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Q&A

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.

Photo of mathematician Donald Richards sitting in a Pennsylvania State University classroom.
Q&A

A Revealer of Secrets in the Data of Life and the Universe

April 11, 2018

The statistician Donald Richards lives to uncover subtle patterns hiding in real-world data.

Portrait of Mathematician Prof. Günter M. Ziegler
Q&A

In Search of God’s Perfect Proofs

March 19, 2018

The mathematicians Günter Ziegler and Martin Aigner have spent the past 20 years collecting some of the most beautiful proofs in mathematics.

520px photo of Barbara Engelhardt
Q&A

A Statistical Search for Genomic Truths

February 27, 2018

The computer scientist Barbara Engelhardt develops machine-learning models and methods to scour human genomes for the elusive causes and mechanisms of disease.

520px photo of Gil Kalai
The Future of Quantum Computing

The Argument Against Quantum Computers

February 7, 2018

The mathematician Gil Kalai believes that quantum computers can’t possibly work, even in principle.

520px photo of Jarvis holding a zebra finch
Q&A

In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech

January 30, 2018

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.

520px image of Ed Boyden
Q&A

A Neurobiologist Thinks Big — and Small

January 18, 2018

By developing new tools for visualizing subcellular structure and activity in molecular detail, Ed Boyden advances on his goal of understanding how the brain works.

520px photo of Richard Schwartz
Q&A

In Praise of Simple Problems

January 9, 2018

The mathematician Richard Schwartz finds the hidden depth lurking in simple mathematical puzzles.

Photo of Corina Tarnita 520px
Q&A

A Mathematician Who Decodes the Patterns Stamped Out by Life

December 20, 2017

Corina Tarnita deciphers bizarre patterns in the soil created by competing life-forms.