Category Archives: Science & Technology

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,

How to make data centers more energy efficient

Flash-memory system could reduce power consumption of data center “caches” by 90 percent BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Most modern websites store data in databases, and since database queries are relatively slow, most sites also maintain so-called cache servers, which list the results

New robot rolls with the rules of pedestrian conduct

Approach may enable robots to move around hospitals, malls, and other areas with heavy foot traffic BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS  CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Just as drivers observe the rules of the road, most pedestrians follow certain social codes when navigating a hallway or a crowded