How to build the global mathematics brain: Polymath does more than just bring together pre-existing knowledge, Wikipedia-style. It is an attempt to divvy up and democratise the process of mathematical discovery. Gowers likens it to wiring together multiple mathematical brains to form a "super-brain". "I'm interested in the question of whether it is possible for lots of people to solve one single problem rather than lots of people to solve one problem each," he wrote on his blog...
Gowers was struck by another benefit provided by the collaboration. "Reading the discussion provides some kind of strange random stimulus that causes your brain to go in to fruitful places where it might not have done otherwise," he says. "It's a strange effect, but it was a very powerful one."
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