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computer science

An animation showing chaotic swirls of purple coalesce into a single line
Abstractions blog

New Quantum Algorithms Finally Crack Nonlinear Equations

January 5, 2021

Two teams found different ways for quantum computers to process nonlinear systems by first disguising them as linear ones.

2020 in Review

The Year in Math and Computer Science

December 23, 2020

Even as mathematicians and computer scientists proved big results in computational complexity, number theory and geometry, computers proved themselves increasingly indispensable in mathematics.

Black and white photo of Claude Shannon in front of a computer
Quantized Columns

How Claude Shannon Invented the Future

December 22, 2020

Today’s information age is only possible thanks to the groundbreaking work of a lone genius.

Abstractions blog

How the Slowest Computer Programs Illuminate Math’s Fundamental Limits

December 10, 2020

The goal of the “busy beaver” game is to find the longest-running computer program. Its pursuit has surprising connections to some of the most profound questions and concepts in mathematics.

Q&A

The Computer Scientist Who Shrinks Big Data

December 7, 2020

Jelani Nelson designs clever algorithms that only have to remember slivers of massive data sets. He also teaches kids in Ethiopia how to code.

computer security

Computer Scientists Achieve ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

November 10, 2020

A cryptographic master tool called indistinguishability obfuscation has for years seemed too good to be true. Three researchers have figured out that it can work.

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.

Q&A

To Boldly Go Where No Internet Protocol Has Gone Before

October 21, 2020

Vinton Cerf helped create the internet 40 years ago, and he’s still working to connect people around the world — and off it.

An illustration of computer scientists looking down a new road that breaks open a traveling salesperson route.
algorithms

Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record

October 8, 2020

After 44 years, there’s finally a better way to find approximate solutions to the notoriously difficult traveling salesperson problem.