Teaching a machine to understand music is an incredibly difficult task, which uses all the mathematical power of digital signal processing. But teaching a machine to compose music is quite another matter, and the wonderful world of mathematical patterns proves to be a gold mine. Nick Collins talks to Plus about his artificial musician.
In the last issue Lewis Dartnell explained how chaos on the brain is not only unavoidable but also beneficial. Now he tells us why the same is true for our solar system and sends us on a journey that has been travelled by comets and spacecraft.
Saying that someone is a chaotic thinker might seem like an insult - but, according to Lewis Dartnell, it could be that the mathematical phenomenon of chaos is a crucial part of what makes our brains work.
All of science can be regarded as motivated by the search for rules behind the randomness of nature, and attempts to make prediction in the presence of uncertainty. Chris Budd describes the search for pattern and order in chaos.
To study a system, mathematicians begin by identifying its most crucial elements, and try to describe them in simple mathematical terms. As Phil Wilson tells us, this simplification is the essence of mathematical modelling.
During World Mathematical Year 2000 a sequence of posters were displayed month by month in the trains of the London Underground aiming to stimulate, fascinate - even infuriate passengers! Keith Moffatt tells us about three of the posters from the series.