Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Russian reveals result, refuses reward

The previously mentioned G. Perelman has surprised the world by insisting that he not be seen as a "figurehead".

But, hey, someone's got to win the prizes, and A. Okounkov, W. Werner and T. Tao seem happy to oblige.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Stacks are one of the most fundamental abstract data structures in computer science, providing most with their first exposure to dynamic memory allocation. And as E. LaForest explains, they can also serve in place of registers in a processor core, potentially with a dramatic performance benefit. I'm curious to see how far this technology can go; will we have stack-based handhelds in ten years? Will CS undergrads bemoan their Forth class as they now do of C++?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How many mathematicians does it take to prove the Poincaré conjecture?

Perhaps a better question would be "How many math-months does it take to prove it?"* It's been three years since the Perelman program was announced, about 30 since Thurston's geometrization conjecture, and 102 since Poincaré first declared that the 3-sphere was unique among 3-manifolds for having trivial fundamental group; there were, of course, many more stops along the way. The answers to those questions are probably much larger than I would care to guess.

So, who's working on P vs NP?

*While the man-month is said to be mythical, I suspect the "mathematician-month" to be a realistic unit of measurement.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Sometimes all you need is three pages

Do you know how to increase the volume of a cardboard box by crushing it? I. Pak does. And he shows the world how to do it in

Inflating the cube without stretching
I. Pak

That's definitely the most enjoyable paper I 've read in a while.