Four short links: 15 August 2017
P != NP, Open Source Lab Notebook, Science Data, and Anonymous Feedback
- A Solution of the P versus NP Problem — from a respected computability theory researcher, so not the usual crank writing—but will need to withstand interrogation and verification from the rest of the academic community. Explainer: computing is interested in efficiently processing digital information. Some problems can be proven to have efficient solutions (“P”), some can be proven to have no efficient solution (“NP”). There are a lot of problems, so researchers turn new problems into an archetypical problem with a solution that we’ve already proven is efficient or inefficient. The big question has been: can we find an efficient solution to a known-inefficient problem? To do so would mean we could quickly solve hard problems in maps, planning, allocation, even Donkey Kong and Bejeweled. This proof shows that both variations of one archetypical hard problem can’t be reduced to an efficient solution: they’re proven to be inefficient, which means (because we’ve shown all inefficient problems are equivalent) that all inefficient problems (“NP”) can’t be solved efficiently (“aren’t P”).
- eLabFTW — a free and open source electronic lab notebook.
- A Happy Moment for Neuroscience is a Sad Moment for Science — Allen Institute for Brain Science release data. These data are the first complete set of neural activity recordings released before publication. No papers preceded it, not even a report. Nothing. Just: here you go guys, the fruits of the joint labour of around 100 people over four years. Traditional research organizations (universities) couldn’t do this: they rely on publications for funding, kudos, and measuring success.
- Sarahah — get anonymous feedback. Nice design: only you can see the feedback, so it doesn’t promote pile-ons. A lot of teens I know are using it positively, which may be a first for software. The Verge wrote it up if you need more social proof.