Improvements To The Travelling Salesman Problem

The travelling salesman problem is a famous network optimisation problem that hasn't been improved upon in forty-four years, until now! Researchers Nathan Klein, Anna Karlin and Shayan Ovies Gharan at the University of Washington have created a new algorithm that improves on the general traveling salesman problem, by 0.2 billionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a percent!

COVID-19 Vaccine Predictions

The Center For Global Development have published research on predicting the rollout timelines of a COVID-19 vaccine. The predictions show a 50% chance of a vaccine by April 2021, rising to 100% by September 2023. The paper also estimates that a total of just under 24 billion doses will be needed globally, distributed between health workers (115m), 65+ people(1.6bn), at risk people (4.2bn), and the rest of the population (18bn).

Podcast of the Week: Artificial Intelligence with Lex Fridman - Stephen Wolfram

I recently discovered the Artificial Intelligence with Lex Fridman podcast via Find That Pod. It's like the Tim Ferris podcast but very heavy on the science detail. Lex interviews a range of the world's leading scientists, theorists and technologists and digs deep into their topics. I enjoyed his interview with Stephen Wolfram. Most of the podcast episodes leave me with questions and the want to learn more, which is great!

COVID-19 Detection Through Speech

Researchers MIT's Lincoln Laboratory have identified a way to recognise COVID-19 in asymptomatic people by analysing their speech patterns. The theory that the constriction of muscles caused by a COVID-19 infection could affect speech in otherwise asymptomatic people was put to the test by analysing speech from video interviews of asymptomatic celebrities before and after their postive diagnosis.

Thermoelectric Stoves

Low Tech Magazine published an interesting article on equipping a stove with a thermoelectrical generator (TEG). A TEG is about 5% efficient at generating electricity, however if the heat from the stove is being generated anyway for other reasons (heating, cooking etc), then adding a TEG would be a more reliable way to generate electricity than installing solar panels.


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