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# Abstractions blog

## Latest Articles

### Risky Giant Steps Can Solve Optimization Problems Faster

New results break with decades of conventional wisdom for the gradient descent algorithm.

### Exoplanets Could Help Us Learn How Planets Make Magnetism

New observations of a faraway rocky world that might have its own magnetic field could help astronomers understand the seemingly haphazard magnetic fields swaddling our solar system’s planets.

### Selfish, Virus-Like DNA Can Carry Genes Between Species

Genetic elements called Mavericks that have some viral features could be responsible for the large-scale smuggling of DNA between species.

### Ninth Dedekind Number Found by Two Independent Groups

The numbers count a variety of seemingly unrelated mathematical structures.

### How (Nearly) Nothing Might Solve Cosmology’s Biggest Questions

By measuring the universe’s emptiest spaces, scientists can study how matter clumps together and how fast it flies apart.

### Mathematicians Solve Long-Standing Coloring Problem

A new result shows how much of the plane can be colored by points that are never exactly one unit apart.

### Underground Cells Make ‘Dark Oxygen’ Without Light

In some deep subterranean aquifers, cells have a chemical trick for making oxygen that could sustain whole underground ecosystems.

### How to Build a Big Prime Number

A new algorithm brings together the advantages of randomness and deterministic processes to reliably construct large prime numbers.

### The Lawlessness of Large Numbers

Mathematicians can often figure out what happens as quantities grow infinitely large. What about when they are just a little big?