Sunday, August 15, 2010

To P or NP, that is the question...

Interesting how two disparate fields like mathematics and philosophy can sometimes collide.

The dilemma? Is P≠NP - or not?

P≠NP vs P=NP poses the following question: If there is a problem that has this property - whereby you could recognize the correct answer when someone gives it to you - then is there some way to automatically find that correct answer?

Someone uses the useful analogy of a jigsaw puzzle: Solving the jigsaw takes time and effort, but determining whether you solved the problem correctly is merely a matter of glancing at the result. You know in an instant whether you got it right. Can we automate that? And can we automate the very essence of creativity? Food for thought. Read more about it here.

While we're at it, how about the Poincare Conjecture?

Or, how random is Pi? Can the value of Pi be legislated? Seems Indiana thought so... And, more fun Pi pics here (scroll down a bit). [Side thought: What does the word "random" really mean? Is there really such a thing as true randomness? Here's a place to start pondering this.]

Who said mathematics is boring?!?!

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