Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 31, 2013

yoga

Your Enlightened Side workshop Jul 31-Aug 4

The yesplus workshop from July 31 – August 4 combines powerful yoga and breathing techniques to help you live your enlightened side. This means helping you to do more with less time, living with a sense of purpose and confidence, and reducing stress and anxiety in your life. The workshop is 5 days long, in the evening during the week and during the day on the weekend: 6:30-10pm on weekdays and10am-6pm on the weekend and will be located in 66-154. Please register to attend and for more information or questions contact kgnayar@mit.edu. Photo by LocalFitness.

“After this course, I feel so different.. like a lake; life might inflict ripples, but in my depths, I’m still calm.” – Alison T, grad student

July 31, 2013

microsoft vs google

Visit Google and/or Microsoft Aug 5

How would you like an inside look at life at Google and Microsoft? Please join MIT GECD Career Services on Monday, August 5th in Kendall Square for our first annual Kendall Square Company Crawl! MIT alumni and recruiters are excited to share information about their companies—internship and full-time opportunities, culture, exciting projects, and more. This is a daylong event and you are welcome to attend one or both company visits if your schedule allows. If you decide to attend both visits, please sign up under “Company Crawl-Google” and “Company Crawl-Microsoft” in CareerBridge. Spots are limited, so please sign up (under “Company Crawl” in the Events section of CareerBridge) by Wednesday, July 31st at 5:00pm. Photos from Wikimedia Commons by Christophe Wu via Fotopedia.

July 30, 2013

ballroom latin dance

Summer Night Ballroom Social on Aug 3

Dance the night away at the ballroom social coming up August 3. Beginner Rumba and Tango classes start at 7pm. The social dance starts at 8pm. Tickets are selling at $6 for students; $10 for others. The night begins at 7pm and ends at midnight. This event will take place at La Sala de Puerto Rico (W20). For more information, contact mitbdt-exec@mit.edu. Photo by Nathaniel C. Sheetz.

July 30, 2013

GSC Grant

GSC Athletics and Performance Activities Grant applications due Aug. 1

Apply now for the GSC Athletics and Performance Activities Grant. The purpose of the Athletic & Performance-Activities Grant is to support graduate students who pursue a non-research/non-academic activity at competitive levels. The grant is designed to support MIT graduate students who take part in competitions/concerts/events throughout the year, both nationally and internationally. You will be notified of a decision by August 26th. The grant timeline covers the period of September 1 to November 30, 2013. The deadline for sending applications is August 1st. For more information, please visit the GSC Funding Athletic Grants website or Contact: gsc-grant@mit.edu Photos by CC 3.0.

July 29, 2013

a faster internet?

Winstein uses computer-designed algorithms to boost transmissions for network congestion

TCP, the transmission control protocol, is one of the core protocols governing the Internet: If counted as a computer program, it’s the most widely used program in the world. One of TCP’s main functions is to prevent network congestion by regulating the rate at which computers send data.

At the annual conference of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication this summer, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing will present a computer system, dubbed Remy, that automatically generates TCP congestion-control algorithms. In the researchers’ simulations, algorithms produced by Remy significantly outperformed algorithms devised by human engineers.

“I think people can think about what happens to one or two connections in a network and design around that,” says Hari Balakrishnan, the Fujitsu Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who co-authored the new paper with graduate student Keith Winstein. “When you have even a handful of connections, or more, and a slightly more complicated network, where the workload is not a constant — a single file being sent, or 10 files being sent — that’s very hard for human beings to reason about. And computers seem to be a lot better about navigating that search space.” Continue reading on MIT NEWS.

July 29, 2013

contra dance mit

MIT Folk Dance Club/Lessons on Tuesdays

The MIT Folk Dance Club holds contra dances with live folk music! Dancing continues every Tuesday through October, then back to 2-3 Tuesdays per month. You’ll get to twirl your partner and everyone else’s!  No experience is necessary and all dances are taught.  While contra dancing is fun and high-energy, it uses simple walking steps, so it’s very easy to pick up.

Future dances:
July 30 in Student Ctr 407
Music: Corey Walters (flute & mandolin), Nora Smith (fiddle), & Christopher Jacoby (guitar)
Caller: Dereck Kalish

August 6 in Student Ctr 407
Music: Debby Knight & Friends
Caller: Ben Sachs-Hamilton

September 10 Fall Welcome Dance in Lobdell Dining Hall (Student Ctr 2nd floor)
Acoustic techno music by Cloudfire
Caller: Dave Eisenstadter

For more information, see Contra Dance Website. Photo by MIT Contra Dance Club.

July 26, 2013

ODGE renovations

ODGE wraps up renovations; HQ closes July 29, 30

The current renovations to the ODGE headquarters suite are concluding on schedule, and the staff will resume occupancy of 3-138 on Wednesday, July 31. Please note, in order to accommodate the move, ODGE headquarters will be closed on July 29 and July 30.

Student advising services will still be available through Assistant Dean Jason McKnight (jrmac@mit.edu, 617-253-5427) on July 29 and 30, and the satellite ODGE offices in building 9 (Dean McKnight) and building 35 (Fellowships, Diversity, Communications)  remain unaffected throughout the move period.  The International Students Office will also remain open during its regular business hours.

Please come visit us in our renewed facilities as of July 31!

July 26, 2013

finding a good post doc Oct '12

“Finding a Good Postdoc” July 31

This panel “Finding a Good Postdoc” is part of the Graduate Student Council Academic Career Series and intends to educate graduate students about how to find the most optimal postdoctoral experience for their academic and professional goals. It will be held on Wednesday July 31 from 3-4:30pm in 32-123. Speakers will discuss their personal experiences, reflect on steps they took to secure a postdoctoral position, and advise on what postdoc employers are looking for in candidates. This talk will cover getting a postdoctoral position, living life after graduate school and meeting future career goals.

Our presenting speakers are Vibha Puri, a postdoctoral scholar at the Novartis-MIT Center for Continuous Manufacturing, MIT, Athma Pai, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Biology at MIT, and Dr. Hazel Sive, Professor of Biology and Associate Dean, School of Science.

For students unable to attend in person, this event will be live-streamed.  RSVP to konar@mit.edu to receive the url.  Afterwards, the event will be posted to the ODGE Professional Development Video Portal. Event organized by the Graduate Student Council’s Academic, Research and Careers Committee and the Global Education and Career Development Office.  Live streaming sponsored by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education.

July 25, 2013

chocolate

Belgian Independence Day on July 28

Belgian Independence Day is coming up on July 28. In celebration, on Sunday July 28 from 3-5:30pm at the Edgerton House Large Lounge there will be a fun chocolate making event that will be open to all MIT Graduate Students. Each participant will be allowed to take home the chocolate they make. Raw ingredients like chocolate bars, butter, cream, sugar, crushed nuts and cocoa powder will be provided. To attend, sign up! While waiting for the chocolate to harden, the participants can enjoy a Belgian movie accompanied with a small fondue fountain and snacks. For more information, contact: schopra@mit.edu. Photo by André Karwath through CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

July 25, 2013

kabobs

Grad Association of Aero & Astro Field Day on July 28

Join the Graduate Association of Aeronautics & Astronautics for a Field Day full of fun games outside with a BBQ to cap it all off! This event will take place on Sunday July 28 at the Kresge Pits. For questions or more information, please contact dayang@mit.edu. Photo by Flickr/mache

July 24, 2013

sablone skateboarding

Sablone balances an athletic career and coursework in architecture

For an MIT student, Alexis Sablone has an unusual web persona. The graduate student in architecture is prominent on ESPN’s website — thanks to her accomplishments as a competitive skateboarder.

A two-time gold medalist and two-time silver medalist at the X Games, Sablone has pursued skateboarding for more than 15 years, competing in tournaments around the world. Her online presence also includes details on her triumphs at various competitions; videos of her performing tricks on her skateboard; and interviews in which she describes her desire to erase some of the gender boundaries in her chosen sport.

There is little mention of her interest in architecture, a field Sablone pursued as an undergraduate at Barnard College. “I was trying to find something that satisfied my dual interests in the arts and sciences,” she says, “and there was nothing else, to me, that seemed a better fit.” Continue reading on MIT NEWS. Photo by Allegra Boverman.

July 24, 2013

bulgarian dance

Bulgarian Summer Cultural Night on July 27

Come and enjoy an evening of Bulgarian music and Bulgarian summer food specialties on Saturday July 27 from 7-10pm. The festivities will be held at Number Six (Delta Psi, 428 Memorial Drive, Cambridge). Entertainment will include traditional dances and contemporary Bulgarian music. Home-made Bulgarian summer snacks and main dishes will be served. For more information, contact: idimitro@mit.edu. Photo by Иван through CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

July 23, 2013

meat in heat

Saturday Grill Night July 27

Love to grill, but hate the hassle? You bring the meat, we bring the heat! Grill up your favorite dish and we’ll take care of the drinks and sides. Come out and enjoy the second grill night this summer on Saturday July 27 from 6-8pm at the Eastgate Courtyard (E55). For questions or more information, please contact eastgate-officers@mit.edu. Photo by Frettie under CC-BY-3.0.

July 23, 2013

goliath

GSC Six Flags Trip on July 27

Come spend a day having fun with your fellow students, enjoy roller coasters, and other jaw dropping activities at Six Flags New England! The trip will take place on July 27th at 10 am and is open to all grad students. To attend, please register. For more information, contact gsc-ac@mit.edu. Photo by Coasterman1234 CC-BY-SA-3.0.

July 22, 2013

ordinary code

Kushman, Lei, and Long write computer programs using ordinary language

In a pair of recent papers, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have demonstrated that, for a few specific tasks, it’s possible to write computer programs using ordinary language rather than special-purpose programming languages.

The work may be of some help to programmers, and it could let nonprogrammers manipulate common types of files — like word-processing documents and spreadsheets — in ways that previously required familiarity with programming languages. But the researchers’ methods could also prove applicable to other programming tasks, expanding the range of contexts in which programmers can specify functions using ordinary language. Among the group of researchers and professors are graduate students Nate Kushman,  Tao Lei, and Fan Long. Continue reading on MIT NEWS. Photo by Christine Daniloff. 

July 22, 2013

the good hello

The Good Hello

As of this writing I am in a new position at a different university in a different state. By academic standards my transition has been a whirlwind: I signed a contract a few months ago; my last day at my old office was June 30; my first day on the job here at Texas Tech University was July 1.

But as I wrote in Part 1 of this series on post-hire etiquette, the period between when you accept a job offer and when you start work is not a time for basking and relaxing. On the one hand, you owe the people still paying your salary a smooth exit (the topic of last month’s column). On the other hand—and the subject of this essay—you have obligations to your new colleagues and employer beyond just submitting a moving bill. Continue reading on The Chronicle of Higher Education. Photo by Brian Taylor. 

July 19, 2013

trapping light

Hsu, Zhen, Lee, Chua discover a new phenomenon that could lead to new types of lasers and sensors

There are several ways to “trap” a beam of light — usually with mirrors, other reflective surfaces, or high-tech materials such as photonic crystals. But now researchers at MIT have discovered a new method to trap light that could find a wide variety of applications.

The new system, devised through computer modeling and then demonstrated experimentally, pits light waves against light waves: It sets up two waves that have the same wavelength, but exactly opposite phases — where one wave has a peak, the other has a trough — so that the waves cancel each other out. Meanwhile, light of other wavelengths (or colors) can pass through freely.

The researchers say that this phenomenon could apply to any type of wave: sound waves, radio waves, electrons (whose behavior can be described by wave equations), and even waves in water. The discovery is reported this week in the journal Nature by professors of physics Marin Soljačić and John Joannopoulos, associate professor of applied mathematics Steven Johnson, and graduate students Chia Wei Hsu, Bo Zhen, Jeongwon Lee and Song-Liang Chua. Continue reading at MIT NEWS. Photo by Chia Wei Hsu. 

July 19, 2013

indian bbq

Indian Subcontinental BBQ on July 20

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to enjoy the rich tradition of grilled food from the Indian Subcontinent on Saturday July 20 from 6-8pm at the Kresge pits. Get excited to try out the finger-licking Indian Tandoori Chicken as well as some yummy marinated Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) dishes. We will also have some yogurt, naan, chips, fruits and beverages as sides to go with the grill. Of course, we will have traditional BBQ items like burger patties and sausages. For more information, please contact sangam-request@mit.edu. Photo by Flickr/Umair Mohsi.

July 19, 2013

whoi picnic

MIT-WHOI Summer Picnic on July 20

Enjoy a summer day and picnic on the beautiful Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution campus in Cape Cod on July 20. Buses will leave MIT at 9:30 am and return to MIT by 6pm. Tickets are available starting July 1. Visit ticket information and purchase, event information, or contact mmoulton@mit.edu for questions.

July 18, 2013

mitspo

MIT Summer Philharmonic Orchestra on July 19 at 8:00pm

MIT Professional Education is proud to host and sponsor the 18th season of the MIT Summer Philharmonic Orchestra  (MITSPO). Please come on Friday July 19 at 8:00 pm in the Kresge Auditorium (W16-48) for a very special night of music. This year’s program features music from: Borodin, Symphony No. 2 in B minor and Dvorak, Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World”. The concert is free for all to attend (no ticket necessary).

The MIT Summer Philharmonic Orchestra has been the preeminent summer community orchestra for nearly two decades. Made up of top musicians of the MIT community and the general Greater Boston area, MITSPO hosts a single concert event every summer. Read more

July 17, 2013

ce

Cyntrica Eaton on her life and work as a scientist

Cyntrica Eaton, an alumna of the MIT Summer Research Program, sat down for an interview and answered questions on her life inspiration and her work as a scientist. The interview is featured by ScienceLives and the National Science Foundation. Cyntrica Eaton is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Norfolk State University in Virginia. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of several publications, including A Framework for Detecting and Diagnosing Configuration Faults in Web Applications and Advances in Web TestingPhoto by NSF. Read more

July 17, 2013

egyptian food

Ramadan Annual Iftar July 19

In celebrating the holy month of Ramadan, there will be free authentic egyptian food on Friday July 19th in the Hulsizer Room at the Ashdown House. For more questions or information, please contact mazim@mit.edu. Photo by weldonwk/Flickr

July 16, 2013

siwmming

Women’s only recreational swimming through Aug 8

Women’s only recreational swimming will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting July 16 through August 8 from 10 – 11am in the Alumni Pool (Bldg 57). Participation requires a DAPER membership or day pass purchase. Day pases are discounted at $5 students, $10 for non-students. This activity is supported by Office of the Chaplain. For more questions or information, please contact jmello@mit.edu. Photo by SignalPAD/Flickr.

July 16, 2013

Graduate Student Council Logo

Apply to the Working Group on International Support

The Graduate Student Council Nominations Board is accepting applications from Grad Student Representatives for the Working Group on International Support. Members of the Working Group on International Student Support will participate in various efforts to help identify and address the specialized support needs of MIT’s growing international student population. Tasks will include:

  • Review of ODGE needs assessment data analysis and relevant Quality of Life Survey data;
  • Outreach to relevant campus stakeholders;
  • Collation of a list of available support programs and support structures;
  • Exchange of best practices, for example, in creating a welcoming climate for international students, cultural sensitivity in communications, etc.;
  • Discussion of the most appropriate types and providers of specialized support for international students;
  • Discussion of organizational structure, staffing, resource needs, and coordination among units.

There will be monthly meetings once a month from July 2013 – December 2013 with a final report and recommendations sent to the Chancellor. The Working Group will be chaired by Graduate Dean Christine Ortiz. If interested, please send a brief cover letter and resume to the GSC Nominations Board as soon as possible. For questions or more information, please contact  nominations board at gsc-nominations@mit.edu.

July 15, 2013

morton nanoparticles

Morton’s research enables high-speed customization of nanoparticles

A new coating technology developed at MIT, combined with a novel nanoparticle-manufacturing technology developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, may offer scientists a way to quickly mass-produce tailored nanoparticles that are specially coated for specific applications, including medicines and electronics.

Using this new combination of the two existing technologies, scientists can produce very small, uniform particles with customized layers of material that can carry drugs or other molecules to interact with their environment, or even target specific types of cells.

Hammond and Joseph DeSimone, the Chancellor’s Eminent Professor of Chemistry at UNC and the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at North Carolina State University, are the senior authors of a paper describing the technology in the July 1 online edition of Advanced Materials. Lead author of the paper is Stephen Morton, a graduate student in Hammond’s lab. Continue reading on MIT NEWS. Photo by Kevin E. Shopsowitz and Stephen W. Morton.

July 15, 2013

art gathering

MIT Student Loan Art Program

Through this popular annual loan program, administered by the List Visual Arts Center, individual students and student groups may borrow original works of art from the collection for their private rooms and communal spaces.The collection is comprised of the Catherine N. Stratton Collection of Graphic Arts, established in 1966, the List Student Loan Collection, established in 1977, and the Ronald A. Kurtz Student Loan Collection, established in 1985.

With funds from alumni, MIT’s Campus Activities Complex, and the Friends of Boston Art approximately 15 new works are added to the collection annually to expand the breadth of its offerings. The previous year’s purchases are exhibited in the Stratton Student Center (Building W20, third floor) for one academic year, after which they are moved to the active collection for borrowing. The collection now includes more than 500 framed original works of art, primarily prints and photographs by leading artists, which are made available to students for loan each September. Read more and see video

July 12, 2013

mit sailing

BBQ and Sailing on July 14

Join the Grad Association of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Sailing Pavilion for food and sailing on July 14 at 5pm. For questions or more information please contact: dclifton@mit.edu. Photo by Flickr/Tom Rose.

July 12, 2013

data encryption

Ren,Yu, and Fletcher design new hardware that makes data encryption more secure

Cloud computing — outsourcing computational tasks over the Internet — could give home-computer users unprecedented processing power and let small companies launch sophisticated Web services without building massive server farms. But it also raises privacy concerns. A bank of cloud servers could be running applications for 1,000 customers at once; unbeknownst to the hosting service, one of those applications might have no purpose other than spying on the other 999.

In the last 10 years or so, however, it’s become clear that even when a computer is handling encrypted data, its memory-access patterns — the frequency with which it stores and accesses data at different memory addresses — can betray a shocking amount of private information. At the International Symposium on Computer Architecture in June, MIT researchers described a new type of secure hardware component, dubbed Ascend, that would disguise a server’s memory-access patterns, making it impossible for an attacker to infer anything about the data being stored. Grad students working on this project are Ling Ren, Xiangyao Yu, and Christopher Fletcher. Continue reading on MIT NEWS. Photo by Christine Danilofff.

July 12, 2013

mit-chief

MIT-CHIEF Business Contest Registration

MIT-CHIEF is calling for business plans from a broad spectrum of high tech areas, including web/IT, Healthcare, CleanTech, Products/Services, and Social Impact. Non-cash awards include mentorship services and China Trek to experience the real-world entrepreneurship. Finalists will be awarded cash prizes totaling over $20,000, with no strings attached! Registration is open and has a deadline of July 31, 2013. For more information, please contact dguan@mit.edu. Photo by MIT-CHIEF.

July 11, 2013

kayak

Weekend Camping Trip July 12-14

Kick back and enjoy the outdoors of Southern Maine on a Coastal Maine Trip from July 12 to July 14! Activities like camping, kayaking, cycling, clamming, and a beach visit will take place! Please view the sign up and details page and for more information contact rdelucas@mit.edu This trip is sponsored by the Heritage Foods Society, Outing Club, Cycling Club and is funded by the GSC Funding Board via GSC Collaboration Award.

July 11, 2013

Joaquin Blaya

Blaya and mobile-based U.S. Healthcare

The Global Health Delivery Project (GHD) has provided a virtual community for healthcare experts trying to tackle obstacles in delivering quality care in developing countries since 2007. Now, the initiative run by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School has launched a U.S. network with the aim of improving care for underserved populations across the country.

Joaquin Blaya, (former MIT research fellow and former MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellow) who has moderated discussions about healthcare innovation on the GHD network, sees the U.S. Communities Initiative as a good opportunity. Blaya is chief technology officer at eHealth Systems, which recently launched a mobile-based network called MiDoctor aimed at encouraging engagement among patients with chronic diseases by using automated phone calls and text-message reminders about medications and doctors appointments.

He is working to bring the service to the United States, with an initial focus on the Hispanic community. Adopting the system will take some “cultural tweaking,” he said, as well as adjustments to address regulations like privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. Read the full article at Healthbiz Decoded.

July 10, 2013

wi-vi

Fadel Adib uses low power WiFi signal to track moving humans

The comic-book hero Superman uses his X-ray vision to spot bad guys lurking behind walls and other objects. Now we could all have X-ray vision, thanks to researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Researchers have long attempted to build a device capable of seeing people through walls. However, previous efforts to develop such a system have involved the use of expensive and bulky radar technology that uses a part of the electromagnetic spectrum only available to the military.

Now a system being developed by Dina Katabi, a professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and her graduate student Fadel Adib, could give all of us the ability to spot people in different rooms using low-cost Wi-Fi technology. “We wanted to create a device that is low-power, portable and simple enough for anyone to use, to give people the ability to see through walls and closed doors,” Katabi says. Continue reading on MIT NEWS. Photo by Christine Daniloff.

July 10, 2013

yoga

Your Enlightened Side workshop July 10-July 14

The yesplus workshop combines powerful yoga and breathing techniques to help you live your enlightened side. This means helping you to do more with less time, living with a sense of purpose and confidence, and reducing stress and anxiety in your life.The workshop is 5 days long, in the evening during the week and during the day on the weekend; July 10 – 14 (Wed – Sun), 6:30 pm – 10 pm on weekdays and is held in 66-144. To attend please register and for more information please contact: kgnayar@mit.edu. Photo by LocalFitness.

July 10, 2013

Graduate Student Council Logo

Special Announcement: PTAC Final Report & PAC Positions

The Graduate Student Council is pleased to announce the release of the final report of the Presidential Transition Advisory Cabinet (PTAC). PTAC was formed in the summer of 2012 and was charged with providing the student perspective to President Reif as he developed a vision for the Institute. This body consisted of four undergraduate and four graduate students selected through the GSC and UA nominations process and met with President Reif regularly throughout the Fall of 2012. The final report aims to summarize the findings this body presented to President Reif in those meetings.

The GSC thanks the community for its support and is pleased to announce the creation of the Presidential Advisory Cabinet (PAC), a new body charged with providing student feedback to the President over the coming year. If you would be interested in serving on this committee as a graduate student representative, you are highly encouraged you to apply!

July 9, 2013

museum

Family Day at the List Visual Arts Center July 10

Discover exhibitions at the List Visual Arts Center (E15 Upper Atrium) through events just for families on July 10. There will be nautical-inspired art making activities all day from 11am – 4pm as well as family friendly tours of the galleries at 2pm. This event is free and open to all, but is best for children ages 3 and up. No registration is required, just come on in. For more information please contact: cklemens@mit.edu. Photo courtesy of Elbert Barnes.

July 9, 2013

versatile

PhD and Alum Resource: Careers Beyond Academia

Global Education & Career Development (GECD) is pleased to announce MIT’s subscription to The Versatile PhD, a web-based resource for PhDs considering careers beyond academia. Our subscription, generously supported by ODGE, can be accessed by students and alumni via GECD’s webpage and student CareerBridge accounts. Once students register, they can simply log in to the site directly.

And don’t forget – students can make appointments all summer for one-on-one career advising with PhD career counselors Dr. Natalie Lundsteen and Dr. Marilyn Wilson, via the CareerBridge system. Photo by VersatilePhD.

July 8, 2013

seeing the human pulse

Balakrishnan sees the human pulse

Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a new algorithm that can accurately measure the heart rates of people depicted in ordinary digital video by analyzing imperceptibly small head movements that accompany the rush of blood caused by the heart’s contractions.

In tests, the algorithm gave pulse measurements that were consistently within a few beats per minute of those produced by electrocardiograms (EKGs). It was also able to provide useful estimates of the time intervals between beats, a measurement that can be used to identify patients at risk for cardiac events.

Guha Balakrishnan, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and his two advisors — John Guttag, the Dugald C. Jackson Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and director of MIT’s Data-Driven Medicine Group, and professor of computer science and engineering Fredo Durand — describe the new algorithm in a paper appearing this summer at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference. Read more at MIT News

July 8, 2013

comedy night teec

MIT Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub on Jul 9

Join us for another MIT Comedy Night, with headliner Steve Macone (Comedy Central, The Onion writer, Boston Comedy Festival finalist) on July 9 at the Thirsty Ear Pub. Doors open at 8pm and the event will start at 8:30pm. The event is hosted by John Baglio and features Jimmy Anicet, Caitlin Durante, David McCalib, Alingon Mitra, Nick Ortolani. Snacks and free soda are provided. To attend you must be 21 years old or older and please have gov’t ID ready to show at the door. For more information please contact, teec-comedy@mit.eduSponsored by GSC Funding Board, Peter de Florez ’38 Humor Fund, and GradRat and Presented by the Thirsty Ear Executive Committee (TEEC).

July 8, 2013

library

2013 Summer Dissertation Boot Camp 

This years boot camp session is starting July 29 and runs to Aug 9 in the Baker Library. Dissertation Boot camp offers a quiet space for people to work solely on his or her thesis, short lectures to help improve your thesis, and free breakfast/snacks. This event is at a very low cost (only two dollars per day), so if you want to attend please register. For questions or more information, please contact gsc-arc@mit.edu.

July 5, 2013

carbon out of emissions

Stern Gets the carbon out of emissions

Many researchers around the world are seeking ways to “scrub” carbon dioxide (CO2) from the emissions of fossil-fuel power plants as a way of curbing the gas that is considered most responsible for global climate change. But most such systems rely on complex plumbing to divert the steam used to drive the turbines that generate power in these plants, and such systems are not practical as retrofits to existing plants.

Now, researchers at MIT have come up with a scrubbing system that requires no steam connection, can operate at lower temperatures, and would essentially be a “plug-and-play” solution that could be added relatively easily to any existing power plant.

The new electrochemical system is described in a paper just published online in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, and written by doctoral student Michael Stern, chemical engineering professor T. Alan Hatton and two others. Read more at MIT News. Photo courtesy of Michael Stern.

July 5, 2013

park

Trip to Stage Fort Park July 7

The Persian Student Association (PSA) is sponsoring a trip up to Stage Fort Park (Gloucester, MA) on Sunday July 7 at 9am. PSA will be providing lunch, snacks, beverages, and transportation. Tickets are five dollars for MIT affiliates, affiliates may also big tickets for friends and family at a price of ten dollars. Transportation will leave from 60 Wadsworth Street, Cambridge (Eastgate housing). If you have a car, great! Giving others a ride will earn you thirty dollars in cash and gas compensation for your favor. For more information or questions, please contact persian-officers@mit.edu. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

July 3, 2013

reading dna mechanism

Almada & Wu on Reading DNA, backward and forward

MIT biologists have discovered a mechanism that allows cells to read their own DNA in the correct direction and prevents them from copying most of the so-called “junk DNA” that makes up long stretches of our genome. Only about 15 percent of the human genome consists of protein-coding genes, but in recent years scientists have found that a surprising amount of the junk, or intergenic DNA, does get copied into RNA — the molecule that carries DNA’s messages to the rest of the cell.

Scientists have been trying to figure out just what this RNA might be doing, if anything. In 2008, MIT researchers led by Institute Professor Phillip Sharp discovered that much of this RNA is generated through a process called divergent expression, through which cells read their DNA in both directions moving away from a given starting point.

Graduate students Albert Almada and Xuebing Wu are the lead authors of the paper. Christopher Burge, a professor of biology and biological engineering, and undergraduate Andrea Kriz are also authors. Read more at MIT News. Photo by Flickr/Lichen Rancourt; Christine Daniloff/MIT.

July 3, 2013

bbq

July 4th BBQ from 4-8pm at Ashdown House

GSC, Ashdown and the ASA are sponsoring a 4th of July BBQ celebration for all members of the MIT community. Free food for all – burgers, hot dogs and beverages! Enjoy the cultural activities, reading of the Declaration of Independence, trivia and other fun games with prizes. It will take place on July 4 from 4-8pm at Ashdown House. For more information, please contact: ashdown-social@mit.edu .

July 2, 2013

piano accompaniment

Informal summer choral singing through Aug 21

Meridian Singers and MIT Women’s Chorale are sponsoring an informal choral gathering on Wednesday nights in room 16-160, 7:30-9 pm, beginning June 26th and running through August 21. This event is open to all singers, men and women, including teens. We will have a piano accompanist but will be singing without a conductor–unless there are those in the group that would like to try their hands at conducting a piece or more. Music will be public domain, with each singer printing scores from the web. Suggestions for music from the group are welcome. For more information and to receive links to music to be sung, email: de_fazio@alum.mit.edu .

July 2, 2013

Doshi NY Times

Doshi on The NY Times: Breaking the Seal on Drug Research

Dr. Peter Doshi’s (former MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellow) renown comes not from solving the puzzles of cancer or discovering the next blockbuster drug, but from pushing the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies to open their records to outsiders in an effort to better understand the benefits and potential harms of the drugs that billions of people take every day. Together with a band of far-flung researchers and activists, he is trying to unearth data from clinical trials — complex studies that last for years and often involve thousands of patients across many countries — and make it public. Read the New York Times full article. Photo by Steve Ruark, NY Times

July 1, 2013

tanugi

Cohen-Tanugi works to improve water filtration, desalination

“Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink,” English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote of the anguish felt by sailors on being surrounded by undrinkable water when faced with thirst.

More than 200 years later, environmentalists have adopted Coleridge’s famous line in describing growing water shortages around the globe. David Cohen-Tanugi, a PhD student in materials science and engineering at MIT, sees opportunity in desalination, the removal of salt and other minerals from saline water to make it suitable for consumption and use by humans, including in agriculture.

“I’ve always been committed to the environment,” says Cohen-Tanugi, a native of Paris, “but I had never really thought of it as a career before.” As an undergraduate at Princeton University, Cohen-Tanugi studied physics and East Asian studies. Interestingly, he found water technology to be at the intersection of these two interests. Read more at MIT News.

July 1, 2013

dance

Spice up the dance floor with weekly salsa classes through Aug 11

Are you ready to spice up the dance floor with new moves leaving many impressed? Learn Salsa with the MIT Casino Ruedo Group. No partner or prior experience is required. Weekly classes will take place on Sundays from 7-9pm from June 23 to August 11 in Lobby 13. For more information please email: rueda_summer_instructors@mit.edu