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Are Optimal Packings Symmetric?

Writing in Quanta, Natalie Wolchover describes how a new computational technique is enabling advances in the understanding of important cases of outstanding packing problems.

Developed by Christine Bachoc (University of Bordeaux) and Frank Vallentin (University of Cologne) in 2008, "semidefinite programming bounds" gives researchers ballpark estimates of the densest packing of objects by identifying an upper bound that can be lowered toward the exact solution. Besides yielding insights into the underlying geometry of packing problems, the technique has caused mathematicians to question the role of symmetry.

Read the article.

Start Date: 
Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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