About a month ago (after my P NP poll appeared) I got email from Jacob Aron asking me some questions about it. One thing he was excited about was that the number of people who thought P vs NP would be solved in the next decade had increased from 11% to 22%. I told him that this also surprised me and there had been no major advances to warrant that increase.
Then the article came out. Here is the pointer to the headline and the first few lines, the rest is behind a paywall
You may notice that the headline is
We could solve the biggest problem in math in the next decade
I emailed Jacob to send me the article, which he did. The article was fine, even quoting me as saying that the increase of people who thought it would be solved soon was unwarranted.
1) So, article fine, headline terrible.
2) A more honest headline would be
The Complexity Theory Community slightly more optimistic about when P vs NP will be resolved for no apparent reason.
3) More bad science:here
Turing's Oracle: The computer that goes beyond logic
I think the article was about how a Turing Machine with an oracle for HALT can solve HALT. (If I am wrong about this let me know in the comments and I'll correct it.)
4) More bad science:here
Finally, a problem that only Quantum Computers will ever be able to solve.
This was about the oracle such that BQP is not in PH. Really!
5) I invite you to add your own.
6) OKAY, so why is the press SO BAD at reporting on our field? And is it just our field? I have one explanation, though I am sure there are many.
Our field is about showing the LIMITS of computation. Its hard to make that sexy so they ... lie? exaggerate. They themselves don't really understand our field? Note:
To explain to someone who does not really know CS why its important to have an oracle where BQP is not in PH is hard
To explain this to someone IN CS but not in Theory is still hard!
To explain this to someone IN CS and even in CS Theory, but not complexity (e.g., algorithms) might be hard, though it may depend on the person.
7) The old saying is `I don't care if you get the story wrong so long as you spell my name right' And indeed, they did spell my name right. So there is that! But more seriously and less about me or even the article that refers to my poll--- is it bad that science reporting is often wrong?