The Singularity Institute is undergoing a series of important strategic discussions. There are many questions for which we wish we had more confident answers. We can get more confident answers on some of them by asking top-level mathematicians & mathletes (e.g. Putnam fellow, IMO top score, or successful academic mathematician / CS researcher).

If you are such a person and want to directly affect Singularity Institute strategy, contact me at

Thank you.

Now back to your regularly scheduled rationality programming...

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Most mathematicians are specialists in some highly technical area. Do you have any reason to think that, say, the world's best differential topologist can help you answer these questions you have in mind?

Also: I was a reserve for the Australian IMO team... a long time ago. Is that good enough to be invited to the party?

Sounds like these are questions about the mathematical/math-competition community.

[-][anonymous]10y 0

One wonders what they're attempting to do. Market to the mathematical community? Are they trying to attract mathematicians?

The mind boggles at the possibilities.

Drop some questions also here. May be a great exercise in rationality.

What were the discussions about? And what conclusions did you reach?

(How come nobody else asked these questions? Am I the only one who is really curious about SIAI's strategic thinking?)

The questions were about which properties the Singularity Institute would need to possess in order to successfully recruit young mathletes. The two most common answers were "previous technical results" and "one or two cool people already on the team." (But, for example, most people didn't care about peer review.) It seems that mathletes wanted to be able to see that these problems were tractable not just to humans but also to the Singularity Institute in particular. That sounds reasonable, of course, but self-reported motivations are often wrong, so we're in the process of gathering additional forms of data, too.

I remember being tempted, but ultimately it felt nosy. I wouldn't request that SIAI make all its strategic thinking public, and there's nothing special about this particular bit of it, from my perspective.

I wouldn't request that SIAI make all its strategic thinking public

Why not? Edit: See previous discussion of this topic here.

Thanks for that link; I wound up reading the whole comment thread, and it changed my mind.

So, people of SIAI: What were the discussions about? What conclusions did you reach? Or are you not finished yet? If not, how's it going?

Once upon a time I scored a 42 on the Putnam. Two decades later I placed 23rd at the World Puzzle Championships. I'd be happy to help if I can.

But honestly? This website holds many mathematicians far better than I. Really I'm replying more from a desire to assuage my own curiosity, than from a strong belief that there exists a problem that uniquely I can solve. All I can promise you is that if I don't know the answer, I'll say so.

ETA: If anything, folks, this comment is worth downvoting for committing terrible math while bragging of being good at it. Not that anybody here could have caught the error, but however much eleven years between events might feel like two decades, it really, really isn't.

Oh, that and for commenting on Luke's post when he specifically asked for emails.