Monday, March 19, 2007

Mathematicians solve E8 structure

Top mathematicians and computer scientists from the U.S. and Europe have successfully mapped E8, one of the largest and most complicated structures in mathematics. Jeffrey Adams, project leader and mathematics professor at the University of Maryland said E8 was discovered over a century ago, in 1887, and until now, no one thought the structure could ever be understood. It has taken four years of intensive collaboration. E8 belongs to so-called Lie groups that were invented by a 19th century Norwegian mathematician, Sophus Lie, to study symmetry. Researchers say E8 itself is a248-dimensional object. The magnitude of the calculation has invited comparison with the Human Genome Project. While the human genome, which contains all the genetic information of a cell, is less than a gigabyte in size, the result of the E8 calculation, which contains all the information about E8, is 60 gigabytes in size, enough to store 45 days of continuous music in MP3-format.

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