The paper's origin was that the author mailed a copy for review to some very high-level folks in the field (Cook, Mazirani, Sipser, etc). Here's the mail:
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2010 21:28:39 +0000
Subject: Proof announcement: P is not equal to NP
Dear Fellow Researchers,
I am pleased to announce a proof that P is not equal to NP, which is attached in 10pt and 12pt fonts.
The proof required the piecing together of principles from multiple areas within mathematics. The major effort in constructing this proof was uncovering a chain of conceptual links between various fields and viewing them through a common lens. Second to this were the technical hurdles faced at each stage in the proof.
This work builds upon fundamental contributions many esteemed researchers have made to their fields. In the presentation of this paper, it was my intention to provide the reader with an understanding of the global framework for this proof. Technical and computational details within chapters were minimized as much as possible.
This work was pursued independently of my duties as a HP Labs researcher, and without the knowledge of others. I made several unsuccessful attempts these past two years trying other combinations of ideas before I began this work.
Comments and suggestions for improvements to the paper are highly welcomed.
Principal Research Scientist
Somewhere, deep in a dark corner of my heart, I hope and pray that this paper is correct, just so we can keep and revere the immortal words "I am pleased to announce a proof that P is not equal to NP, which is attached in 10pt and 12pt fonts."
Sounds a little like the line in Watson and Crick's first paper about DNA. They said "It has not escaped our notice..." to introduce the idea that the subject of the paper might be the secret to life, the universe, and everything.
Indeed. But, fortunately, this is seldom a problem in math.
I mean, often people discover problems in proofs --- but if the result was beautiful enough, they are usually able to repair the proofs. It's like debugging. (And I mean it, thanks to the Curry-Howard isomorphism.)
Also, from the blog post: "I see someone else has uploaded the paper. I should point out that in the email thread I got, Stephen Cook said “This appears to be a relatively serious claim to have solved P vs NP.". I would love to see that email thread.