What's up in

machine learning

An illustration in which a capsule-shaped drug imprinted with circuit-board diagrams blasts nearby bacteria.
artificial intelligence

Machine Learning Takes On Antibiotic Resistance

March 9, 2020

To combat resistant bacteria and refill the trickling antibiotic pipeline, scientists are getting help from deep learning networks.

An AI genie turning a home into a jungle.
artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence Will Do What We Ask. That’s a Problem.

January 30, 2020

By teaching machines to understand our true desires, one scientist hopes to avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of having them do what we command.

Photo of Scarlett Howard, a researcher at the University of Toulouse, working with honeybees
Q&A

Secrets of Math From the Bee Whisperer

January 22, 2020

As Scarlett Howard taught honeybees to do arithmetic, they showed her how fundamental numbers might be to all brains.

Illustration of a pair of lungs being scanned in three dimensions, with a status bar that reads “Scanning lung tissue: 60%.”
artificial intelligence

An Idea From Physics Helps AI See in Higher Dimensions

January 9, 2020

The laws of physics stay the same no matter one’s perspective. Now this idea is allowing computers to detect features in curved and higher-dimensional space.

Art for "Quanta’s Year in Math and Computer Science (2019)"
2019 in Review

The Year in Math and Computer Science

December 23, 2019

Mathematicians and computer scientists made big progress in number theory, graph theory, machine learning and quantum computing, even as they reexamined our fundamental understanding of mathematics and neural networks.

Animated representation of locusts tracked by a computer move across a screen.
behavior

To Decode the Brain, Scientists Automate the Study of Behavior

December 10, 2019

Machine learning and deep neural networks can capture and analyze the “language” of animal behavior in ways that go beyond what’s humanly possible.

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.

Illustration of robots evolving out of the mud.
artificial intelligence

Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence

November 6, 2019

By ignoring their goals, evolutionary algorithms have solved longstanding challenges in artificial intelligence.

Illustration of cartoon characters working alongside a machine.
artificial intelligence

Machines Beat Humans on a Reading Test. But Do They Understand?

October 17, 2019

A tool known as BERT can now beat humans on advanced reading-comprehension tests. But it’s also revealed how far AI has to go.