Clay Mathematics Institute

This article incorporates material from Millennium Problems on PlanetMath, which is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

Clay Mathematics Institute

Motto: Dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge
Formation 1998
Type non-profit
Headquarters Cambridge, Massachusetts
Location Cambridge, Massachusetts
Key people Landon T. Clay
Lavinia D. Clay
Thomas Clay

The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) is a private, non-profit foundation, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Institute is dedicated to increasing and disseminating mathematical knowledge. It gives out various awards and sponsorships to promising mathematicians. The institute was founded in 1998 through the vision and generosity of Boston businessman Landon T. Clay and his wife, Lavinia D. Clay. Harvard mathematician Arthur Jaffe was the first president of CMI.

While the institute is best known for its Millennium Prize Problems, it carries out a wide range of activities, including a postdoctoral program (ten Clay Research Fellows are supported each year) and an annual summer school, the proceedings of which are published jointly with the American Mathematical Society.



The Institute is run according to a standard structure comprising a board of directors that decides on grant-awarding and research proposals, and a scientific advisory committee that oversees and approves the board's decisions. As of February 2008, the board is made up of members of the Clay family, whereas the advisory committee is composed of leading authorities in mathematics, namely Sir Andrew Wiles, Yum-Tong Siu, Richard Melrose, Gregory Margulis, James Carlson, and Simon Donaldson. James Carlson is the current president of CMI.

Millennium Prize Problems

The institute is best known for establishing the Millennium Prize Problems on May 24, 2000. These seven problems are considered by CMI to be "important classic questions that have resisted solution over the years". For each problem, the first person to solve it will be awarded $1,000,000 by the CMI. In announcing the prize, CMI drew a parallel to Hilbert's problems, which were proposed in 1900, and had a substantial impact on 20th century mathematics. Of the initial twenty-three Hilbert problems, most of which have been solved, only the Riemann hypothesis (formulated in 1859) is included in the seven Millennium Prize Problems.[1]

For each problem, the Institute had a professional mathematician write up an official statement of the problem, which will be the main standard by which a given solution will be measured against. The seven problems are:

Some of the mathematicians who were involved in the selection and presentation of the seven problems were Atiyah, Bombieri, Connes, Deligne, Fefferman, Milnor, Mumford, Wiles, and Witten.

Other awards

The Clay Research Award

In recognition of major breakthroughs in mathematical research, the institute has an annual prize - the Clay Research Award. It recipients to date are Manindra Agrawal, Manjul Bhargava, Alain Connes, Nils Dencker, Alex Eskin, Ben Green, Christopher Hacon, Richard Hamilton, Michael Harris, Laurent Lafforgue, Ngô Bảo Châu, Gérard Laumon, James McKernan, Oded Schramm, Stanislav Smirnov, Terence Tao, Richard Taylor, Claire Voisin, Andrew Wiles and Edward Witten.

The Olympiad award

The CMI also offers the Clay Olympiad Scholar Award for the most creative solution to a problem on the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad.

Other activities

Besides the Millennium Prize Problems, the Clay Mathematics Institute also supports mathematics via the awarding of research fellowships (which range from two to five years, and are aimed at younger mathematicians), as well as shorter-term scholarships for programs, individual research, and book writing. The Institute also has a yearly Clay Research Award, recognizing major breakthroughs in mathematical research. Finally, the Institute also organizes a number of summer schools, conferences, workshops, public lectures, and outreach activities aimed primarily at junior mathematicians (from the high school to postdoctoral level). CMI publications are available in PDF form at most six months after they appear in print.


  1. ^ Arthur Jaffe's first-hand account of how this Millennium Prize came about can be read in The Millennium Grand Challenge in Mathematics
  2. ^ "Prize for Resolution of the Poincaré Conjecture Awarded to Dr. Grigoriy Perelman" (PDF) (Press release). Clay Mathematics Institute. March 18, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010. "The Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) announces today that Dr. Grigoriy Perelman of St. Petersburg, Russia, is the recipient of the Millennium Prize for resolution of the Poincaré conjecture." 

External links

Coordinates: 42°22′20″N 71°6′58″W / 42.37222°N 71.11611°W / 42.37222; -71.11611

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