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Kadison-Singer Conjecture Proven

Dan Spielman, Adam Marcus, and Nikhil Srivastava this month take home SIAM's George Pólya Prize for their proof of the Kadison-Singer conjecture, five years in the making and inspired by efforts to model complex online communities like Facebook.

The Kadison-Singer conjecture concerns whether unique information can be extrapolated from a scenario in which not all features can be observed or measured. The conjecture was posed in 1959, but it had special relevance to the Facebook work and held the attention of Spielman et al. for years. 

"We could never get excited on working on other problems," said Spielman.

The Kadison-Singer problem was just too interesting and compelling: Every approach we pursued revealed beautiful structures. When you are following an approach to a math problem and you discover something beautiful, you take it as an indication that you are on the right path. We kept getting that feeling.

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Start Date: 
Friday, July 25, 2014