**Background:**

Time now for one of the most famous problems in all of scientific research! The P versus NP problem is considered by many to be the most important open problem in computer science, and also to be one of the most important problems to date period. The problem, suggested by Stephen Cook in his 1971 paper "The complexity of theorem proving procedures," addresses the concept of problem solving procedures and asks this question: "

*If the solution to a problem can be quickly verified by a computer, can it be quickly solved by that computer?*" The ideas of P and NP are the basis of "complexity classes" studied in computational complexity theory, a study in the theory of computation that involves resources needed in computation to solve a problem. In this case, P and NP refer to problems that can be solved in polynomial time and those that cannot (assuming all problems are verifiable). A solution to the P versus NP problem would have profound effects not only in the field of computer science, but also in cryptography, artificial intelligence, game theory, and other fields of mathematics.

**Your Task:**

Given the brevity of this problem, it will likely take a collaborative effort to make headway. Get together with friends, colleagues, associates, you name it, and see if you all can gain any insights. The best places to start would be on the internet, as a simple Google search would turn up many pathways. The Clay Mathematics Institute webpage has an interesting analogy to the problem. Cash prize: $1,000,000.