Hilbert’s twenty-fourth problem is a mathematical problem that was not published as part of the list of twenty-three problems known as Hilbert’s problems but was included in David Hilbert‘s original notes. The problem asks for a criterion of simplicity in mathematical proofs and the development of a proof theory with the power to prove that a given proof is the simplest possible.
The 24th problem in my Paris lecture was to be: Criteria of simplicity, or proof of the greatest simplicity of certain proofs. Develop a theory of the method of proof in mathematics in general. Under a given set of conditions there can be but one simplest proof.