For natural and artificial systems with some symmetry structure, computational understanding and manipulation can be achieved without learning by exploiting the algebraic structure. This algebraic coordinatization is based on a hierarchical (de)composition method. Here we describe this method and apply it to permutation puzzles. Coordinatization yields a structural understanding, not just solutions for the puzzles. In the case of the Rubik’s Cubes, different solving strategies correspond to different decompositions.