Saturday, 24 October 2015

by Miguel Ángel Martínez del Amor

Professor Marlock was a well-known mathematician, and very unsociable in his personal life. After several years of confinement at his home, he finally attended a conference in 2008. The venue was crowded, researchers galore! Professor Marlock announced just few days before that he had resolved the famous problem P = NP; the problem that, if solved, would make all security systems useless. The Internet would not be secure any more, bank accounts would have to be closed, spies worldwide would extract information from governments effortlessly!

He started his talk at 10 o'clock in the morning: “Thank you all for coming, colleagues. I'm glad to announce the demonstration that P = NP. Actually, the solution is so easy that I had never been so surprised in all my life! The key is....” Suddenly,  Marlock started to cough very loud. He choked and, finally, passed away right there. After three hours, the police found cyanide in Marlock's drink. They interviewed every attendant, but no clue was found. Since Marlock lived alone, without family and any declared enemy, the case was closed.

But it was six years later that the murder was resolved by a young detective. He realized that the case had been closed suspiciously soon. He investigated who bought the cyanide, and found that it had been a retired police officer, who was also a cousin of a well-known researcher! In fact, I am his cousin! I was the chairman in that talk, and gave the bottle of water to professor Marlock. I am writing this confession letter from prison, because I want to let you know that I was following orders from the whole organization committee of the conference! The P = NP problem must remain unsolved!

1 comment:

  1. This composition made me laugh! :) Interesting look at how research and researchers are part of the business.