If it turns out that a problem is equivalent to a known open problem, then the open-problem tag is added. After that, the question essentially becomes, "What is known about this problem? What are some possible ways to approach this problem? What are some ways that people have tried to attack it ...

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154
votes
89answers
26k views

Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand

Question: I'm asking for a big list of not especially famous, long open problems that anyone can understand. Community wiki, so one problem per answer, please. Motivation: I plan to use this list ...
29
votes
4answers
1k views

Are most cubic plane curves over the rationals elliptic?

%This is a new version of the original question modified in the light of the answers and comments. The word 'most' in the title is ambiguous. The following is one way of making it precise. ...
27
votes
3answers
817 views

Is the fixed point property for posets preserved by products?

Recall that a partially ordered set (poset) $P$ has the fixed point property (FPP) if any order preserving function $f:P\longrightarrow P$ has a fixed point. Theorem. Suppose $P$ and $Q$ are posets ...
12
votes
1answer
650 views

Integer-distance sets

Let $S$ be a set of points in $\mathbb{R}^d$; I am especially interested in $d=2$. Say that $S$ is an integer-distance set if every pair of points in $S$ is separated by an integer Euclidean distance. ...
40
votes
12answers
2k views

Can a discrete set of the plane of uniform density intersect all large triangles?

Let S be a discrete subset of the Euclidean plane such that the number of points in a large disc is approximately equal to the area of the disc. Does the complement of S necessarily contain triangles ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Are nontrivial integer solutions known for $x^3+y^3+z^3=3$?

The Diophantine equation $$x^3+y^3+z^3=3$$ has four easy integer solutions: $(1,1,1)$ and the three permutations of $(4,4,-5)$. Elsenhans and Jahnel wrote in 2007 that these were all the solutions ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Convex hull in CAT(0)

Let $X$ be complete $\mathop{CAT}(0)$-space and $K\subset X$ be a compact subset. Is it true that convex hull of $K$ is compact? Comments: Convex hull of $K$ = intersection of all closed convex ...
21
votes
4answers
9k views

Does pi contain 1000 consecutive zeroes (in base 10)?

The motivation for this question comes from the novel Contact by Carl Sagan. Actually, I haven't read the book myself. However, I heard that one of the characters (possibly one of those aliens at ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

Surfaces filled densely by a geodesic

Which smooth, closed surfaces $S \subset \mathbb{R}^3$ have no single geodesic $\gamma$ that fills $S$ densely? Say a geodesic $\gamma$ "fills $S$ densely" if the closure of the set of points ...
15
votes
2answers
778 views

Minimal graphs with a prescribed number of spanning trees

As its long ago since Erdős died and mathoverflow is the second best alternative to him (for discussing personal problems), I'd like to start a fruitful discussion about the following problem ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Is $\varliminf_{n \rightarrow +\infty} |n \sin n| = 0$ correct, where $n$ is an integer?

Is it true that $\varliminf_{n \rightarrow +\infty} |n \sin n| = 0$, where $n$ runs over the integers? The existence of the limes inferior follows from Dirichlet's approximation theorem, but the ...
9
votes
2answers
672 views

Is the Steiner ratio Gilbert–Pollak conjecture still open?

Gilbert-Pollak conjecture on the Steiner ratio: Consider a set $P$ of $n$ points on the euclidean plane. A shortest network interconnecting $P$ must be a tree, which is called a Steiner minimum ...
7
votes
9answers
2k views

Not especially famous, long-open problems which higher mathematics beginners can understand

This is a pair to Not especially famous, long-open problems which anyone can understand So this time I'm asking for open questions so easy to state for students of subjects such as undergraduate ...
2
votes
2answers
303 views

If all real conjugacy classes are strongly real, then all real irreps are “strongly real”(symmetric), true ?

Question Is true that if all real conjugacy classes of a finite group are strongly real, then all its real irreducible representations (irreps) are "strongly real"(symmetric) ? And vice verse ? ...
1
vote
1answer
171 views

relationship between corner tile and edge tile of wang tile

It is clear that any corner type of Wang Tile could be converted to edge type of Wang Tile by defining the edge color according to the corner color. However, could we convert edge type of Wang Tile ...
312
votes
2answers
24k views

Polynomial bijection from $\mathbb Q\times\mathbb Q$ to $\mathbb Q$?

Is there any polynomial $f(x,y)\in{\mathbb Q}[x,y]{}\ $ such that $f:\mathbb{Q}\times\mathbb{Q} \rightarrow\mathbb{Q}$ is a bijection?
194
votes
7answers
12k views

Polynomial representing all nonnegative integers

Lagrange proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 4 squares. Gauss proved that every nonnegative integer is a sum of 3 triangular numbers. Is there a 2-variable polynomial $f(x,y) \in ...
150
votes
7answers
7k views

Two commuting mappings in the disk

Suppose that $f$ and $g$ are two commuting continuous mappings from the closed unit disk (or, if you prefer, the closed unit ball in $R^n$) to itself. Does there always exist a point $x$ such that ...
53
votes
23answers
16k views

Open problems with monetary rewards

Since the old days, many mathematicians have been used to attaching monetary rewards to problems they admit are difficult. Their reasons could be to draw other mathematicians' attention, to express ...
53
votes
3answers
2k views

Does linearization of categories reflect isomorphism?

Given a category $C$ and a commutative ring $R$, denote by $RC$ the $R$-linearization: this is the category enriched over $R$-modules which has the same objects as $C$, but the morphism module between ...
50
votes
6answers
10k views

Is Thompson's Group F amenable?

Last year a paper on the arXiv (Akhmedov) claimed that Thompson's group $F$ is not amenable, while another paper, published in the journal "Infinite dimensional analysis, quantum probability, and ...
29
votes
3answers
4k views

Can we cover the unit square by these rectangles?

The following question was a research exercise (i.e. an open problem) in R. Graham, D.E. Knuth, and O. Patashnik, "Concrete Mathematics", 1988, chapter 1. It is easy to show that $$\sum_{1 \leq k } ...
39
votes
4answers
6k views

Do there exist chess positions that require exponentially many moves to reach?

By "chess" here I mean chess played on an $n\times n$ board with an unbounded number of (non-king) pieces. Some care is needed if you want to generalize some of the subtler rules of chess to an ...
38
votes
11answers
2k views

Important open problems that have already been reduced to a finite but infeasible amount of computation

Most open problems, when formalized, naturally involve quantification over infinite sets, thereby obviating the possibility, even in principle, of "just putting it on a computer." Some questions ...
15
votes
0answers
2k views

Open problems/questions in representation theory and around ?

What are open problems in representation theory ? What are the sources (books/papers/sites) discussing this ? Any kinds of problems/questions are welcome - big/small, vague/concrete. Some estimation ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

What is Chern-Simons theory expected to assign to a point?

Let $G$ be a compact, connected, (simply connected?) Lie group and let $k \in H^4(BG, \mathbb{Z})$ be a cohomology class. Witten showed, at a physical level of rigor, that this data determines a ...
16
votes
0answers
438 views

Avoidable words

Let $u(x_1,...,x_n)$ be a word, $k\in \mathbb{N}$. We say that $u$ is $k$-avoidable if there exists an infinite word in $k$ letters $\{a_1,...,a_k\}$ which does not contain values of $u$ (i.e. words ...
36
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the Invariant Subspace Problem interesting?

There's an amusing comment in Peter Lax's Functional Analysis book. After a brief description of the Invariant Subspace Problem, he says (paraphrasing) "...this question is still open. It is also an ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Number of valid topologies on a finite set of n elements

I've heard that the problem of counting topologies is hard, but I couldn't really find anything about it on the rest of the internet. Has this problem been solved? If not, is there some feature that ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Furstenberg's Conjecture on 2-3-invariant continuous probability measures on the circle

Hillel Furstenberg conjectured that the only $2$-$3$-invariant probability measure on the circle without atoms is the Lebesgue measure. More precisely: Question: (Furstenberg) Let $\mu$ be a ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

unboundedness of number of integral points on elliptic curves?

If $E/\mathbf{Q}$ is an elliptic curve and we put it into minimal Weierstrass form, we can count how many integral points it has. A theorem of Siegel tells us that this number $n(E)$ is finite, and ...
10
votes
2answers
519 views

A group action of the Heisenberg group with special symmetries

Suppose we look at the Heisenberg group $H_{d}$ as a matrix group of upper triangular matrices over the ring $\mathbb{Z}/d\mathbb{Z}$. You can even choose $d$ to be prime if you want. A natural ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

Question on consecutive integers with similar prime factorizations

Suppose that $n=\prod_{i=1}^{k} p_i^{e_i}$ and $m=\prod_{i=1}^{l} q_i^{f_i}$ are prime factorizations of two positive integers $n$ and $m$, with the primes permuted so that $e_1 \le e_2 \cdots \le ...
16
votes
1answer
676 views

A Question on 1, 2 ,3 Conjecture

1, 2, 3 conjecture is well-known: If $G$ is a simple graph which is not $K_2$ then one can assign a number among $1, 2, 3$ to every edge such that if we label each vertex with the sum of the numbers ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How to Tackle the Smooth Poincare Conjecture

The last remaining problem in this whole "everything is a sphere" business, is the Smooth Poincare Conjecture in dimension 4: If $X\simeq_\text{homo.eq.} S^4$ then $X\approx_\text{diffeo} S^4$. ...
29
votes
0answers
413 views

Which region in the plane with a given area has the most domino tilings?

I just finished teaching a class in combinatorics in which I included a fairly easy upper bound on the number of domino tilings of a region in the plane as a function of its area. So this led to ...
18
votes
0answers
683 views

Given a lattice L with n elements, are there finite groups H < G such that L $\cong$ the lattice of subgroups between H and G?

If there is no restriction on $n$, this is a famous open problem. I'm wondering if any recent work has been done for small $n>6$. I believe the question is answered (positively) for $n=6$ by ...
13
votes
1answer
557 views

Randomly switching street lights, in a square city

This is a combinatorics-probability question, best stated however in "recreational" terms. Imagine a $N\times N$ city, meaning that we have $N$ horizontal streets, and $N$ vertical streets. At each ...
11
votes
4answers
9k views

The Ramanujan Problems.

I originally thought of asking this question at the Mathematics Stackexchange, but then I decided that I'd have a better chance of a good discussion here. In the Wikipedia page on Ramanujan, there is ...
7
votes
1answer
649 views

Transcendentality of all irrationals in the Cantor set

Hi, I am a student researcher trying to prove that all irrationals within the Cantor set are transcendental. This is grounded, intuitively, in Cantor set members' being non-normal; since algebraic ...
19
votes
0answers
364 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 ...
18
votes
0answers
889 views

When is a compact topological 4-manifold a CW complex?

Freedman's $E_8$-manifold is nontriangulable, as proved on page (xvi) of the Akbulut-McCarthy 1990 Princeton Mathematical Notes "Casson's invariant for oriented homology 3-spheres". Kirby showed that ...
11
votes
0answers
270 views

Generating random finite groups

I would like a method to efficiently generate a random finite group of a given order $n$. If there are $g(n)$ non-isomorphic groups of order $n$, ideally each group would occur with probability ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the major open problems in design theory nowaday?

I gather that the question whether the Bruck-Chowla-Ryser condition was sufficient used to top the list, but now that that's settled - what is considered the most interesting open question?
8
votes
0answers
235 views

Are there only finitely many maximal subfactors of a fixed finite index ?

A subfactor $N \subset M $ is maximal if it admits no non-trivial intermediate subfactors $N \subset P \subset M $. Question: are there only finitely many maximal subfactors of a fixed finite ...
7
votes
0answers
281 views

Is there a finite-index finite-depth II$_1$ subfactor which is more than $7$-super-transitive?

Background: See Noah and Emily's posts on subfactors and planar algebras on the Secret Blogging Seminar. There are plenty of examples of $3$-super-transitive (3-ST) subfactors; Haagerup, $S_4 < ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

Coiling Rope in a Box

What is the longest rope length L of radius r that can fit into a box? The rope is a smooth curve with a tubular neighborhood of radius r, such that the rope does not self-penetrate. For an open ...
8
votes
1answer
478 views

Periodic Automorphism Towers

In Scott's classic textbook on Group Theory, he asks: Suppose that $G$ is a finite group. Is the sequence of isomorphism types of the groups $Aut^{(n)}(G)$ for $n \in \mathbb{N}$ eventually periodic? ...
15
votes
1answer
615 views

Paul Erdős: Determine or estimate the number of maximal triangle-free graphs on n vertices

Among the collections of the open problems of Paul Erdős on the website of Professor Fan Chung, there is one called "number of triangle-free graphs". ...