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Q&A

The Architect of Modern Algorithms

November 20, 2019

Barbara Liskov pioneered the modern approach to writing code. She warns that the challenges facing computer science today can’t be overcome with good design alone.

Illustration of a circle representing a black hole on a flat black plane with a multicolored bridge rising out of the plane and spanning from the inside to the outside of the circle.
Abstractions blog

Hologram Within a Hologram Hints at Fate of Black Holes

November 19, 2019

Calculations involving a higher dimension are guiding physicists toward a misstep in Stephen Hawking’s legendary black hole analysis.

Animation showing virtual players hiding and seeking in a digital arena
artificial intelligence

Playing Hide-and-Seek, Machines Invent New Tools

November 18, 2019

After millions of games, machine learning algorithms found creative solutions and unexpected new strategies that could transfer to the real world.

Lungs made from a collection of “tasting” tongues.
immunology

Cells That ‘Taste’ Danger Set Off Immune Responses

November 15, 2019

Taste and smell receptors in unexpected organs monitor the state of the body’s natural microbial health and raise an alarm over invading parasites.

Neutrinos and matrices
mathematical physics

Neutrinos Lead to Unexpected Discovery in Basic Math

Three physicists stumbled across an unexpected relationship between some of the most ubiquitous objects in math.

Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Calculate How Randomness Creeps In

November 12, 2019

Mathematicians have figured out exactly how many moves it takes to randomize a 15 puzzle.

Virginia Trimble at UC Irvine.
Q&A

Virginia Trimble Has Seen the Stars

November 11, 2019

How a young celebrity became one of the first female astronomers at Caltech, befriended Richard Feynman, and ended up the world’s foremost chronicler of the science of the night sky.

Illustration of a woman with “hands” behind her eyes and “eyes” in her hands, showing how the brain integrates its sense of the world with the actions to be taken in response.
neuroscience

‘Noise’ in the Brain Encodes Surprisingly Important Signals

November 7, 2019

Activity in the visual cortex and other sensory areas is dominated by signals about body movements, down to little tics and twitches. Scientists are now rethinking how they study and conceive of perception.

Illustration of robots evolving out of the mud.
artificial intelligence

Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence

November 6, 2019

By ignoring their goals, evolutionary algorithms have solved longstanding challenges in artificial intelligence.