Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 10, 2002

Three mathematicians from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kapur --Professor Manindra Agarwal and his two students, Nitin Saxena and Neeraj Kayal-- have developed a polynomial-time algorithm to determine whether an arbitrary natural number is prime, a major mathematical breakthrough. In her story for the New York Times, Sara Robinson reports that the discoverers sent out their preprint by email last Suday. On Monday morning, Carl Pomerance of Bell Labs received, read it, was excited by it, and held an informal seminar on it for Bell colleagues on Monday afternoon. He credits the algorithm's beauty and simplicity for his ability to give a seminar on it so soon after its release. Clearly that was part of it. But part of the credit must also go to free online dissemination. (PS: I hope I don't sound too parochial and FOS-centric. I actually like the fact that the free online dissemination was taken for granted here.)