Notes on Engineering Health, August 2019

In August 1900, German mathematician David Hilbert presented a paper at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Paris. Rather than reviewing a new mathematical solution, the paper was simply a list of ten problems, each of which was unsolved at the time (the list was later extended to include a total of 23 unsolved problems). In some cases, a problem on the list was solved quickly (problem #3 was solved during the same year the paper was presented); in some cases, the problems led to the creation of entirely new mathematical sub-disciplines (problem #11 led to quadratic forms; problem #16 to real algebraic curves); and in some cases, the problems were deemed to be improperly formed (problem #4 is generally regarded as too vague to support a definitive answer). Overall, though, Hilbert’s List had a catalyzing effect on the math community — causing it to self-organize against the key challenges laid out in his problem set.

Digitalis invests in solutions to complex problems in health. In doing so, we aspire to framing and tackling Hilbert-level open problems in fields relevant to our mission. This newsletter will periodically provide notes on our efforts in an attempt to “show our work.” We invite you to be in touch with your ideas about important problems and potential solutions. And we look forward to working with you to develop the best solutions at scale to deliver better health to all.