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Solving Math Problems for Money

The growing "game" seems to be the posing of difficult mathematical problems...with money offered for their solution. Do I have your attention?

It all started perhaps with David Hilbert in 1900. While giving his Presidential Address at a mathematical conference, he outlined 23 problems that needed solutions...and priority in attention. As to the current status of the Hilbert Problems, some have been solved, some partially solved, and some remain open. No money was involved.

Then, in 2000, the Clay Mathematics Institute outlined 7 problems that needed solutions...and offered basically $1 million for each solution. As to the current status of the Clay Problems, some have been solved (one recently), some partially solved, and some remain open.

And, more recently in 2007 and in subsequent years, the U.S.'s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) outlined its own Problem Challenges. Their goal is "dramatically revolutionizing mathematics and thereby strengthening the scientific and technological capabilities of DoD." Money is being offered for the solutions...but the amount is ambigious.

As a side note, about ten years ago a student quit my class (and college) when I told him about the $1 million prize offered for the solution of the Goldbach Conjecture. He decided more money could be made by solving that problem than he could make as a mathematics major. He would occasionally stop by my office..with what always proved to be an incorrect solution. Also, to get the prize, a solution had to be submitted by submitted before April 2002...and the prize was not claimed....and I have not seen him for about eight years!