In mathematics, no researcher works in true isolation. Even those who work alone use the theorems and methods of their colleagues and predecessors to develop new ideas.
But when a known technique is too difficult to use in practice, mathematicians may neglect important – and otherwise solvable – problems.
Recently, I joined several mathematicians on a project to make one such technique easier to use. We produced a computer package to solve a problem called the “S-unit equation,” with the hope that number theorists of all stripes can more easily attack a wide variety of unsolved problems in mathematics.
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