Feeds

Minesweeper could explode hard maths problem

And win $1m prize

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Boost IT visibility and business value

Minesweeper, the Windows OS game accused of wasting almost as much office time as Solitaire, could hold the key to one of the trickiest problems in mathematics research that has baffled all the brainiest boffins for about 30 years.

A one million dollar prize has been offered by the Clay Mathematics Institute to anyone who can find an algorithm that checks the consistancy of a minesweeper board in polynomial time.

It is all a bit clever for us but the general gist of it seems to be that to find such an algorithm would solve the P vs. NP problem - which if you are a Mathematician, you would certainly know about and probably understand.

Richard Kaye, a maths professor at Birmingham University in England, noticed the potential of the game. He said that while he realised there was probably some nice maths behind the game, he had no idea what he was looking for: "I'm always interested in games with maths elements. Maths and games go together brilliantly."

Kaye suggested that the if the game were to be solved it would also have implications for code breaking. ®

For those who actually understand these things and want to know more, there is a bundle of information about the problem and the prize at Clay Mathematics Institute's web site.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.