All posts by MIT News

Try this! Researchers devise better recommendation algorithm

Approach should work especially well when ratings data is “sparse.”  BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The recommendation systems at websites such as Amazon and Netflix use a technique called “collaborative filtering.” To determine what products a given customer might like, they look for

Turning emissions into fuel

MIT-developed method converts carbon dioxide into useful compounds BY DAVID L CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — MIT researchers have developed a new system that could potentially be used for converting power plant emissions of carbon dioxide into useful fuels for cars, trucks, and planes,

Physicists design $100 handheld muon detector

Pocket-sized device detects charged particles in surrounding air BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — At any given moment, the Earth’s atmosphere is showered with high-energy cosmic rays that have been blasted from supernovae and other astrophysical phenomena far beyond the Solar System. When cosmic

How to float your coffee creamer

Study explains how droplets can “levitate” on liquid surfaces BY JENNIFER, CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A drop or two of cold cream in hot coffee can go a long way toward improving one’s morning. But what if the two liquids didn’t mix? MIT

MIT-Haiti, Google team up to boost education in Kreyòl

Institute-led effort to create STEM lexicon is now available for global translation BY PETER DIZIKES, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In recent years, MIT scholars have helped develop a whole lexicon of science and math terms for use in Haiti’s Kreyòl language. Now a collaboration with Google

Crowdsourcing big-data analysis

Web-based system automatically evaluates proposals from far-flung data scientists BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In the analysis of big data sets, the first step is usually the identification of “features” — data points with particular predictive power or analytic utility. Choosing features usually

How impatience guides financial behavior

Study: Long-term states of mind can affect short-term financial decisions BY PETER DIZIKES, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Imagine you are receiving a refund payment from the federal government. Are you going to spend it right away or save the money? Is that decision based on

MIT students fortify concrete by adding recycled plastic

Adding bits of irradiated plastic water bottles could cut cement industry’s carbon emissions BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Discarded plastic bottles could one day be used to build stronger, more flexible concrete structures, from sidewalks and street barriers, to buildings and bridges, according

New software lets your car tell you what it needs

MIT team develops software that can tell if tires need air, spark plugs are bad, or air filter needs replacing BY DAVID L CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass — Imagine hopping into a ride-share car, glancing at your smartphone, and telling the driver that the