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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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P and NP

P and NP

(p.29) Chapter 3 P and NP
The Golden Ticket

Lance Fortnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses P and NP through Frenemy, an imaginary world where every pair of people comprises either friends or enemies. Frenemy has about 20,000 inhabitants. Every individual seems normal, but put two in close vicinity and a strange thing happens. Either the two take an instant liking to each other, immediately becoming the best of friends, or they take one look at each other and immediately become the worst of enemies. By examining social networking data such as Facebook and Twitter, computer scientists at the Frenemy Institute of Technology have put together a nearly complete database showing which pairs of people are friends and which pairs of people are enemies. The chapter then shows what these researchers can and cannot do with this data. It also presents other NP problems from a few other scientific fields where there is no known efficient algorithms.

Keywords:   Frenemy, social networking data, database, efficient algorithms, Facebook, Twitter

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