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The capacity of the two-user Gaussian interference channel has been open for 30 years. The understanding on this problem has been limited. The best known achievable region is due to Han and Kobayashi but its characterization is very complicated. It is also not known how tight the existing outer bounds are. In this work, we show that the existing outer bounds can in fact be arbitrarily loose in some parameter ranges, and by deriving new outer bounds, we show that a very simple and explicit Han-Kobayashi type scheme can achieve to within a single bit per second per hertz (bit/s/Hz) of the capacity for all values of the channel parameters. We also show that the scheme is asymptotically optimal at certain high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) regimes. Using our results, we provide a natural generalization of the point-to-point classical notion of degrees of freedom to interference-limited scenarios.