__marcelo (__marcelo) wrote,

Elementary 2x02

Kudos to Elementary for choosing a real mathematical problem, and explaining it well. In fact, the only two caveats I have are due to the fact that reality is a bit more fiction-like than that:

  • The NSA entered the plot way too late. Everybody is absolutely sure that they are monitoring pretty much everybody with a chance of solving P=NP. Or hiring them; once upon a time (not sure if that's the case now) the NSA employed more mathematicians and used more computers than any other entity on Earth.

  • If anything, the show understated the impact of figuring out and proving that P = NP. Forget breaking cryptography; it'd basically erase the difference between toy problems like compressing a file and non-trivial problems like optimizing a global economy.

Random observations:

  • Technically, "P vs NP" has two possible solutions: P *is* NP (with a proof) or P *isn't* NP (with a proof). Pretty much all mathematicians think P isn't NP, and the prize (which does exists) is payable either way, but P *is* NP, if true, is the one that'd have world-changing implications.

  • There is a movie: Travelling Salesman

Tags: elementary, maths

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