The

**Millennium Prize Problems** are seven problems in

mathematicsMathematics 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 InstituteThe 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

unsolvedThis 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 conjectureIn 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 PerelmanGrigori 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:

- P versus NP problem
- 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...

- 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)
- 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...

- 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....

- Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness
- 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 scienceComputation 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

mathematicsMathematics 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...

,

biologyBiology 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...

,

philosophyPhilosophy 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

cryptographyCryptography 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 propositionsIn 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 solvableIn 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 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 CookStephen 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

projectiveIn 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 varietiesIn 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 cycleIn 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 combinationIn 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 cycleIn 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- 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

topologyTopology 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

sphereA 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

surfaceIn 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

characterizedIn 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

compactIn 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 conjectureIn 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-manifoldIn 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 MilnorJohn 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 PerelmanGrigori 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 MedalThe 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 UniversityColumbia 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 theoryNumber 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 numberA 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 problemHilbert'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 BombieriEnrico 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

electromagnetismElectromagnetism 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 (

gluonGluons 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 gapIn 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 freedomIn 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 JaffeArthur 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 WittenEdward 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

fluidIn 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 FeffermanCharles 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 curveIn 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 numberIn 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 problemHilbert'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 WilesSir 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 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 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 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 TheoremIn 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