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Rahul Santhanam

P vs NP: What's the Fuss All About?

The P vs NP problem is one of the Clay Millennium Prize problems, and is the biggest unsolved problem in theoretical computer science. A couple of months ago, Vinay Deolalikar, a researcher at HP labs, claimed a resolution of this problem. This announcement created great excitement in the blogosphere (though not in the complexity theory community). In less than a week, a consensus emerged that the proof attempt was doomed to fail, but not before the public profile of the P vs NP problem had been raised considerably...

Using Deolalikar's proof attempt as a framework, I will opine among on other things on the importance and hardness of the P vs NP problem, the sociology of proofs, the role of the outsider in mathematics, and the value of the blogosphere.

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