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The Golden TicketP, NP, and the Search for the Impossible$
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Lance Fortnow

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175782

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175782.001.0001

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The Golden Ticket

The Golden Ticket

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Golden Ticket
The Golden Ticket

Lance Fortnow

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the P versus NP problem. The P versus NP problem asks, among other things, whether one can quickly find the shortest route for a traveling salesman. P and NP are named after their technical definitions, but it is best not to think of them as mathematical objects but as concepts. “NP” is the collection of problems that have a solution that one wants to find. “P” consists of the problems to which one can find a solution quickly. “P = NP” means one can always quickly compute these solutions, like finding the shortest route for a traveling salesman. “P ≠ NP” means one cannot. Ultimately, the P versus NP problem has achieved the status of one of the great open problems in all of mathematics.

Keywords:   P versus NP problem, problems, solution, mathematics, computer science

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