By Stefan Kohl


2019-01-11 10:58:47 8 Comments

Question: Where can one find information on which areas of mathematics are represented at which of the more than 20 universities in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and on which mathematicians are working there?

The DPRK is a country with a population of about 25 million people, and it is industrialised to a degree which has permitted it to successfully construct nuclear weapons and ICBM's. So one would expect that there are a decent number of mathematicians working at its universities.

However as the country operates an intranet of its own, not much from there is visible from the open internet. -- So in particular Google will not help much further here. Also, most results by researchers from the DPRK are published only in national journals, and mathematicians from the country cannot be found in the Mathematics Genealogy Database. On the other hand, people in the DPRK who need the internet for their work do have access, but with some sites blocked and email possibly monitored.

Edit: The possibly most interesting source available on the open internet I found so far is NKScholar. -- But firstly articles posted on that site are paywalled with prices in local currency, and secondly the site is Korean-language only -- so I can't tell how much one can really find there. Maybe someone else can tell more.

Added on Jan 22, 2019: As to the publications from the DPRK which have appeared in international journals: there are so far 118 articles with at least one author based in the DPRK which have reviews in MathSciNet. Of these, 101 are from the year 2012 or later. The articles touch 34 two-digit MSC numbers, and have been written by more than 100 distinct authors (where the exact number of the latter is not easy to determine due to slightly varying romanizations of names etc.) based at about 20 distinct institutions, mostly located in Pyongyang, the capital of the country. Among these articles, 41 have been co-authored with colleagues from China, 9 have been co-authored with colleagues from Germany and 4 have been co-authored with colleagues from other countries. The areas represented best are MSC 35: Partial differential equations and MSC 76: Fluid mechanics (together 47 papers) -- but also e.g. MSC 11: Number theory, MSC 16: Associative rings and algebras, MSC 26: Real functions, MSC 37: Dynamical systems and ergodic theory, MSC 53: Differential geometry, MSC 54: General Topology and MSC 55: Algebraic topology are represented with several papers, each. Given that there are almost as many distinct authors as there are papers, given the breadth of the areas covered and given that it doesn't seem likely that the country's mathematicians have started to work all of a sudden barely a decade ago, what is visible in MathSciNet seems merely like the tip of an iceberg to me -- which emphasizes the question about the "rest".

3 comments

@Igor Khavkine 2019-01-22 11:29:11

Doing a free search for "Pyongyang" on the arXiv, seems to give papers from DPRK mathematicians. Around March of 2013, there appears to have been a spike in papers uploaded to the arXiv bearing the banner

International Symposium in Commemoration of the 65th Anniversary of
the Foundation of Kim Il Sung University (Mathematics)
20-21. Sep. Juche100(2011) Pyongyang DPR Korea

Here's an example. Doing some further digging reveals that the same authors have uploaded other preprints to the arXiv, but it's hard to search for them because of variations in how their names are latinized.

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-22 12:41:34

That search gives 12 results, as far as I see. -- And looking further from there, googling for "KISU-MATH-2011" yields several more papers.

@ThiKu 2019-01-22 12:43:09

The linked paper has a noteworthy introduction.

@ThiKu 2019-01-22 12:43:17

The great leader comrade Kim Il Sung said as follows. “We should further strengthen scientific research and rapidly develop science and technology so that any scientific and technical problems in economic construction can be solved as soon as they arise and thus successfully make the national economy scientific and fully ensure that it becomes Juche-orientated and modern.”(“Kim Il Sung Works” Vol. 35, 312p) This paper is concerned with the estimates of fundamental solution for higher order Schrödinger equation.

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-22 14:31:12

@ThiKu: Indeed! -- Though that type of introduction doesn't appear to be common even for papers from the DPRK. In fact this is the first time I see such text in a mathematical publication from there. -- Even more: a Google search for "We should further strengthen scientific research and rapidly develop" yields precisely this one result.

@Jörg Neunhäuserer 2019-01-12 13:13:30

Two mathematicians from North Korea I know are Kim, Jinhyon and Ju, Hyonhui. I like their paper:

Hausdorff dimension of the sets of Li-Yorke pairs for some chaotic dynamical systems including A -coupled expanding systems. (English) Zbl 1390.37028 Chaos Solitons Fractals 109, 246-251 (2018).

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-12 14:16:13

Interesting! -- By the way -- do you know which of the articles listed in zbMATH at zbmath.org/authors/?q=ai%3Akim.jinhyon are actually by Kim, Jinhyon (only the one you mentioned is published under the full name, and 35 others on the list are authored by some Kim, J.).

@Jörg Neunhäuserer 2019-01-12 14:36:06

Sorry but I do not know this for sure.

@pupshaw 2019-01-12 15:58:03

Unrelatedly, there’s quite an interesting story about that journal and its former editor, Mohamed El Naschie. This is now nearly a decade ago and I don’t want to assume the new editors behave like the old ones. But interesting to say the least. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_El_Naschie

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-12 17:03:04

@pupshaw: That is indeed interesting. -- Do you think one can find a significant amount of serious research in that journal anyway?

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-12 17:14:22

@JörgNeunhäuserer: Since the paper you cite is far from my area of expertise, I cannot tell anything about its correctness or merits. -- Given what pupshaw said -- can you confirm it is a reasonable paper, or is it possible that it is not without reason that the authors have chosen a journal with that reputation?

@ThiKu 2019-01-12 17:34:26

About CS&F there is an analysis from 2010: richardpoynder.co.uk/Phoenix.pdf

@Jörg Neunhäuserer 2019-01-12 21:32:21

@StefanKohl In my opinion it is a good paper! The authors generalize my results in Li-Yorke pairs of full Hausdorff dimension for some chaotic dynamical systems. (English) Zbl 1224.37011 Math. Bohem. 135, No. 3, 279-289 (2010).

@EFinat-S 2019-01-11 11:09:19

Here are some articles on cryptography. (I do not claim the veracity of them, as there is a lot of misinformation.)

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-11 14:37:57

Yes, this set of eight papers posted in 2005 is one of the few poor sources one finds with Google.

@EFinat-S 2019-01-11 16:08:25

I would bet that, going "deeper" in the web, one could find more.

@EFinat-S 2019-01-11 16:53:13

Google chrome translates webpages without installing any plugin. It worked for me for your link. Looking at the titles one notes that there's a lot of applied math.

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-11 17:04:01

Yes, of course. -- This gives some headlines -- but no abstracts, author's affiliations or contact data, let alone full texts of articles.

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-11 17:18:58

Besides -- does the search function work for you in a useful way via the translator?

@EFinat-S 2019-01-11 21:07:25

No, it does not work for me with the translator.

@Ofir Gorodetsky 2019-01-11 23:27:24

You can find in Math Reviews papers with authors affiliated with Kim Il-sung University, e.g. MR3225383, MR3232454 (in finite fields) MR3353738, MR3255419 (in differential geometry). Moreover, Math Reviews has institution information for Kim Il Sung University, see mathscinet.ams.org/mathscinet/search/… .

@EFinat-S 2019-01-12 00:27:07

Dear Stefan. Your e-mail is the one appearing in your webpage?

@Stefan Kohl 2019-01-12 10:21:25

@EFinat-S Yes, it is.

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