The Secret of Airbnb’s Pricing Algorithm

The sharing economy needs machine intelligence to set prices

12 min read
photo of a bed with dollar sign and question marks
Photo: The Voorhees

How much should you charge someone to live in your house? Or how much would you pay to live in someone else’s house? Would you pay more or less for a planned vacation or for a spur-of-the-moment getaway?

Answering these questions isn’t easy. And the struggle to do so, my colleagues and I discovered, was preventing potential rentals from getting listed on our site—Airbnb, the company that matches available rooms, apartments, and houses with people who want to book them.

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Robo-Ostrich Sprints to 100m World Record

Oregon State University’s Cassie is fastest bipedal robot ever to run the hundred meter dash

2 min read
A robot with two orange ostrich-like legs and no torso sprints along a running track

For a robot that shares a leg design with the fastest running bird on the planet, we haven’t ever really gotten a sense of how fast Agility Robotics’ Cassie is actually able to move. Oregon State University’s Cassie successfully ran a 5k last year, but it was the sort of gait that we’ve come to expect from humanoid robots—more of a jog, really, with measured steps that didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in higher speeds. Turns out, Cassie was just holding back, because she’s just sprinted her way to a Guinness World Record for fastest 100m run by a bipedal robot.

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Machine Learning Will Tackle Quantum Problems, Too

ML algorithms take on quantum-computer workloads till the qubits come to town

3 min read
Vector art of a head with circuits examining a quantum symbol
Getty Images

Quantum computers may prove far more powerful than any conventional supercomputer when it comes to performing the kinds of complex physics and chemistry simulations that could lead to next-generation batteries or new drugs. However, it may take many years before practical and widespread quantum computing becomes reality.

Now a new study finds that machine learning, which now powers computer vision, speech recognition, and more, can also prove significantly better than regular computers at the kinds of tasks at which quantum computers excel. These findings suggest that machine learning may help tackle key quantum problems in the era before quantum computers finally arrive.

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WIPL-D

Handling various complex simulation scenarios with a single simulation method is a rather challenging task for any software suite. We will show you how our software, based on Method-of-Moments, can analyze several scenarios including complicated and electrically large models (for instance, antenna placement and RCS) using desktop workstations.

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