Biotech startup Living Carbon is trying to design trees that grow faster and grab more carbon than their natural peers, as well as trees that resist rot, keeping that carbon out of the atmosphere.
In February, the startup planted the first forest in the United States that contains genetically engineered trees. But there’s still much we don’t know. How will these trees affect the rest of the forest? How far will their genes spread? And how good are they, really, at pulling more carbon from the atmosphere? Read the full story.
Google DeepMind’s game-playing AI just found another way to make code faster
The news: A year after DeepMind used a version of its game-playing AI AlphaZero to find new ways to speed up the calculation of a crucial piece of math, the AI research lab has pulled the same trick again—twice.
Using a new version of AlphaZero called AlphaDev, it has discovered how to sort items in a list up to 70% faster than the best existing method, and also found a way to speed up a key algorithm used in cryptography by 30%.
Why it matters: These algorithms are among the most common building blocks in software. Small speed-ups can make a huge difference, cutting costs and saving energy. Read the full story.
—Will Douglas Heaven