Tag: IDSS

Automated method helps researchers quantify uncertainty in their predictions

Pollsters trying to predict presidential election results and physicists searching for distant exoplanets have at least one thing in common: They often use a tried-and-true scientific technique called Bayesian inference. Bayesian inference allows these scientists to effectively estimate some unknown parameter — like the winner of an election — from data such as poll results. […]

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MIT researchers remotely map crops, field by field

Crop maps help scientists and policymakers track global food supplies and estimate how they might shift with climate change and growing populations. But getting accurate maps of the types of crops that are grown from farm to farm often requires on-the-ground surveys that only a handful of countries have the resources to maintain. Now, MIT […]

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Study: Global deforestation leads to more mercury pollution

About 10 percent of human-made mercury emissions into the atmosphere each year are the result of global deforestation, according to a new MIT study. The world’s vegetation, from the Amazon rainforest to the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa, acts as a sink that removes the toxic pollutant from the air. However, if the current rate of […]

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How symmetry can come to the aid of machine learning

Behrooz Tahmasebi — an MIT PhD student in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and an affiliate of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) — was taking a mathematics course on differential equations in late 2021 when a glimmer of inspiration struck. In that class, he learned for the first […]

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Generating the policy of tomorrow

As first-year students in the Social and Engineering Systems (SES) doctoral program within the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), Eric Liu and Ashely Peake share an interest in investigating housing inequality issues. They also share a desire to dive head-first into their research. “In the first year of your PhD, you’re taking […]

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New model predicts how shoe properties affect a runner’s performance

A good shoe can make a huge difference for runners, from career marathoners to couch-to-5K first-timers. But every runner is unique, and a shoe that works for one might trip up another. Outside of trying on a rack of different designs, there’s no quick and easy way to know which shoe best suits a person’s […]

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Inclusive research for social change

Pair a decades-old program dedicated to creating research opportunities for underrepresented minorities and populations with a growing initiative committed to tackling the very issues at the heart of such disparities, and you’ll get a transformative partnership that only MIT can deliver.  Since 1986, the MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP) has led an institutional effort to […]

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“MIT can give you ‘superpowers’”

Speaking at the virtual MITx MicroMasters Program Joint Completion Celebration last summer, Diogo da Silva Branco Magalhães described watching a Spider-Man movie with his 8-year-old son and realizing that his son thought MIT was a fictional entity that existed only in the Marvel universe. “I had to tell him that MIT also exists in the […]

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Automated system teaches users when to collaborate with an AI assistant

Artificial intelligence models that pick out patterns in images can often do so better than human eyes — but not always. If a radiologist is using an AI model to help her determine whether a patient’s X-rays show signs of pneumonia, when should she trust the model’s advice and when should she ignore it? A […]

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AI accelerates problem-solving in complex scenarios

While Santa Claus may have a magical sleigh and nine plucky reindeer to help him deliver presents, for companies like FedEx, the optimization problem of efficiently routing holiday packages is so complicated that they often employ specialized software to find a solution. This software, called a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) solver, splits a massive optimization […]

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Rewarding excellence in open data

The second annual MIT Prize for Open Data, which included a $2,500 cash prize, was recently awarded to 10 individual and group research projects. Presented jointly by the School of Science and the MIT Libraries, the prize highlights the value of open data — research data that is openly accessible and reusable — at the Institute. The […]

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Explained: Generative AI

A quick scan of the headlines makes it seem like generative artificial intelligence is everywhere these days. In fact, some of those headlines may actually have been written by generative AI, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a chatbot that has demonstrated an uncanny ability to produce text that seems to have been written by a human. But […]

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Forging climate connections across the Institute

Climate change is the ultimate cross-cutting issue: Not limited to any one discipline, it ranges across science, technology, policy, culture, human behavior, and well beyond. The response to it likewise requires an all-of-MIT effort. Now, to strengthen such an effort, a new grant program spearheaded by the Climate Nucleus, the faculty committee charged with the […]

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Learning how to learn

Suppose you need to be on today’s only ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, which leaves at 2 p.m. It takes about 30 minutes (on average) to drive from where you are to the terminal. What time should you leave? This is one of many common real-life examples used by Richard “Dick” Larson, a post-tenure professor in […]

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A more effective experimental design for engineering a cell into a new state

A strategy for cellular reprogramming involves using targeted genetic interventions to engineer a cell into a new state. The technique holds great promise in immunotherapy, for instance, where researchers could reprogram a patient’s T-cells so they are more potent cancer killers. Someday, the approach could also help identify life-saving cancer treatments or regenerative therapies that […]

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MIT welcomes nine MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars for 2023-24

Established in 1990, the MLK Visiting Professors and Scholars Program at MIT welcomes outstanding scholars to the Institute for visiting appointments. MIT aspires to attract candidates who are, in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “trailblazers in human, academic, scientific and religious freedom.” The program honors King’s life and legacy by expanding and extending […]

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Improving US air quality, equitably

Decarbonization of national economies will be key to achieving global net-zero emissions by 2050, a major stepping stone to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (and ideally 1.5 C), and thereby averting the worst consequences of climate change. Toward that end, the United States has pledged to […]

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3 Questions: A new PhD program from the Center for Computational Science and Engineering

This fall, the Center for Computational Science and Engineering (CCSE), an academic unit in the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing, is introducing a new standalone PhD degree program that will enable students to pursue research in cross-cutting methodological aspects of computational science and engineering. The launch follows approval of the center’s degree program proposal at […]

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Advancing social studies at MIT Sloan

Around 2010, Facebook was a relatively small company with about 2,000 employees. So, when a PhD student named Dean Eckles showed up to serve an intership at the firm, he landed in a position with some real duties. Eckles essentially became the primary data scientist for the product manager who was overseeing the platform’s news […]

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To improve solar and other clean energy tech, look beyond hardware

To continue reducing the costs of solar energy and other clean energy technologies, scientists and engineers will likely need to focus, at least in part, on improving technology features that are not based on hardware, according to MIT researchers. They describe this finding and the mechanisms behind it today in Nature Energy. While the cost of […]

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