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Popular Mechanics

Researchers at CSAIL have created three “libraries of abstraction” – a collection of abstractions within natural language that highlight the importance of everyday words in providing context and better reasoning for large language models, reports Darren Orf for Popular Mechanics. “The researchers focused on household tasks and command-based video games, and developed a language model that proposes abstractions from a dataset,” explains Orf. “When implemented with existing LLM platforms, such as GPT-4, AI actions like ‘placing chilled wine in a cabinet' or ‘craft a bed’ (in the Minecraft sense) saw a big increase in task accuracy at 59 to 89 percent, respectively.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Mitchel Resnick explores how a new coding app developed by researchers from the Lifelong Kindergarten group is aimed at allowing young people to use mobile phones to create interactive stories, games and animations. Resnick makes the case that with “appropriate apps and support, mobile phones can provide opportunities for young people to imagine, create, and share projects.”


Graduate students Martin Nisser and Marisa Gaetz co-founded Brave Behind Bars, a program designed to provide incarcerated individuals with coding and digital literacy skills to better prepare them for life after prison, reports Morgan Radford for MSNBC. Computers and coding skills “are really kind of paramount for fostering success in the modern workplace,” says Nisser.

The Washington Post

The MIT Educational Justice Initiative has developed a 12-week program called Brave Behind Bars that teaches inmates “basic coding languages such as JavaScript and HTML in hopes of opening the door for detainees to one day pursue high-paying jobs,” reports Washington Post reporter Emily Davies. “The level of 21st century technology skills they just learned, I can’t do those things,” said Amy Lopez, deputy director of college and career readiness for the D.C. Department of Corrections. “They are transferrable, employable skills.”


GBH reporter Megan Smith spotlights how the Educational Justice Institute at MIT, which offers learning programs to incarcerated individuals, was able to expand its reach through a new virtual platform that allows for real-time interaction, and provides an opportunity to bring together students from different facilities and local universities. “I really enjoy the humanity in the course because over a period of time you realize — it’s not about ‘inside’ students or ‘outside’ students, really,” said Mackenzie Kelley, a student in the program. “It’s just, we’re all human and we all make mistakes.”

Fast Company

In an article for Fast Company, Charles Fishman explores how MIT researchers pioneered the use of integrated circuits, technology that is an integral component of today’s digital technologies, in the Apollo 11 computer. “MIT, NASA, and the race to the Moon laid the very foundation of the digital revolution, of the world we all live in,” writes Fishman.

Quanta Magazine

Writing for Quanta Magazine, Joshua Sokol spotlights the untold story and seminal role of two MIT computer programmers, Ellen Fetter and Margaret Hamilton, in developing the “specific programs that revealed the signatures of chaos.”


Prof. Nick Montfort speaks with Vice reporter Daniel Oberhaus about Synchrony, a demoparty he founded that allows computer programmers to showcase their artistic inventions. “One of the things I really like about the demoscene is that we don't really have a tradition of it in North America,” says Montfort. “That means we have the opportunity to make something up, something that's inviting, diverse, and different.”


Motherboard reporter Nicole Carpenter explores the history of the source code for the text adventure game Zork, which was developed in 1977 by members of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. Carpenter explains that for a niche group of programmers, the source code, could serve as “a collection of information that’ll propel their research forward.”

New York Times

In an article for The New York Times Magazine about the history of women working in the field of computer programming, Clive Thompson highlights the work of Mary Allen Wilkes, a “programming whiz” who worked at MIT’s Lincoln Lab back in the 1960s on the creation of the LINC.


Robert McMillan writes for Wired about Margaret Hamilton, whose work as an MIT computer scientist on the Apollo program helped to lay the foundations for modern software. “Software engineering, a concept Hamilton pioneered, has found its way from the moon landing to nearly every human endeavor,” McMillan explains. 

The Washington Post

Writing for The Washington Post, Dominic Basulto reports on how the synthetic biology work at MIT startup Ginkgo Bioworks has been inspired by computer programming. “Ginkgo is essentially programming organisms, getting them to behave the same way as one might a piece of computer code,” explains Basulto. 


GIFGIF, a project by graduate students Kevin Hu and Travis Rich, maps human emotions by asking people to select which GIFS best represent a specific feeling, reports Jon Christian for Wired. Hu and Rich hope that all of the data collected through GIFGIF “will make it easier to write programs that deal with emotional content.”

AP- The Associated Press

Rodrique Ngowi writes for the Associated Press about ScratchJr, an app co-developed by MIT researchers to help young children think creatively and develop skills in math and science. “Children as young as 5 can use the app to craft their own interactive stories and games,” writes Ngowi.