May 2018

Dear members of the MIT community,

When I asked last month what you seek when you open the Infinite, the responses contained a mix of commentary, including an email that read simply: “What’s on the other side?” That question captures the driving force within many of your observations: an abiding curiosity, a hunger to learn, to be in the game, to think at a high level. One alum asked for recommended literature while another wrote: “I read that MIT students are learning how to take an idea to production and market. I want to learn that!”

You have asked that we help sharpen your own skills with material that keeps you current and sometimes catches you up. I was reminded of the popularity of an article this fall that described deep learning as a new name for an approach to artificial intelligence called neural networks, which have gone in and out of fashion for more than 70 years. The article was an explainer. It placed context and clarity around a significant new development in the field. We will do more of that.

Spotlight feature: our lead article this month focuses on the rapidly growing student interest in computational thinking. Read it and step inside an introductory computer science class that over the last few semesters, just like the Course 6 major itself, has seen enormous growth in enrollment.

It seems fitting, as we head into graduation season, that our May edition also includes multiple stories of personal and intellectual growth. Such is the case in the video, “Rocket science in Japan.” I invite you to join Mina Blume, who graduated from Course 3 last June, as she walks the University of Tokyo campus and describes what led her to a master’s degree in materials engineering in Japan. “Jumping into different experiences can help you see a different side of yourself,” she says.

For our June graduation issue, I would like to ask you: “Which MIT course has proven most useful to you?”


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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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Computation counts

Students are flocking to an introductory computer science class to learn a new way of thinking.

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Rocket science in Japan

MIT graduate Mina Blume translates her MISTI experience into a space-program research project at the University of Tokyo.

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Seeing what you think

A new imaging sensor lets neuroscientists monitor activity deep within the brain by tracking calcium ions.

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New training options in data science

Institute for Data, Systems, and Society to launch two new educational programs.

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On the ground at CPW

An MIT admissions blogger introduces prospective students to life on campus.

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Elazer Edelman named director of IMES

A faculty member at MIT and Harvard and a practicing cardiologist, Edelman will lead MIT’s hub for health science research, innovation, and education.

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A woman in science

CEE professor Lydia Bourouiba is part of a new documentary series about women at the forefront of their careers.

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Moving data with light

Startup's optoelectronic chips could reduce energy usage by up to 50 percent while increasing computing speeds.