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Math Science

Indian Mathematician Takes Shot At Proving Riemann Hypothesis 160

First time accepted submitter jalfreize writes "Indian Mathematician Rohit Gupta (known by the moniker @fadesingh on twitter) has announced an online workshop which he intends to 'conclude by attacking an important problem in front of (the participants), in public view.' The problem is the Riemann Hypothesis, first proposed in 1859. Rohit outlines his approach based on quasicrystals first outlined by Freeman Dyson. His audacious plan, coupled with this recent news about quasicrystals, has kicked up a storm of interest in the Indian twitterverse."
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Indian Mathematician Takes Shot At Proving Riemann Hypothesis

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  • Indians (Score:1, Troll)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
    Indians and math? Who said Indians can do math.... /epic troll
  • by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @05:52PM (#37632622)

    Hot proof action! In public!

  • Oh boy (Score:1, Redundant)

    I'll be watching the number of racist comments and unfunny "curry" comments on this thread with great interest.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      starting off with the first hint of such with your very own post too! very clever

    • Re:Oh boy (Score:5, Funny)

      by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:14PM (#37632892)
      Looks like someone is trying to curry favor with the mods.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      He will talk about quasicrystals and the Riemann hypothesis, not lambda calculus. [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As an American-born Asian Indian, I know the pain of real racism. But a lot of what people like you consider to be "racism" has absolutely nothing to do with actual racism, and in fact has nothing to do with race at all!

      It's understandable why many people in Western nations have a bad opinion of Indians, especially when technology or science is involved. No, English-speaking Americans won't be happy at all when they call some tech support line, trying to get help with a critical problem, only to have some g

      • I had an Indian professor for a couple of math classes (ring theory and group theory) back in the mid 1970s. I had no difficulty understanding his accent - it was the mathematics that gave me difficulties.
      • Re:Oh boy (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:56PM (#37633262)

        That's sure not my experience with Indians. So what if someone on a call center doesn't know jack? Most of them here in the US don't either.

        The Indian students here at the university I work at have always been excellent and fun to work with. (My fave joke from one of them: "The British gave us bureaucracy. But we PERFECTED it.")

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          To be fair people can't be blamed for having that viewpoint though, as it's one that's been as much cultivated as a result of ignorance as it has Indian government and companies themselves.

          The issue is that when India was making it's drive for companies to use it's outsourced call centres it's government and companies were making the case that all the staff in them were well trained highly skilled graduates. When customers get on the phone to them however it was not just an issue of language barriers, it wa

      • by tibit ( 1762298 )

        Sometime in 1989 or very early 1990, I called Samna for help with their Ami Pro product. I believe it was bundled with a runtime of Windows 2.something. I was calling from Poland, no less, and, perhaps surprisingly, I had a legally obtained boxed product (smuggled from abroad). Not only did they agree with my bug report, but in about two weeks I've received a set of floppies with an updated version that had the bug fixed!! I will never forget that experience. I wish they weren't acquired and could independe

        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          "legally obtained boxed product (smuggled) from abroad"??!!!

          Perhaps it's not only the Indians who have trouble with English.

          • by tibit ( 1762298 )

            It was legally obtained in the sense of copyright law. The "smuggling" was perhaps a misused figure of speech. It ceased to apply in mid-89 :) I do have a bunch of machines that were truly smuggled in spite of COCOM embargo etc, though :)

          • by mikael ( 484 )

            It may not have been available in Poland, or even Europe. Lots of technology items were like that in those days.

            Used to be commonplace with console games - small businesses could buy them abroad and sell them locally (known as "grey imports"). Bought legally, paid all the taxes, but sold against the marketing strategy of the company. If you had a relative who just happened to be going on holiday to the USA/Canada/Japan, you could usually bribe them to bring some things back for you.

            • by haruchai ( 17472 )

              It's was just a joke. Having been in the IT industry for a long time and having many friends and colleagues from Eastern Europe, I know how things used to be.

      • I don't know about the help desk situation but I have worked on a lot of development projects that had Indian nationals on the teams and they were not lacking neither intelligence or skill. I could be an anomaly because most of the Indians that come to the US have most probably demonstrated their abilities at home and go to the US for better paying jobs. This is especially noticeable when they are sponsored by the companies that end up working for. I have also been in situations where the sponsoring company
        • by jjohnson ( 62583 )

          I worked at RSA Security for several years, during the period in which they outsourced several of their minor products (e.g., ClearTrust) to HCL Enterprises. I worked directly with their teams on occasion, and they were fast and correct. It wasn't particularly cheap, though likely somewhat cheaper than a North American dev center.

      • and i have no idea what the hell they are saying. wicked smash innit? thems Cockney barrow boy spivs theyis!

        but i can understand almost any Indian i hear speaking English.

    • by Livius ( 318358 )

      Well, it looks like yours is the first...

    • I'll be watching the number of racist comments and unfunny "curry" comments on this thread with great interest.

      Why would you do that? Are you interested in racism? Are you doing a research paper? Are you a racist?

      I'm just curious why you would say such a thing. As you say yourself, such comments are not funny. So why the great interest? Are you making a list with a plan to wreak revenge on those who post racist comments?

      Most people, when confronted with anonymous racist comments would just ignore them

      • Why did you ask the question twice? Why the repetition? Why the redundancy?

        I'm curious why you would ask such a thing. So why the repetition?

        To answer your question, I'm getting my retaliation in first against the racists. The casual racism of /. has been fascinating to me for a while. I find it interesting that such an educated readership can sometimes get some fundamental stuff so horribly wrong, but then I suppose engineers are known to have a few people skills missing.

        Your implication that only racists

        • So to answer your strange question, no. I'm not a racist.

          I'm glad. We're all glad.

          So I'm engaging in what you might call a "conscience raising" exercise.

          That's an interesting twist on the phrase "consciousness raising exercise". I like it. I hope you don't mind if I use it.

  • I won't hold my breath waiting on the proof.

    But I certainly wish him the best.

    There are thousands of proofs that begin with "Assuming the Riemann Hypothesis"

    • by sFurbo ( 1361249 )
      And hundreds that start with "Assuming the Riemann Hypothesis is false" (or, at least, so my math professor told me), so both proving it and disproving it would be very interesting.
  • by immakiku ( 777365 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:07PM (#37632816)
    This seems interesting but details are hard to find. All I can ascertain is that the fee is 4900 INR (~110 USD). The start date appears to be Oct 19th, but there's no estimate of the schedule except a listed end date of May 5th 2016. There's similarly no information about the delivery format. If anyone has more info, please post here.
    • This seems interesting but details are hard to find. All I can ascertain is that the fee is 4900 INR (~110 USD). The start date appears to be Oct 19th, but there's no estimate of the schedule except a listed end date of May 5th 2016. There's similarly no information about the delivery format. If anyone has more info, please post here.

      An end date in 2016? Uh...did I miss something, or does his version of the Riemann Hypothesis include Life, The Universe, and Everything...

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:14PM (#37632890)

    ...the only place you'll soon be able to afford medical care. :-P

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:16PM (#37632914) Homepage Journal

    Two of the major problems (Fermat's Last Theorum and the Poincaire Conjecture) have been cracked in recent times. A third major breakthrough is not impossible, particularly in a nation that has produced some superb minds in the past.

    True, India has developed a bad reputation as a result of the call centers and the crappy software engineering, but that's like dissing the engineers developing the PCI Express and HyperTransport specifications because GM can't make a decent car or Bank of America can't provide anything remotely close to service. The subjects are wholly unrelated and you can draw no conclusions about one from the other. (India still runs a better train service than Amtrak, though that should not be considered credit to either.)

    Mathematics doesn't require advanced infrastructure and is better done in peace with no distractions.

  • by lacoronus ( 1418813 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:21PM (#37632964)

    Riemann Hypothesis Takes Shot At Crushing Indian Mathematician

    The Riemann Hypothesis (known by the moniker @unsolvable on twitter) has announced an online workshop which it intends to 'conclude by attacking an important mathematician in front of (the participants), in public view.' The mathematician is the Rohit Gupta. The hypothesis outlines its approach based on previous failed attempts, conserved in quasicrystals of the tears of previously broken mathematicians. Its audacious plan, coupled with this recent news about quasicrystals, has kicked up a storm of interest in the Indian twitterverse.

    • lol, I got a kick out of that one.. I for one know I will be slightly heart-broken if he succeeds for that dastardly thing crushed my soul and I want a re-match!
    • by Aardpig ( 622459 )
      In Hindu India, Riemann Hypothesis Solves You?
    • So what you're really saying is: The following diagram commutes in the opposite
      category? Why didn't you just say so?

      Rohit Gupta --------------> Proof
      | |
      | |
      \/ \/
      Riemann Hypothesis <------- Workshop
    • Ah, the Riemann zeta function, old migrainey, tenure's folly, paperbane, the widowmaker...

  • by happyhamster ( 134378 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:34PM (#37633068)

    I have great respect to mathematics. Itâ(TM)s one of the few disciplines left were bs doesnâ(TM)t fly (for long), unlike, for example, economics and political science.

    This is a cheap publicity stunt, nothing more. Mathematics is not dancing with the stars or what not. This is a serious scientific problem a century and a half old. If you make a mistake in your âoeproofâ, the public wonâ(TM)t be able to notice. He hopes to be able to publicly claim success, even if his solution will be disproved later (with much less publicity). The proper way to do this is to publish your proof in a peer-reviewed journal and wait to see if other mathematicians find a flaw in your argument. His approach is cheap, unscientific publicity stunt.

    • by tkel ( 2454568 )
      I like the part where he asks for Rs 4900 ($100 USD) to participate in the online workshop.
    • by Aardpig ( 622459 )
      Dude, why the butthurt?
    • by nyri ( 132206 )

      This is a cheap publicity stunt, nothing more.

      And that is a bad thing exactly how?

      Mathematics is not dancing with the stars or what not.

      Says who? If you don't like it, don't watch it. I say that if this draw even a few bright people towards maths and shows them that this is really interesting stuff, it is a good thing. I do not understand why Mathematicians should appear as some sage-like, ascetic monks.

  • by blackcoot ( 124938 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @06:37PM (#37633098)

    I got bored this afternoon and did the proof a few different ways. Unfortunately, the details won't fit in this comment box.

    • LMAO righteous.
  • Hey, the Foldit programmers were able to model protein structures for Foldit players to solve that even the most advanced computers couldn't.

    Perhaps a quasi-crystal simulator that one can manipulate and this create mathematical solutions? (Not a mathematician so dunno if that's feasible)

    • No. Very different situations. The foldit players leveraged persistence and human pattern recognition for a solution to a relatively recent problem. Dr. Wiles aside (I jest...), 150 year old prominent open problems require more than persistence and ambition.
      • Isn't the problem determining the mathematical pattern, though? Just because the method is new doesn't mean it's not valid and can't be adapted.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WTF is an Indian twitterverse?

  • Rohit Gupta: "I have a truly marvelous proof of the Riemann Hypothesis which this TV show is too short to contain. But at least I know I proved it."
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @08:33PM (#37633984) Homepage
    (Disclaimer: I'm a number theory grad student but this isn't precisely my area).

    The Riemann Hypothesis is roughly the following: There's a function defined by zeta(s)= 1 + 1/1^s + 1/2^s + 1/3^s + 1/4^s... You can make this function make sense for any complex number as long as it has real part greater than 1. However, this series does not converge for s less than or equal to 1 1. However, it turns out that this function has what is called an "analytic continuation" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analytic_continuation [wikipedia.org]. Essentially it is possible to make a function on the complex plane that is smooth (in the sense of being infinitely differential), and agrees with this function everywhere. This function is known as the Riemman Zeta Function. The only caveat is that one cannot give a sensible definition for the value at s=1. (Essentially as s gets near 1, the value of the function goes to infinity).

    It turns out that the behavior of zeta is deeply related to the prime numbers because of another way of writing the above series as a product over the prime numbers. So for example, a major triumph of 19th century math was showing that this function was not zero anywhere on the line with real part of s =1. This implied an approximate estimate for the size of the nth prime number called the prime number theorem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prime_number_theorem [wikipedia.org].

    The Riemann hypothesis is a much stronger claim about where the zeta function is zero. It turns out that it is very easy to show that the zeta function is zero at every negative even integer. These are the trivial zeros, There are other, more difficult to locate zeros. The hypothesis conjectures that these zeros all lie on the line with real part equal to 1/2. That is, every zero is of the form 1/2 + it where t is some real number. If this is true many nice things will follow.

    Most people who have thought about this question believe that it is true. There's a lot of evidence for it, such as the fact that literally billions of zeros have been located on this line, and the fact that it can be shown in a certain sense that almost all the non-trivial zeros lie near the 1/2 line. We also know that in a certain sense a positive fraction of the non-trivial zeros need to lie on the line (one needs to be careful here with what this means since there are infinitely many such zeros).

    There are a lot of current attempts to prove the Riemann Hypothesis, and some very serious mathematicians think that the quasicrystal approach might work. Right now there are a lot of different approaches, including some which connect the hypothesis to certain claims in quantum mechanics. However, at this point, despite the many attempts there are a lot of weaker claims that we can't prove that we'd expect to prove before the Riemann hypothesis. It turns out that all the non-trivial zeros need to have a real part strictly between 0 and 1. But we can't even prove what essentially amounts to the worst case scenario, that there are zeros arbitrarily near the 0 and 1 lines. I expect this to be dealt with well before the full Riemann hypothesis is proven. There are other weaker hypotheses that are implied by RH that one would also expect to be proven first. So far the quasicrystal approach sounds promising but has had very little in the way of actual fruit. But this may just be that it is a relatively new set of tools and they need to be carefully developed. Overall, I'd be surprised if this project works simply because even if a quasicrystal approach eventually proves the full result it will require so much stuff to happen before hand.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Aardpig ( 622459 )
      Yeah, well -- y'know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
    • Thank you for your explanation. Learn something new everyday :-)
    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday October 06, 2011 @10:14PM (#37634624) Homepage

      There's a function defined by zeta(s)= 1 + 1/1^s + 1/2^s + 1/3^s + 1/4^s...

      Ok. Pretty basic mistake I made here. This series should not have the initial 1. Not sure why I wrote that. So one has zeta(s)= 1/1^s + 1/2^s + 1/3^s + 1/4^s...

      • Ok. Pretty basic mistake I made here. This series should not have the initial 1. Not sure why I wrote that. So one has zeta(s)= 1/1^s + 1/2^s + 1/3^s + 1/4^s...

        I wouldn't worry about it. Like you said, it's not your area!

        It's not like you said you saw neutrinos break Special Relativity or anything...

        With egregious use of ~

    • i actually understood most of that.

      why can't people like you write the wikipedia math articles?

  • If you can prove the Reimann hypothesis, do it, collect the $1000000 millennium prize and then millions more in speaking deals, chaired positions at top universities etc.

    If you can't prove the Reimann hypothesis, charge $10 a head for people to watch you talk about quasicrystal nonsense.

    The point being if he actually had any legitimate chance at doing this, this is not the format he would choose.

  • He's doing this to raise money for research. I don't think he expects to solve it 'live on TV infront of a studio audience'. It's more like an opportunity for others to be educated about the Riemann hypothesis.
  • Anyone remember Geraldo Rivera's live TV special to open Al Capone's vault? This reminds me a lot of that.

  • Doesn't seem far off from partnering with a Nigerian prince.

    "Registration: You can contact me directly by email (fadebox AT gmail ) for payment or any other details, or just go to this online ticketing facility I'm using called DoAttend if you have decided to join. You don't have to register at DoAttend as a user, the site will take you to the payment gateway directly. I am also accepting sponsors and private donors if you wish to contribute more than the workshop fee. Once you register, you'll be added to the mailing list in a couple of days. "

    http://fadereu.posterous.com/knk103-the-crystals-of-mt-zeta [posterous.com]

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?