Collaborative Research: Understanding, Coping With, And Benefiting From, Intractability

Project Details


Computational intractability imposes a limit on the ability to understand nature and design systems. Intractability is a stumbling block for postmen, travelling salesmen, map colorers, and millions of others who would like to complete their tasks as efficiently as possible, yet it is the foundation of 21st century cryptography, which in turn is a pillar of electronic commerce. In order to understand, manage, and exploit intractability it is imperative that progress be made on proving intractability in many forms and computational models, and on unraveling the interconnections among different forms and uses of intractability. This Expedition will explore an array of diverse but interrelated topics in computational intractability including algorithms, complexity, cryptography, analysis, geometry, combinatorics, and quantum mechanics. A 'Center for Intractability,' the first of its kind, will be based at Princeton. Addressing some of the deepest and hardest theoretical problems standing in the way of significant advancements in computer science, this Expedition involves a high degree of collegial interactivity through collaborations among geographically local participating institutions. Outreach includes an active 'Women in Theory' program as well as programs targeting undergraduate and high-school students.
Effective start/end date8/15/087/31/12


  • National Science Foundation (NSF)

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