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To any point **p** on a smooth algebraic curve **C**, the Weierstass semigroup is the set of all possible pole orders at **p** of regular functions on **C** \ {**p**}. The question of which sets of integers arise as Weierstass semigroups is a very old question, still widely open. We will describe progress on the question, defining a quantity called the effective weight of a numerical semigroup, and describe a proof that all numerical semigroups of sufficiently small effective weight arise as Weierstrass semigroups. The proof is based on older work of Eisenbud, Harris, and Komeda, based on deformation of certain nodal curves. We will survey some combinatorial aspects of the effective weight, and various open questions regarding both numerical semigroups and algebraic curves.