security
Google Street View Accidentally Made an Algorithm That Cracks CAPTCHAs

House numbers on Google Street View can turn up as blobby, blurry things, so its engineers built a pretty crazy neural network to decipher them. Except this algorithm also turns out to be very very good at deciphering other blobby, blurry texts—like CAPTCHAs, which it cracks with 99 per cent accuracy. Read More >>

science
Visualising How Sorting Algorithms Work is as Good as Any Art

We don't need to tell you that data can be beautiful—but the process of putting it in order can look good, too. A new site called SORTING aims to make people aware of just how elegant some of computer science's most fundamental algorithms can be. Read More >>

maths
Will Your Novel Be a Best Seller? Ask This Super-Accurate Algorithm

It's tough for humans to predict how well a book will sell until after it's published—it's something of a gamble. But now, a new algorithm can tell if a book will be a commercial success or not long before it hits the shelves—with a staggering 84 per cent accuracy. Read More >>

science
This Algorithm Can Make Pictures of Your Face More Memorable

We all know somebody with one of those faces. You know, the friend who always gets mistaken for someone else. They say, "I know I remember you from somewhere!" But they don't. Turns out there's a science to this sort of thing—and it could make your face more memorable. Read More >>

design
An Algorithmic Newspaper Published For Just One Coffee Shop in London

Perhaps the future of newspapers is all about local distribution—very local distribution, as in a whole newspaper printed for just one coffeeshop in London. The Newspaper Club has teamed up with the The Guardian to launch what they call an "algorithmic newspaper," published only for one location, its content mathematically harvested according to level of interest from the The Guardian's weekly coverage. How does that work, exactly? Read More >>

internet
The Algorithm That Tells Netflix Which Movies You Really Want to Watch

Using metadata, Netflix analysts are able to find all sorts of similarities between movies and shows, such as year made, director, genre, rating, etc. But how that metadata comes into existence is the truly fascinating, and apparently painstaking, part. As Xavier Amatriain, Netflix's engineering director, told Wired: Read More >>

language
Autogrammar Is About to Make Autocorrect a Lot More Naggy

Are you a lazy texter? Do you have fat fingers? Did you sleep through all of your English classes? Well, none of that matters anymore with the imminent release of new software that not only autocorrects your misspelled words but also fixes your grammar mistakes. Read More >>

money
How Credit Card Numbers Are Created

If you thought the sprawl of 16 numbers across the front of your credit was randomly generated, think again: like any good string of numbers, an algorithm was involved in its creation. Read More >>

internet
Powerful New MIT Computer System Can Make the Internet 3x Faster

The system is called Remy, and it uses some basic criteria to churn out congestion-controlling algorithms. A user tells Remy a few characteristics of a network, like how much bandwidth is needed, how much it fluctuates, how many people are using it, what kinds of things they use it for, and so forth. They then specify what kind of metric they want to use to gauge performance, like throughput (how much data is going through the network at a time) or the delay (how long it takes data to travel through a network). Remy takes all of this and tests a bunch of different algorithms to see which one, specifically, optimises speed. It doesn't test every possible algorithm, because that would take forever, but it seeks out small changes that would improve performance. Read More >>

wtf
Amazon Blocks the Sale of Gross, Auto-Generated "Keep Calm and Rape Her" T-Shirts

The whole "Keep Calm and [X]" trend has been a fun little meme for merchandisers everywhere, ever since the now-public domain WWII slogan was rediscovered. But a seller on Amazon might have taken the opportunity too far. So far, in fact, that Amazon found itself having to take down some offers for a "Keep Calm and Rape Her" shirt. Ew. Read More >>

watch this
Can an Algorithm Really Predict If a Movie Will Be a Hit?

There are all kinds of people who'd want to know if a movie will be a hit before it comes out: companies who are throwing down money on advertising, and even you before you let yourself get excited. Well according to researchers at Tottori University, there's a mathematical equation out there that can do a pretty good job of just that. Read More >>

art
These Weird Cartoon Faces Are All Drawn By an Algorithm

There's a certain aspect of human creation, a quaint sort inconsistent imperfection, that most of us tend to think is exclusive to us meatbags. Turns out it's not; computers can emulate that too, and these weird-looking cartoon faces you could swear were drawn by a five-year-old prove it. Read More >>

twitter
How Scientists Can Tell if Your Tweets are Truthful

There's a lot of noise and very little signal on Twitter, and sometimes it can be hard to know what to pay attention to. A team of scientists might be able to help with that, though, because they're developing algorithms to sort the truthful tweets from the lies. Read More >>

batteries
Maths Can Make Your Batteries Charge Twice as Fast

Most battery advances concentrate on improving hardware, but researchers from the University of California San Diego have developed new algorithms that can cut lithium-ion battery charge times in half. Read More >>

monster machines
This Weed-Killing Robot Dispatches Dandelions with 98 Percent Accuracy

A prototype weed-seeking automaton could change the way seven billion humans eat, as well as help to end industrial agriculture's reliance on toxic herbicides and itinerant labor. Read More >>

google
Google's Big Brains Think an Algorithm Will Help Them With Girl Problems

We hear about this issue all the time: tech companies, even the big guns, have trouble attracting and retaining women. Interestingly enough, Google has taken the least human and most nerdy possible route to tackling this gender issue—algorithms. Read More >>

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