Part of the culture of mathematics is to create a list of important mathematics problems and offer a reward for solving them. The Clay Mathematics Institute is currently offer $1,000,000 to anyone who can solve one of seven problems. Grigori Perelman famously solved one of the problems: the PoincarĂ© Conjecture (he also famously declined the million dollars).

A second paper has been submitted; this time, a proposed solution to the “P vs. NP” problem. If true, Vinay Deolalikar will be awarded $1,000,000.

This will not be sorted out for several months (at least), but people generally seem to agree that he has a chance (i.e. he is not a crank). Still, there is quite a bit of skepticism. Several experts have concerns about aspects of the proof, although they are not certain that any actual errors exist. Plus, Scott Aaronson has wagered $200,000 of his own money that an error will be found in the proof.

Even if Deolalikar has a correct proof, there would still be $5 million left (five questions at $1 million per question) in prize money. You should probably start working now.

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Tags: Millennium Prize Problems

This entry was posted on August 10, 2010 at 3:21 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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September 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm |

For people who are really intent on becoming a millionaire, this has to be about the hardest way to go about it!

September 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm |

Sure, slow and steady investment is much easier; but solving a really hard math problem is a much more fulfilling way of earning a million dollars!

At least, I am guessing this is true. I have not yet solved a math problem for a million dollars yet. Nor have I become a millionaire. Perhaps I do not have much authority in this conversation…

Bret

January 2, 2011 at 2:48 pm |

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