notwork = N = nroff

NP- /N-P/ pref.

Extremely. Used to modify adjectives describing a level or quality of difficulty; the connotation is often `more so than it should be'. This is generalized from the computer-science terms `NP-hard' and `NP-complete'; NP-complete problems all seem to be very hard, but so far no one has found a proof that they are. NP is the set of Nondeterministic-Polynomial algorithms, those that can be completed by a nondeterministic Turing machine in an amount of time that is a polynomial function of the size of the input; a solution for one NP-complete problem would solve all the others. "Coding a BitBlt implementation to perform correctly in every case is NP-annoying."

Note, however, that strictly speaking this usage is misleading; there are plenty of easy problems in class NP. NP-complete problems are hard not because they are in class NP, but because they are the hardest problems in class NP.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

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