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example, although poorly constructed:
Imagine trying to pick a route between 9 different cities, and trying to figure the shortest way, yet having to go through each city once. Basically, you add up all the possible distances, and then compare to see which one is shortest.
Problem is, this is how the internet works, or cryptography...which is based on very, very large prime numbers. If you had a short cut to figure out with any number of cities, which way was the fastest, then you can figure out any large number which is *not* prime, as well. And then you have problems with the NSA, and not to mention spies the world over desperate for your forumla.
Anyone seen sneakers? This ant formula I always thought was what they were hinting at in the movie, but they gave no reference...this mathematics also has to do with learning algorithms, and adaptive neural networks.
Anyone know of any good sources for these? I've yet to try searching on citeseeker, but I probably should.