All Articles

cosmology

Peering Into the Early Universe

March 7, 2013

Three “extremely large telescopes” poised to begin observations within a decade could help answer some of the universe’s oldest and best-kept secrets.

symmetry

How to Make Impossible Wallpaper

March 5, 2013

A new collection of arresting wallpaper designs seems to defy the crystallographic restriction.

algorithms

In Computers We Trust?

February 22, 2013

As the role of computers in pure mathematics grows, researchers debate their reliability.

universality

In Mysterious Pattern, Math and Nature Converge

February 5, 2013

All complex correlated systems, from Arctic melt ponds to the Internet, appear to be governed by the same math as a random matrix.

traveling salesman problem

Computer Scientists Take Road Less Traveled

January 29, 2013

An infinitesimal advance in the traveling salesman problem breathes new life into the search for improved approximate solutions.

game theory

Hunger Game: Is Honesty Between Animals Always the Best Policy?

January 9, 2013

Game theorists have developed a new model of communication among animals. It suggests evolution will produce a situation in which members of a species are honest most of the time, but not always.

Physics

Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire

December 21, 2012

If a new hypothesis about black hole firewalls proves correct, at least one of three cherished notions in theoretical physics must be wrong.

quantum computing

Classical Computing Embraces Quantum Ideas

December 18, 2012

Computer scientists are finding that “thinking quantumly” can lead to new insights into long-standing problems in classical computer science, mathematics and cryptography, regardless of whether quantum computers ever materialize.

cryptography

Privacy by the Numbers: A New Approach to Safeguarding Data

December 10, 2012

A mathematical technique called “differential privacy” gives researchers access to vast repositories of personal data while meeting a high standard for privacy protection.