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complex systems

Nature’s Critical Warning System

November 18, 2015

Scientists are homing in on a warning signal that arises in complex systems like ecological food webs, the brain and the Earth’s climate. Could it help prevent future catastrophes?


Theorists Draw Closer to Perfect Coloring

October 20, 2015

A theorem for coloring a large class of “perfect” mathematical networks could ease the way for a long-sought general coloring proof.


Networks Untangle Malaria’s Deadly Shuffle

October 15, 2015

By examining regions shared between some of nature’s most variable genes, malaria researchers are piecing together an understanding of a deadly parasite.


A Twisted Path to Equation-Free Prediction

October 13, 2015

Complex natural systems defy analysis using a standard mathematical toolkit, so one ecologist is throwing out the equations.

number theory

A Magical Answer to an 80-Year-Old Puzzle

October 1, 2015

Using crowd-sourced and traditional mathematics research, Terence Tao has devised a solution to a long-standing problem posed by the legendary Paul Erdős.

Computer Science

A New Map Traces the Limits of Computation

September 29, 2015

A major advance in computational complexity reveals deep connections between the classes of problems that computers can — and can’t — possibly do.


A Tricky Path to Quantum-Safe Encryption

September 8, 2015

In the drive to safeguard data from future quantum computers, cryptographers have stumbled upon a thin red line between security and efficiency.

Computer Science

A New Design for Cryptography’s Black Box

September 2, 2015

A recent cryptographic breakthrough has proven difficult to put into practice. But new advances show how near-perfect computer security might be surprisingly close at hand.


A Life in Games

August 28, 2015

The mathematician John Horton Conway’s myriad accomplishments — including the Game of Life, sprouts and the surreal numbers — are the product of a mind at play.