Industry News

MIT School of Engineering

  • Fortifying the future of cryptography
    As a boy growing up in a small South Indian village, Vinod Vaikuntanathan taught himself calculus by reading books his grandfather left lying around the house. Years later in college, he toiled away in the library studying number theory, which deals with the properties and relationships of numbers, primarily positive integers. This field of study naturally steered Vaikuntanathan toward what he calls “the most important application of number theory in the modern world”: cryptography. Today, Vaikuntanathan, a recently tenured associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, is using number theory and other mathematical concepts to fortify encryption so it can be used for new applications and stand up to even the toughest adversaries. One major focus is developing more efficient encryption techniques ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Mechanism helps explain the ear’s exquisite sensitivity
    The human ear, like those of other mammals, is so extraordinarily sensitive that it can detect sound-wave-induced vibrations of the eardrum that move by less than the width of an atom. Now, researchers at MIT have discovered important new details of how the ear achieves this amazing ability to pick up faint sounds. The new findings help explain how our ears can detect vibrations a million times less intense than those we can detect through the sense of touch, for example. The results appear in the journal Physical Review Letters, in a paper by visiting scientist and lead author Jonathan Sellon, professor of electrical engineering and senior author Dennis Freeman, visiting scientist Roozbeh Ghaffari, and members of the Grodzinsky group at MIT. Both the ear’s ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Professor Emeritus János Miklós Beér dies at 95
    János Miklós Beér, professor emeritus of chemical and fuel engineering and a pathbreaking researcher in the field of flames, combustion, and cleaner-burning fossil fuels, died peacefully on Dec. 8, in Winchester at the age of 95. Beér served on the MIT faculty from 1976 to 1993, helping to launch the Combustion Research Facility as part of the Institute's Energy Laboratory. In 2003, U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham awarded him the Homer H. Lowry Award, the department's highest honor, for his work leading to commercial burners that achieved high efficiencies while minimizing noxious emissions such as nitrogen oxides. “Dr. Beér has made pioneering research and development contributions for 45 years to combustion science and technology of coal, oil, and gaseous flames,” Abraham said at the award ceremony. “He has also ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Democratizing data science
    MIT researchers are hoping to advance the democratization of data science with a new tool for nonstatisticians that automatically generates models for analyzing raw data. Democratizing data science is the notion that anyone, with little to no expertise, can do data science if provided ample data and user-friendly analytics tools. Supporting that idea, the new tool ingests datasets and generates sophisticated statistical models typically used by experts to analyze, interpret, and predict underlying patterns in data. The tool currently lives on Jupyter Notebook, an open-source web framework that allows users to run programs interactively in their browsers. Users need only write a few lines of code to uncover insights into, for instance, financial trends, air travel, voting patterns, the spread of disease, and other trends. ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Technique identifies electricity-producing bacteria
    Living in extreme conditions requires creative adaptations. For certain species of bacteria that exist in oxygen-deprived environments, this means finding a way to breathe that doesn’t involve oxygen. These hardy microbes, which can be found deep within mines, at the bottom of lakes, and even in the human gut, have evolved a unique form of breathing that involves excreting and pumping out electrons. In other words, these microbes can actually produce electricity. Scientists and engineers are exploring ways to harness these microbial power plants to run fuel cells and purify sewage water, among other uses. But pinning down a microbe’s electrical properties has been a challenge: The cells are much smaller than mammalian cells and extremely difficult to grow in laboratory conditions. Now MIT engineers ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-11
  • Tapping the MIT talent pool for the future of fusion
    MIT graduate student Caroline Sorensen is using her talent for mechanical engineering to help advance a novel project within the domain of applied science: the commercialization of fusion energy. “There are a lot of cool things to be done from a technical perspective,” she says. “Plus this work holds the possibility of making a huge impact on the world. This is exactly the kind of project that I came to MIT hoping to find.” Many of the researchers at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) are plasma physicists and nuclear engineering researchers, she says, but not all. “There are a few of us from other areas who are jumping over here,” says Sorensen, who earned a master’s degree at MIT in a MechE lab ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-11
  • ACCESS shows grad school's rigors and rewards
    On a crisp weekend in mid-October, 24 ambitious undergraduates from across the country arrived on the MIT campus for a program pitching the benefits of a graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering, and materials science. This program, called ACCESS, aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in graduate programs at MIT and other research institutions. Among this cohort were nine chemical engineering students nominated by faculty from Stanford University, the University of North Carolina, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Houston. "Many of these students may not understand what a doctoral degree enables them to do," says Paula Hammond, the David H. Koch Chair Professor of Engineering and the head of the Department of Chemical Engineering. "The ACCESS program is intended to get ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-09
  • School of Engineering welcomes new faculty
    The School of Engineering is welcoming 11 new faculty members to its departments, institutes, labs, and centers. With research and teaching activities ranging from the development of novel microscopy techniques to intelligent systems and mixed-autonomy mobility, they are poised to make significant contributions in new directions across the school and to a wide range of research efforts around the Institute. “I am pleased to welcome our outstanding new faculty,” says Anantha Chandrakasan, dean of the School of Engineering. “Their contributions as educators, researchers, and collaborators will enhance the engineering community and strengthen our global impact.” Pulkit Agrawal will join the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science as an assistant professor in July. Agrawal earned a BS in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and was ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-09
  • Spider web music: An inspiring harmony of art and science
    Spider webs were making music in Paris this fall, at MIT visiting artist Tomás Saraceno’s Palais de Tokyo art exhibit, ON AIR. "Spider’s Canvas," an exploration that sonifies the threads of a spider web, was designed, constructed, and performed by MIT’s Center for Art, Science, and Technology (CAST) Faculty Director and Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor Evan Ziporyn, Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) PhD student Isabelle Su, CEE department head and McAfee Professor of Engineering Markus Buehler, MIT Music and Theatre Arts lecturer Ian Hattwick, and composer and video artist Christine Southworth ’02.  Based on research on spider webs from MIT’s Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics (LAMM), Su, Buehler, and Ziporyn produced an interactive instrument that echoes the parallels of music and materials science.  ON AIR combined ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-08
  • Tackling greenhouse gases
    The images are ubiquitous: A coastal town decimated by another powerful hurricane, satellite images showing shrinking polar ice caps, a school of dead fish floating on the surface of warming waters, swaths of land burnt by an out-of-control wildfire. These dire portrayals share a common thread — they offer tangible evidence that climate change is affecting every corner of the globe. According to NASA, Earth’s surface temperature has risen 0.9 degrees Celsius since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. Researchers agree that the rise in temperatures has one primary culprit: increased greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane all trap heat in our atmosphere, making them directly responsible for climate change. The occurrence of these gases in our atmosphere has increased exponentially since the ... read more
    Source: MIT News – School of EngineeringPublished on 2019-01-07

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