In algebraic geometry, the Witten conjecture is a conjecture about intersection numbers of stable classes on the moduli space of curves, introduced by Edward Witten in the paper Witten , and generalized in . Witten's original conjecture was proved by Maxim Kontsevich in the paper . Witten's motivation for the conjecture was that two different models of 2-dimensional quantum gravity should have the same partition function. The partition function for one of these models can be described in terms of intersection numbers on the moduli stack of algebraic curves, and the partition function for the other is the logarithm of the τ-function of the KdV hierarchy. Identifying these partition functions gives Witten's conjecture that a certain generating function formed from intersection numbers should satisfy the differential equations of the KdV hierarchy.