Over at The Big Questions blog, my friend Steve Landsburg (who is himself no slouch at economic math) gives a shout-out to MathOverflow on the occasion of its second year. MathOverflow, and its companion site MathStackExchange, are breaking new ground in public collaboration and shared teaching/learning of mathematics from college level up to the newest theoretical advances. As Landsburg points out, these sites enable problems that might have taken months of work by an isolated individual to be solved in hours. They make this work by a careful combination of openness (anyone can join in) and restriction (MathOverflow really is for experts and active researchers), a model that I think can be replicated in many other fields.
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