Category Archives: Science & Technology

Toward efficient high-pressure desalination

>>Surprisingly, pressurization isn’t to blame for fouling of membranes, study finds. BY DAVID L. CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The desalination industry, a critical source of potable water in many arid regions, generated more than $13 billion last year and is expected to double

Engineers identify key to albatross’ marathon flight

>> Flying in shallow arcs helps birds stay aloft with less effort BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The albatross is one of the most efficient travelers in the animal world. One species, the wandering albatross, can fly nearly 500 miles in a single

Technique spots warning signs of extreme events

>> Method may help predict hotspots of instability affecting climate, aircraft performance, and ocean circulation BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Many extreme events — from a rogue wave that rises up from calm waters, to an  instability inside a gas turbine, to the

New analysis explains role of defects in metal oxides

>> Harnessing these imperfections could have implications for computer memory and energy conversion BY DAVID L CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Sometimes things that are technically defects, such as imperfections in a material’s crystal lattice, can actually produce changes in properties that open up

Automatic code reuse

>> System makes modifications necessary to transplant code from one program into another BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new system that allows programmers to transplant code from one program into

“Peel-and-go” printable structures fold themselves

>> Expanding polymer enables self-folding without heating or immersion in water BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — As 3-D printing has become a mainstream technology, industry and academic researchers have been investigating printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated or immersed in

How neural networks think

>> General-purpose technique sheds light on inner workings of neural nets trained to process language BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Artificial-intelligence research has been transformed by machine-learning systems called neural networks, which learn how to perform tasks by analyzing huge volumes of training

How retractions hurt scientists’ credibility

> Study finds faulty research creates a significant drop in use of prior published work BY PETER DIZIKES, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Life scientists who have published papers that are retracted by journals subsequently suffer a 10 percent drop in citations of their remaining work,