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Machines Learn Better if We Teach Them the Basics
A wave of research improves reinforcement learning algorithms by pre-training them as if they were human.
The Computer Scientist Who Finds Life Lessons in Games
In Shang-Hua Teng’s work, theoretical and practical questions have long been intertwined. Now he’s turning his focus to the impractical.
Mathematicians Roll Dice and Get Rock-Paper-Scissors
Mathematicians have uncovered a surprising wealth of rock-paper-scissors-like patterns in randomly chosen dice.
How the Slowest Computer Programs Illuminate Math’s Fundamental Limits
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.
Playing Hide-and-Seek, Machines Invent New Tools
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
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.