January 28th, 2005

flock

new on the CSI--er, CBS network...

They are going with yet another police procedural, but this one does have a twist.

NUMB3RS features two brothers, the older an FBI agent, and the younger a math whiz who turns his talents in part to solving crimes. Alas, they at most handwave over the math; they want to appeal to a not-necessarily-numerate audience, and if they really could do it, why the heck would they be wasting their time making a TV show?

That said, it's looking like a fairly decent show so far, and they do throw in the occasional bone for the math literate. Tonight, to distract himself after an attempt to capture bank robbers went catastrophically wrong, the younger brother threw himself into trying to settle whether P = NP.

(Briefly: P is the set of problems solvable in polynomial time by a deterministic Turing machine; NP the set of problems solvable in polynomial time by a nondeterministic Turing machine. It is generally thought that nondeterminism—the ability to essentially try every possible solution at once—is a real advantage, but nobody's yet managed to show it for sure.)
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