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artificial intelligence

A close-up, head-on portrait of computer scientist Rediet Abebe.
Q&A

A Computer Scientist Who Tackles Inequality Through Algorithms

April 1, 2021

Rediet Abebe uses the tools of theoretical computer science to understand pressing social problems — and try to fix them.

Animation of a neuron that periodically alters its responses to stimuli when it is reset into a new state by another input.
neural networks

Artificial Neural Nets Finally Yield Clues to How Brains Learn

February 18, 2021

The learning algorithm that enables the runaway success of deep neural networks doesn’t work in biological brains, but researchers are finding alternatives that could.

Yarn models of a deep learning network and a brain.
neuroscience

Deep Neural Networks Help to Explain Living Brains

October 28, 2020

Deep neural networks, often criticized as “black boxes,” are helping neuroscientists understand the organization of living brains.

Computer scientist and complexity researcher Carlos Gershenson of the National Autonomous University of Mexico stands by a busy urban roadway.
Q&A

Complexity Scientist Beats Traffic Jams Through Adaptation

September 28, 2020

To tame urban traffic, the computer scientist Carlos Gershenson finds that letting transportation systems adapt and self-organize often works better than trying to predict and control them.

Photo of students sitting at desks competing in the International Mathematical Olympiad
Abstractions blog

At the Math Olympiad, Computers Prepare to Go for the Gold

September 21, 2020

Computer scientists are trying to build an AI system that can win a gold medal at the world’s premier math competition.

Illustration of a robot and a human furiously doing math next to each other
artificial intelligence

How Close Are Computers to Automating Mathematical Reasoning?

August 27, 2020

AI tools are shaping next-generation theorem provers, and with them the relationship between math and machine.

A glass object being shaped by a blowtorch.]
Abstractions blog

Why Is Glass Rigid? Signs of Its Secret Structure Emerge.

July 7, 2020

At the molecular level, glass looks like a liquid. But an artificial neural network has picked up on hidden structure in its molecules that may explain why glass is rigid like a solid.

A digital simulacrum of a protein.
Abstractions blog

A Digital Locksmith Has Decoded Biology’s Molecular Keys

June 3, 2020

Neural networks have been taught to quickly read the surfaces of proteins — molecules critical to many biological processes.

Illustration of a robot translating calculus into branching, tree-like structures
artificial intelligence

Symbolic Mathematics Finally Yields to Neural Networks

May 20, 2020

After translating some of math’s complicated equations, researchers have created an AI system that they hope will answer even bigger questions.