Hear the latest science news, with Benjamin Thompson and Noah Baker.

In this episode:

00:46 An AI computer microchip designer

Working out where to place the billions of components that a modern computer chip needs can take human designers months and, despite decades of research, has defied automation. This week, however, a team from Google report a new machine learning algorithm that does the job in a fraction of the time, and is already helping design their next generation of AI processors.

Research Article: Mirhoseini et al.

News and Views: AI system outperforms humans in designing floorplans for microchips

Editorial: Google is using AI to speed up microchip design — a welcome advance that must be handled with care

07:00 Research Highlights

The blood proteins that may help assess cardiovascular fitness, and how the rock-hard teeth of a mollusc could inspire stronger 3D-printed materials.

Research Highlight: How fit can you get? These blood proteins hold a clue

Research Highlight: The surprise hidden in the teeth of the ‘wandering meatloaf’

09:47 Zooming in on the 3D structure of DNA

In order to switch genes on, DNA often needs to twist up into complex 3D shapes, bringing distant parts of a genome together. Understanding precisely which sections come into contact has been difficult, but now a new technique is helping to reveal them at an individual base-pair level.

Research paper: Hua et al.

15:22 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, the missing sections from the human genome sequence that have now been filled, and NASA announces two missions to Venus.

Stat: Researchers claim they have sequenced the entirety of the human genome — including the missing parts

National Geographic: NASA will head to Venus for first time in roughly 30 years

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