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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 Prehistory of P versus NP

The Prehistory of P versus NP

(p.71) Chapter 5 The Prehistory of P versus NP
The Golden Ticket

Lance Fortnow

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores two separate paths that led to the P versus NP question. In the end it was Steve Cook in the West and Leonid Levin in the East who would first ask whether P = NP. Science does not happen in a vacuum, and both sides have a long history leading to the work of Cook and Levin. The chapter covers just a small part of those research agendas, the struggle in the West to understand efficient computation and the struggle in the East to understand the necessity of perebor. Both would lead to P versus NP. Today, with most academic work available over the Internet and with generally open travel around the world, there is now one large research community instead of two separate ones.

Keywords:   P versus NP, Steve Cook, Leonid Levin, efficient computation, perebor, Internet, academic work, research community

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