Can we teach computers to make like Mendelssohn? Duke Today, Dec. 14, 2017. Duke University researchers are teaching computers to write classical piano music in the mode of great composers like Mendelssohn and Beethoven. The resulting tunes are a pastiche of 19th century style.
Mixing it up. Duke Today, Nov. 7, 2017. To most people, turbulence is a bumpy plane ride. But to one researcher at Duke University, turbulence is a mathematical riddle.
Vital signs. Duke Today, Nov. 7, 2017. Where some see noisy spikes and dips on an electrocardiogram, one researcher sees hidden mathematical problems.
People far from urban lights, bright screens still skimp on sleep. Duke Today, Feb. 16, 2017. Screen time before bed can mess with your sleep. But people without TV and laptops skimp on sleep too, researchers say. A Duke University study of people living without electricity or artificial light in a remote farming village in Madagascar finds they get shorter, poorer sleep than people in the U.S. or Europe. But they seem to make up for lost shuteye with a more regular sleep routine, the researchers report. Picked up by Huffington Post.
Artificial intelligence meets big data. Duke Today, Oct. 11, 2016. Duke professor Cynthia Rudin is training computers to find patterns in crime, medical and other data that humans miss.
Analog DNA circuit does math in a test tube. Duke Today, Aug. 23, 2016. Duke University researchers have created strands of synthetic DNA that, when mixed together in a test tube in the right concentrations, form an analog circuit that can add, subtract and multiply as the molecules form and break bonds. While most DNA circuits are digital, their device performs calculations in an analog fashion by measuring the varying concentrations of specific DNA molecules directly, without requiring special circuitry to convert them to zeroes and ones first. Picked up by NPR affiliate WFDD.
Of heartbeats, bones and brushstrokes. Duke Today, Aug. 1, 2016. It takes a well-trained eye to spot an irregular heartbeat in the peaks and valleys of an electrocardiogram. The same goes for identifying an extinct ape from a single fossilized tooth, or telling an original van Gogh from a fake. But in recent years, applied mathematician Ingrid Daubechies has been training computers to churn through ECG tracings, high-resolution scans of fossils, paintings and other complex digital data and work things out automatically.
Taking math beyond the blackboard. Duke Research blog, July 6, 2016. Mix together 80 or so scientists and engineers from industry and academia with bottomless coffee, and stir for a week. That was the recipe for the 32nd annual Mathematical Problems in Industry Workshop held this summer at Duke.
Duke claims another top 10 finish in North America’s most prestigious math competition. Duke Research Blog, April 25, 2016. The Blue Devils may have lost in the Sweet 16 during March Madness 2016, but a Duke team crushed more than 500 other schools in the NCAA tournament of the math world, known by mathletes as the Putnam, claiming a top ten finish for the 22nd time since 1990.
Predicting cancer’s growth when clues are hard to come by. Duke Today, Nov. 2, 2015. Duke mathematicians are developing ways to help doctors predict how different cancers are likely to progress when measurements of tumor growth are hard to come by. In a new study, they describe a way to compare common models of tumor growth, using only two time-point measurements of tumor size — often the maximum available before patients begin treatment. Determining which models work best for different cancers is key to designing optimum treatment strategies.
Human rights meets big data. Duke Today, October 1, 2015. Statistician Beka Steorts is developing new techniques for a more accurate accounting of human rights abuses in Syria and other conflicts.
Model could help counteract poisoning from popular painkiller. Duke Today, June 22, 2015. New research could help reverse deadly side effects caused by excessive doses of the drug acetaminophen, the major ingredient in Tylenol and many other medicines. Duke University researchers have developed a mathematical model of acetaminophen metabolism based on data from rats. The findings suggest that giving patients glutamine — a common amino acid in the body — alongside the standard antidote for acetaminophen overdose could prevent liver damage and boost the body’s ability to recover. Picked up by the Durham Herald-Sun.
Urging HPV vaccine for boys could protect more people for same price. Duke Today, March 11, 2015. Whether vaccinating U.S. boys against HPV in addition to girls is worth the cost has been hotly debated. But with HPV-related cancers in men on the rise, and coverage in girls stagnating below the levels needed to ensure that most people are protected, research suggests that devoting a portion of HPV funding to boys — rather than merely attempting to improve female coverage — may protect more people for the same price. Picked up by National Public Radio affiliate WUNC.
Predicting superbugs’ countermoves to new drugs. Duke Today, Jan. 5, 2015. With drug-resistant bacteria on the rise, even common infections that were easily controlled for decades are proving trickier to treat with standard antibiotics. New drugs are desperately needed, but so are ways to maximize the effective lifespan of these drugs. To accomplish that, Duke University researchers used software they developed to predict a constantly-evolving infectious bacterium’s countermoves to one of these new drugs ahead of time, before the drug is even tested on patients. Picked up by the Duke Chronicle, The Scientist and Time Magazine.
Same votes, different districts would alter election results in N.C. Duke Today, October 29, 2014. Researchers have developed a mathematical model that shows how changes in congressional voting districts affect election outcomes. Focusing on the last election, they show the outcome of the 2012 U.S. House of Representatives elections in North Carolina would have been very different had the state’s congressional districts been drawn with only the legal requirements of redistricting in mind. The researchers hope the study will bolster calls for redistricting reform in 2016. Picked up by The Herald-Sun, the News and Observer, and National Public Radio affiliates WFAE, WUNC and WFDD.
Could suburban sprawl be good for segregation? Duke Today, September 23, 2014. Racially and economically mixed cities are more likely to stay integrated if the density of households stays low, finds a new analysis of a now-famous model of segregation. By simulating the movement of families between neighborhoods in a virtual “city,” Duke University mathematicians show that cities are more likely to become segregated along racial, ethnic or other lines when the proportion of occupied sites rises above a certain critical threshold — as low as 25 percent, regardless of the identity of the people moving in.