Researchers at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences recently announced a newly developed algorithm that makes it much easier to detect certain cancer genes and, as a test, have applied it to map a set of tumor-suppressor genes involved in lung cancer. An algorithm is a process for solving problems mathematically or by computer. The newly developed one works by combining and manipulating the data generated by “gene chips,” which can scan large swaths of a genome at once to find mutations or other changes in the DNA. The algorithm estimates whether an important genomic segment is missing. As a test, the researchers applied the algorithm to currently available data from lung-cancer patients, and discovered they could detect many cancer-related genes that were already known — along with several other genes that were not.