Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Math team solves "unsolvable" problem

There are several problems in math that are considered pretty much unsolvable until they are solved. The msot well known examples are the Millennium Prize Problems. One of which Grigori Perelman solved - proving the the Poincaré theorem (earlier known as the Poincaré conjecture).

Now a different "unsolvable" math problem (not included among the six remaining Millennium Prize Problems) has been solved through a group effort.

Math team solves the unsolvable E8

If you thought writing calculations to describe three-dimensional objects in math class was hard, consider doing the same for one with 248 dimensions.

Mathematicians call such an object E8 (pronounced "e eight"), a symmetrical structure whose mathematical calculation has long been considered an unsolvable problem. Yet an international team of math whizzes cracked E8's symmetrical code in a large-scale computing project, which produced about 60 gigabytes of data. If they were to show their handiwork on paper, the written equation would cover an area the size of Manhattan.

It is an international group effort of 18 people working together across country borders. This is what science should be like - sharing results and working together to get the best results possible.

MarkCC has more about the actual problem over at Good Math, Bad Math.



Blogger JayTea said...

60 gigs is alota data...but the simple question is, how does this benefit society?

March 20, 2007 10:19 AM  
Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

Why does it necessarily have to benifit society?
In general better understanding of math leads to better understanding of other fields.

March 20, 2007 2:52 PM  
Blogger Alon Levy said...

Thanks for the post, Kristjan. What I understood from my cohort's group theorist was entirely wrong; he basically said the 60 GB data array was the group's character table, an object defined only for finite groups, as far as I know.

March 21, 2007 11:38 AM  

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