**56**

votes

**16**answers

8k views

### Examples of algorithms requiring deep mathematics to prove correctness

I am looking for examples of algorithms for which the proof of correctness requires deep mathematics ( far beyond what is covered in a normal computer science course).
I hope this is not too broad.

**46**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### What algorithm in algebraic geometry should I work on implementing?

This summer my wife and one of my friends (who are both programmers and undergraduate math majors, but have not learned any algebraic geometry) want to learn some algebraic geometry from me, and I ...

**42**

votes

**4**answers

11k views

### How hard is it to compute the number of prime factors of a given integer?

I asked a related question on this mathoverflow thread. That question was promptly answered. This is a natural followup question to that one, which I decided to repost since that question is answered.
...

**37**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### improving known bounds for Pierce expansions; cash prize

Here's a problem that I thought of back in 1978 or so, and only a little progress has been made on it since then. I still think about it from time to time, but probably not that many people have ...

**34**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### What is the time complexity of computing sin(x) to t bits of precision?

Short version of the question: Presumably, it's poly$(t)$. But what polynomial, and could you provide a reference?
Long version of the question:
I'm sort of surprised to be asking this, because ...

**33**

votes

**19**answers

4k views

### What is the easiest randomized algorithm to motivate to the layperson?

When trying to explain complexity theory to laypeople, I often mention randomized algorithms but seemingly lack good examples to motivate their usage. I often want to mention primality testing but ...

**31**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Why is “P vs. NP” necessarily relevant?

I want to start out by giving two examples:
1) Graham's problem is to decide whether a given edge-coloring (with two colors) of the complete graph on vertices $\lbrace-1,+1\rbrace^n$ contains a ...

**31**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Does anyone want a pretty Maass form?

A few months ago, I was curious about some properties of Maass cusp forms, of nonabelian arithmetic origin. As a result, I went through a somewhat predictable process of finding a totally real $A_4$ ...

**30**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Can assignment solve stable marriage?

This is an excellent question asked by one of my students. I imagine the answer is "no", but it doesn't strike me as easy.
Recall the set up of the stable marriage problem. We have $n$ men and $n$ ...

**30**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### An edge partitioning problem on cubic graphs

Hello everyone,
I already asked this question on the TCS Stack Exchange, but it has not been resolved yet. Maybe readers of this forum will have other ideas or information, although I suspect that ...

**29**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Are surjectivity and injectivity of polynomial functions from $\mathbb{Q}^n$ to $\mathbb{Q}$ algorithmically decidable?

Is there an algorithm which, given a polynomial $f \in \mathbb{Q}[x_1, \dots, x_n]$,
decides whether the mapping $f: \mathbb{Q}^n \rightarrow \mathbb{Q}$ is surjective,
respectively, injective? --
And ...

**28**

votes

**9**answers

12k views

### Fast Matrix Multiplication

Suppose we have two $n$ by $n$ matrices over particular ring. We want to multiply them as fast as possible. According to wikipedia there is an algorithm of Coppersmith and Winograd that can do it in $...

**27**

votes

**5**answers

7k views

### Computing the Galois group of a polynomial

Does there exist an algorithm which computes the Galois group of a polynomial
$p(x) \in \mathbb{Z}[x]$? Feel free to interpret this question in any reasonable manner. For example, if the degree of $p(...

**27**

votes

**1**answer

6k views

### How fast can we *really* multiply matrices?

Background: The Strassen Algorithm, described here, has a computational complexity of $\text{O}(n^{2.807})$ for the multiplication of two $n \times n$ matrices (the exponent is $\frac{\log7}{\log2}$). ...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Is it decidable whether or not a collection of integer matrices generates a free group?

Suppose we have integer matrices $A_1,\ldots,A_n\in\operatorname{GL}(n,\mathbb Z)$. Define $\varphi:F_n\to\operatorname{GL}(n,\mathbb Z)$ by $x_i\mapsto A_i$. Is there an algorithm to decide whether ...

**27**

votes

**1**answer

476 views

### Decidability of equality of expressions built using 1,+,-,*,/,^

Consider expressions built using number $1$, arithmetical operators $+, -, *, /$ and exponentiation ^ (in case of multiple values, the principal value is assumed, the same way as it implemented in ...

**26**

votes

**2**answers

437 views

### A small unavoidable collection of subgraphs

What is the smallest number S(k,n) of unlabeled graphs on k vertices such that every simple graph on n vertices contains at least one of these as an induced subgraph?
I'd like to avoid exhaustive ...

**25**

votes

**12**answers

12k views

### What are the Applications of Hypergraphs

Hypergraphs are like simple graphs, except that instead of having edges that only connect 2 vertices, their edges are sets of any number of vertices. This happens to mean that all graphs are just a ...

**25**

votes

**2**answers

980 views

### Groebner basis with group action

At one point my advisor, Mark Haiman, mentioned that it would be nice if there was a way to compute Groebner bases that takes into account a group action.
Does anyone know of any work done along ...

**25**

votes

**0**answers

706 views

### On certain representations of algebraic numbers in terms of trigonometric functions

Let's say that a real number has a simple trigonometric representation, if it can be represented as a product of zero or more rational powers of positive integers and zero or more (positive or ...

**24**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### What is a good method to find random points on the n-sphere when n is large?

As part of a more complex algorithm, I need a fast method to find random points of the n-sphere, $S^n$, starting with a RNG (random number generator). A simple way to do this (in low dimensions at ...

**23**

votes

**10**answers

11k views

### Algorithm for finding the volume of a convex polytope

It's easy to find the area of a convex polygon by division into triangles, but what is the optimal way of finding the volume of higher-dimensional convex bodies? I tried a few methods for dividing ...

**23**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Securing privacy of “who communicates with whom” under Orwell-like conditions

Assume that there is a big and powerful country with an
information-greedy secret service which has backdoors to all internet nodes
throughout the world which permit him to observe all exchanged data ...

**23**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Can Gröbner bases be used to compute solutions to large, real-world problems?

In particular, suppose I have an affine algebraic variety over $\mathbb{R}^n$ described by generators of a radical ideal $I$ and I want to find (perhaps not all of the) points in the variety. Several ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Distinct numbers in multiplication table

Consider multiplication table for numbers $1,2,\cdots, n$. How many different numbers are there? That is how many different numbers of the form $ij$ with $1 \le i, j \le n$ are there?
I'm interested ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

836 views

### Groups where word problem is solvable, but not quickly?

Are there finitely generated groups whose word problem is solvable, but not quickly? It would be great to have specific examples, but existence results would also be helpful.
All of the groups that ...

**21**

votes

**0**answers

423 views

### Decidability of equality of elementary expressions

In the following definition the term expression is to be understood as a finite tree built from formal symbols without any predefined meaning assigned to them.
Define the set $\mathcal{E}$ of ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Can one measure the infeasibility of four color proofs?

Terms like "impractical" and "unfeasible" are used to say the Robertson, Sanders, Seymour, and Thomas proof of the four color theorem needs computer assistance. Obviously no precise measure is ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

674 views

### Is there a way of canonically labelling permutation groups?

When working with large numbers of graphs, a canonical labelling routine is essential as, after the initial cost of canonically labelling each graph, it permits isomorphism checks to be replaced with ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### does the “convolution theorem” apply to weaker algebraic structures?

The Convolution Theorem is often exploited to compute the convolution of two sequences efficiently: take the (discrete) Fourier transform of each sequence, multiply them, and then perform the inverse ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### A generalization of the triangle counting problem for simple weighted graphs

One nice identity is that $$\operatorname{tr}(A^3)/6$$ counts the number of triangles of a graph with adjacency matrix $A$. It also implies that triangle counting in a graph can be performed in sub-...

**18**

votes

**5**answers

6k views

### Fastest Algorithm to Compute the Sum of Primes?

Can anyone help me with references to the current fastest algorithms for counting the exact sum of primes less than some number n? I'm specifically curious about the best case running times, of ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Satisfiability of general Boolean formulas with at most two occurrences per variable

(If you know basics in theoretical computer science, you may skip immediately to the dark box below. I thought I would try to explain my question very carefully, to maximize the number of people that ...

**17**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Determine if circle is covered by some set of other circles

Suppose you have a set of circles $\mathcal{C} = \{ C_1, \ldots, C_n \}$ each with a fixed radius $r$ but varying centre coordinates. Next, you are given a new circle $C_{n+1}$ with the same radius $r$...

**17**

votes

**9**answers

2k views

### How can I generate random permutations of [n] with k cycles, where k is much larger than log n?

I've been thinking a lot lately about random permutations. It's well-known that the mean and variance of the number of cycles of a permutation chosen uniformly at random from Sn are both ...

**17**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### duplicate detection problem

Restated from stackoverflow:
Given:
array a[1:N] consisting of integer elements in the range 1:N
Is there a way to detect whether the array is a permutation (no duplicates) or whether it has any ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

12k views

### How hard is it to compute the Euler totient function?

Are there any efficient algorithms for computing the Euler totient function? (It's easy if you can factor, but factoring is hard.)
Is it the case that computing this is as hard as factoring?
EDIT: ...

**17**

votes

**4**answers

859 views

### Proving univariate polynomials (defined by sums, binomial coeffs, etc.) are nonnegative: is it 'routine'?

My colleagues and I are working on a project related to an old paper of C. Borell and we have boiled it down to the following problem:
Show, for all integers $1 \leq i \leq k$, that the univariate ...

**17**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Algorithm generalizing continued fractions for non-quadratic algebraic numbers

The continued fraction algorithm generates an integer sequence which terminates for a rational number, is periodic for the roots of irreducible integer quadratics, and is non-periodic for other ...

**17**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### FFTs over finite fields?

I'm trying to understand how to compute a fast Fourier transform over a finite field. This question arose in the analysis of some BCH codes.
Consider the finite field $F$ with $2^n$ elements. It is ...

**17**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Complexity of testing integer square-freeness

How fast can an algorithm tell if an integer is square-free?
I am interested in both deterministic and randomized algorithms. I also care about both unconditional results and ones conditional on GRH ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

4k views

### Generalization of the shakehands/condom puzzle?

The classic handshake puzzle goes something like this:
"Given that everyone has a different skin disease, how can you safely shake hands with 3 people when you have only 2 gloves?"
Its common ...

**16**

votes

**5**answers

643 views

### Mathematics of privacy?

I wonder to which extent the current public debate on privacy issues (not only by state sniffing, but e.g. by microtargetting ads too an issue) offers interesting questions in mathematics?
Can we ...

**16**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### How Does One Find the “Loneliest Person on the Planet”?

I'm looking for the algorithm that efficiently locates the "Loneliest Person on the Planet", where "loneliest" is defined as:
Maximum minimum distance to another person -- that is, the person for ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

3k views

### Evidence for integer factorization is in $P$

Peter Sarnak believes that integer factorization is in $P$. It is a well-known open problem in TCS to identify the real complexity class of integer factorization. Take a look at this link for Peter ...

**16**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Algorithms for finding rational points on an elliptic curve?

I am looking for algorithms on how to find rational points on an elliptic curve $$y^2 = x^3 + a x + b$$ where $a$ and $b$ are integers. Any sort of ideas on how to proceed are welcome. For example, ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Optimizing the condition number

Suppose I have a set $S$ of $N$ vectors in $W=\mathbb{R}^m,$ with $N \gg m.$ I want to choose a subset $\{v_1, \dots, v_m\}$ of $S$ in such a way that the condition number of the matrix with columns $...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

873 views

### Easy functions ?

Let $f$ be an analytic function, and suppose that we want to compute
$f(x)$. The input consists of the digits of $x$ and the output of
a rational number approximating $f(x)$. A function $f$ is called ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Inverting the totient function

For what values of $n$ does the equation $\phi(x) = n$ have at least one solution? Is there any efficient way to check it for a given $n$?
It obviously has no solutions for odd $n$. And the smallest ...

**15**

votes

**12**answers

3k views

### Lower Bounds in Theoretical Computer Science

Besides the classical: you can't do comparison sort with faster than (n logn); what are other lower bounds we know of for algorithms? I can't seem to dig them up via google scholar, yet they must ...