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Space probes, like NASA's recent Pathfinder mission to Mars, have radio transmitters of only a few watts, but have to transmit pictures and scientific data across hundreds of millions of miles without the information being completely swamped by noise. Read about how coding theory helps.

An account of how a prisoner of war's diary was recently decoded. Donald Hill wrote his diary in a numerical code, disguised as a set of mathematical tables, while in Hong Kong during and after the Japanese invasion of 1941.

The previous feature, "Mathematics, marriage and finding somewhere to eat" investigated the problem of finding the best potential partner from a fixed number of potential partners using a technique known as "optimal stopping". Inevitably, mathematicians and mathematical psychologists have constructed other models of the problem...

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