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Math

Optical Solution For an NP-Complete Problem? 232

6 writes to let us know that two optical researchers have proposed, as a thought experiment, a novel idea for solving the traveling salesman problem. From the abstract: We introduce an optical method based on white light interferometry in order to solve the well-known NP-complete traveling salesman problem. To our knowledge it is the first time that a method for the reduction of non-polynomial time to quadratic time has been proposed. We will show that this achievement is limited by the number of available photons for solving the problem. It will turn out that this number of photons is proportional to NN for a traveling salesman problem with N cities and that for large numbers of cities the method in practice therefore is limited by the signal-to-noise ratio. The proposed method is meant purely as a gedankenexperiment."
Math

Professor Comes Up With a Way to Divide by Zero 1090

54mc writes "The BBC reports that Dr. James Anderson, of the University of Reading, has finally conquered the problem of dividing by zero. His new number, which he calls "nullity" solves the 1200 year old problem that niether Newton nor Pythagoras could solve, the problem of zero to the zero power. Story features video (Real Player only) of Dr. Anderson explaining the "simple" concept."

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