"Many researchers feel that if enough computers are unleashed on a task, they will eventually find some sort of an answer," said Austin Lobo, principal investigator and assistant professor of computer science at Washington College. "This project deals with computational tasks that are of such great magnitude, that one cannot simply wait for an answer to come--because that might take a lifetime. By developing programs using probabilistic techniques, we create software that makes intelligent guesses and reduces the time for complex calculating tasks literally from decades to days."
The goal of this project is to provide a component-based, open-source software library of advanced mathematical programs that can be used by other researchers to build and expand other mathematical computing modules. Titled "ITR/ACS: Collaborative Research-LINBOX: A Generic Library for Seminumeric Black Box Linear Algebra," the project will have applications in cryptography, data security, electrical communications, control systems and computer graphics, said Lobo. The Linbox group is composed of members from research institutions in the United States, France, and Canada and has been active for nearly three years.
"We have to prove mathematically before we begin the computations that our programs will finish the work at all and produce an answer despite their 'guesswork,' and that the answer will indeed be correct," said Lobo. "It takes years just to learn the mathematics needed to get to square one in this business."