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Computer Science

Illustration of cartoon characters working alongside a machine.
artificial intelligence

Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?

October 17, 2019

A tool known as BERT can now beat humans on advanced reading-comprehension tests. But it’s also revealed how far AI has to go.

Quantized Columns

Why I Called It ‘Quantum Supremacy’

October 2, 2019

Researchers finally seem to have a quantum computer that can outperform a classical computer. But what does that really mean?

Stephanie Wehner in a red suit standing in a glass-paneled corridor at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Her reflection appears in the glass to the right and left.
Q&A

To Invent a Quantum Internet

September 25, 2019

Fifty years after the current internet was born, the physicist and computer scientist Stephanie Wehner is planning and designing the next internet — a quantum one.

A sandy beach at low tide dotted with ancient tree stumps.
geophysics

Artificial Intelligence Takes On Earthquake Prediction

September 19, 2019

After successfully predicting laboratory earthquakes, a team of geophysicists has applied a machine learning algorithm to quakes in the Pacific Northwest.

Abstractions blog

Computers and Humans ‘See’ Differently. Does It Matter?

In some ways, machine vision is superior to human vision. In other ways, it may never catch up.

The researcher Iyad Rahwan sitting at his desk.
Q&A

The Anthropologist of Artificial Intelligence

August 26, 2019

Iyad Rahwan’s radical idea: The best way to understand algorithms is to observe their behavior in the wild.

combinatorics

Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages

July 25, 2019

The “sensitivity” conjecture stumped many top computer scientists, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet.

Q&A

His Artificial Intelligence Sees Inside Living Cells

July 24, 2019

The computer vision scientist Greg Johnson is building systems that can recognize organelles on sight and show the dynamics of living cells more clearly than microscopy can.

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.