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Millennium Prize Problems

Millennium Prize Problems

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The Millennium Prize Problems are seven problems in mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 that were stated by the Clay Mathematics Institute
Clay Mathematics Institute
The Clay Mathematics Institute is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute is dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. It gives out various awards and sponsorships to promising mathematicians. The institute was founded in 1998...

 in 2000. As of September 2011, six of the problems remain unsolved
Unsolved problems in mathematics
This article lists some unsolved problems in mathematics. See individual articles for details and sources.- Millennium Prize Problems :Of the seven Millennium Prize Problems set by the Clay Mathematics Institute, six have yet to be solved:* P versus NP...

. A correct solution to any of the problems results in a US$1,000,000 prize (sometimes called a Millennium Prize) being awarded by the institute. Only the Poincaré conjecture
Poincaré conjecture
In mathematics, the Poincaré conjecture is a theorem about the characterization of the three-dimensional sphere , which is the hypersphere that bounds the unit ball in four-dimensional space...

 has been solved, by Grigori Perelman
Grigori Perelman
Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician who has made landmark contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology.In 1992, Perelman proved the soul conjecture. In 2002, he proved Thurston's geometrization conjecture...

, who declined the award in 2010.

The seven problems are:
  1. P versus NP problem
  2. Hodge conjecture
    Hodge conjecture
    The Hodge conjecture is a major unsolved problem in algebraic geometry which relates the algebraic topology of a non-singular complex algebraic variety and the subvarieties of that variety. More specifically, the conjecture says that certain de Rham cohomology classes are algebraic, that is, they...

  3. Poincaré conjecture
    Poincaré conjecture
    In mathematics, the Poincaré conjecture is a theorem about the characterization of the three-dimensional sphere , which is the hypersphere that bounds the unit ball in four-dimensional space...

     (solved, see solution of the Poincaré conjecture)
  4. Riemann hypothesis
    Riemann hypothesis
    In mathematics, the Riemann hypothesis, proposed by , is a conjecture about the location of the zeros of the Riemann zeta function which states that all non-trivial zeros have real part 1/2...

  5. Yang–Mills existence and mass gap
    Yang–Mills existence and mass gap
    In mathematics, the Yang-Mills existence and mass gap problem is an unsolved problem and one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems defined by the Clay Mathematics Institute which has offered a prize of US$1,000,000 to a person solving it....

  6. Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness
  7. Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture
    Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture
    In mathematics, the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture is an open problem in the field of number theory. Its status as one of the most challenging mathematical questions has become widely recognized; the conjecture was chosen as one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems listed by the Clay...


P versus NP



The question is whether, for all problems for which a computer can verify a given solution quickly (that is, in polynomial time), it can also find that solution quickly. The former describes the class of problems termed P, whilst the latter describes NP. The question is whether or not all problems in NP are also in P. This is generally considered the most important open question in theoretical computer science
Computation
Computation is defined as any type of calculation. Also defined as use of computer technology in Information processing.Computation is a process following a well-defined model understood and expressed in an algorithm, protocol, network topology, etc...

 as it has far-reaching consequences in mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

and cryptography
Cryptography
Cryptography is the practice and study of techniques for secure communication in the presence of third parties...

 (see P versus NP problem proof consequences).

If the question of whether P=NP were to be answered affirmatively it would trivialise the rest of the Millennium Prize Problems (and indeed all but the unprovable propositions
Undecidable problem
In computability theory and computational complexity theory, an undecidable problem is a decision problem for which it is impossible to construct a single algorithm that always leads to a correct yes-or-no answer....

 in mathematics) because they would all have direct solutions easily solvable
P (complexity)
In computational complexity theory, P, also known as PTIME or DTIME, is one of the most fundamental complexity classes. It contains all decision problems which can be solved by a deterministic Turing machine using a polynomial amount of computation time, or polynomial time.Cobham's thesis holds...

 by a formal system.
"If P = NP, then the world would be a profoundly different place than we usually assume it to be. There would be no special value in 'creative leaps,' no fundamental gap between solving a problem and recognizing the solution once it’s found. Everyone who could appreciate a symphony would be Mozart; everyone who could follow a step-by-step argument would be Gauss..."
Scott Aaronson
Scott Aaronson
Scott Joel Aaronson is a theoretical computer scientist and faculty member in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.-Education:...

, MIT


Most mathematicians and computer scientists expect that P≠NP.

The official statement of the problem was given by Stephen Cook
Stephen Cook
Stephen Arthur Cook is a renowned American-Canadian computer scientist and mathematician who has made major contributions to the fields of complexity theory and proof complexity...

.

The Hodge conjecture



The Hodge conjecture is that for projective
Projective space
In mathematics a projective space is a set of elements similar to the set P of lines through the origin of a vector space V. The cases when V=R2 or V=R3 are the projective line and the projective plane, respectively....

 algebraic varieties
Algebraic variety
In mathematics, an algebraic variety is the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations. Algebraic varieties are one of the central objects of study in algebraic geometry...

, Hodge cycle
Hodge cycle
In differential geometry, a Hodge cycle or Hodge class is a particular kind of homology class defined on a complex algebraic variety V, or more generally on a Kähler manifold. A homology class x in a homology group...

s are rational linear combination
Linear combination
In mathematics, a linear combination is an expression constructed from a set of terms by multiplying each term by a constant and adding the results...

s of algebraic cycle
Algebraic cycle
In mathematics, an algebraic cycle on an algebraic variety V is, roughly speaking, a homology class on V that is represented by a linear combination of subvarieties of V. Therefore the algebraic cycles on V are the part of the algebraic topology of V that is directly accessible in algebraic geometry...

s.

The official statement of the problem was given by Pierre Deligne
Pierre Deligne
- See also :* Deligne conjecture* Deligne–Mumford moduli space of curves* Deligne–Mumford stacks* Deligne cohomology* Fourier–Deligne transform* Langlands–Deligne local constant- External links :...

.

The Poincaré conjecture (proven)



In topology
Topology
Topology is a major area of mathematics concerned with properties that are preserved under continuous deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing...

, a sphere
Sphere
A sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in three-dimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...

 with a two-dimensional surface
Surface
In mathematics, specifically in topology, a surface is a two-dimensional topological manifold. The most familiar examples are those that arise as the boundaries of solid objects in ordinary three-dimensional Euclidean space R3 — for example, the surface of a ball...

 is essentially characterized
Characterization (mathematics)
In mathematics, the statement that "Property P characterizes object X" means, not simply that X has property P, but that X is the only thing that has property P. It is also common to find statements such as "Property Q characterises Y up to isomorphism". The first type of statement says in...

 by the fact that it is simply connected. It is also true that every two-dimensional surface which is both compact
Compact space
In mathematics, specifically general topology and metric topology, a compact space is an abstract mathematical space whose topology has the compactness property, which has many important implications not valid in general spaces...

 and simply connected is topologically a sphere. The Poincaré conjecture
Poincaré conjecture
In mathematics, the Poincaré conjecture is a theorem about the characterization of the three-dimensional sphere , which is the hypersphere that bounds the unit ball in four-dimensional space...

 is that this is also true for spheres with three-dimensional surfaces. The question had long been solved for all dimensions above three. Solving it for three is central to the problem of classifying 3-manifold
3-manifold
In mathematics, a 3-manifold is a 3-dimensional manifold. The topological, piecewise-linear, and smooth categories are all equivalent in three dimensions, so little distinction is made in whether we are dealing with say, topological 3-manifolds, or smooth 3-manifolds.Phenomena in three dimensions...

s.

The official statement of the problem was given by John Milnor
John Milnor
John Willard Milnor is an American mathematician known for his work in differential topology, K-theory and dynamical systems. He won the Fields Medal in 1962, the Wolf Prize in 1989, and the Abel Prize in 2011. Milnor is a distinguished professor at Stony Brook University...

.

A proof of this conjecture was given by Grigori Perelman
Grigori Perelman
Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician who has made landmark contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology.In 1992, Perelman proved the soul conjecture. In 2002, he proved Thurston's geometrization conjecture...

 in 2003; its review was completed in August 2006, and Perelman was selected to receive the Fields Medal
Fields Medal
The Fields Medal, officially known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics, is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematicians not over 40 years of age at each International Congress of the International Mathematical Union , a meeting that takes place every four...

 for his solution. Perelman declined that award. Perelman was officially awarded the Millennium prize on March 18, 2010. On July 1, 2010, it was reported that Perelman declined the award and associated prize money from the Clay Mathematics Institute. In rejecting the Millennium Prize, Perelman stated that he believed the decisions by the organized mathematics community to be unjust and that his contribution to solving the Poincaré conjecture was no greater than that of Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 mathematician Richard Hamilton (who first suggested a program for the solution).

The Riemann hypothesis



The Riemann hypothesis is that all nontrivial zeros of the analytical continuation of the Riemann zeta function have a real part of 1/2. A proof or disproof of this would have far-reaching implications in number theory
Number theory
Number theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...

, especially for the distribution of prime number
Prime number
A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. A natural number greater than 1 that is not a prime number is called a composite number. For example 5 is prime, as only 1 and 5 divide it, whereas 6 is composite, since it has the divisors 2...

s. This was Hilbert's eighth problem
Hilbert's problems
Hilbert's problems form a list of twenty-three problems in mathematics published by German mathematician David Hilbert in 1900. The problems were all unsolved at the time, and several of them were very influential for 20th century mathematics...

, and is still considered an important open problem a century later.

The official statement of the problem was given by Enrico Bombieri
Enrico Bombieri
Enrico Bombieri is a mathematician who has been working at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Bombieri's research in number theory, algebraic geometry, and mathematical analysis have earned him many international prizes --- a Fields Medal in 1974 and the Balzan Prize in 1980...

.

Yang–Mills existence and mass gap


In physics, classical Yang–Mills theory is a generalization of the Maxwell theory of electromagnetism
Electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

 where the chromo-electromagnetic field itself carries charges. As a classical field theory it has solutions which travel at the speed of light so that its quantum version should describe massless particles (gluon
Gluon
Gluons are elementary particles which act as the exchange particles for the color force between quarks, analogous to the exchange of photons in the electromagnetic force between two charged particles....

s). However, the postulated phenomenon of color confinement permits only bound states of gluons, forming massive particles. This is the mass gap
Mass gap
In quantum field theory, the mass gap is the difference in energy between the vacuum and the next lowest energy state. The energy of the vacuum is zero by definition, and assuming that all energy states can be thought of as particles in plane-waves, the mass gap is the mass of the lightest...

. Another aspect of confinement is asymptotic freedom
Asymptotic freedom
In physics, asymptotic freedom is a property of some gauge theories that causes interactions between particles to become arbitrarily weak at energy scales that become arbitrarily large, or, equivalently, at length scales that become arbitrarily small .Asymptotic freedom is a feature of quantum...

 which makes it conceivable that quantum Yang-Mills theory exists without restriction to low energy scales. The problem is to establish rigorously the existence of the quantum Yang-Mills theory and a mass gap.

The official statement of the problem was given by Arthur Jaffe
Arthur Jaffe
Arthur Jaffe is an American mathematical physicist and a professor at Harvard University. Born on December 22, 1937 he attended Princeton University as an undergraduate obtaining a degree in chemistry, and later Clare College, Cambridge, as a Marshall Scholar, obtaining a degree in mathematics...

 and Edward Witten
Edward Witten
Edward Witten is an American theoretical physicist with a focus on mathematical physics who is currently a professor of Mathematical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study....

.

Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness



The Navier–Stokes equations describe the motion of fluid
Fluid
In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually deforms under an applied shear stress. Fluids are a subset of the phases of matter and include liquids, gases, plasmas and, to some extent, plastic solids....

s. Although they were found in the 19th century, they still are not well understood. The problem is to make progress toward a mathematical theory that will give insight into these equations.

The official statement of the problem was given by Charles Fefferman
Charles Fefferman
Charles Louis Fefferman is an American mathematician at Princeton University. His primary field of research is mathematical analysis....

.

The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture



The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture deals with a certain type of equation, those defining elliptic curve
Elliptic curve
In mathematics, an elliptic curve is a smooth, projective algebraic curve of genus one, on which there is a specified point O. An elliptic curve is in fact an abelian variety — that is, it has a multiplication defined algebraically with respect to which it is a group — and O serves as the identity...

s over the rational number
Rational number
In mathematics, a rational number is any number that can be expressed as the quotient or fraction a/b of two integers, with the denominator b not equal to zero. Since b may be equal to 1, every integer is a rational number...

s. The conjecture is that there is a simple way to tell whether such equations have a finite or infinite number of rational solutions. Hilbert's tenth problem
Hilbert's tenth problem
Hilbert's tenth problem is the tenth on the list of Hilbert's problems of 1900. Its statement is as follows:Given a Diophantine equation with any number of unknown quantities and with rational integral numerical coefficients: To devise a process according to which it can be determined in a finite...

 dealt with a more general type of equation, and in that case it was proven that there is no way to decide whether a given equation even has any solutions.

The official statement of the problem was given by Andrew Wiles
Andrew Wiles
Sir Andrew John Wiles KBE FRS is a British mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at Oxford University, specializing in number theory...

.

See also

  • Hilbert's problems
    Hilbert's problems
    Hilbert's problems form a list of twenty-three problems in mathematics published by German mathematician David Hilbert in 1900. The problems were all unsolved at the time, and several of them were very influential for 20th century mathematics...

  • Smale's problems
    Smale's problems
    Smale's problems refers to a list of eighteen unsolved problems in mathematics that was proposed by Steve Smale in 2000. Smale composed this list in reply to a request from Vladimir Arnold, then president of the International Mathematical Union, who asked several mathematicians to propose a list of...

  • List of unsolved problems in mathematics
  • Paul Wolfskehl
    Paul Wolfskehl
    Paul Friedrich Wolfskehl , was an industrialist with an interest in mathematics. He bequeathed 100,000 marks to the first person to prove Fermat's Last Theorem.He was the younger of two sons of a rich Jewish banker, Joseph Carl Theodor Wolfskehl.His older brother, the jurist...

     (offered a cash prize for the solution to Fermat's Last Theorem
    Fermat's Last Theorem
    In number theory, Fermat's Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c can satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than two....

    )

External links