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Computer Science

Illustration of lock with polynomials surrounding it
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Seal Back Door to Breaking RSA Encryption

Digital security depends on the difficulty of factoring large numbers. A new proof shows why one method for breaking digital encryption won’t work.

Photo of Urmila Mahadev
quantum computing

Graduate Student Solves Quantum Verification Problem

Urmila Mahadev spent eight years in graduate school solving one of the most basic questions in quantum computation: How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?

Art for "Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room"
artificial intelligence

Machine Learning Confronts the Elephant in the Room

A visual prank exposes an Achilles’ heel of computer vision systems: Unlike humans, they can’t do a double take.

Art for "New AI Strategy Mimics How Brains Learn to Smell"
artificial intelligence

New AI Strategy Mimics How Brains Learn to Smell

Machine learning techniques are commonly based on how the visual system processes information. To beat their limitations, scientists are drawing inspiration from the sense of smell.

Illustration of a bunny hiding around a corner

The New Science of Seeing Around Corners

Computer vision researchers have uncovered a world of visual signals hiding in our midst, including subtle motions that betray what’s being said and faint images of what’s around a corner.


Universal Method to Sort Complex Information Found

The nearest neighbor problem asks where a new point fits into an existing data set. A few researchers set out to prove that there was no universal way to solve it. Instead, they found such a way.

Photo illustration of Constantinos Daskalakis
2018 Fields Medal and Nevanlinna Prize Winners

A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths

The theoretical computer scientist Constantinos Daskalakis has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize for explicating core questions in game theory and machine learning.

Art for "Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager"
quantum computing

Major Quantum Computing Advance Made Obsolete by Teenager

18-year-old Ewin Tang has proven that classical computers can solve the “recommendation problem” nearly as fast as quantum computers. The result eliminates one of the best examples of quantum speedup.

Diagram showing show the hierarchy of different classes.
Abstractions blog

A Short Guide to Hard Problems

What’s easy for a computer to do, and what’s almost impossible? Those questions form the core of computational complexity. We present a map of the landscape.