Questions tagged [open-problems]

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 before, and with what results?"

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460
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2answers
42k 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 $f\colon\mathbb{Q}\times\mathbb{Q} \rightarrow\mathbb{Q}$ is a bijection?
308
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105answers
67k 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 ...
266
votes
7answers
17k 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 \...
180
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8answers
10k 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 $f(...
154
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30answers
28k views

Proposals for polymath projects

Background Polymath projects are a form of open Internet collaboration aimed towards a major mathematical goal, usually to settle a major mathematical problem. This is a concept introduced in 2009 by ...
119
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4answers
10k views

If $2^x $and $3^x$ are integers, must $x$ be as well?

I'm fascinated by this open problem (if it is indeed still that) and every few years I try to check up on its status. Some background: Let $x$ be a positive real number. If $n^x$ is an integer for ...
113
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0answers
5k views

Why polynomials with coefficients $0,1$ like to have only factors with $0,1$ coefficients?

Conjecture. Let $P(x),Q(x) \in \mathbb{R}[x]$ be two monic polynomials with non-negative coefficients. If $R(x)=P(x)Q(x)$ is $0,1$ polynomial (coefficients only from $\{0,1\}$), then $P(x)$ and $Q(x)$ ...
103
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1answer
30k views

What is the definition of the function T used in Atiyah's attempted proof of the Riemann Hypothesis?

In Michael Atiyah's paper purportedly proving the Riemann hypothesis, he relies heavily on the properties of a certain function $T(s)$, known as the Todd function. My question is, what is the ...
96
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13answers
34k views

What are the big problems in probability theory?

Most branches of mathematics have big, sexy famous open problems. Number theory has the Riemann hypothesis and the Langlands program, among many others. Geometry had the Poincaré conjecture for a long ...
91
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24answers
14k views

Noteworthy, but not so famous conjectures resolved recent years

Conjectures play important role in development of mathematics. Mathoverflow gives an interaction platform for mathematicians from various fields, while in general it is not always easy to get in ...
89
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26answers
49k views

Open problems with monetary rewards

Since the old days, many mathematicians have been attaching monetary rewards to problems they admit are difficult. Their reasons could be to draw other mathematicians' attention, to express their ...
79
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0answers
5k views

Volumes of Sets of Constant Width in High Dimensions

Background The n dimensional Euclidean ball of radius 1/2 has width 1 in every direction. Namely, when you consider a pair of parallel tangent hyperplanes in any direction the distance between them ...
76
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11answers
25k views

Is there a complex structure on the 6-sphere?

I don't know who first asked this question, but it's a question that I think many differential and complex geometers have tried to answer because it sounds so simple and fundamental. There are even a ...
74
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0answers
2k views

Converse to Euclid's fifth postulate

There is a fascinating open problem in Riemannian Geometry which I would like to advertise here because I do not think that it is as well-known as it deserves to be. Euclid's famous fifth postulate, ...
73
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6answers
11k 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 } (...
70
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2answers
5k views

Is it known that the ring of periods is not a field?

I have just learned here that we know numbers that are not periods; is it known meanwhile that the ring of periods is not a field? I know that it is conjectured that $1/\pi$ is not a period, but the ...
68
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16answers
4k 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 (e.g....
67
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1answer
4k views

Nontrivial finite group with trivial group homologies?

I stumbled across this question in a seminar-paper a long time ago: Does there exist a positive integer $N$ such that if $G$ is a finite group with $\bigoplus_{i=1}^NH_i(G)=0$ then $G=\lbrace 1\...
65
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0answers
3k views

2, 3, and 4 (a possible fixed point result ?)

The question below is related to the classical Browder-Goehde-Kirk fixed point theorem. Let $K$ be the closed unit ball of $\ell^{2}$, and let $T:K\rightarrow K$ be a mapping such that $\Vert Tx-Ty\...
64
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3answers
3k 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 ...
59
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7answers
12k 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 ...
58
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14answers
9k views

What are some of the big open problems in 3-manifold theory?

From what I understand, the geometrization theorem and its proof helped to settle a lot of outstanding questions about the geometry and topology of 3-manifolds, but there still seems to be quite a lot ...
58
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
54
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1answer
2k views

Intersecting Family of Triangulations

Let $\cal T_n$ be the family of all triangulations on an $n$-gon using $(n-3)$ non-intersecting diagonals. The number of triangulations in $\cal T_n$ is $C_{n-2}$ the $(n-2)$th Catalan number. Let $\...
52
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8answers
10k views

Series whose convergence is not known

For most of the mathematical concepts I learn, it has more or less always been possible to find (at least google and find) unsolved problems pertaining to that specific concept. Keeping a bag of ...
52
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11answers
15k views

What are some open problems in algebraic geometry?

What are the open big problems in algebraic geometry and vector bundles? More specifically, I would like to know what are interesting problems related to moduli spaces of vector bundles over ...
52
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10answers
8k views

The “sensitivity” of 2-colorings of the d-dimensional integer lattice

Consider the $d$-dimensional integer lattice, $Z^d$. Call two points in $Z^d$ "neighbors" if their Euclidean distance is 1 (i.e., if they differ by 1 on exactly one coordinate). Let $C$ be a two-...
51
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9answers
17k views

What are some important but still unsolved problems in mathematical logic?

In the past, first-order logic and its completeness and whether arithmetic is complete was a major unsolved issues in logic . All of these problems were solved by Godel. Later on, independence of ...
50
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30answers
7k views

Fundamental problems whose solution seems completely out of reach [closed]

In many areas of mathematics there are fundamental problems that are embarrasingly natural or simple to state, but whose solution seem so out of reach that they are barely mentioned in the literature ...
50
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14answers
14k views

Open problems in Euclidean geometry?

What are some (research level) open problems in Euclidean geometry ? (Edit: I ask just out of curiosity, to understand how -and if- nowadays this is not a "dead" field yet) I should clarify a bit ...
49
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2answers
3k views

vector balancing problem

I believe the solution posted to the arXiv on June 17 by Marcus, Spielman, and Srivastava is correct. This problem may be hard, so I don't expect an off-the-cuff solution. But can anyone suggest ...
48
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2answers
4k views

Polynomials having a common root with their derivatives

Here is a question someone asked me a couple of years ago. I remember having spent a day or two thinking about it but did not manage to solve it. This may be an open problem, in which case I'd be ...
48
votes
4answers
9k 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 $n\...
47
votes
1answer
2k views

A function whose fixed points are the primes

If $a(n) = (\text{largest proper divisor of } n)$, let $f:\mathbb{N} \setminus \{ 0,1\} \to \mathbb{N}$ be defined by $f(n) = n+a(n)-1$. For instance, $f(100)=100+50-1=149$. Clearly the fixed points ...
46
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2answers
1k views

Local structure of rational varieties

I've been asked this question by a colleague who's not an algebraic geometer; we both feel that the answer should be "no", but I don't have a clue how to prove it. Here's the question: let $X$ be a ...
45
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13answers
9k views

PhD dissertations that solve an established open problem

I search for a big list of open problems which have been solved in a PhD thesis by the Author of the thesis (or with collaboration of her/his supervisor). In my question I search for every possible ...
45
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0answers
2k views

Set-theoretic reformulation of the invariant subspace problem

The invariant subspace problem (ISP) for Hilbert spaces asks whether every bounded linear operator $A$ on $l^2$ (with complex scalars) must have a closed invariant subspace other than $\{0\}$ and $l^2$...
44
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6answers
3k views

Can we color Z^+ with n colors such that a, 2a, …, na all have different colors for all a?

For example for n=2 coloring odd numbers red, numbers of the form 4k+2 blue and so on works. This problem was posed in the KoMaL for n+1 prime, by Peter Pach Pal. I verified it for all n<30, I ...
44
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5answers
4k views

Can $N^2$ have only digits 0 and 1, other than $N=10^k$?

Pablo Solis asked this at a recent 20 questions seminar at Berkeley. Is there a positive integer $N$, not of the form $10^k$, such that the digits of $N^2$ are all 0's and 1's? It seems very unlikely,...
44
votes
3answers
3k views

Shortest closed curve to inspect a sphere

Let $S$ be a sphere in $\mathbb{R}^3$. Let $C$ be a closed curve in $\mathbb{R}^3$ disjoint from and exterior to $S$ which has the property that every point $x$ on $S$ is visible to some point $y$ of $...
44
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4answers
3k views

Difficult examples for Frankl's union-closed conjecture

Frankl's well-known union-closed conjecture states that if F is a finite family of sets that is closed under taking unions (that is, if A and B belong to the family then so does $A\cup B$), then there ...
44
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1answer
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 ...
43
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5answers
4k views

Is Lebesgue's “universal covering” problem still open?

The following problem has been attributed to Lebesgue. Let "set" denote any subset of the Euclidean plane. What is the greatest lower bound of the diameter of any set which contains a subset congruent ...
43
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4answers
4k views

The maximum of a polynomial on the unit circle

Encouraged by the progress made in a recently posted MO problem, here is a "conceptually related" problem originating from a 2003 joint paper of Sergei Konyagin and myself. Suppose we are given $n$ ...
40
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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 ...
40
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
39
votes
2answers
4k views

Projective Plane of Order 12

I asked this question on the new Theoretical Computer Science "overflow" site, and commenters suggested I ask it here. That question is here, and it contains additional links, which I doubt I can ...
37
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
37
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
37
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...

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