As Math Grows More Complex, Will Computers Reign?
Shalosh B. Ekhad, the co-author of several papers in respected mathematics journals, has been known to prove with a single, succinct utterance theorems and identities that previously required pages of mathematical reasoning. Last year, when asked to evaluate a formula for the number of integer triangles with a given perimeter, Ekhad performed 37 calculations in less than a second and delivered the verdict: â€œTrue.â€
Shalosh B. Ekhad is a computer. Or, rather, it is any of a rotating cast of computers used by the mathematician Doron Zeilberger, from the Dell in his New Jersey office to a supercomputer whose services he occasionally enlists in Austria. The name â€” Hebrew for â€œthree B oneâ€ â€” refers to the AT&T 3B1, Ekhadâ€™s earliest incarnation.
â€œThe soul is the software,â€ said Zeilberger, who writes his own code using a popular math programming tool called Maple.