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Computer Science

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.

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.

Photos of Google’s quantum computer system on the left, IMB’s supercomputer Summit on the right.
Abstractions blog

Google and IBM Clash Over Milestone Quantum Computing Experiment

October 23, 2019

Today Google announced that it achieved “quantum supremacy.” Its chief quantum computing rival, IBM, said it hasn’t. The disagreement hinges on what the term really means.

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’

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?

September 17, 2019

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.