A riddle was recently solved by two mathematicians that can improve modern-day phones and computers.
"We had nearly given up on getting the last piece and solving the riddle. We thought we had a minor result, one that was interesting, but in no way solved the problem. We guessed that there would be another five years of work, at best, before we would be able to solve the puzzle," explains Jacob Holm, who is a part of BARC, the algorithm section at University of Copenhagen's Department of Computer Science.
The mathematical conundrum was published in 1913 in "The Strand Magazine" as "The Three Utilities Problem”. The problem involved three cottages that must include water, gas and electricity—the lines between the cottages and the three critical utilities must not cross each other. Thus, leaving readers puzzled as it was not possible.
The now solved riddle has become an introduction to graphing theory.
"While reading our research article, we suddenly realized that the solution was before our eyes. Our next reaction was 'oh no -- we've shot ourselves in the foot and given away the solution,' says Associate Professor Eva Rotenberg of DTU.
Source: Science Daily