Math

What Is the Computational Power of the Universe

What is the computational power of the universe?

Can a close look at the universe give us solutions to problems too difficult for a computer - even if we built a computer...
Stanford classics student traces history of ancient geometry diagrams

Stanford classics student traces history of ancient geometry diagrams

Humans have been drawing lines and circles to grasp geometrical concepts and describe the laws of nature for about 5,000 years. But most scholars have...
Solving the mystery of the Arctic's green ice

Solving the mystery of the Arctic’s green ice

In 2011, researchers observed something that should be impossible -- a massive bloom of phytoplankton growing under Arctic sea ice in conditions that should...
New twist on sofa problem that stumped mathematicians and furniture movers

New twist on sofa problem that stumped mathematicians and furniture movers

Most of us have struggled with the mathematical puzzle known as the "moving sofa problem." It poses a deceptively simple question: What is the largest...
Making better decisions when outcomes are uncertain

Making better decisions when outcomes are uncertain

A simple statistical trick could help make a ubiquitous model of decision processes more accurate. Markov decision processes are mathematical models used to determine the...
Mystery of how sperm swim revealed in mathematical formula

Mystery of how sperm swim revealed in mathematical formula

Researchers have developed a mathematical formula based on the rhythmic movement of a sperm's head and tail, which significantly reduces the complexities of understanding...
Researchers add a splash of human intuition to planning algorithms

Researchers add a splash of human intuition to planning algorithms

Every other year, the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling hosts a competition in which computer systems designed by conference participants try to...
Devastating tsunamis could be mitigated by using acoustic-gravity waves

Devastating tsunamis could be mitigated by using acoustic-gravity waves

Devastating tsunamis could be halted before hitting Earth's shoreline by firing deep-ocean sound waves at the oncoming mass of water, new research has proposed. Dr...
New method of harvesting crowd wisdom

New method of harvesting crowd wisdom

The wisdom of crowds is not always perfect. But two scholars at MIT’s Sloan Neuroeconomics Lab, along with a colleague at Princeton University, have...
Yule tree

Predicting extinction — with a Yule tree

At this time of year, the words “Yule tree” may conjure images of brightly decorated balsam firs. But for Lea Popovic, an associate professor of...