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MIT News is dedicated to communicating to the media and the public the news and achievements of the students, faculty, staff and the greater MIT community.

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Design’s new frontier

In the 1960s, the advent of computer-aided design (CAD) sparked a revolution in design. For his PhD thesis in 1963, MIT Professor Ivan Sutherland developed Sketchpad, a game-changing software program that enabled users to draw, move, and resize shapes on a computer. Over the course of the next few decades, CAD software reshaped how everything from consumer...

Theoretical breakthrough could boost data storage

A trio of researchers that includes William Kuszmaul — a computer science PhD student at MIT — has made a discovery that could lead to more efficient data storage and retrieval in computers. The team’s findings relate to so-called “linear-probing hash tables,” which were introduced in 1954 and are among the oldest, simplest, and fastest data structures...

Dexterous robotic hands manipulate thousands of objects with ease

At just one year old, a baby is more dexterous than a robot. Sure, machines can do more than just pick up and put down objects, but we’re not quite there as far as replicating a natural pull toward exploratory or sophisticated dexterous manipulation goes.  Artificial intelligence firm OpenAI gave it a try with Dactyl (meaning “finger,” from the Greek...

Giving robots social skills

Robots can deliver food on a college campus and hit a hole-in-one on the golf course, but even the most sophisticated robot can’t perform basic social interactions that are critical to everyday human life. MIT researchers have now incorporated certain social interactions into a framework for robotics, enabling machines to understand what it means...

Toward speech recognition for uncommon spoken languages

Automated speech-recognition technology has become more common with the popularity of virtual assistants like Siri, but many of these systems only perform well with the most widely spoken of the world’s roughly 7,000 languages. Because these systems largely don’t exist for less common languages, the millions of people who speak them are cut off...

Avoiding shortcut solutions in artificial intelligence

If your Uber driver takes a shortcut, you might get to your destination faster. But if a machine learning model takes a shortcut, it might fail in unexpected ways. In machine learning, a shortcut solution occurs when the model relies on a simple characteristic of a dataset to make a decision, rather than learning the true essence of the data,...

School of Science appoints 11 faculty members to named professorships

The School of Science has announced that 11 faculty members have been appointed to named professorships. These positions offer additional support to professors to advance their research and develop their careers. Andrew Babbin was named a Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Professor. A marine biogeochemist, Babbin studies the processes that return...

One autonomous taxi, please

If you don’t get seasick, an autonomous boat might be the right mode of transportation for you.  Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Senseable City Laboratory, together with Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) in the Netherlands, have now created the final...

Artificial intelligence sheds light on how the brain processes language

In the past few years, artificial intelligence models of language have become very good at certain tasks. Most notably, they excel at predicting the next word in a string of text; this technology helps search engines and texting apps predict the next word you are going to type. The most recent generation of predictive language models also appears...

At Mass STEM Week kickoff, MIT RAISE announces Day of AI

The fourth annual Massachusetts STEM Week kicked off on Monday, Oct. 18 at the MIT Media Lab. Organized by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council, Mass STEM Week is a statewide effort to boost awareness, interest, and access in STEM education and career opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds. ...

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