Take the 2-minute tour ×
MathOverflow is a question and answer site for professional mathematicians. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Open Problem Garden and Wikipedia are good resources for more or less famous open problems. But many mathematicians will be happy with more specialized problems. They may want to find a research theme, e.g. for their PhD thesis, or they may have one, and want to connect their work to other problems, to find applications. Or they may simply want to check if something is already done about a particular question.

So, I would like to ask you (I apologize in advance if the question is not appropriate for MO):

can you suggest some links to other compilations of open problems, even if they are very specialized and not as famous?

Please note that I would like it to be large and specialized, not to contain only famous conjectures. I think each subject in mathematics has many such open problems. It would be useful to be maintained such a list, containing problems classified on subject. It would be useful to be able to check there if new progress was made, who is working to those particular problems, and how important are these problems (e.g. rated as in Open Problem Garden).

Thank you.

share|improve this question

closed as no longer relevant by Felipe Voloch, Bill Johnson, Ryan Budney, David Roberts, Andres Caicedo Dec 28 '11 at 22:43

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question feels a bit too broad... –  Kevin H. Lin Dec 4 '10 at 23:04
@ Kevin Lin: I think this is a great question actually, provided that the "big-list" tag is added. –  Max Muller Dec 6 '10 at 14:20
Here is collection of open problems in mathworld: mathworld.wolfram.com/topics/UnsolvedProblems.html –  Alexander Chervov Jun 29 '12 at 12:14
This MO question contains references to other MO questions with open problems lists in specific areas: mathoverflow.net/questions/96202/… –  Alexander Chervov Jun 29 '12 at 12:15
I do not understand why this has been closed. –  Alexander Chervov Jun 29 '12 at 12:17

25 Answers 25

I have found Richard Guy's Unsolved Problems in Number Theory to be very interesting and useful.

Springer also publishes Unsolved Problems in Geometry (by Croft, Falconer, and Guy).

share|improve this answer
Thanks, this is great. –  Cristi Stoica Dec 4 '10 at 20:25

There is a website with pdfs of many (most, all?) papers of P. Erdos. Several of his later papers are compilations of problems. If you are into that sort of thing, it's the place to go:


share|improve this answer
See also the book Erdos on Graphs by Chung and Graham for a compilation of Erdos's open problems on graphs. –  Timothy Chow Dec 4 '10 at 22:31

The Kourovka notebook is published every four years containing unsolved problems in Group Theory.

share|improve this answer
Once upon a time, there were also similar "Dniester notebook" (rings and modules) and "Sverdlovsk notebook" (semigroups). Of these, only "Kourovka notebook" seems to survive (the last edition of Dniester notebook appeared in 1993 and of Sverdlovsk notebook - in 1989). –  Pasha Zusmanovich Jan 3 '11 at 19:44

The book Research problems in discrete geometry by Peter Brass, W. O. J. Moser, János Pach, is a very large collection which describes what is known about each problem with a large reference list of papers for each problem.

Also Google Books search: "open problems in" OR "unsolved problems in" OR "research problems in" mathematics

and Google Scholar search: "open problems in" OR "unsolved problems in" OR "research problems in" mathematics

share|improve this answer

Kirby's list is large (380 pages), specialized (only contains problems in low-dimensional topology), classified on subject (knot theory, 2-manifolds, 3-manifolds, 4-manifolds...), and contains references indicating who has worked on each problem. Sounds like what you want.

share|improve this answer
Thank you, that's nice. –  Cristi Stoica Dec 4 '10 at 22:09

The Egres Open is a collection of open problems in combinatorics (theoretical combinatorial optimization) by the Egerváry Research Group.

It currently has about a hundred problems, but is actively maintained, so occasionally new ones will appear and some old ones get solved.

share|improve this answer

The Western Number Theory meeting holds a problem session every year. The problems get written up, and for the last 10 years or so they've been posted to the meeting website (for which, alas, I don't have the URL handy).

share|improve this answer
This year's URL is math.byu.edu/~doud/WNTC.html and includes links to past problem sets. –  Paul Jenkins Dec 5 '10 at 6:52

Tomotada Ohtsuki's Problems on invariants of knots and 3–manifolds is a good compilation of open problems in low-dimensional topology, mainly in quantum topology. I think that it complements Kirby's problem list nicely.

share|improve this answer

... even if they are very specialized and not as famous

Taking you at your word, may I humbly point to the list I maintain with Joe Mitchell (SUNY Stonybrook) and Eric Demaine (MIT), focusing on discrete and computational geometry: what we call The Open Problems Project.

share|improve this answer
Thanks and congratulations for your list, it is very nice. –  Cristi Stoica Dec 5 '10 at 7:19

For the probabilists out there, the recent books by Yuval Peres seem to contain some open problems. For example, see:

  • Mörters and Peres. Brownian motion. 2010.
  • Levin, Peres, and Wilmer. Markov Chains and Mixing Times. 2008.
share|improve this answer

For problems on topics related to the mapping class group, the moduli space of curves, etc, I recommend the collection of papers "Problems on Mapping Class Groups and Related Topics" edited by Benson Farb. It is available on his webpage here.

Another interesting list of problems on related topics is the problem list for the Center for the Topology and Quantization of Moduli Spaces, which is located here.

share|improve this answer

These should be really hard: Michel Waldschmidt, Open Diophantine Problems, Moscow Math. Journal 4:1 (2004), 245-305, 312.

share|improve this answer

A collection of (mostly, still) open problems in additive combinatorics due to Ernie Croot and myself, including a brief historical account.

share|improve this answer

Problems in analytic number theory around the Riemann Hypothesis


share|improve this answer

Many PhD supervisors have lists of open problems in their subject, often hidden somewhere on their web site. Here are some from my university:

Here are 27 research problems in group theory from Rob Wilson: http://www.maths.qmul.ac.uk/~raw/resprob.html

Here are many problems in combinatorics and group theory from Peter Cameron: http://www.maths.qmul.ac.uk/~pjc/oldprobidx.html

(And also his links to other lists of problems: http://www.maths.qmul.ac.uk/~pjc/bcc/links.html#prob)

share|improve this answer

There's a recent list of open problems in von Neumann algebras, from the recent 2010 Noncommutative Geometry and Operator Algebras Spring Institute at Vanderbilt University.

share|improve this answer
I like the way Problem 3.8 is just sneaked in there, as if "oh, by the way, what about this one?" –  Yemon Choi Mar 29 '11 at 21:03

A (very) mixed bag:

  1. A. Auel, E. Brussel, S. Garibaldi and U. Vishne, Open problems on central simple algebras, http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.3304

  2. Many entries in the famous On-line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences may be considered as problems (to compute further terms, etc.)

  3. Arnold's Problems, 2nd ed., Springer, 2005 (translation from Russian) http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/b138219

  4. (famous?) Ulam's "Problems in Modern Mathematics", and its successor: R.D. Mauldin and S.M. Ulam, Mathematical problems and games, Adv. Appl. Math. 8 (1987), 281-344 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0196-8858(87)90026-1

  5. M. Sapir, Some group theory problems, Intern. J. Algebra Computation 17 (2007), 1189-1214, arXiv:0704.2899 (probably related to and/or overlaps with a list provided by Denis Osin).

  6. B. Sturmfels, Open problems in algebraic statistics, arXiv:0707.4558

  7. E. Zelmanov, Some open problems in the theory of infinite dimensional algebras, J. Korean Math. Soc. 44 (2007), 1185-1195 http://www.kms.or.kr/home/journal/RPArticles/View.asp?IDXNo=557&Page=1

share|improve this answer

Mark Hovey maintains a list of open problems in algebraic topology (which, as he points out, hasn't been updated in a while): http://math.wesleyan.edu/~mhovey/problems/

share|improve this answer

Ismar Volic from Wellesly has a list of problems in Calculus of Functors related to knot theory on his webpage here.

share|improve this answer

Douglas B. West has a sorted list of open problems in combinatorics and graph theory: http://www.math.uiuc.edu/~west/openp/

share|improve this answer

Igor Shparlinski maintains a large list of open problems in exponential and character sums. You can find it on his website: http://web.science.mq.edu.au/~igor/

share|improve this answer

Miller has a list of set theory problems here (upper right).

Schindler also has a list of open problems specifically in inner model theory here.

share|improve this answer
another Schindler, another list ... –  PatrickT Mar 31 at 18:40

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.