finding a goal by considering all possible steps—for example, in chess, computers can consider moves and their potential outcomes to predict the best possible one. Interestingly enough, contemporary human chess players now rely heavily on computer simulations before choosing their next move in professional tournaments. So in a sense, they’re acting out the myth of Ariadne’s thread.

The myth of Ariadne’s thread has also been portrayed in countless operas, musicals, and in the ballet.

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