Engineering In Action

Computation Counts
Computation Counts

When James Quigley applied to MIT, he didn’t need an algorithm to tell him getting in wasn’t a high-probability outcome. An Army veteran attending community college in California, he possessed a talent for math, a desire to do big things, and a sobering group of friends who insisted: “Mortals don’t get into MIT.” Quigley knew a dare when he heard one. As for probability measures, those he chose to ignore.

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Artificial Intelligence in Action
Artificial Intelligence in Action

A person watching videos that show things opening — a door, a book, curtains, a blooming flower, a yawning dog — easily understands the same type of action is depicted in each clip.

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3Q: Daron Acemoglu on Technology and the Future of Work
3Q: Daron Acemoglu on Technology and the Future of Work

K. Daron Acemoglu, the Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics at MIT, is a leading thinker on the labor market implications of artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, and new technologies. His innovative work challenges the way people think about how these technologies intersect with the world of work. In 2005, he won the John Bates Clark Medal, an honor shared by a number of Nobel Prize recipients and luminaries in the field of economics.

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Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone
Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

This month is Independent Activities Period (IAP) at MIT, a four-week period when students, faculty, staff, and alumni organize and engage in all kinds of inventive and wacky sessions that range from relaxing to rigorous.

Putting Projects at the Forefront
Putting Projects at the Forefront

Rose Wang loves to work on projects — especially ones that exceed the bounds of her declared majors, economics and computer science. She thrives on do-it-yourself design solutions. Her latest involves making an aerodynamic drone. “We’ll see how that goes,” she says.

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Taking The Engine for a Test Drive
Taking The Engine for a Test Drive

Innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs worldwide are waiting on news of the first companies chosen to be part of The Engine. Founded by MIT, The Engine is a combination of long-term investment, resources, and services for founders working on “tough tech” that prioritizes high-impact solutions to big problems over early profits. This summer a group of MIT students got a taste of what it’s like to be inside The Engine’s space in Central Square, near the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They may not be members of The Engine’s first cohort of startups, but they still had a chance to warm up the space, so to speak, for those chosen.

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Apophis Is Coming!
Apophis Is Coming!

Alissa Michelle Earle is rehearsing in front of her class. She stands before a presentation slide, and reads: “Mission Motivation: Apophis is coming!”

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Entering the Animal World
Entering the Animal World

On a field trip, Harriet Ritvo and her MIT students went to look at preserved animals on public display, or stored as lab specimens, in collections housed at Harvard University. They encountered hundreds of species, some up close: touching the wings of a pickled bat, the silky fur of a mink, and the sharp claws of a lynx and a lion.

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The Creation of a Public Engineer
The Creation of a Public Engineer

“In my lab, we bridge a gap,” says Hadley Sikes. “We try to figure out how to take established science and implement it in clinical practice in a reliable, easy and cost-effective way.”

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Genuine Enthusiasm for AI
Genuine Enthusiasm for AI

On an afternoon in early April, Tommi Jaakkola is pacing at the front of the vast auditorium that is 26-100. The chalkboards behind him are covered with equations. Jaakkola looks relaxed in a short-sleeved black shirt and jeans, and gestures to the board. “What is the answer here?” he asks the 500 MIT students before him. “If you answer, you get a chocolate. If nobody answers, I get one — because I knew the answer and you didn’t.” The room erupts in laugher.

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