Category Archives: Science & Technology

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

Researchers clarify mystery about proposed battery material

Study explains conflicting results from other experiments, may lead to batteries with more energy per pound BY DAVID L CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Battery researchers agree that one of the most promising possibilities for future battery technology is the lithium-air (or lithium-oxygen) battery,

Lunar dynamo’s lifetime extended by at least 1 billion years

Findings suggest two mechanisms may have powered the moon’s ancient churning, molten core BY JENNIFER CHU, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — New evidence from ancient lunar rocks suggests that an active dynamo once churned within the molten metallic core of the moon, generating a magnetic field

Tiny terahertz laser could be used for imaging, chemical detection

New design boosts the power output of the best-performing chip-scale terahertz laser by 80 percent BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Terahertz radiation — the band of the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and visible light — has promising applications in medical and industrial imaging

Automatic image retouching on your phone

System can apply a range of styles in real-time, so that the viewfinder displays the enhanced image BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The data captured by today’s digital cameras is often treated as the raw material of a final image. Before uploading pictures

Designing the microstructure of printed objects

Software lets designers exploit the extremely high resolution of 3-D printers BY LARRY HARDESTY, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Today’s 3-D printers have a resolution of 600 dots per inch, which means that they could pack a billion tiny cubes of different materials into a volume

Robot detects pipe leaks while they’re easy to fix

Robot can inspect water or gas pipes from the inside to find leaks long before they become catastrophic BY DAVID L CHANDLER, MIT NEWS CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Access to clean, safe water is one of the world’s pressing needs, yet today’s water distribution systems lose