Oxford University Press

Computational complexity is among the most elegant fields of modern mathematics, and it is increasingly relevant to other sciences ranging from physics to biology.

In The Nature of Computation (Oxford University Press, July 2011, 985 pages), SFI Professor Cris Moore and External Professor Stephan Mertens provide a lucid, playful overview of computational complexity, starting with why the P vs. NP problem is so fundamental, and why it is so hard to resolve.

They then lead the reader through the complexity of mazes and games; optimization in theory and practice; randomized algorithms, interactive proofs, and pseudorandomness; Markov chains and phase transitions; and the outer reaches of quantum computing.

At every turn, they use a minimum of formalism, providing explanations that are both deep and accessible. The book is intended for graduates and undergraduates, scientists from other areas who have long wanted to understand this subject, and experts who want to fall in love with this field all over again.

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