News & Video

August 19, 2014

Levine’s algorithm to collect targeted data

Much artificial-intelligence research addresses the problem of making predictions based on large data sets. An obvious example is the recommendation engines at retail sites like Amazon and Netflix. But some types of data are harder to collect than online click histories —information about geological formations thousands of feet underground, for instance. And in other applications — such as trying to predict the path of a storm — there may just not be enough time to crunch all the available data. Dan Levine, an MIT graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics, and his advisor, Jonathan How, the Richard Cockburn Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, have developed a new technique that could help with both problems. Continue reading about his research on MIT News.

August 19, 2014

Submit your questions to Dear Kate

Each month, the GWAMIT mentors answer questions anonymously posed by students on Dear Kate, the GWAMIT Mentoring Committee’s advice blog. Questions are now being accepted for next month’s edition. Submit yours for next month’s edition! If your question is chosen, it will be submitted to a panel of GWAMIT mentors and their replies will be featured in the GWAMIT blog. The namesake of the Dear Kate advice column is Katharine McCormick, a 1904 graduate from MIT. She was also a suffragist and a philanthropist. GWAMIT hopes to continue her legacy and dedication to the advancement of women through this advice column. Photo by Monty

August 18, 2014

Liao’s new theory: magnets may act as wireless cooling agents

The magnets cluttering the face of your refrigerator may one day be used as cooling agents, according to a new theory formulated by MIT researchers.

The theory describes the motion of magnons — quasi-particles in magnets that are collective rotations of magnetic moments, or “spins.” In addition to the magnetic moments, magnons also conduct heat; from their equations, the MIT researchers found that when exposed to a magnetic field gradient, magnons may be driven to move from one end of a magnet to another, carrying heat with them and producing a cooling effect.

“You can pump heat from one side to the other, so you can essentially use a magnet as a refrigerator,” says Bolin Liao, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. “You can envision wireless cooling where you apply a magnetic field to a magnet one or two meters away to, say, cool your laptop.” Continue reading about his research on MIT News.

August 18, 2014

Sharing the “How” as well as the “What” of MIT Education

What really goes on behind the scenes in designing a course at MIT? What considerations underlie the multitude of decisions leading to the material presented on OCW (OpenCourseWare) course pages? What do MIT faculty say about what worked and what didn’t? OCW has initiated a new venture designed to pull back the curtain on these issues. Named OCW Educator, it is explicitly addressed to educators, reaching out to our colleagues at MIT and across the world to share what we can about teaching the courses we teach. Learn more about the MIT OpenCourseWare’s new project on MIT Faculty Newsletter. Photo by Michael Coghlan 

August 18, 2014

Mentor an International Graduate Student

Have you ever wanted to help welcome a new international graduate student to MIT? If so, you can become a mentor for the International Graduate Student Mentorship Program (IGSMP). As a mentor you will guide your mentee through their first year at MIT and help them navigate life in a new environment. Information you provide in the google doc signup form will help the GSC match you to a mentee according to national/regional origins or similar interests. Photo by Kaht

August 15, 2014

Alumnus Roush serves as the Knight Science Journalism director this academic year

Deborah K. Fitzgerald, the Kenan Sahin Dean of MIT’s School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS), has announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum will join MIT in 2015 as the director of Knight Science Journalism at MIT, a fellowship program that enables world-class journalists to spend a year at MIT studying everything from science, technology, and engineering to history of science, literature, policy, and political science.

Until then, MIT’s Knight Science Journalism program will be led by Wade Roush, former editor-at-large at the online innovation news service Xconomy. His appointment as acting director is effective July 1, 2014. Roush is a PhD graduate of the MIT-SHASS Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), in which the Knight program resides. “It’s an incredible honor to be asked to lead the fellowship program for the coming year, especially given my historical connections to MIT through STS and founding Knight program director Victor McElheny, a longtime mentor and friend,” Roush says. “The Knight fellowships are invaluable to the media business because there’s no better opportunity for journalists covering science, technology, health, and the environment to devote a year to deep learning and professional renewal.” Learn about MIT’s Knight Science Journalism on MIT News.

August 15, 2014

Things you should know before publishing a book

A few years ago I was desperately seeking a book contract. Things weren’t going well on the project I’d spent years working on, and I wanted a quick fix. In a frenzy I put together a crappy proposal for an advice book for graduate students and professors on writing and publishing and sent it to an editor I didn’t know at Harvard University Press. Five days later, Elizabeth Knoll responded by telling me she was already publishing a how-to-write-better book for academics, Stylish Academic Writing by Helen Sword (it’s excellent). Then she conveyed in the kindest way something I already knew: What I had proposed wasn’t a book. I had merely submitted a bunch of prose framing a table of contents for a collection of my Chronicle columns. She suggested we brainstorm an idea for a real book. Continue reading this article on The Chronicle of Higher Education.

August 15, 2014

Free weekly yoga and meditation on Saturdays

Join the Art of Living at MIT every Saturday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm for some fun, relaxing yoga and meditation. These sessions are held year-round in 24-121 and feature group dance warmups, sun salutations, the lotus yoga sequence, pranayama, and meditation. In addition, the group participates in fun mindfulness games on days prior to the ‘YesPlus’ happiness workshops. If interested, please RSVP online or contact artofliving-officers@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by Tucker Sherman.

August 15, 2014

Indian Independence Day Celebrations Aug. 16

MIT Sangam is inviting the MIT student body to join them in celebrating the Indian Independence Day on Saturday, August 16th, beginning at 11:30 am. Meet the organization at 11:30 am at the Student Center steps for the flag hoisting ceremony. Free lunch and a discussion led by the Association for India’s Development (AID-MIT) will follow afterwards at 12:00 pm at 1-190. If interested, signup for the event and and contact MIT Sangam at sangam-exec@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by T. A Joseph.

August 14, 2014

El-Zanfaly studies learning through making — with one eye on her native Egypt

After taking Design and Computation Group and Neil Gershenfeld’s class on rapid prototyping, MAS.863 (How to Make (Almost) Anything) in 2010, Dina El-Zanfaly felt inspired. “That class (MAS.863) changed my whole life,” El-Zanfaly says. “Every week you learn a new skill and you use another machine.” El-Zanfaly realized the value of her new skill set, but also wished she and other design-minded young people in her home country could have access to laser cutters, 3-D printers, and CNC (computer numeric control) mills. So after the class was finished, she approached Gershenfeld and asked him, “Why don’t we have this in Egypt?” El-Zanfaly got to work, and by early 2012, with help and funding from several aspiring Egyptians, Fab Lab Egypt became the first fabrication lab in the Middle East. Read more about El-Zanfaly’s Fab Lab and other lab startups at MIT News.

August 14, 2014

Three-tiered Conflict Management Training by Conflict Resolution@MIT Aug. 27

Want more ease in your interactions with other people or more confidence in dealing with labmates, roommates, or authority figures? Would you like to learn why others behave the way they do (or even why *you* behave the way you do)? Due to overwhelming demand, the Three-Tier Conflict Management Training by Conflict Resolution@MIT is being piloted over the course of the fall semester this year! With skills modules in negotiation, reflective listening, dealing with emotions in difficult conversations, behavior change, and inter-cultural communication – among others – you’ll come away with plenty of tools to help you manage the challenges in your life and work.

The training is tiered at 16-hour, 32-hour, and 40-hour levels, and will take place over the course of the fall semester. The dates, times, and tier descriptions are as follows. Read more

August 14, 2014

GSC Summer Harbor Islands Day Trip Aug. 16

Spend the day outdoors and enjoy the harbor islands with your fellow grad students on a day trip planed by the GSC activities co-chairs. You’ll take ferry rides to George’s Island and Spectacle Island and get to explore the areas. Barbecue and games will be provided, and the event is also opened to families! The day trip will take place on Saturday, August 16th, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Students need to meet at Long Wharf by 9:30 am that morning. Tickets go on sale soon, so sign up to be notified when ticket sale information becomes available. Email gsc-ac@mit.edu if you have any concerns or would like more information. Photo by Beverley Goodwin

August 14, 2014

MITaly Ferragosto BBQ Aug. 15

The GSC Funding Board is sponsoring a BBQ in celebration of Ferragosto, a traditional Italian holiday. The BBW will take place on Friday, August 15th, starting at 5:00 pm at the Tang BBQ pits.  On Ferragosto, people gather together on the beach, grill food, and play soccer and volleyball on the sand. The Mitaly organization will be recreating that same atmosphere outside of Tang for the evening. Contact mitalyboard@mit.edu if you would like more information about the event. Photo by Beniamino Baj

August 13, 2014

Six MIT grad students awarded Fulbright grants

Nine MIT students and alumni recently won U.S. Student Fulbright grants for the upcoming academic year which are to be used for research programs or academic/humanitarian projects the student wishes to pursue. The Fulbright Program is an educational exchange program sponsored by the United States government to help increase mutual understanding between the peoples of the U.S. and other countries. Fulbright applicants go through a holistic selection process where their academic or professional achievement are considered, as well as leadership potential in their field of study. Read more

August 13, 2014

The worst advice Grad students get

During my last year of grad school I participated in a professional-development workshop on crafting academic book proposals with A Real Editor. As long as we submitted our proposals in advance, she’d read them and offer a critique. We were all very excited—and scared. If she liked our work, we could’ve had an “in” at one of the best presses around; if she didn’t, it could’ve meant a pass from the press for years to come. Continue reading this article on Vitae.

August 13, 2014

Torah & Tonics Aug. 14

The Graduate Hillel will be sponsoring a dinner and Torah study on Thursday, August 14th from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Sidney-Pacific courtyard. Enjoy some grilled food and listen and take part in a discussion with guest speaker, Rabbi Fisher, as he talks about his studies in Israel these past few weeks. For more information about the event email grad-hillel-admin@mit.edu. Photo by Michael Maslin

August 12, 2014

Wu’s wrist-mounted device gives you two extra robotic fingers

Harry Asada, the Ford Professor of Engineering in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and graduate student Faye Wu recently presented a paper on a robot that enhances the grasping motion of the human hand at the Robotics: Science and Systems conference in Berkeley, Calif. The robot, which the researchers have dubbed “supernumerary robotic fingers,” consists of actuators linked together to exert forces as strong as those of human fingers during a grasping motion. The device, worn around one’s wrist, works essentially like two extra fingers adjacent to the pinky and thumb. A novel control algorithm enables it to move in sync with the wearer’s fingers to grasp objects of various shapes and sizes. Wearing the robot, a user could use one hand to, for instance, hold the base of a bottle while twisting off its cap. Learn more about Wu’s research at MIT News.

August 12, 2014

ASML Wilton Scholarship: Apply by Aug. 14

The ASML Wilton Technology Scholarship is merit-based and annually supports talented individuals who have completed the Bachelor of Science program from a recognized US college or university in the Northeast, and who are further motivated to pursue a 2 years full time Master of Science degree in the technical and scientific disciplines (listed below) at a recognized university (anywhere in the US).

The ASML Wilton scholarship will provide approximately $10,000 per year – paid in installments and upon receipt of eligible expense and academic performance documentation.  Continued funding will be dependent on continued academic performance for up to 2 consecutive years during the MSc program. Students who receive a scholarship are not obliged to work at ASML after graduating.  They do, however, want to get to know you and give you the opportunity to get to know them during the scholarship period.  They will include other support like a personal mentor who shares his/her technical knowledge and experiences with you, and who introduces you to the latest R&D activities as well as a network of accomplished people in this field.  They will also invite you to visit their site and meet with members of their team.

Read more

August 12, 2014

On ‘Poor Husbands’ and Two-Body Problems

In the fall of 2008, I had a campus interview for a tenure-track position in the religious-studies department of a flagship state university. At lunch with faculty members, the chair, and the dean, I made harmless small talk. Harmless, that is, until, during a lull in the conversation, and female instructor asked: If you take the job, what would your poor husband do? Everyone at the table turned to look at me. Lunch came to a screeching halt. “My poor husband,” I responded, “will just have to figure it out.”Some folks chuckled; others looked away. The chair apologized profusely after lunch for such an inappropriate (and illegal) question. He informed me that the offending instructor did not represent the department, and he assured me that my marital status had no impact on my candidacy.

I didn’t get the job. During the rejection phone call, the chair told me that I had impressed the department; they just wanted to go in a different direction. I couldn’t help but wonder if the mention of my husband had affected the search committee’s direction. Did the careless mention of my marriage plant doubts about whether I would take a position if offered? Continue reading on Vitae.

August 12, 2014

GSC BBQ hosted by GAME Aug. 12

The Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME) organization will be hosting a BBQ on August 12th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at the Kresge Pits. Burgers, hot dogs, sodas, chips, and juice will be provided! Join in on the good company and email misava@mit.edu if you would like to learn more about the event. Photo by Luke Jones

August 11, 2014

Perry and Ousterhout develop new system to reduce data-transmission delays

In August, grad students Jonathan Perry and Amy Ousterhout will be attending the annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication. The MIT researcher team will present a new network-management system that, in experiments, reduced the average queue length of routers in a Facebook data center by 99.6 percent — virtually doing away with queues. When network traffic was heavy, the average latency — the delay between the request for an item of information and its arrival — shrank nearly as much, from 3.56 microseconds to 0.23 microseconds.

Like the Internet, most data centers use decentralized communication protocols: Each node in the network decides, based on its own limited observations, how rapidly to send data and which adjacent node to send it to. Decentralized protocols have the advantage of an ability to handle communication over large networks with little administrative oversight. Continue reading at MIT News.

 

 

August 11, 2014

Apply to attend Global Young Scientists Summit by Aug. 25

MIT will nominate a total of five participants made up of 3 PhD students and 2 postdocs to attend the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore International Summit: “Global Young Scientists Summit @ One-North: An International Meeting of Bright Young Researchers, Nobel Laureates and Eminent Scientific Leaders” on January 18-23, 2015 in Singapore. The nomination process is being coordinated by the Office of the Vice President for Research (for postdocs) and the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (for graduate students).

NRF will cover all local expenses only; participants or their research advisers are responsible for airfare. ODGE will provide one coach class round trip airline ticket for the top graduate student applicant.

Read more

August 11, 2014

Mega Muddy Monday Aug. 11

The MechE and Chemistry departments are hosting a dinner at the Muddy Charles on Monday, August 11th at 5:30 pm. Food and drinks will be available. Summer’s almost over, so take a break from your research, satisfy your hunger, and meet new people after a long day of working in the lab. Email snnagel@mit.edu if you have any questions. Photo by Frank Hebbert

August 8, 2014

Van Lehn and scientists explain how gold nanoparticles deliver drugs

A special class of tiny gold particles can easily slip through cell membranes, making them good candidates to deliver drugs directly to target cells. A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-vesicle fusion, a crucial process that allows signal transmission between neurons. In the July 21 issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe in detail the mechanism by which these nanoparticles are able to fuse with a membrane. The findings suggest possible strategies for designing nanoparticles — made from gold or other materials — that could get into cells even more easily.

“We’ve identified a type of mechanism that might be more prevalent than is currently known,” says Reid Van Lehn, an MIT graduate student in materials science and engineering and one of the paper’s lead authors. “By identifying this pathway for the first time it also suggests not only how to engineer this particular class of nanoparticles, but that this pathway might be active in other systems as well.” Continue reading about the research at MIT News.

August 8, 2014

What Mentors Often Miss

Two ma­jor ingredients in men­tor­ing are of­ten left out of ac­a­dem­ic and pro­fes­sion­al-de­vel­op­ment di­a­logues on the sub­ject. One is a sim­ple yet nov­el ap­proach: Care. Professors should deep­ly care for those they men­tor. Be­come a friend. Cer­tain­ly not the most schol­ar­ly of per­spec­tives, au­then­ti­cal­ly car­ing for a men­tee mat­ters more than any­thing else be­cause it al­lows both par­ties to sus­tain a re­la­tion­ship be­yond what’s mu­tu­al­ly ben­e­fi­cial. And I don’t mean car­ing in the very dis­tant, arm’s-length (and dare I say, dis­in­gen­u­ous?) way all pro­fes­sors “care” for our stu­dents. The kind of car­ing nec­es­sary for a suc­cess­ful men­tor­ing re­la­tion­ship re­quires an emo­tion­al in­vest­ment not just in the ac­a­dem­ic jour­ney of the stu­dent but also in the per­son­al one. We must go be­yond the role of teach­er while not ab­di­cat­ing that role, ei­ther. Continue reading on the Chronicle of Higher Education.

August 8, 2014

Singapore’s National Day Celebration Aug. 9

The MIT Singapore Students Society (MITSSS) will be hosting Singapore’s National Day Celebration on Saturday, August 9th, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Singaporean food and drinks will be provided, so spend Saturday evening trying out new ethnic entrees, meeting new people, and celebrating with MITSSS. The event will be located in ‘The Warehouse’ (NW30) in the Colbert Room. Contact mitsss-com@mit.edu if you have further questions about the event. Photo by avlxyz

August 7, 2014

Elitzer founds MIT Bitcoin Club and kickstarts bitcoin interest at business schools worldwide

An MBA student at MIT Sloan School of Management helped kick-start a bitcoin storm at business schools across the globe. Dan Elitzer, founder and president of the MIT Bitcoin Club, along with sophomore Jeremy Rubin, raised $500,000 for a project to distribute $100 in bitcoin to every undergraduate student at MIT this fall. Plans for the MIT Bitcoin Project involve a range of activities – including working with professors and researchers to study how students use the bitcoin they will receive, as well as spurring academic and entrepreneurial activity within the university in this burgeoning field. Continue reading about Elitzer and bitcoin on BusinessBecause.

August 7, 2014

Random Reflections on Getting Published

At least a third of the papers I’ve written were nixed by my first-choice venues, and I had to submit various papers to multiple journals before they found a home. In one recent case, it took two years, four journals, and 16 extraordinarily polarized reviews before my manuscript saw the light of day. I got feedback ranging from “The tone of the article reveals one of the most dramatic lack of even-handedness in its presentation of arguments that I have read in my entire career” to “This is a near-perfect essay—clear, informative, balanced, and timely.” As these quotes illustrate, there aren’t any foolproof techniques, primarily because reviewers often disagree on what a good paper actually looks like. Now that we’re totally clear on what I don’t know, here are several things I do know. Continue reading on Vitae. Photo by LCC

August 7, 2014

MIT Water Club Summer BBQ Aug. 8

If you’re interested in learning more about the MIT Water Club and want to meet individuals in the Boston water sector from industry, policy, and academia then celebrate summer by barbecuing with the MIT Water Club. At the event, you can network, meet new friends and colleagues, and enjoy food from the grill in the close proximity to our own Charles River. All are welcome. The event will take place on August 8th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm and is sponsored by the Graduate Student Council and the MIT Water Club. Photo by Jun Seita.

August 6, 2014

Hi-Story sharing and discussion on “business and knowledge” Aug. 9

Three entrepreneurs, including Chinese famous entrepreneur Yue Yuan, will be here at MIT to share their stories and discuss their experience with “business and knowledge.” Attendees will be allowed to ask the speakers questions and join in their discussions. The first 20 people to register will be guaranteed to attend, so register by August 6th if you’re interested. The event will take place on Saturday, August 9th, from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm and will be held in 1-246. Email tailin@mit.edu if you have any questions concerning the event. Photo by velkr0

August 6, 2014

Alumna Liu, founding partner in Procyon Ventures

In a matter of days, two new early-stage venture firms announced they’re making moves to the Boston-Cambridge area. The first, Procyon Ventures, has a founding partner from MIT Sloan and plans to pour money into data and analytics. A twenty-something self-proclaimed “investor by accident,Millie Liu graduated from MIT’s School of Management in 2012, and was previously working on an algorithm startup called Twithinks. But what started as a conversation with Chinese investors about an investment in her company turned into a new venture fund, designed in part to help said investors get access to other early-stage stage startups cropping up in the U.S. tech scenes, Liu told BetaBoston. Continue reading about Liu’s company on BostonInno.

August 6, 2014

MIT Grad Life Hackathon Aug. 8

What would you build if you had 24 hours? The MIT GSC is hosting a hackathon from Friday, August 8th, at 8:00 pm to Saturday, August 9th, at 8:00 pm. The coding contest will take place in the Sidney Pacific Multipurpose Room and food a drinks will be available throughout the 24 hours. The event will give students an opportunity to network and win prizes! Register at s-p.mit.edu/hackathon if interested and email sp-vp-info@mit.edu if you have any questions regarding the event. Photo by Michael Himbeault

August 6, 2014

Karaoke at the Thirsty Ear Pub Aug. 7

Serenade your friends and sing like a rock star at the Thirsty Ear Pub on Thursday, August 7th! The event will begin at 9:00 pm and a 21+ I.D. and MIT photo ID are required for entry. Karaoke night is free and only open to MIT. Email ear-info@mit.edu for more information.  Photo by Ed Schipul  

 

August 5, 2014

Preston gets a charge out of water droplets

Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. The team consists of postdoc Nenad Milikov, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Evelyn Wang, former postdoc Ryan Enright, and MIT graduate Daniel Preston. Now, the researchers have demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices. This approach could lead to devices to charge cellphones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water. Learn more about the project on MIT News

August 5, 2014

Women In Bio – Greater Boston Keynote Event Aug. 7

On August 7thMichelle Dipp, Co-Founder and CEO of OvaScience, will speak about her path to becoming one of the only women CEOs in the biotech/pharma industry for the Wonmen in Bio (WIB). A networking reception on the beautiful outdoor patio at Wolf, Greenfield and Sacks will follow. OvaScience is a global life science company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of new fertility treatments. Prior to founding OvaScience, Dr. Michelle Dipp held research and executive positions at Sirtris Pharma and GlaxoSmithKline. She has also worked in health care private equity at The Wellcome Trust in London. Michelle is also a Founder and Partner of Longwood Fund, which founds and invests in healthcare companies. Registration is required, so if you’re interested be sure to register on WIB by August 6th.  Photo by Christopher Michel

August 5, 2014

Service Outing with the Greater Boston Food Bank Aug. 6

Help end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts by sorting donated food on a service outing with the Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME)! On Wednesday, August 6th at 5:00 pm, join the group leaving from 77 Mass Ave to the Greater Boston Food Bank at 70 S. Bay Ave in Boston. T/MBTA transportation will be provided for those who travel with the group, and there will be a pizza dinner provided during a brief orientation. While all grad students are welcome, there are limited spots, so sign up online or contact jsircar@mit.edu with any questions. This event is funded by the GSC-PSC Service Fund.

August 4, 2014

Cheng works on phase-changing robots

Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering and applied mathematics at MIT, and her former graduate student Nadia Cheng, alongside researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and Stony Brook University are currently in the works of building a robot that can phase-change. Designed with wax and foam, robots would be capable of switching between hard and soft states. The robots might have the potential to be utilized in surgeries to move through the body and reach a particular point without damaging any of the organs or vessels along the way. Continue reading about the finding on MIT News.

August 4, 2014

YesPlus: Stress Management and Happiness Workshop Aug. 7-11

On Thursday, August 7th through Monday, August 11th, join the Art of Living Foundation to learn techniques to overcome academic, personal, and professional stress and get closer to achieving your full potential. Trained faculty from this international non-profit will be leading classes from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm (Thursday, Friday, and Monday) and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on de-stressing and powerful breathing techniques. These include Sudarshan Kriya, pranayama, yoga, meditation, and practical wisdom through fun games. These classes will take place in rooms on MIT campus (to be announced), and tuition is $250. If interested, register online and contact artofliving-officers@mit.edu with questions. Photo by Le Batteur de Lune

August 4, 2014

MIT Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub Aug. 5

On Tuesday, August 5th, join us for another MIT Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub, with headliner Gary Petersen (Boston Comedy Festival). The night will be hosted by Adam Langlois and feature Jenny Chalikian, Casey Malone, Micky McCauley, Kevin Seyfried, and Sean Sullivan. Doors will open at 8:00 pm and the show will start at 8:30 pm. Please have your 21+ government ID and MIT ID ready to show at the door. Snacks and soda will be provided, as the event is presented by the Thirsty Ear Executive Committee and sponsored by the GSC Funding Board, Peter de Florez ’38 Humor Fund, and GradRat. Any questions can be e-mailed to teec-comedy@mit.edu.

August 1, 2014

Campbell develops algorithim for robot collaborative learning

Machine learning, in which computers learn new skills by looking for patterns in training data, is the basis of most recent advances in artificial intelligence, from voice-recognition systems to self-parking cars. It’s also the technique that autonomous robots typically use to build models of their environments.

“A single computer has a very difficult optimization problem to solve in order to learn a model from a single giant batch of data, and it can get stuck at bad solutions,” says Trevor Campbell, a graduate student in aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, who wrote the new paper with his advisor, Jonathan How, the Richard Cockburn Maclaurin Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “If smaller chunks of data are first processed by individual robots and then combined, the final model is less likely to get stuck at a bad solution.”

Continue reading about Campbell’s research on MIT News.

August 1, 2014

‘She’s So Schizophrenic!’: How Not to Alienate Your Colleagues with Psychiatric Disabilities

Dr. Joseph P. Fisher, a learning specialist at the Office of Disability Support Services at George Washington University, has worked throughout his career helping students with disabilities. One time he was working with a student earning a graduate degree in education. The student told him – in an offhand fashion, during a work session on a writing project – that her special-education professor kept using an acronym unfamiliar to her: “FLK.” When the student asked the professor what “FLKs” were, the professor told her: “Funny Little Kids” – that is, kids with learning or developmental disabilities. “The professor in question was being horrible about disabled children in front of a disabled adult with an invisible disability,” Joseph told me. “Someone was saying this in an instructional setting at the graduate level.” Someone should have known better. Continue reading at Vitae.

August 1, 2014

GAME Service Event with the Red Sox Green Team Aug. 2

Join the Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME) on Saturday, August 2nd from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm for a service event promoting recycling while enjoying baseball. Watch a free baseball game (Red Sox vs. Yankees) and get a hot dog, soda, and a free t-shirt! This event is in collaboration with the Red Sox Green Team, a corps of volunteers who spread throughout the stadium during inning breaks to gather plastic recyclables and educate fans. All grad students are welcome to participate, and this event is funded by the GSC-PSC Service Fund. There are limited spots, so if you are interested, sign up online or contact jsircar@gmail.com with any questions.

July 31, 2014

Colatat analyzes the rise in autism diagnosis

The headlines are as unavoidable as they are alarming. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 1 in 68 8-year-old children were diagnosed with some form of autism in 2010, up from 1 in 150 a decade before. No one knows exactly why that rate keeps rising. Researchers have delved into everything from mercury exposure to parental age. But Phech Colatat, who has just earned his PhD in economic sociology from MIT Sloan, thinks we’ve been looking for answers in the wrong places. Learn more about Colatat’s research on the MIT Sloan website.

July 31, 2014

Trouble finding mentors on campus? Go online.

The summer after my first year of graduate school, I took a trip to several East Coast cities. Having settled on a dissertation topic, I quickly realized there were few professors at my institution, the University of California at Berkeley, who shared my research subject. Hoping to find some mentors with similar scholarly interests, I packed my bags and headed east. I scoured cities from New York to D.C. with a brief stop in Philly in hopes of finding my intellectual Yoda. Continue reading this article on The Chronicle.

July 31, 2014

Win $250 by entering the MIT Global photo contest

As recently announced by MIT News, providers of global opportunities for MIT students (GECD, MISTI, and D-Lab) have partnered for a campus-wide international photo contest! Current students, staff and faculty can submit pictures of their MIT-related travel and win Amazon gift cards of $250 value. See the GECD web site for contest details. View submissions at their tumblr and by following the hashtag #etmundus, and email srmurray@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by Worapol Sittiphaet.

July 30, 2014

Morton and Shah’s research show progress toward better cancer treatment and bone replacement

Personalized cancer treatments and better bone implants could grow from techniques demonstrated by graduate students Stephen W. Morton and Nisarg J. Shah, who are both working in chemical engineering professor Paula Hammond’s lab at MIT. Morton’s work focuses on developing drug-carrying nanoparticles to target hard-to-treat cancers — such as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) — while Shah develops coatings that promote better adhesion for bone implants. Continue reading about Morton and Shah’s research on MIT NewsPictured are Shah (left) and Morton (right); photo by Denis Paiste. 

July 30, 2014

GSC Legislative Actions Subcommittee meeting Jul. 31

On Thursday, July 31st at 5:30 pm, join the GSC Legislative Actions Subcommittee (LASC) outside of 50-220 to discuss political issues concerning MIT graduate students. Learn about going to Washington DC with LASC to advocate on Capitol Hill for MIT graduate students, and contribute to op-ed articles on political issues! This meeting, LASC will also be discussing how negative data affect the scientific community. New members are always welcome and free food will be provided at the meeting. For more information, see the LASC website or contact gsc-lasc@mit.edu with any questions.

July 30, 2014

Chinese Valentine’s Day movie and game night Aug. 1

Come and celebrate Chinese Valentine’s Day! On Friday, August 1st, join members of the MIT community in the Ashdown House Hulsizer room at 6:00 pm for a dinner of Chinese food and drinks. After dinner is served, everyone is invited to choose a romantic movie to watch and board games to play. If interested in attending, please sign up online. Contact cast-board@mit.edu with any additional questions. Photo by Garry Knight

July 29, 2014

2014-15 Hugh Hampton Young Fellows named

Five new graduate students and one continuing recipient have been chosen to receive the prestigious Hugh Hampton Young Memorial Fund Fellowship in the 2014-15 academic year. This highly selective research fellowship at MIT is named for the pioneering medical researcher Hugh Hampton Young. Recipients are chosen for both academic achievement and exceptional strength of character, focusing heavily on the perceived potential of the candidate to positively impact humanity. Photo by Doris Ulmann.

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July 29, 2014

New MITx Courses coming in Fall 2014

EdX offers interactive online classes and massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world’s best universities. MITx courses embody the inventiveness, openness, rigor and quality that are hallmarks of MIT, and many use materials developed for MIT residential courses in the Institute’s five schools and 33 academic disciplines. Sign up for any of the 18 new courses that will be added to MITx this fall:

  • 3.032x: Mechanical Behavior of Materials
  • 3.086x: Innovation and Commercialization
  • 3.091x: Introduction to Solid State Chemistry
  • 4.605x: Global Architecture
  • 6.00.1x: Introduction to Computer Science & Programming
  • 6.004.1x: Computation Structures: Digital Circuits
  • 6.002x: Circuits and Electronics
  • 6.341x: Discrete-Time Signal Processing
  • 6.832x: Underactuated Robotics
  • 8.EFTx: Effective Field Theories
  • 15.S23x: U-Lab: From Ego-system to Eco-system Economies
  • 24.00x: Introduction to Philosophy
  • MAS.S69x: Big Data and Social Physics
  • Media Lab: Design and Development of Educational Technology
  • Media Lab: Introduction to Game Design and Development
  • ESD.SCM1x: Supply Chain Fundamentals
  • Virology-x: Virology
  • VJx: Visualizing Japan

July 29, 2014

Proposal for the East Campus/Kendall Square gateway study

MIT provost Martin A. Schmidt has released a follow-up of the on-going redesign of the East side of MIT’s campus and Kendall square. MIT will advance a proposal with ideas for the new East Campus/Kendall Square layout of this buzzing area in the Cambridge community. The board of MIT is aiming to “achieve the vibrancy and integration that is essential for that critical gateway area of the campus.” The new layout includes space for the MIT Museum, an Innovation Space, and room for a new graduate student residence building with a child care facility. In this vision, a new residence will be built to house the current residents of Eastgate as well as additional graduate students; Eastgate will then be replaced by a lab building.  The MIT executive board members are hoping to begin this process in the fall.

July 28, 2014

Heber helps protect marine ecosystems in the Coral Triangle

When Kelly Heber goes snorkeling in Bali, she’s not exactly vacationing. In a few minutes, she’ll be onboard a nearby boat, asking the captain if he’s seen any comeback in his fish stocks in recent years. She’ll ask how he decides if a coral reef is healthy enough to support daily visits from boatloads of tourists, and if littering and pollution pose threats.

As a PhD student in the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning working in the Science Impact Collaborative, Heber performs her environmental policy fieldwork in rural villages in Indonesia that are fringed by vibrant coral reefs. These reefs suffered during the period from the 1950s to the 1990s, when fishermen commonly exploded cyanide bombs in the water to kill and harvest all the fish in an area at once. Still in recovery, these “post-blast” coral reefs now attract thousands of tourists a year, generating the main source of income for village communities.

Learn more about Heber’s fieldwork on the Oceans at MIT website.

July 28, 2014

Nuts & bolts of an academic job search panel Jul. 29

Are you considering an academic career? Wondering how to mount a successful job search in a highly competitive academic job market? Come and hear how others have done it on Tuesday, July 29th, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm in 32-123. Faculty panelists who successfully landed a position will outline an effective search strategy and discuss important elements of the process – finding opportunities of interest, preparing a strong application, the role of your advisors, interviewing, negotiating, and how the increasingly competitive job market is changing the faculty search process. Snacks and refreshments will be provided!  Sponsored by the GSC Academic, Research and Careers Committee. Photo by Bluefield College

July 28, 2014

MIT Museum Summer Hours

The MIT Museum is typically open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but during July and August, the MIT Museum will be open until 7:00 pm on Thursdays and until 8:00 pm the second Friday of each month.  Visit the MIT Museum Calendar to see what activities will be going on throughout July and August or sign up for a workshop that interests you. Take advantage of the new summer hours and don’t miss out on the incredible exhibits!

July 25, 2014

Dimas 3-D prints materials that resist flaws and fractures

MIT graduate student Leon Dimas is no stranger to resilience: At 18, as a rising soccer star, the long-armed goalkeeper was a promising prospect who played for the youth academy of Rosenborg BK, a top-ranked Norwegian soccer club. He was set, it seemed, on a path that would allow him to pursue a professional career playing the game that was his first love. But when Dimas suffered nagging damage to a shoulder tendon, his professional prospects dimmed. Over the course of the next year, he made the decision to abandon professional soccer for good. “Once that dream broke, you wonder if you can get these kinds of feelings again,” Dimas says, “feelings of accomplishment and that someone believes in you.”

It’s fair to say that Dimas, now a doctoral student in MIT’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has bounced back. Fittingly, he is now working on creating new materials that have resilience of their own — by borrowing from the oldest blueprint around. Learn more about Leon Dimas’ research at MIT News.

July 25, 2014

Technology (and other) tips for travelers

Summer is here and the road beckons. Whether you’re on vacation or a business trip, traveling in the States or out of the country, chances are you’ll have one or more devices in tow – a mobile phone, tablet or laptop. While these devices can help you discover, navigate, and keep in touch, you may encounter challenges when using them in new locations. Up-front preparation goes a long way: set aside time to ready your device, in the same way you contemplate what to pack. Continue reading at IS&T to find out what neat tips to keep in mind when heading out on a trip or vacation.

July 25, 2014

Eastgate Summer Grill Night Jul. 26

Enjoy a scrumptious, finger-licking good  BBQ on Saturday, July 26th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Eastgate Courtyard. You bring the meat, and they’ll provide the heat. Sides and drinks will be provided by the Eastgate Community Association. Photo by xeeliz

July 25, 2014

MIT Ballroom’s 2nd Annual Live Music Social Jul. 26

Join MIT’s Ballroom Dance Team for their 2nd Annual Live Music Social on Saturday, July 26th from 7:00 pm to midnight in the Walker Memorial building. Beginner Waltz and Swing lessons will start at 7:00 pm, and the band will begin playing for social dancing at 8:00 pm. Presale tickets are available online and cost $5 for MIT students, $10 for MIT affiliates, and $15 for the general public. Tickets will also be available at the door for an additional $5. Contact mitbdt-exec@mit.edu with any questions.

July 24, 2014

Llorens-Bonilla designs two extra robotic arms for you

Most of the robotic limbs you hear about are meant to replace arms and legs that have been lost to injury, but MIT is working on robotic limbs that are just meant to add on additional ones, giving people three or four arms so that they can get more done. Its researchers demonstrated the limbs — which they call supernumerary robotic arms — at a conference yesterday in China, and videos show that they’re already working to a basic extent. The current suit reportedly weighs just 10 pounds, but right now it seems to mainly be useful for holding light objects in place.

“Once we combine the most significant behavioral modes we are able to control the robot such that, from the wearer’s perspective, it behaves like an extension of his own body,” Baldin Llorens-Bonilla, an MIT researcher working on robotic limbs, tells IEEE Spectrum. Continue reading about his research on The Verge.

July 24, 2014

GSC Dissertation Bootcamp Jul. 28 through Aug. 8

Are you preparing your thesis to meet the summer thesis submission deadline? GSC is here to help! We will provide you with a quiet place in Hayden Library to work on your thesis with other graduate students, where breakfast & coffee will be provided everyday! This bootcamp will run from Monday, July 28th through Friday, August 8th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and you can choose to attend any day that works best for you. If you are interested, please sign up online, or contact GSC ARC at gsc-arc@mit.edu with any additional questions.

July 24, 2014

MIT-BSA Iftar and pre-Eid celebration Jul. 26

On Saturday, July 26th, MIT’s Bangladeshi Students’ Association (BSA) will be hosting their annual Iftar and pre-Eid celebration in the basement lounge of Westgate. The organization will provide a wide variety of pre-cooked, unique, spicy, and colorful Bangladeshi food for MIT students to try. The event begins at 8:00 pm and ends at 9:30 pm. Contact bd-exec@mit.edu if you would like to learn more about the event. Photo by vipez

July 24, 2014

Join the Eastgate community for a water party Jul. 26

On Saturday, July 26th at 4:00 pm, come to the Eastgate Courtyard (E-55) for a water party open to MIT families and kids. This fun afternoon party will have a lot of water activities, so come with clothes that can get wet and a bit dirty! If it rains, the event will be postponed to Sunday, July 27th or Saturday, August 2nd. For more details contact eastgate-pc@mit.eduPhoto by Reggie Alvey

July 23, 2014

Arida, Ghole, and Wang take high school students out of the classroom with NuVu

The brainchild of MIT alumnus Saeed Arida PhD ’10, NuVu (pronounced “new view”) enrolls students from local schools — both during the academic year and the summer — to focus on real-world projects. In so doing, students are exposed to the collaborative, experimental, and demanding design process typical of architectural design studios. The NuVu Studio is located down an alley off Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. It’s a place where local high school students leave their classrooms behind to design robots, websites, board games, medical devices, and clothing, among other things. But they’re not playing hooky — in fact, it’s part of their education.

Co-founded with Saba Ghole SM ’07 and David Wang, a PhD student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, NuVu brought in about 150 students last year. Around 400 students have participated in the studio, creating more than 130 projects including robotic arms, modular shelters, sustainable and futuristic clothing, documentaries about Boston’s Tibetan population, and strategy games. Read more about NuVu at MIT News.

 

July 23, 2014

Spotting a bad adviser and how to pick a good one

Universities have a lot of names for the professor who works with a graduate student on a thesis or dissertation and later signs off on it. The main titles are “adviser,” “director,” and, more rarely, “sponsor.” Some universities, including my own, call a professor in this position a “mentor.” I like “adviser” because I think that’s the best description of the job when it’s being done well.

The relationship between advisee and professor (whatever that person’s title) is the longest and most important one in a graduate student’s formal education, a unique blend of the professional and the personal. Continue reading this article online on The Chronicle.

July 23, 2014

Mind-body yoga dance party Jul. 24

On Thursday, July 24th, join other MIT community members for a mind-body yoga dance party in the Stratton Student Center (W20-491) at 7:00 pm. This event will begin with mingling and eating snacks, some light music and warm-up dance games, partner yoga, and guided meditation. At 8:25 pm, the music will start up again for anyone who wants to dance the night away! If you have any questions,  email eliasb@mit.edu or kgnayar@mit.eduPhoto by Tucker Sherman

July 22, 2014

Bamiduro and Adepetu are turning waste into energy, one community at a time

On a good day, residents in Lagos, Nigeria, get eight hours of electricity—far from enough for a rapidly growing city of 18 million. To address this shortfall, students from across MIT have teamed up to launch a waste-to-energy company that will provide Lagos residents with cheap, reliable electricity.

“Lagos has a severe waste problem, severe unemployment, and an environmental problem. Millions of people are running diesel generators on a daily basis,” said Adetayo “Tayo” Bamiduro, an MIT Sloan MBA ’15 student from Nigeria. The company the students founded, NovaGen Power Solutions, aims to supply biogas to apartment buildings while providing local jobs. “The impact is social, environmental, and economic,” Bamiduro said.

The brainchild of Adeyemi “Yemi” Adepetu, a student in MIT’s System Design and Management (SDM) program, NovaGen will collect organic waste from apartments and convert it into biogas to fuel generators. Continue reading the article here. Adepetu pictured at left. 

July 22, 2014

Sign up for the International Student Mentorship Program by Jul. 25

Interested in mentoring first year international graduate students? Give them an opportunity for cultural exchange and to learn more about Cambridge, Boston, and the MIT culture. Mentees and mentors will be matched up based on national/regional origins, mutual interests, and similar considerations. The deadline to register as a mentor is Friday, July 25th, and the sign-up link and more about the program can be found online. Should you decide to participate in the program, you have to be in e-mail contact with your mentee throughout August. During Fall Orientation, the new student will have the opportunity to meet his/her mentor at the Mentorship Mixer and International Dance Festival. Direct any further questions to azubair@mit.edu.

July 22, 2014

Israeli Dancing Jul. 23

The MIT Folk Dancing Club and Hillel MIT are planning an night filled with Israeli Dancing for Wednesday, July 23rd, to take place at the Student Center in room 491. Teaching and beginner dances will start at 8:00 pm, followed by open requests until 11:00 pm+. Kosher snacks will be provided. The event is free for all MIT students, but there is a suggested donation of $1. Don’t miss out on the fun! The event begins at 8:00 pm and will end at 11:30 pm. Email fdc-request@mit.edu with any questions. Photo by U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

 

July 21, 2014

De Montjoye helps you own your own data

Graduate student Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye is working on a new system that would allow individuals to pick and choose what data to share with websites and mobile apps. The example I like to use is personalized music,” says de Montjoye. “Pandora, for example, comes down to this thing that they call the music genome, which contains a summary of your musical tastes. To recommend a song, all you need is the last 10 songs you listened to — just to make sure you don’t keep recommending the same one again — and this music genome. You don’t need the list of all the songs you’ve been listening to.”

De Montjoye says “You share code; you don’t share data. Instead of you sending data to Pandora, for Pandora to define what your musical preferences are, it’s Pandora sending a piece of code to you for you to define your musical preferences and send it back to them.” Read more about de Montjoye’s new system at MIT News.

 

July 21, 2014

International Care Critical Data Marathon: Register by Jul. 31

In collaboration with Hacking Medicine, the MIT Laboratory for Computational Physiology is holding the second International Critical Care Data Marathon at the MIT Stata Center on September 5th7th. The event will bring together nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, and physicians with data scientists to address clinically relevant questions in a large clinical database over the course of a weekend. Participants will have the opportunity to work with a large, open-access ICU database called MIMIC (created in collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), MIT, and Philips Healthcare).  In 48 hours, teams of clinicians and data scientists will generate novel questions to address which will hopefully result in lasting relationships and clinically relevant projects. Be sure to register for the data marathon if you’re interested. The deadline to register is July 31, 2014.