This Mathematician’s ‘Mysterious’ New Method Just Solved a 30-Year-Old Problem

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A mathematician has solved a 30-year-old problem at the boundary between mathematics and computer science. He used an innovative, elegant proof that has his colleagues marveling at its simplicity.

Hao Huang, an assistant professor of mathematics at Emory University in Atlanta, proved a mathematical idea called the sensitivity conjecture, which, in incredibly rough terms, makes a claim about how much you can change the input to a function without changing the output (this is its sensitivity).

In the decades since mathematicians first proposed the sensitivity conjecture (without proving it), theoretical computer scientists realized that it has huge implications for determining the most efficient ways to process information. [5 Seriously Mind-Boggling Math Facts]

What’s remarkable about Huang’s proof, according to other experts in the field, isn’t just that Huang pulled it off, but also the elegant and straightforward way in which he did it. His proof hasn’t been officially peer-reviewed or published in any math journal. But soon after Huang put it online July 1, his colleagues quickly accepted it as fact.

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