Travelling Salesman is an award-winning cerebral thriller that focuses on a team of mathematicians who were hired by the U.S. Government to solve the most powerful open problem in computer science: P vs. NP. The four have jointly created a "system" which could be the next major advancement for our civilization or destroy the fabric of humanity. The moral and political implications of their discovery become apparent--everyone wants what they've created, but who will get it?
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_Travelling Salesman_ takes its name from one type of "P versus NP" problem. One remarkable aspect of the traveling salesman problem in "P versus NP" form is that some people can solve the problem in polynomial time whereas an algorithm cannot. (See the end of the movie.)
It's the rare kind of movie that tries to show an abstract topic through a flesh-and-blood confrontation. Though not as perfect as _Copenhagen_, this movie keeps interest and grapples with the moral consequences of pure innovation. The scriptwriters stack the deck a bit, by making the NSA seem too thuggish and the mathematicians too pure.
Not to worry. Even if a computer crypto-superkey were invented, the world would not crash and burn. Information-theoretic security systems exist which can not be "solved" even if the "codebreaker" has unlimited computational time. For example, there's the old-fashioned, Cold War "one-time pad," which is, as far as anyone knows, quantum computer-proof.
The movie plays out under the notion that the answer to that question is yes, P does equal NP which means that quickly verifiable problems can also be quickly solved. It provides an interesting perspective on a topic that you'll probably have no one to talk about with since it's really requires a bit of knowledge of both math and computers to understand why P vs NP is a significant problem.
My personal opinion is that as far as binary computers go P does not equal NP, and hashing functions like MD5 and SHA provide a simple "proof" of this. You can generate a unique hash (string of alphanumeric characters) of this entire review text, and that hash string will always end up the same when the unchanged text is hashed.
If P did equal NP, then knowing the hash string would allow a person to reconstruct the original data that generated the hash. This is not possible to do, at least not with a linear/binary computer, because a hash is a unique identifier of data but it offers no specifics as to what the original data actually was.
I think that recommendation has been misleading; it depends on why you like Person of Interest
- for its high action? Then you will abhor this film. This is not an action movie.
- for its plot and the intellectual puzzles within it? You'll love this film.
This was very interesting, very thought provoking. It is an excellent debate on control/authority and ethical responsibility. Plausible story line? Could be...could be.
I did not like the one short violent scene at all; after a few seconds I closed my eyes until the sounds changed.
I am disappointed that the 'F' word shows up 6-8 times in the last half hour. That will certainly limit who I might invite to watch it with me; it will cause me to be much more selective. I had rated the film 4. I am now, however, increasing my rating from 4 to 5. I have watched it again, with a friend, and am now trying (unsuccessfully, so far) to purchase my own DVD.
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Very thought provoking.
Slow pacing, mostly terrible dialogue, poorly edited, & way too pretentious for its own...Read more