Quantum Computing Without Qubits
A quantum computing pioneer explains why analog simulators may beat out general-purpose digital quantum machines — for now.
A Proof That Some Spaces Can’t Be Cut
The question is deceptively simple: Given a geometric space — a sphere, perhaps, or a doughnut-like torus — is it possible to divide it into smaller pieces? In the case of the two-dimensional surface of a sphere, the answer is clearly yes. Anyone can tile a mosaic of triangles over any two-dimensional surface. Likewise, any three-dimensional space can be cut up into an arbitrary number of pyramids.
But what about spaces in higher dimensions?
Scientists Conjure Curves From Flatness
Try gift-wrapping a soccer ball, and you will quickly encounter the geometric abyss between paper’s inherent flatness and a sphere’s natural curves.
Machine Intelligence Cracks Genetic Controls
Every cell in your body reads the same genome, the DNA-encoded instruction set that builds proteins. But your cells couldn’t be more different. Neurons send electrical messages, liver cells break down chemicals, muscle cells move the body. How do cells employ the same basic set of genetic instructions to carry out their own specialized tasks? The answer lies in a complex, multilayered system that controls how proteins are made.
Prime Gap Grows After Decades-Long Lull
A year after tackling how close together prime number pairs can stay, mathematicians have now made the first major advance in 76 years in understanding how far apart primes can be.
A Common Logic to Seeing Cats and Cosmos
There may be a universal logic to how physicists, computers and brains tease out important features from among other irrelevant bits of data.
Ancient Survivors Could Redefine Sex
If all the animals on Earth could offer a single lesson for long-term survival, it might be this: Sex works. Out of the estimated 8 million animal species, all but a smattering are known to reproduce sexually, and those that don’t are babes in evolutionary terms, newly evolved animals that recently lost the ability to mate.
Multiverse Collisions May Dot the Sky
Early in cosmic history, our universe may have bumped into another — a primordial clash that could have left traces in the Big Bang’s afterglow.
In a Multiverse, What Are the Odds?
Testing the multiverse hypothesis requires measuring whether our universe is statistically typical among the infinite variety of universes. But infinity does a number on statistics.