Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

Four Color Theorem

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Four Color Theorem - © Attention Deficit Disorder Prosthetic Memory Program

In mathematics, the four color theorem, or the four color map theorem, states that, given any separation of a plane into contiguous regions, producing a figure called a map, no more than four colors are required to color the regions of the map so that no two adjacent regions have the same color. Adjacent means that two regions share a common boundary curve segment, not merely a corner where three or more regions meet. It was the first major theorem to be proved using a computer. Initially, this proof was not accepted by all mathematicians because the computer-assisted proof was infeasible for a human to check by hand. Since then the proof has gained wide acceptance, although some doubters remain.

The four color theorem was proved in 1976 by Kenneth Appel and Wolfgang Haken after many false proofs and counterexamples (unlike the five color theorem, proved in the 1800s, which states that five colors are enough to color a map). To dispel any remaining doubts about the Appel–Haken proof, a simpler proof using the same ideas and still relying on computers was published in 1997 by Robertson, Sanders, Seymour, and Thomas. Additionally, in 2005, the theorem was proved by Georges Gonthier with general-purpose theorem-proving software.

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