March 2018

Dear members of the MIT community,

This has been an exciting month at MIT. After we announced the MIT Intelligence Quest, we hosted a launch to showcase the depth and strength of MIT’s faculty, students, alumni, and collaborators working in human and machine intelligence. Every seat in Kresge Auditorium was claimed for an inspiration- and information-packed day of presentations and conversations that included neuroscientists, entrepreneurs, computer scientists, economists, physicists, political scientists, biologists, and others. They had very different backgrounds but a common goal: what’s next for intelligence? 

The synergy of ideas in Kresge reminded me of a comment I received last month when I asked, in this column, “How do we make collaborations work?” Lawrence R. Young, an alum and MIT professor in AeroAstro, said: “Collaborations work if everyone involved respects all opinions that are expressed.” MIT champions the collaborative spirit he articulated, a truth also evident during our first Infinite symposium in Palo Alto last month, which focused on “Engineers Revolutionizing Healthcare.” As MIT alum Adeeti Ullal remarked: “It was great to see alumni from all classes and many industries come together.”

I am pleased to share that Michael J. Cima has been named co-director of the Innovation Initiative and associate dean of innovation for MIT’s School of Engineering. He is taking over from Vladimir Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh (1990) Professor of Emerging Technology, who had served as the associate dean of innovation in the School of Engineering and co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative since 2013, and who will become the inaugural director of MIT.nano.

Finally, the news this week about enabling a new paradigm for fusion energy, powered by MIT and the newly formed Commonwealth Fusion Systems, is yet another example of how far and how fast science and engineering can move the world when diverse researchers share a common goal. They, too, are about to embark on a quest of global significance — one that makes me wonder, and want to ask all of you: “Which MIT idea or technology has most positively impacted the world to date?”


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Anantha P. Chandrakasan

Dean, MIT School of Engineering

Vannevar Bush Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

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Kicking off the Quest

A star-studded lineup helps the Institute celebrate the launch of a new initiative on human and machine intelligence.

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The MIT Intelligence Quest

Five faculty members tell the story of their research and its intersections with human and machine intelligence.

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SenseTime joins the Quest

A new MIT alliance with a leading AI company will advance intelligence research.

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Advancing the Age of Intelligence

Eric Schmidt provides support for the first year of the MIT Intelligence Quest.

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Michael Cima takes on new role to promote innovation

Materials science and engineering professor is the new co-director of the Innovation Initiative and associate dean of innovation for the School of Engineering.

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MIT and newly formed company launch novel approach to fusion power

Goal is for research to produce a working pilot plant within 15 years.

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Bringing meaningful technologies to market

MIT senior and Rhodes Scholar Matthew Chun wants to promote innovation that enhances quality of life in developing countries.

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The Infinite Series

A gathering of engineering alumni celebrates faculty innovation.

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Making manufacturing smarter

Providing a common technical language and technological framework for smart manufacturing.