I came across this story in Scientific American about how a group of mathematicians work together to solve (math) problems. Two cases are presented: the case of French mathematicians working together; and the other a more recent Internet-based collaboration:
From the April 2010 Scientific American Magazine
Problem Solved, LOL
Blog comments point to a new, faster approach in math
By Davide Castelvecchi
In the mid-20th century the encyclopedic works of French mathematician Nicolas Bourbaki traced every mathematical concept back to the subject’s foundations in the theory of sets—the stuff of Venn diagrams—and changed the face of his field. Like many of his notions, Bourbaki existed only in the abstract: he was the pseudonym for a tight-knit group of young Parisian researchers. The Internet-age version could be D.H.J. Polymath, another collective pseudonym who could define a new style of mathematics.
This is another example of an expertise network in action. Also, an excellent example of why collaboration matters. If this works for mathematicians, why not for others? Why is this just a ‘faster approach for math’?