Research News

Prime Tests and Keeping Proofs Secret

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Science  29 Aug 1986:
Vol. 233, Issue 4767, pp. 938-939
DOI: 10.1126/science.233.4767.938


Stanford, California. On 29 July through 2 August, a group of computer scientists, mathematical physicists, and mathematicians met at Stanford University for a conference on Mathematics and Computers. It was a varied meeting—the talks ranged from the mathematics of chaos to a talk by the peripatetic Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos on number theory problems that might be interesting to work on. In addition, software vendors set up shop, inviting investigators to bring their problems and try them on different systems.

On the last day of the conference, when the talks were in the field of computational complexity—the difficulty of doing certain computer calculations—two new computer science tricks were presented and are recounted here.