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Computer Science

Diagram showing show the hierarchy of different classes.
Abstractions blog

A Short Guide to Hard Problems

July 16, 2018

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.

Illustration for "Finally, A Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve"
computational complexity

Finally, a Problem That Only Quantum Computers Will Ever Be Able to Solve

June 21, 2018

Computer scientists have been searching for years for a type of problem that a quantum computer can solve but that any possible future classical computer cannot. Now they’ve found one.

Art for "A Classical Math Problem Gets Pulled Into the Modern World"
algorithms

A Classical Math Problem Gets Pulled Into the Modern World

May 23, 2018

A century ago, the great mathematician David Hilbert posed a probing question in pure mathematics. A recent advance in optimization theory is bringing Hilbert’s work into a world of self-driving cars.

Photo of Judea Pearl
Q&A

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect

May 15, 2018

Judea Pearl, a pioneering figure in artificial intelligence, argues that AI has been stuck in a decades-long rut. His prescription for progress? Teach machines to understand the question why.

Art for "Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells"
Abstractions blog

Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells

May 9, 2018

Faced with a navigational challenge, neural networks spontaneously evolved units resembling the grid cells that help living animals find their way.

Lede art for "First Big Steps Toward Proving the Unique Games Conjecture"
computational complexity

First Big Steps Toward Proving the Unique Games Conjecture

April 24, 2018

The latest in a new series of proofs brings theoretical computer scientists within striking distance of one of the great conjectures of their discipline.

Gif illustration for "Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos"
chaos theory

Machine Learning’s ‘Amazing’ Ability to Predict Chaos

April 18, 2018

In new computer experiments, artificial-intelligence algorithms can tell the future of chaotic systems.

Lede art for "Why Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Has Trouble With the Real World"
artificial intelligence

Why Artificial Intelligence Like AlphaZero Has Trouble With the Real World

February 21, 2018

The latest artificial intelligence systems start from zero knowledge of a game and grow to world-beating in a matter of hours. But researchers are struggling to apply these systems beyond the arcade.

520px photo of smarticles
Computer Science

Smart Swarms Seek New Ways to Cooperate

February 14, 2018

New algorithms show how swarms of very simple robots can be made to work together as a group.