‘Biggest open computing problem’ said solved by Vinay Deolalikar of HP Labs

Geeks are getting riled up on news that a long-ranging computer science quandary, described as possibly the “biggest open problem in computer science,” may have been solved.

Vinay Deolalikar of HP Labs began circulating an email last week with a 100 or so page paper attached claiming to prove the P ≠ NP. As a Millenium Prize, proving P ≠ NP has a million dollar bounty on it, but the claim requires review by many consumer science geeks who are largely likely to argue the point for a significant amount of time.

Deolalikar’s email read:

Dear Fellow Researchers,

I am pleased to announce a proof that P is not equal to NP, which is attached in 10pt and 12pt fonts.

The proof required the piecing together of principles from multiple areas within mathematics. The major effort in constructing this proof was uncovering a chain of conceptual links between various fields and viewing them through a common lens. Second to this were the technical hurdles faced at each stage in the proof.

This work builds upon fundamental contributions many esteemed researchers have made to their fields. In the presentation of this paper, it was my intention to provide the reader with an understanding of the global framework for this proof. Technical and computational details within chapters were minimized as much as possible.

This work was pursued independently of my duties as a HP Labs researcher, and without the knowledge of others. I made several unsuccessful attempts these past two years trying other combinations of ideas before I began this work.

Comments and suggestions for improvements to the paper are highly welcomed.

You can read a bit more on what the P vs. NP issue is by clicking here or heading over to Wikipedia.