Here is a copypaste of something I've already mentioned in this question: http://mathoverflow.net/questions/12804/large-cardinal-axioms-and-grothendieck-universes
The fastest known solution of the word problem in braid groups originated from research on large cardinal axioms; the proof is independent of the existence of large cardinals, although the first version of the proof did use them. See Dehornoy, From large cardinals to braids via distributive algebra, Journal of knot theory and ramifications, 4, 1, 33-79.
To me this is an absolute mystery! Large cardinals are usually considered an esoteric subject situated on the border of the observable universe. So why should they have any relevance to braids, a very down to earth part of mathematics? Let alone give an algorithm for distinguishing braids, and what's more, the fastest algorithm known.