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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.

Animation showing virtual players hiding and seeking in a digital arena
artificial intelligence

Playing Hide-and-Seek, Machines Invent New Tools

November 18, 2019

After millions of games, machine learning algorithms found creative solutions and unexpected new strategies that could transfer to the real world.


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.