Kevin Hartnett

Senior Writer

A dartboard with pi at its center.
number theory

New Proof Settles How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

August 14, 2019

The ancient Greeks wondered when “irrational” numbers can be approximated by fractions. By proving the longstanding Duffin-Schaeffer conjecture, two mathematicians have provided a complete answer.

Abstractions blog

Quantum Supremacy Is Coming: Here’s What You Should Know

July 18, 2019

Researchers are getting close to building a quantum computer that can perform tasks a classical computer can’t. Here’s what the milestone will mean.

Abstractions blog

How Randomness Can Make Math Easier

July 9, 2019

Randomness would seem to make a mathematical statement harder to prove. In fact, it often does the opposite.


Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order

July 2, 2019

Mathematicians have proved that a random process applied to a random surface will yield consistent patterns.

Photo of a silver metal plate with chips mounted on its surface.
Abstractions blog

A New Law to Describe Quantum Computing’s Rise?

June 18, 2019

Neven’s law states that quantum computers are improving at a “doubly exponential” rate. If it holds, quantum supremacy is around the corner.


A Mathematician Whose Only Constant Is Change

June 13, 2019

Amie Wilkinson searches for exotic examples of the mathematical structures that describe change.

Art for "Computer Scientists Expand the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge"
quantum information theory

Computer Scientists Expand the Frontier of Verifiable Knowledge

May 23, 2019

The universe of problems that a computer can check has grown. The researchers’ secret ingredient? Quantum entanglement.

Art for "Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct"
mathematical physics

Universal Pattern Explains Why Materials Conduct

May 6, 2019

Mathematicians have found that materials conduct electricity when electrons follow a universal mathematical pattern.

Art for "A New Approach to Multiplication Opens the Door to Better Quantum Computers"
Abstractions blog

A New Approach to Multiplication Opens the Door to Better Quantum Computers

April 24, 2019

Quantum computers can’t selectively forget information. A new algorithm for multiplication shows a way around that problem.