What's up in

probability

Illustration for "How the DNA Computer Program Makes You and Me"
insights puzzle

How the DNA Computer Program Makes You and Me

Can a set of simple instructions produce complex, three-dimensional living structures?

520px illustration of a man falling and missing a hay stack to land on.
insights puzzle

Solution: ‘When Probability Meets Real Life’

When our brains don’t have a good intuition for reasoning with numbers, explicit probabilistic thinking can lead to improved decision-making.

520px illustration of a man falling and missing a hay stack to land on.
insights puzzle

When Probability Meets Real Life

When faced with a difficult decision, should you go with your gut or carefully calculate the attendant risks?

Thomas Royen at his home in Schwalbach am Taunus, Germany.
statistics

A Long-Sought Proof, Found and Almost Lost

When a German retiree proved a famous long-standing mathematical conjecture, the response was underwhelming.

Illustration by Lucy Reading-Ikkanda for Quanta Magazine
Abstractions blog

The Devil in the Polling Data

The same problem that caused the 2007 financial crisis also tripped up the polling data ahead of this year’s presidential election.

Abstractions blog

Why (Almost) Everyone Was Wrong

The results of this year’s presidential election made a mockery of analytical election forecast modelers.

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘Which Forecasts Are True?’

Aside from potential clues gleaned from a fluke result, it would take hundreds of U.S. presidential elections to definitely conclude that one election forecasting model is superior to another.

insights puzzle

How Can We Tell Which Forecasts Are True?

Presidential election forecasts are historically successful and appear to be highly precise. Yet they’re often contradictory. What would it take to trust them?

insights puzzle

Solution: ‘A Drunkard’s Walk in Manhattan’

City blocks help illustrate why walking randomly tends to take you away from your starting point.