Monday, October 14, 2002

Howdy from Dagstuhl

Howdy from Schloss Dagstuhl, a conference center in Germany that hosts weekly computer science workshops. This week I�m here for the Seminar on Algebraic Methods in Quantum and Classical Models of Computation.

The interesting open problem of the day comes from Pierre McKenzie. Consider a circuit that works on sets of nonnegative integers. Inputs are the sets {0} and {1}. The gates consist of union, intersection, complement, addition and multiplication. Addition of two sets A and B is the set consisting of x+y for x in A and y in B. Multiplication is similar.

Given such a circuit with specified input sets and an integer w, is it decidable whether w is in the set generated by the output gate?

A decision algorithm for this problem yields a way to settle Goldbach�s conjecture that every even number greater than 2 is the sum of two primes. I�ll leave this implication as an excercise.

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