November 19, 2012
"Moreover, these massive open online courses, or MOOCs, harness the power of their huge enrollments to teach in new ways, applying crowd-sourcing technology to discussion forums and grading and enabling professors to use online lectures and reserve on-campus class time for interaction with students."
The Media Lab’s Open Agriculture Initiative is releasing a Personal Food Computer, which uses the same algorithms as the lab and is “capable of growing four plants at a time,” reports Howie Kahn of The Wall Street Journal. Research scientist Caleb Harper hopes the PFC technology, which will be piloted in Boston-area schools, “will expand our knowledge of cultivation on a rapidly changing planet.”
A preclinical study by MIT researchers successfully eradicated two strains of drug-resistant bacteria using encapsulated probiotics and antibiotics, writes UPI reporter Allen Stone. The researchers believe “these probiotics can replenish the gut microbiome after treatment with antibiotics,” and they hope to use this method to develop new types of bandages.
MIT’s new college of computing represents the Institute’s “first fundamental restructuring in nearly 70 years,” writes Kaveh Wadell of Axios. The college is intended to connect parts of the Institute that have been “siloed from MIT's technology focus” and encourage students “to develop ‘bilingual’ skills: that is, to study computing and another discipline together.”
Prof. Angelika Amon is a recipient of this year’s Breakthrough Prize “for her work on aneuploidy, irregularities in the number of chromosomes,” which could lead to a new understanding of cancer, writes Martin Finucane for The Boston Globe. Prof. Chenyang Xu, Prof. Matt Evans and research scientist Lisa Barsotti received New Horizons Prizes in physics, while Prof. Daniel Harlow received one in math.
Chronicle of Higher Education reporter Lee Gardner notes that MIT is making a $1 billion investment in furthering the study of computation and AI. “The institute’s project will support the search for solutions to two other daunting challenges,” Gardner explains, “how to handle the ethical and philosophical implications of AI for the societies it will transform, and how to break down institutional silos in academe.”
Taylor Pettaway of the Boston Herald writes that MIT’s new college of computing will be one of the university’s largest structural changes made since 1950. Offering classes in different fields, “students will be able to experience on campus new computational tools and these new abilities transform academics on campus with every study,” says Provost Martin Schmidt.