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Carbon-capturing super trees, and DeepMind’s sorting breakthrough

Inside the quest to engineer climate-saving “super trees”

Biotech startup Living Carbon is trying to design trees that grow faster and sequester more carbon than their natural peers, as well as trees that resist rotting, keeping that carbon out of the atmosphere.

In February, the startup planted the first forest in the United States containing genetically modified trees. But there’s still a lot 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 out of the atmosphere? Read the full story.

—Boyce Upholt

Google DeepMind’s gaming AI just found another way to make code faster

News: A year after DeepMind used a gaming version of its AI AlphaZero to find new ways to speed up calculations for a key part of math, the AI ​​research lab has pulled the same trick again — twice.

Using a new version of AlphaZero called AlphaDev, he 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 the key algorithm used in cryptography by 30%.

Why it matters: These algorithms are among the most common building blocks in software. Small speedups can make a big difference, reducing costs and saving energy. Read the full story.

— Will Douglas Heaven

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