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mathematics

An illustration showing pink and purple particles flowing around a geometric computer chip.
artificial intelligence

Latest Neural Nets Solve World’s Hardest Equations Faster Than Ever Before

April 19, 2021

Two new approaches allow deep neural networks to solve entire families of partial differential equations, making it easier to model complicated systems and to do so orders of magnitude faster.

3D illustration of Gardam's crystallographic group
group theory

Mathematician Disproves 80-Year-Old Algebra Conjecture

April 12, 2021

Inside the symmetries of a crystal shape, a postdoctoral researcher has unearthed a counterexample to a basic conjecture about multiplicative inverses.

Side-by-side illustrations of the same linear hypergraph. The edges of the hypergraph are colored in the illustration on the right, but not in the illustration on the left.
combinatorics

Mathematicians Settle Erdős Coloring Conjecture

April 5, 2021

Fifty years ago, Paul Erdős and two other mathematicians came up with a graph theory problem that they thought they might solve on the spot. A team of mathematicians has finally settled it.

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.

A graphic showing that changing any of the digits of 505, 447 turns it into a composite number
prime numbers

Mathematicians Find a New Class of Digitally Delicate Primes

March 30, 2021

Despite finding no specific examples, researchers have proved the existence of a pervasive kind of prime number so delicate that changing any of its infinite digits renders it composite.

Insights puzzle

Finding Zen in the Art of Puzzle Solving

March 26, 2021

Readers used their Zen-like puzzle solving skills to discover hidden insights.

A graphic showing improvements in the speed of matrix multiplication
algorithms

Matrix Multiplication Inches Closer to Mythic Goal

March 23, 2021

A recent paper set the fastest record for multiplying two matrices. But it also marks the end of the line for a method researchers have relied on for decades to make improvements.

Illustration of researchers trying to reconstruct the shape of an epidemic curve from its distorted shadow on the floor.
COVID-19

Chasing the Elusive Numbers That Define Epidemics

March 22, 2021

Most modeling efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic have sought to address urgent practical concerns. But some groups aim to bolster the theoretical underpinnings of that work instead.

Abel Prize

Pioneers Linking Math and Computer Science Win the Abel Prize

March 17, 2021

Avi Wigderson and László Lovász won for their work developing complexity theory and graph theory, respectively, and for connecting the two fields.