[FOM] Who released Deolalikar's proof into the wild?

Richard Heck rgheck at brown.edu
Mon Aug 16 09:48:53 EDT 2010

On 08/15/2010 08:56 PM, Henry Cohn wrote:
>> Sending a paper to 22 people is quite different from making a public
>> announcement.
> His e-mail began "I am pleased to announce a proof that P is not equal to NP,
> which is attached in 10pt and 12pt fonts" and contains no indication that he
> considered the proof tentative or in need of further checking, or that it
> should not be distributed.  It reads to me like a public announcement, and
> I would have interpreted it that way if I had been one of the recipients.
> It's true that Deolalikar was not the first person to post the paper on the web,
> but if he envisioned a period of semi-private review by experts before he
> made a public announcement, he really didn't communicate that wish clearly.
Perhaps not. But I'm not sure it makes sense to argue over what "public" 
means. The question was why this became an internet sensation, not 
whether he gathered everyone in the parlor for the announcement like 
some TV detective. That's the sense of "public" that was at issue.


Richard G Heck Jr
Romeo Elton Professor of Natural Theology
Brown University

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