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Colorful Mathematics: Part IV

Posted December 2003.
Feature Column Archive

1. Introduction

The four-color problem, dating from 1852, was posed in the framework of coloring the regions of a map. One can not seriously claim, however, that applications motivated this problem. Almost from the beginning the four-color problem thrived as a question in theoretical mathematics and the ideas and methods that were marshalled in an attempt to solve the problem showed little explicit concern for applicability.

However, as has usually been the case with mathematics, as the theory of coloring matured, it became clear that there were applicable problems which were illuminated by the research to get insight into coloring problems.

Joseph Malkevitch
York College (CUNY)


  1. Introduction
  2. Resolving conflicts (I)
  3. Resolving conficts (II)
  4. From schoolgirls to tournaments
  5. Mathematics and cell phones
  6. References