Another week gone by, another week of great stories. Supercomputers more powerful than the human mind; the largest scale computer simulations possible; searching for the accurate value of pi; a solution to Selye’s riddle; pi cropping up in lots of unexpected places; seven cool things to know about AI; and refining our picture of Pluto with months of new data are all among our top stories.
Picture of Pluto Further Refined by Months of New Horizons Data
When New Horizons made its flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015, there was worldwide celebration that we’d finally gotten our first detailed look at this completely new type of planet. But for those of us on the New Horizons science team, those first images were only the beginning. Since then, I’ve been watching with amazement as the spacecraft has transmitted spectacular images back that reveal surprises all over the place.
7 Cool Things to Know about AI
Artificial intelligence-related research has tremendous potential to become useful in practical, everyday applications and to dramatically increase productivity. The field has been developing rapidly in recent years and is expected to really start taking off in the near future. A few of the cool things happening on the cutting edge in AI are highlighted below.
Pi Pops Up Where You Don’t Expect It
The exact value of π=3.14159… has fascinated people since ancient times, and mathematicians have computed trillions of digits. But why do we care? Would it actually matter if somebody got the 11,137,423,895,285th digit wrong? Probably not. The world would keep on turning (with a circumference of 2πr). What matters isn’t so much the actual value as the idea, and the fact that it seems to crop up in lots of unexpected places.
Mathematicians Solve 78-year-old Mystery
Researchers have developed a solution to Selye’s riddle, which has puzzled scientists for almost 80 years, by using the notion of adaptation energy as a cornerstone in a system of models. They provide a ‘thermodynamic-like’ theory of organism resilience that, just like classical thermodynamics, allows for economics metaphors, such as cost and bankruptcy, and is largely independent of a detailed mechanistic explanation.
The Search for the Value of Pi
The number represented by pi is used in calculations whenever something round (or nearly so) is involved, such as for circles, spheres, cylinders, cones and ellipses. Our world contains many round and near-round objects; finding the exact value of pi helps us build, manufacture and work with them more accurately. The search for the accurate value of pi led not only to more accuracy, but also to development of new concepts and techniques.
One of the Largest Simulations Ever Helps Explain One of Physics Most Daunting Problems
Researchers achieved the largest scale computer simulations possible of one of physics most daunting problems — a disordered quantum many-particle system — on the biggest supercomputers in existence. They were able to show something startling — that a dynamic probe in the experiment connects to the equilibrium computer simulations.
Defenseless Against AI: Supercomputers More Powerful Than the Human Mind
Artificial intelligence must be kept under human control or we may become defenseless against its capabilities, warn machine-learning experts. The defeat of the world champion Go player has raised fresh concerns about the future role of artificial intelligence (AI) devices. The question now is how much we should control AI’s ability to self-learn.
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