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## How the Web Rallied To Review the P != NP Claim160

An anonymous reader writes "Remember, about a month ago, when a researcher claimed he had a proof that P != NP? Well, the proof hasn't held up. But blogs and news sites helped spur a massive, open, collaborative effort on the Internet to understand the paper and to see if its ideas could be extended. This article explains what happened, how the proof was supposed to work, and why it failed."
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## How the Web Rallied To Review the P != NP Claim

• #### The greatest gift (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @02:58PM (#33538130)

No matter the flaws with his paper, this guy has certainly managed to inspire a whole lot of people to delve into a subject and collaborate on it.

Those who think deep thoughts are precious. Those who manage to inspire thousands of others to do so...

• #### Re:A simpler proof? Please? (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:00PM (#33538164)

there should be a simpler way to go about showing that P != NP

that simpler way would only exist if P = NP

• #### Re:A simpler proof? Please? (Score:2, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:10PM (#33538296)

Considering that Wiles's proof for Fermat's Last Theorem, which is a number theory problem that can be trivially stated, was ridiculously complex and used some crazy maths that weren't even discovered in Fermat's time, I don't think you can really estimate the size of a proof by the complexity of the problem stated.

• #### Ah, but what if it had held up??? (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:11PM (#33538312) Homepage Journal

"Remember, about a month ago, when a researcher claimed he had a proof that P != NP? Well, after a month of vigorous examination by ordinary netizens and Nobel-prize-winning mathematicians, it looks like it's going to hold up. Blogs and news sites helped spur a massive, open, collaborative effort on the Internet to understand the paper and to see if its ideas could be extended. This article explains what happened, how the proof works, and the holes experts and laymen attempted to punch in it and why the proof is still standing."

• #### Re:A simpler proof? Please? (Score:3, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:17PM (#33538386) Homepage

But we don't know that the current proof is the *only* proof. There may very well be a simpler one out there.

As for the problem simplicity vs. the proof simplicity, that's not what I said. I stated that related problems (in the same field) have simple proofs.

• #### Great story (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:17PM (#33538388)

This has been one of the best slashdot posts in a long, long while.

I'm gonna have to renew my subscription to Science News. Kudos to Ms. Rehmeyer.

• #### Re:A simpler proof? Please? (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:19PM (#33538410) Homepage

Science may lead to facts, but it's not an automated process. Believe it or not, human emotions and intuition are involved with every scientific discovery!

• #### Re:A simpler proof? Please? (Score:3, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @03:37PM (#33538626)
In fact Fermat would have himself needed a much simpler (and thus different) proof.......unless he made a mistake/made it up
• #### Pi, what a waste of time (Score:2, Insightful)

on Friday September 10, 2010 @05:06PM (#33539822)
Just think of all the computing power, resources have been WASTED over the years trying to figure out the final digits to pi. Does it really matter if their are 1,000,000, 1,000,000,000, or 1,000,000,000,000 digits of pi? For 99.9% of the public, 3.14xxx is good enough.

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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