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News

Expanding the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge in Computer Science

Imagine someone came along and told you that they had an oracle, and that this oracle could reveal the deep secrets of the universe. While you might be intrigued, you’d have a hard time trusting it. You’d want some way to verify that what the oracle told you was true. This is the crux of one of the central problems in computer science. Some problems are too hard to solve in any reasonable amount of time. But their solutions are easy to check. Given that, computer scientists want to know: How complicated can a problem be while still having a solution that can be verified? Turns out, the answer is: Almost unimaginably complicated. In a paper released in April, two computer scientists dramatically increased the number of problems that fall into the hard-to-solve-but-easy-to-verify category. They describe a method that makes it possible to check answers to problems of almost incomprehensible complexity. “It seems insane,” said Thomas Vidick, a computer scientist at the California Institute of Technology who wasn’t involved in the new work. The research …

Explaining : What is the deadly 2020 India-China border dispute about?

What has happened? At least 20 people have died in clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along the disputed Himalayan border running along the Ladakh area of Kashmir. It is the first fatal clash since 1975 and the most serious since 1967. Fighting broke out on Monday evening when an Indian patrol came across Chinese forces on a narrow ridge. During the confrontation an Indian commanding officer was pushed and fell into the river gorge, sources told the Guardian. Hundreds of troops from both sides were called in and fought with rocks and clubs. Several fell to their deaths. Himalayan flashpoint could spiral out of control as India and China face off Read more The Indian Army said there were casualties on both sides, and confirmed three of its soldiers were killed during the clashes, with another 17 later succumbing to injuries. Beijing has refused to confirm any deaths on its side, but accused India of crossing the border twice and “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel”. The editor in chief of state-run the Global Times, …

Galwan Valley confrontation between China and India could spiral out of control as India and China face-off

The forces of two nuclear weapons states have set about each other with clubs and rocks at one of the most forbidding flashpoints in the world, in a bloody incident that highlights the constant dangers posed by expansionist nationalism. India has confirmed that it lost at least 20 of its men in a clash with Chinese soldiers near the disputed mountain border running along the Ladakh area of Kashmir. It is the first fatal confrontation since 1975 and the most serious since 1967, and so can be expected to have a powerful galvanising effect on the populations of both countries, already primed by a constant stream of nationalist rhetoric. There is a long history of such encounters ever since the two nations fought a short war there in 1962. After that conflict a Line of Actual Control (LAC) was declared, but there is no agreed line and limited control, as the events of recent weeks have confirmed. Thus far at least, both Indian and Chinese forces have stuck to an agreement not to carry firearms …

Soldiers fell to their deaths as India and China’s troops fought with rocks in Galwan Valley

The hand-to-hand combat lasted hours, on steep, jagged terrain, with iron bars, rocks and fists. Neither side carried guns. Most of the soldiers killed in the worst fighting between India and China in 60 years lost their footing or were knocked from the narrow Himalayan ridge, plunging to their deaths. India has reacted with shock and caution to the loss of at least 20 soldiers on its disputed border with China, with images of the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, burned in Indian cities. In his first public comments on the dispute, prime minister Narendra Modi led a two-minute silence for the killed soldiers and said India would “defend every stone, every inch of its territory.” “I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans [troops] will not be in vain,” said Modi, speaking at a televised meeting of India’s chief ministers. “For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important.” A day after reports of the “violent face-off” in the western Himalayas emerged, Indian news outlets began …

India accuses China of preparing attack on border troops

India has accused Chinese troops of meticulously preparing an attack on its soldiers on the treacherous Himalayan border, claiming they erected a tent on the Indian side, dammed a river, brought in machinery and then lay in wait with stones and batons wrapped in barbed wire. The incident on Monday night, in which 20 Indian soldiers died and 76 were injured, was the worst violence between India and China for 45 years. China has not said whether it sustained any casualties. Ten Indian soldiers who were reportedly captured by Chinese troops during the attack were back in India on Thursday night. China said it had not seized any Indian personnel. Both sides continue to blame the other for the clash. China is now claiming sovereignty over the Galwan valley in Ladakh, where the attack happened, and has accused Indian troops of three times crossing into its territory. “The responsibility entirely lies with Indian side,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs. India accused China of carrying out a “premeditated and …