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Questions tagged [proofs]

Used for questions about existing or possible proofs of a specific theorem or conjecture

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83
votes
10answers
14k views

What would it mean to disprove Church-Turing thesis?

Sorry for the catchy title. I want to understand, what should one have to do to disprove the Church-Turing thesis? Somewhere I read it's mathematically impossible to do it! Why? Turing, Rosser etc ...
55
votes
14answers
2k views

Where and how did computers help prove a theorem?

The purposes of this question is to collect examples from theoretical computer science where the systematic use of computers was helpful in building a conjecture that lead to a theorem, falsifying a ...
47
votes
8answers
4k views

Are there non-constructive algorithm existence proofs?

I remember I might have encountered references to problems that have been proven to be solvable with a particular complexity, but with no known algorithm to actually reach this complexity. I struggle ...
41
votes
8answers
3k views

Rigour leading to insight

On MathOverflow, Timothy Gowers asked a question titled "Demonstrating that rigour is important". Most of the discussion there was about cases showing the importance of proof, which people on ...
40
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there any proofs the undecidability of the halting problem that does not depend on self-referencing or diagonalization ?

This is a question related to this one. Putting it again in a much simpler form after a lot of discussion there, that it felt like a totally different question. The classical proof of the ...
35
votes
4answers
1k views

Proofs that expose a deeper structure

The standard proof of the Chernoff bound (from the Randomized Algorithms textbook) uses the Markov inequality and moment generating functions, with a bit of a Taylor expansion thrown in. Nothing too ...
28
votes
4answers
811 views

Proofs obtained only through spectral graph theory

I have an increasing interest in spectral graph theory, which I find fascinating, and I've started collecting a few documents that I have yet to read more thoroughly than what I so far have. However, ...
27
votes
5answers
854 views

Quantum proofs of classical theorems

I'm interested in examples of problems where a theorem which seemingly has nothing to do with quantum mechanics/information (e.g. states something about purely classical objects) can nevertheless be ...
25
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4answers
2k views

Proofs, Barriers and P vs NP

It is well known that any proof resolving the P vs NP question must overcome relativization, natural proofs and algebrization barriers. The following diagram partitions the "proof space" into ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the status of Babai's Graph isomorphism result?

It's been over a year since his January 2017 retraction and correction. Is there news? If not is this normal for validation to take this long? I would expect it would get plenty of attention. Has ...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

Proof of the pumping lemma for context-free languages using pushdown automata

The pumping lemma for regular languages can be proved by considering a finite state automaton which recognizes the language studied, picking a string with a length greater than its number of states, ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Implications of unprovability of $P\neq NP$

I was reading "Is P Versus NP Formally Independent?" but I got puzzled. It is widely believed in complexity theory that $\mathsf{P} \neq \mathsf{NP}$. My question is about what if this is not ...
16
votes
2answers
729 views

Complexity of counting the number of edge covers of a graph

An edge cover is a subset of edges of a graph such that every vertex of the graph is adjacent to at least one edge of the cover. The following two papers say that counting edge covers is #P-complete: ...
15
votes
1answer
337 views

Natural theorems proven only “to high probability”?

There are plenty of situations where a randomized "proof" is much easier than a deterministic proof, the canonical example being polynomial identity testing. Question: Are there any natural ...
13
votes
1answer
568 views

How is the MA version of SETH proven to be false?

According to this paper, which discusses a nondeterministic extension of the Strong Exponential Time Hypothesis (SETH), "[…] Williams has recently shown related hypotheses about Merlin-Arthur ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Simple proof of Ω(n lg n) worst-case bound for uniqueness/distinctness?

There are several proofs for the loglinear lower bound for the element uniqueness/distinctness problem (based on algebraic computation trees or adversarial arguments), but I'm looking for one that's ...
13
votes
1answer
923 views

Correctness proofs of classic Paxos and Fast Paxos

I am reading the "Fast Paxos" paper by Leslie Lamport and get stuck with the correctness proofs of both classic Paxos and Fast Paxos. For consistency, the value $v$ picked by the coordinator in phase ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is Feige-Fiat-Shamir not Zero Knowledge without sign bits?

In chapter 10 of HAC (10.4.2), we see the well-known Feige-Fiat-Shamir identification protocol based on a zero-knowledge proof using the (presumed) difficulty of extracting square roots modulo a ...
11
votes
3answers
750 views

Where do I turn for help with research/publishing?

I have been developing a SAT algorithm for a while, and have reached a point where I'd like to share it. I don't know many people in computer science, and I'm not sure exactly where to turn. I'm ...
11
votes
3answers
547 views

Proofs found by computer

In 1996, a long-standing open problem was solved by a computer; namely, that Robbins algebra and Boolean algebra are the same. The proof was found by an automated theorem prover. Moreover, the known ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

On the provability of P versus NP

First of all, my understanding on Gödel's incompleteness theorem (and formal logic in general) is very naive, also is my knowledge on theoretical computer science (meaning only one graduate course ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Examples of algorithms and proofs that seem correct, but aren't

In my intro to programming course, we're learning about the Initialization-Maintenance-Termination method of proving an algorithm does what we expect it to. But we've only had to prove that an ...
11
votes
2answers
907 views

An Interactive Proof of God's Number?

I've been learning about interactive proofs lately and I've been wondering if the whole thing was nothing more than a theoretical curiosity, or if it had any practical applications. I thought I'd ...
9
votes
0answers
231 views

How would proof of the Lindelöf hypothesis improve our understanding of computational complexity classes?

A recent press release from the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC discussed the proof of the Lindelöf hypothesis by Athanassios Fokas, a visiting professor from the Department of Applied ...
8
votes
3answers
401 views

Would a proof assuming a physical law be considered sufficient?

I've always wondered if proofs in computer science would be considered sufficient proofs of the proposition if they needed to assume physical laws? For example, I'm wondering what would happen if ...
8
votes
1answer
578 views

Humanifying computer-generated or computer assisted proofs

I remember reading a blog post displaying two versions of the same proof, one written by a human and the other by a machine, and asked the readers to tell which is which. Trying to google the post ...
8
votes
1answer
129 views

How to prove relations between “classes” of types?

After reading Effects as Sessions, Sessions as Effects, I was wondering how would a proof of equivalence between both take place, or even, a proof of Sessions types being a Type and Effect System. In ...
7
votes
2answers
396 views

Proof Strategies on P versus BPP

Typically to show $P=NP$, one has to show an NP complete problem has a polynomial time solution and to show $P\neq NP$, has to show an NP complete problem has superpolynomial lower bound. These are ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Proof of Levenshtein distance

In the article Levenshtein distance Wikipedia says about the proof of invariant that: This proof fails to validate that the number placed in d[i,j] is in fact minimal; this is more difficult to ...
6
votes
1answer
375 views

Would an optimal sorting network ever have to swap two numbers the “wrong” way

Intuitively it seems like an optimal (either minimum depth or minimum gates) sorting network should never have to compare-swap two numbers the "wrong" way (such that the larger one goes into the ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What techniques are used for proving algorithms optimal? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Problems that can be used to show polynomial time hardness results Given a polynomial time algorithm, what techniques are known for proving that an algorithm is optimal? E.g.,...
6
votes
1answer
294 views

Proof Haar matrices satisfy JL lemma

The Johnson-Lindenstrauss lemma says roughly that for any collection $S$ of $n$ points in $\mathbb{R}^d$, there exists a linear map $f:\mathbb{R}^d \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^k$ where $k = O(\log n/\...
6
votes
0answers
200 views

More elementary proof of coloring theorem for d x d^2 rectangles

The following is known: For all $c$, for all $c$-colorings of $N\times N$ there exists a $d \times d^2$ rectangle ($d \ge 2$) such that all four corners are the same color. The proof uses the Poly-...
5
votes
1answer
171 views

Document references describing weaknesses for cutting planes and algebraic proof system?

Here, Fortnow says (section 4.3): Since then complexity theorists have shown similar weaknesses in a number of other proof systems including cutting planes, algebraic proof systems based on ...
5
votes
1answer
318 views

Where is the quote “Informal proofs are algorithms, formal proofs are code” from?

Does anyone know the origin of the quote, Informal proofs are algorithms; formal proofs are code. Its made in Benjamin C. Pierce et al.'s Software Foundations.
5
votes
0answers
309 views

Geometric / Visual explanation that the average height of a random binary tree of given size $n$ is asymptotically $2\sqrt{\pi n}$

I just finished reading the proof that the average height of a random binary of given size $n$ is asymptotically $2\sqrt{\pi n}$. I'm now searching for an intuitive, or geometric, or visual proof of ...
4
votes
1answer
400 views

Proof that the graph optimization problem is NP-hard

I'm trying to prove that the following optimization problem is NP-hard: Given a graph $G=(V,E)$, non-negative vertex weight functions $w(v)$ and $s(v)$, and a non-negative edge weight function $t(u,v)...
4
votes
1answer
180 views

Explanation of 1-generic to prove undecidability of halting problem

This question is about an answer in question Are there any proofs the undecidability of the halting problem that does not depend on self-referencing or diagonalization ? Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen answer ...
3
votes
3answers
899 views

What's wrong with this proof that NP=Co-NP implies NP=PSPACE

Below is a short informal proof that NP=co-NP implies NP=PSPACE. What's wrong with the proof? Assuming NP=co-NP, an instance F of TQBF can be solved by a polynomial NDTM this way: Non-...
3
votes
1answer
232 views

No Fair Merge via Nondeterminstic Data Flow Streams

While reading Wikipedia, I ran across a proof given on Unbounded Nondeterminism that I do not understand. The proof is given as, An example of the role of fair or unbounded nondeterminism in the ...
3
votes
0answers
211 views

New proofs from “The Book” [closed]

The book "Proofs from The Book", referencing Erdős' notion of God's book, which contains the most beautiful proofs, was published in 1998. Are there any new proofs that should be considered for "...
3
votes
0answers
157 views

Randomly Discovered Algorithm/Counterexample

I was reading Scott Aaronson's blog, and one of the comments sparked a question. "if P!=NP, this would be a general, conceptual result, so you’d expect the proof to be explanatory and in particular ...
3
votes
0answers
173 views

Proving greedy algorithm is optimal for a scheduling problem

First, the problem discription: For a sequence of $4n$ tasks, $a_1a_2\dots a_{4n}$, where $a_i\in\{0,1\}\forall i$, put them sequentially to the tail of one of the two initially empty queues of ...
2
votes
1answer
428 views

Possible to do Complexity theory with only counting and Pigeonhole

Most of the proofs in the book Computational complexity by Barak and Arora seem to be Pigeonhole in disguise. What are some places in Complexity theory where counting and Pigeonhole was insufficient ...
2
votes
2answers
402 views

Can we infer the next player in chess from the current board configuration?

Presume that a program memory only includes the current state for instance of a chess board. Does it need the variable which player, black or white, has the next turn to move or is it redundant ...
2
votes
1answer
257 views

Is it worthwhile to try to prove a conjecture by mapping it to a Turing machine?

Lets assume the proof of a conjecture, for example, the famous Goldbach conjecture. Is it possible to try to prove or disprove such a conjecture by devising a Turing machine that accepts if the proof ...
2
votes
2answers
331 views

Formally proving no algorithm exists [closed]

Are there standard techniques to show that no algorithms exist for given complexity constraints? For example, consider the following problem. The input is a list of items with exactly one duplicate, ...
2
votes
1answer
220 views

Proof-techniques for the hardness of optimization problems (esp. Polynomial time)

I've given an optimization problem for which I want to show that it is solvable in polynomial time. Now, I have two questions: Can this be done by formulating a mixed-integer linear program such ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

Paxos made simple, invariant P2c

I am reading Leslie Lamport's Paxos Made Simple paper. Can someone explain why $P2^c$ implies $P2^b$? $P2^b$ If a proposal with value $v$ is chosen, then every higher-numbered proposal issued ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

What can we say about a fixed point for a provability predicate in deductively defined theory that satisfies diagonalisation lemma

I am wondering whether this is the right site to ask this question, but since it involves proof and diagonalisation, hopefully it is the right place. I am curious and trying to reason about what ...