I have just read an excellent article in the latest issue of Communications of the ACM.
Fortnow L. (2009) The Status of the P versus NP Problem Communications of the ACM, 52(9):78-86 (doi:10.1145/1562164.1562186)
The article not only describes what the P=NP problem is (and it is one of the best non-technical descriptions I have seen) but also provides some of the research directions that might lead to a proof that P=NP (or, more likely (in my view – and many others), that P?NP).
If you are any sort of computer scientist, then I would urge you to take a look at this article.
You can stay up to date with this area on the author’s blog (http://blog.computationalcomplexity.org)