Millennium Prize Problems

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The Millennium Prize Problems are seven problems in mathematics that were stated by the Clay Mathematics Institute on May 24, 2000. [1] The problems are the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture, Hodge conjecture, Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness, P versus NP problem, Poincaré conjecture, Riemann hypothesis, and Yang–Mills existence and mass gap. A correct solution to any of the problems results in a US$1 million prize being awarded by the institute to the discoverer(s).

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To date, the only Millennium Prize problem to have been solved is the Poincaré conjecture, which was solved in 2003 by the Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman, who declined the prize money.

Solved problem

Poincaré conjecture

In dimension 2, a sphere is characterized by the fact that it is the only closed and simply-connected surface. The Poincaré conjecture states that this is also true in dimension 3. It is central to the more general problem of classifying all 3-manifolds. The precise formulation of the conjecture states:

Every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere.

A proof of this conjecture was given by Grigori Perelman in 2003, based on work by Richard Hamilton; its review was completed in August 2006, and Perelman was selected to receive the Fields Medal for his solution, but he declined the award. [2] Perelman was officially awarded the Millennium Prize on March 18, 2010, [3] but he also declined that award and the associated prize money from the Clay Mathematics Institute. The Interfax news agency quoted Perelman as saying he believed the prize was unfair. Perelman told Interfax he considered his contribution to solving the Poincaré conjecture no greater than that of Hamilton. [4]

Unsolved problems

P versus NP

The question is whether or not, for all problems for which an algorithm can verify a given solution quickly (that is, in polynomial time), an algorithm can also find that solution quickly. Since the former describes the class of problems termed NP, while the latter describes P, the question is equivalent to asking whether all problems in NP are also in P. This is generally considered one of the most important open questions in mathematics and theoretical computer science as it has far-reaching consequences to other problems in mathematics, and to biology, philosophy [5] and cryptography (see P versus NP problem proof consequences). A common example of an NP problem not known to be in P is the Boolean satisfiability problem.

Most mathematicians and computer scientists expect that P  NP; however, it remains unproven. [6]

The official statement of the problem was given by Stephen Cook.

Hodge conjecture

The Hodge conjecture is that for projective algebraic varieties, Hodge cycles are rational linear combinations of algebraic cycles.

The official statement of the problem was given by Pierre Deligne.

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, especially for the distribution of prime numbers. This was Hilbert's eighth problem, and is still considered an important open problem a century later.

The official statement of the problem was given by Enrico Bombieri.

Yang–Mills existence and mass gap

In physics, classical Yang–Mills theory is a generalization of the Maxwell theory of electromagnetism 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 (gluons). However, the postulated phenomenon of color confinement permits only bound states of gluons, forming massive particles. This is the mass gap. Another aspect of confinement is asymptotic freedom 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 and Edward Witten. [7]

The Navier–Stokes equations describe the motion of fluids, and are one of the pillars of fluid mechanics. However, theoretical understanding of their solutions is incomplete. In particular, solutions of the Navier–Stokes equations often include turbulence, the general solution for which remains one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics, despite its immense importance in science and engineering.

Even basic properties of the solutions to Navier–Stokes have never been proven. For the three-dimensional system of equations, and given some initial conditions, mathematicians have not yet proved that smooth solutions always exist, or that if they do exist, they have bounded energy per unit mass.[ citation needed ] This is called the Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness problem.

The problem is to make progress towards a mathematical theory that will give insight into these equations, by proving either that smooth, globally defined solutions exist that meet certain conditions, or that they do not always exist and the equations break down.

The official statement of the problem was given by Charles Fefferman.

Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture

The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture deals with certain types of equations: those defining elliptic curves over the rational numbers. 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 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. [8]

See also

Related Research Articles

Andrew Wiles British mathematician

Sir Andrew John Wiles is an English mathematician and a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford, specializing in number theory. He is best known for proving Fermat's Last Theorem, for which he was awarded the 2016 Abel Prize and the 2017 Copley Medal by the Royal Society. He was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000, and in 2018 was appointed as the first Regius Professor of Mathematics at Oxford. Wiles is also a 1997 MacArthur Fellow.

Conjecture Proposition in mathematics that is unproven

In mathematics, a conjecture is a conclusion or a proposition which is suspected to be true due to preliminary supporting evidence, but for which no proof or disproof has yet been found. Some conjectures, such as the Riemann hypothesis or Fermat's Last Theorem, have shaped much of mathematical history as new areas of mathematics are developed in order to prove them.

The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Peterborough, New Hampshire, United States. CMI's scientific activities are managed from the President's office in Oxford, United Kingdom. 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 through the sponsorship of Boston businessman Landon T. Clay. Harvard mathematician Arthur Jaffe was the first president of CMI.

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

Stephen Smale American mathematician

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Louis de Branges de Bourcia French American mathematician

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Hilberts problems 23 problems in mathematics published in 1900

Hilbert's problems are 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. Hilbert presented ten of the problems at the Paris conference of the International Congress of Mathematicians, speaking on August 8 in the Sorbonne. The complete list of 23 problems was published later, most notably in English translation in 1902 by Mary Frances Winston Newson in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society.

Grigori Perelman Russian mathematician

Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman is a Russian mathematician. He has made contributions to Riemannian geometry and geometric topology. In 1994, Perelman proved the soul conjecture. In 2003, he proved Thurston's geometrization conjecture. The proof was confirmed in 2006. This consequently solved in the affirmative the Poincaré conjecture.

In mathematics, the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture describes the set of rational solutions to equations defining an elliptic curve. It is an open problem in the field of number theory and is widely recognized as one of the most challenging mathematical problems. The conjecture was chosen as one of the seven Millennium Prize Problems listed by the Clay Mathematics Institute, which has offered a $1,000,000 prize for the first correct proof. It is named after mathematicians Bryan Birch and Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, who developed the conjecture during the first half of the 1960s with the help of machine computation. As of 2019, only special cases of the conjecture have been proven.

Hilberts eighth problem

Hilbert's eighth problem is one of David Hilbert's list of open mathematical problems posed in 1900. It concerns number theory, and in particular the Riemann hypothesis, although it is also concerned with the Goldbach Conjecture. The problem as stated asked for more work on the distribution of primes and generalizations of Riemann hypothesis to other rings where prime ideals take the place of primes. This problem has yet to be resolved.

Richard S. Hamilton American mathematician

Richard Streit Hamilton is Davies Professor of Mathematics at Columbia University.

Terence Tao Australian American mathematician

Terence Chi-Shen Tao is an Australian-American mathematician who has worked in various areas of mathematics. He currently focuses on harmonic analysis, partial differential equations, algebraic combinatorics, arithmetic combinatorics, geometric combinatorics, probability theory, compressed sensing and analytic number theory. As of 2015, he holds the James and Carol Collins chair in mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In mathematical physics, 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 for its solution.

"Manifold Destiny" is an article in The New Yorker written by Sylvia Nasar and David Gruber and published in the August 28, 2006 issue of the magazine. It claims to give a detailed account of some of the circumstances surrounding the proof of the Poincaré conjecture, one of the most important accomplishments of 20th and 21st century mathematics, and traces the attempts by three teams of mathematicians to verify the proof given by Grigori Perelman.

Fermats Last Theorem Theorem in number theory

In number theory, Fermat's Last Theorem states that no three positive integers a, b, and c satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than 2. The cases n = 1 and n = 2 have been known since antiquity to have an infinite number of solutions.

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References

  1. Arthur M. Jaffe "The Millennium Grand Challenge in Mathematics", "Notices of the AMS", June/July 2000, Vol. 53, Nr. 6, p. 652-660
  2. "Maths genius declines top prize". BBC News. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  3. "Prize for Resolution of the Poincaré Conjecture Awarded to Dr. Grigoriy Perelman" (PDF) (Press release). Clay Mathematics Institute. March 18, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 31, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010. The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) announces today that Dr. Grigoriy Perelman of St. Petersburg, Russia, is the recipient of the Millennium Prize for resolution of the Poincaré conjecture.
  4. "Russian mathematician rejects million prize - Boston.com".
  5. Scott Aaronson (14 August 2011). "Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity". Technical report.
  6. William Gasarch (June 2002). "The P=?NP poll" (PDF). SIGACT News. 33 (2): 34–47. doi:10.1145/1052796.1052804.
  7. Arthur Jaffe and Edward Witten "Quantum Yang-Mills theory." Official problem description.
  8. Wiles, Andrew (2006). "The Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture". In Carlson, James; Jaffe, Arthur; Wiles, Andrew. The Millennium Prize Problems. American Mathematical Society. pp. 31–44. ISBN   978-0-8218-3679-8.

Further reading