Sunday, August 8, 2010

Summer School

I'll post new trivia in a bit, but since I do claim to talk about math here, I would be remiss not to point out a shocker in the world of mathematics: A possible proof that P ≠ NP. There's been no confirmation that the proof is correct (the paper is only two days old), but it certainly doesn't appear to be a joke.
The shock is not so much the result (I think P=NP would have been the bigger surprise), but that there was little warning that anyone was close to proving it. This has big implications for computer science. For example, data encryption that relies on factoring large numbers (a problem known to be in NP) is secure, in that there is no algorithm that will allow an adversary to quickly find the decryption key.
We do live in interesting times. Here's hoping the proof is correct.

(HT: This guy.)

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