The next phase of Polymath

After the surprising success of the collaborative attack on the density Hales-Jewett theorem, many people have asked me when there would next be a Polymath project. The answer, I hope, is that it will be some time in October, though it may even be sooner if Gil Kalai goes ahead with his proposal to tackle the polynomial Hirsch conjecture polymathematically. There are many issues that seem worth discussing before further Polymath projects get going, and Terence Tao has set up a new Polymath blog in order for such discussions to take place, and also, at some point, to host the projects themselves.

So if you have any views about this, then please go over there and join the discussion. The kinds of questions we are discussing are things like how we should choose the next project, whether there are enough potential participants to support more than one project at once, whether anything can (or should) be done to broaden participation and make it easier for more people to keep up with what is going on, and so on. One obvious question is whether the blog format is the right one. However, that is not one of the main questions under discussion at the moment. Almost certainly it will become one after a few more projects have been attempted and we’ve gained a bit more experience in this way of doing things, but for now the blog, for all its limitations, seems a reasonable way of continuing.

3 Responses to “The next phase of Polymath”

  1. ramanujantao Says:

    Dear Tim,

    How long in length typically should polymath projects be (e.g. 1 week)?

  2. gowers Says:

    I think that’s going to depend a lot on the project. For example, the main work on DHJ took place over five weeks or so, whereas for Terry’s mini-polymath it lasted more like a couple of days. I think the answer will be that any given project will last for as long as it is continuing to make progress and the energy of the participants is holding up.

  3. Stones Cry Out - If they keep silent… » Things Heard: e78v3 Says:

    […] The Polymath project moves on. […]

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