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MIT Schwarzman College of Computing

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Wired

Wired reporter Will Knight spotlights a study by researchers from MIT and other universities that finds judges are turning to Wikipedia for guidance when making legal decisions. “The researchers also found evidence that the use of Wikipedia reflects an already stretched system,” writes Knight. “The legal decisions that included Wikipedia-influenced citations were most often seen in the lower courts, which they suspect reflects how overworked the judges are.”

Popular Mechanics

The MIT mini cheetah broke a speed record after learning to adapt to difficult terrain and upping its speed, reports Rienk De Beer for Popular Mechanics.

New Scientist

Postdoctoral researcher Murat Onen  and his colleagues have created “a nanoscale resistor that transmits protons from one terminal to another,” reports Alex Wilkins for New Scientist. “The resistor uses powerful electric fields to transport protons at very high speeds without damaging or breaking the resistor itself, a problem previous solid-state proton resistors had suffered from,” explains Wilkins.

Independent

Researchers from CSAIL and elsewhere have found that Irish judges are using Wikipedia articles as a source in their rulings, reports Shane Phelan for Independent. “This work shows that Wikipedia reaches even farther than that, into high-stakes, formalized processes like legal judgments,” says research scientist Neil Thompson. “The worst outcome would be for a judge’s reliance on Wikipedia to lead them to decide a case differently than they would have if they had read either an expert secondary source or the cited precedent itself.”

Popular Science

Researchers from CSAIL, Cornell University, and Maynooth University have released a study concluding that judges in Ireland are utilizing Wikipedia articles to help inform their decisions, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. Based on their findings, the researchers suggest “the legal community increases its efforts to monitor and fact-check legal information posted on Wikipedia.” 

Science Friday

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ira Flatow of NPR’s Science Friday about the importance of the CHIPS Act and the pressing need to invest in semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. “There is a deep connection between leading-edge manufacturing and innovation,” says del Alamo. “Whoever gets the most advanced technology first in the marketplace is going to rip off the greatest profits, and as a result is going to be able to invest into innovation at a greater level and therefore be able to move faster than their competitors.”

Forbes

MIT researchers have developed a new system that enabled the mini robotic cheetah to learn to run, reports John Koetsier for Forbes. ““Traditionally, the process that people have been using [to train robots] requires you to study the actual system and manually design models,” explains Prof. Pulkit Agrawal. “This process is good, it’s well established, but it’s not very scalable. “But we are removing the human from designing the specific behaviors.”

NPR

Prof. Jesús del Alamo speaks with Ann Fisher of WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher about the importance of supporting domestic chip manufacturing in the U.S., and the need to help encourage students to pursue careers in the semiconductor industry. “Universities and colleges train over 50% of the semiconductor workforce,” says del Alamo, “and so investing in education, investing in the infrastructure, both human but also physical infrastructure that supports education and research, is really critical in the long run.” 

Science

MIT researchers have created a thin, lightweight and flexible loudspeaker that is as thin as a few sheets of paper and can stick to most surfaces while producing high quality sound, reports Kendra Redmond for Science News Explores. “Because the design is so flexible and durable, companies could potentially integrate speakers into T-shirts or other personal items,” writes Redmond. “Or users could make their own.”

TechCrunch

MIT researchers have developed FuseBot, a new system that combines RFID tagging with a robotic arm to retrieve hidden objects from a pile, reports Brian Heater for TechCrunch. “As long as some objects within the pile are tagged, the system can determine where its subject is most likely located and the most efficient way to retrieve it,” writes Heater.

Stat

A study co-authored by MIT researchers finds that algorithms based on clinical medical notes can predict the self-identified race of a patient, reports Katie Palmer for STAT. “We’re not ready for AI — no sector really is ready for AI — until they’ve figured out that the computers are learning things that they’re not supposed to learn,” says Principal Research Scientist Leo Anthony Celi.

New Scientist

CSAIL graduate student Yunzhu Li and his colleagues have trained a robot to use two metal grippers to mold letters out of play dough, reports Jeremy Hsu for New Scientist. "Li and his colleagues trained a robot to use two metal grippers to mould the approximate shapes of the letters B, R, T, X and A out of Play-Doh," explains Hsu. "The training involved just 10 minutes of randomly manipulating a block of the modelling clay beforehand, without requiring any human demonstrations."

WHDH 7

MIT engineers have created insect-sized robots that can emit light when they fly and could eventually be used to aid search-and-rescue missions, reports WHDH. “Our idea is, if we can send in hundreds or thousands of those tiny flying robots then once they find that survivor, they will shine out light and pass information back and signal people on the outside saying ‘we found someone who’s trapped,'” explains Prof. Kevin Chen.

Popular Science

MIT engineers have developed tiny flying robots that can light up, reports Colleen Hagerty for Popular Science. “If you think of large-scale robots, they can communicate using a lot of different tools—Bluetooth, wireless, all those sorts of things,” says Prof. Kevin Chen. “But for a tiny, power-constrained robot, we are forced to think about new modes of communication.”

Popular Science

Researchers from MIT have discovered a hardware vulnerability in Apple’s M1 chip using an attack called PACMAN, reports Harry Guinness for Popular Science. “Attackers can only use PACMAN to exploit an existing memory bug in the system, which can be patched,” explained Guinness.