This Week In Algorithms: Curbing Energy Usage, Setting Retail Prices, and Putting History Into Perspective


As the world is increasingly finding out, algorithms can help solve complex challenges with incredible speed and scale. At Outbrain, we use algorithms to try and discern what is going to be most interesting for users to watch or read on popular media sites. With the universe of available content expanding each second and the changing environments in which users engage with the content, it’s no small task but our algorithms are up to the challenge.

Now that’s just what our algorithms do. Here are 3 more incredible examples of algorithms working in ways large and small to help us make sense of the world.

Retail Algorithms — The Price is Right?

Are algorithms driving retail prices down? Estimating demand and setting prices through pattern recognition.


Measuring the Lasting Impact of 9/11

As this article details, the New Museum’s Local Projects’ team created this dynamic timeline that maps the aftermath of 9/11 through over 2 million pieces of content. It’s a project that was 8 years in the making.


Increasing Efficiencies in Microprocessors

As one can imagine, microprocessors generate a tremendous amount of heat, which in turn requires energy to keep the environments the microprocessors operate in at a suitable temperature. It’s estimated that the heat processors generate has increased from 425 watts per square foot in over 20 years ago to 10,000 watts per square foot today, which means these processors are nearing the capacity of their performance very quickly. Fortunately, algorithms may be the key to increasing the efficiency of each discreet chip, cutting down on the necessity for communications between processors, thus scaling back on energy. Read the full story here.


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