Metamaterials solve equations

A holey piece of swiss-cheese plastic can do complex maths in a millionth of a second
22 March 2019
Presented by Jack Tavener
Production by Jack Tavener.


Fourier series equations written on a blackboard.


Ever wondered how to get the best wifi reception in your house, given all those floors and walls which can interrupt the signal? Where to position the router and signal boosters, then where people should use their devices to get the best reception? There are so many combinations, making it labour-intensive to move things around and try all the different positions! But complex scenarios like this can be modelled by mathematical equations. Not the six minus what equals four type of equation, really complex ones. Additionally, metamaterials are materials that have a structure that take their properties beyond what is possible from the material alone, often meaning they behave in unexpected ways. Jack Tavener spoke to Nader Engheta from the University of Pennsylvania about how his metamaterials can be used to find fast solutions to many tricky maths problems...


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