How tackling tech’s diversity challenges can spur innovation

Nicki Washington could be mistaken for a social scientist. Washington has long argued that computer scientists like her should better understand how their own identities affect their work. She joined Duke University in June 2020 and launched a groundbreaking course that analyzes how race, gender, and class influence the way technologies get developed.  We spoke…

How to fight hate online

During her time at Microsoft and in academia, Jennifer Chayes has been fighting to use data science and computing to make artificial intelligence more fair and less biased.  From dropping out of school at the age of 15 to becoming the doyen of data science at the University of California, Berkeley, Chayes has had quite…

This chemist is reimagining the discovery of materials using AI and automation

When Alán Aspuru-Guzik, a Mexico City–born, Toronto-based chemist, looks at climate-change models, his eyes gravitate to the error bars, which show the range of uncertainty surrounding any given prediction. “As scientists,” he says, “we have a duty to contemplate worst-case scenarios.” If climate change proceeds as expected, humanity might have a couple of decades or…

Inside the machine that saved Moore’s Law

Patrick Whelan peers through the faceplate of his clean-room bunny suit to see how things are going. Before him is a gleaming chunk of glass, roughly the size of a toaster oven, that is carved with so many scooped-out sections to reduce its weight that it looks like an alien totem. Whelan’s team is gluing…

The 50-year-old problem that eludes theoretical computer science

1. On Monday, July 19, 2021, in the middle of another strange pandemic summer, a leading computer scientist in the field of complexity theory tweeted out a public service message about an administrative snafu at a journal. He signed off with a very loaded  “Happy Monday.” In a parallel universe, it might have been a…