Solvin' it old school: Israeli mathematician unravels the decades-old 'Road Coloring Problem'...
This is a great story - Russian mathematician immigrates to Israel, works as a laborer and night watchman, and perseveres and excels in his chosen vocation.
JERUSALEM - A mathematical puzzle that baffled the top minds in the esoteric field of symbolic dynamics for nearly four decades has been cracked — by a 63-year-old immigrant who once had to work as a security guard.
Avraham Trahtman, a mathematician who also toiled as a laborer after moving to Israel from Russia, succeeded where dozens failed, solving the elusive "Road Coloring Problem."
The conjecture essentially assumed it's possible to create a "universal map" that can direct people to arrive at a certain destination, at the same time, regardless of starting point. Experts say the proposition could have real-life applications in mapping and computer science.Now get this:
The "Road Coloring Problem" was first posed in 1970 by Benjamin Weiss, an Israeli-American mathematician, and a colleague, Roy Adler, who worked at IBM at the time.
For eight years, Weiss tried to prove his theory. Over the next 30 years, some 100 other scientists attempted as well. All failed, until Trahtman came along and, in eight short pages, jotted the solution down in pencil last year.
I'm sure Wrymouth can explain to us Poli-Sci majors the intricacies and significance of this remarkable accomplishment.
And for Wrymouth and the math geeks, here is Mr. Trahtman's 8-page paper in its entirety.
I'm completely jazzed...