(NEWSER) – UCLA Professor Terence Tao, one of the world's top mathematicians, has just solved a famous problem dating back to the 1930s—and he says it was a comment on his blog earlier this year that set him in the right direction.

He also built off earlier crowdsourced work to solve what's known as the Erdos discrepancy problem, which, as New Scientist explains, involves "the properties of an infinite, random sequence of +1s and -1s." For the technical minded, Nature presents it this way: "(Paul) Erdos, who died in 1996, speculated that any infinite string of the numbers 1 and −1 could add up to an arbitrarily large (positive or negative) value by counting only the numbers at a fixed interval for a finite number of steps." For the non-technical minded, the important thing to know is that "Terry Tao just dropped a bomb," as Iowa State University mathematician Derrick Stolee tweeted the day Tao's paper was published on the new, open-access journal Discrete Analysis.

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