How do you choose a partner? Is it an irrational choice or is it made rationally, based on a mathematical model which analyses the best potential partner you are likely to meet?
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.
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...