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A mathematician working in ideal conditions would be able to look at a fresh problem and easily to access any related material, find all the work on simpler but similar problems, and quickly carry out any sub-computations needed for the solution of the fresh problem. Such a person also would be able to consult freely not only with colleagues, but with experts not previously known to the mathematician.

Naturally, a successful mathematician also needs the ability to generate fresh, workable, and appropriate ideas for each new problem, and this spark is to us the essence of good mathematics. Such a mathematician would surely thrive within the conditions outlined above. That said, there are formidable difficulties to providing and maintaining such an ideal environment.

omp@cecm.sfu.ca