Four color theorem

Statement in mathematics / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In mathematics, the four color theorem, or the four color map theorem, states that no more than four colors are required to color the regions of any 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.[1] 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.[2] The proof has gained wide acceptance since then, although some doubters remain.[3]

Example of a four-colored map
A four-colored map of the states of the United States (ignoring lakes and oceans)

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. In 2005, the theorem was also proved by Georges Gonthier with general-purpose theorem-proving software.