Stop Press: mathematicians being social?
People forget that the internet was invented in the early 1960s as a tool for sharing information on research at universities. C.R. Licklider of MIT and Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA began experimenting with connecting two computers over a standard telephone line.
These days all the talk about the internet is Rock Star programmers making it rich, companies worth billions without ever turning a profit, big brother watching over us and all the other headline grabbing news.
However real research and real collaboration is happening amongst the people who the internet was initially designed for. Chancing upon a copy of New Scientist Issue #2811- I came across a great article on an online collaboration project called Polymath.
It is a project set up by two mathematicians whereby complex mathematical problems are placed on their website and anyone interested can try and solve the mathematical stumbling block. Many of these people are professors in mathematics but also enthusiastic amateurs can contribute to the project.
The first analysis is in, and the speed and efficiency to which some problems were solved has been exceptionally positive.
Just goes to show many minds make problem solving easy.
This is a direct quote from the article- its too good to paraphrase;