News

MIT researchers describe an autonomous system for a fleet of drones to collaboratively search under dense forest canopies using only onboard computation and wireless communication — no GPS required. Image: Melanie Gonick

Fleets of drones could aid searches for lost hikers
MIT News Office | November 2, 2018

System designed by MIT researchers, including Jonathan How of LIDS, allows drones to cooperatively explore terrain under thick forest canopies where GPS signals are unreliable.

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Once mercury is emitted from the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, among other sources, the gas can drift through the atmosphere for up to a year before settling into lakes and oceans.

Study: Impact of mercury-controlling policies shrinks with every five-year delay
MIT News Office | November 1, 2018

A new study by TPP director Noelle Selin and Hélène Angot, a former IDSS postdoc, finds that the longer countries wait to reduce mercury emissions, the less effective any emissions-reducing policies will be when they are eventually implemented.

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Devavrat Shah speaking at the MIT Retail Conference

IDSS conference explores data disruption in the retail sector
October 31, 2018

Industry and academic leaders discussed how retailers are personalizing sales and delivering unique customer experiences — with the help of machine learning, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence.

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Daron Acemoglu

Election Insights 2018: On Civil Society and Democracy
SHASS | October 31, 2018

IDSS and Economics professor Daron Acemoglu offers his perspective on the 2018 election: "What is written in a constitution can take a nation only so far unless society is willing to act to protect it."

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The new model measures distances between words with similar meanings in “word embeddings,” and then aligns the words in both embeddings that are most closely correlated by relative distances, meaning they’re most likely to be direct translations of one another.

Model paves way for faster, more efficient translations of more languages
MIT News Office | October 30, 2018

IDSS affiliate Tommi Jaakkola and CSAIL researchers have developed a model leveraging a metric in statistics, called Gromov-Wasserstein distance, that could lead to faster, more efficient language translations.

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(l-r, Phyllis Hammer, Munther Dahleh, Hammer Fellow postdoc Kiran Garimella, SES Hammer Fellow Manxi Wu, Michael and Phyllis’ children Jessica, David, Dana, Alison, and SES Hammer Fellows Cate Heine, Leon Yao) © Bryce Vickmark. All rights reserved. www.vickmark.com 617-448-6758

Celebrating the legacy of Michael Hammer and the new Hammer Fellowship
October 30, 2018

MIT senior leaders and IDSS faculty, staff, and students joined Phyllis Thurm Hammer and her family and friends in a celebration marking the launch of the new Hammer Society of Fellows.

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Ethical questions involving autonomous vehicles are the focus of a new global survey conducted by MIT researchers.

How should autonomous vehicles be programmed?
MIT News Office | October 25, 2018

A new survey developed by MIT researchers, including Media Lab professor and IDSS affiliate Iyad Rahwan, reveals global preferences and regional variations concerning the ethics of autonomous vehicles. Their paper, “The Moral Machine Experiment,” has been published in Nature.

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Illustration by Daniel Savage of protesters holding signs that say YES and NO WAY

Truth, lies, and tribal voters
MIT Technology Review | October 24, 2018

A look at recent insights about fake news from MIT researchers, including IDSS affiliates Adam Berinksy, Sinan Aral, David Rand, and Teppei Yamamoto.

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Nathaniel Fruchter (left) and Donovan Guttieres, both master's students with the MIT Technology and Policy Program (TPP), were two of the IDSS student leaders of the HUBweek Policy Hackathon.

HUBweek Policy Hackathon delivers solutions to local challenges
MIT News Office | October 22, 2018

Citizens and data scientists produce actionable recommendations for high-priority Boston-area issues at an IDSS student-run event during Boston's annual ideas festival.

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Teppei Yamamoto

Refining the “science” of political science
MIT News Office | October 22, 2018

IDSS affiliate Teppei Yamamoto studies political cause and effect, including a project with fellow IDSS affiliate Adam Berinsky examining the effects of news media on political views.

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