Maths prize could revolutionise encryption

Entrants must tackle some of the world's most perplexing unsolved mathematical problems for £3.6m prize

A £3.6m mathematics competition announced Wednesday could spark a revolution in computer security and online privacy experts believe.

The competition is sponsored by the Clay Mathematics Institute in the US and was revealed at the Millennium Mathematics Conference in France. Entrants must tackle some of the world's most perplexing unsolved mathematical problems including the Reimann Hypothesis.

Proving this problem -- a dizzyingly complicated theory involving the behaviour of prime numbers -- would improve the process of communicating encrypted information and therefore help develop the science of computer security and privacy.

Details of all the problems and rules for entry can be found at the Institute's homepage here.

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