On the notion of interestingness in automated mathematical discovery

Simon Colton, Alan Bundy, Toby Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


We survey five mathematical discovery programs by looking in detail at the discovery processes they illustrate and the success they had. We focus on how they estimate the interestingness of concepts and conjectures and extract some common notions about interestingness in automated mathematical discovery. We detail how empirical evidence is used to give plausibility to conjectures, and the different ways in which a result can be thought of as novel. We also look at the ways in which the programs assess how surprising and complex a conjecture statement is, and the different ways in which the applicability of a concept or conjecture is used. Finally, we note how a user can set tasks for the program to achieve and how this affects the calculation of interestingness. We conclude with some hints on the use of interestingness measures for future developers of discovery programs in mathematics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-375
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2000
Externally publishedYes

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