What Is Research?

Polymath projects

This is a page with background information on the polymath project.

Polymath: A large number of people get together online to collaboratively solve a problem.

Here’s where I blogged about it:

People involved with polymath:

  • Timothy Gowers proposed the idea of polymath, proposed the first problem to be attacked (for “polymath1”) and the ideas that could be used to attack that problem, and used his blog to host the comment threads that were part of polymath1. He also has plans for future polymath projects.

  • Michael Nielsen has been developing and researching ideas related to open science. He critiqued Gowers’ original proposal and helped shape polymath1. He also hosted the polymath1 wiki.

  • Terence Tao was an active participant in polymath1 and is currently hosting another polymath (polymath4, on deterministic ways to find primes) at the polymath blog.

  • Gil Kalai was a participant in polymath1 and is now hosting polymath3 (polynomial Hirsch conjecture) on his own blog.

Here is important background information:

Initial commentary before getting started on polymath1:

Posts whose content and comments are part of the polymath1 problem:

Post-mortem reviews of polymath1, general commentary:

Commentary by people with minimal or no involvement with the project:

Other polymath projects under way or in the wings:

Polymath5 (Erdős’s discrepancy problem) initiated by Timothy Gowers:


  1. […] base that could be used as a reference. mathematics blogs, with regular postings and comments, and polymath projects, which involve collaborative mathematical problem-solving, are examples of the former. Mathematics […]

    Pingback by Math overflow: further notes « What Is Research? — January 14, 2010 @ 12:17 am

  2. […] been a bunch of experiments in collaborative solution of specific mathematics problems, called the Polymath projects. These have had mixed success, and offer promise for the future, but are very different from the […]

    Pingback by Open notebook science | Critical Twenties — December 23, 2010 @ 6:50 pm

  3. De verdad que estaba buscando esto, la verdad que es bueno conseguir paginas como esta, ahora mismo iniciaré un trabajo que se relaciona bastante con esto.

    Comment by Yasmina Marquez — April 19, 2014 @ 6:57 am

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