A Chinese migrant has come up with a simplified solution to a complicated maths problem. Yu Jianchun is dubbed the real-life version of the movie character interpreted by Matt Damon, in Good Will Hunting.
Will Hunting is a movie character interpreted by Matt Damon in the 1997 Oscar movie about a cleaner with mathematical talent, who could outdo MIT students in maths.
Now, a Chinese Will Hunting is the talk of the country, after finding a novel method of identifying Carmichael numbers. What he did was to find a creative solution to a problem that has long baffled mathematicians.
Pseudoprimes are a set of odd numbers. Yu used Carmichael numbers to tell which numbers were pseudoprimes and which weren’t. His method is a lot quicker and easier than what mathematicians have used so far.
His findings were appreciated worldwide, and if they verify, they could have implications for the IT industry. Until recently, Yu was a packaging shop worker in Hangzhou, China. Yu is a migrant worker from the mountain area of Henan province. He would go to local universities and look for the confirmation of his formula, in each new city Yu would find work.
He even e-mailed high-profile mathematicians from China with his new Carmichael method. For the past eight years, his searches and pleas showed no result. But now, Cai Tian Xin, a maths professor at Zhejiang University saw his potential and invited him to present his solution to four maths problems, at a seminar.
Prof. Cai wants to publish Yu’s findings in a book about Carmichael numbers. Apparently, it was a very creative solution. Yu never had extensive maths training, but his creativity and instincts, coupled with a talent for numbers, have helped him to design this novel solution to a very old problem.
Yu said he was „overwhelmed with joy” to bring this completely different solution to light, Classic algorithms for detecting pseudoprimes took more time, and they were more complicated. Carmichael numbers pass the Fermat test for prime numbers, but they’re not actually prime numbers. R.D. Carmichael made this discovery in 1910 and pointed out that there were many more solutions to his problem.
Yu’s findings play an important part in information security and computer science. Now, Yu has got a job as a statistician in a local company. This means higher pay, more free time, and a free dorm.
Image Source – Wikipedia