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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Founded in 1861 in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering.
The institute is traditionally known for its research and education in the physical sciences, engineering and architecture, but more recently in biology, economics, linguistics, management, and social science and art as well.
The school also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and the aggregated annual revenues of companies founded by MIT alumni ($1.9 trillion) would rank roughly as the tenth-largest economy in the world (2014).
The true and only practicable object of a polytechnic school is, as I conceive, the teaching, not of the minute details and manipulations of the arts, which can be done only in the workshop, but the inculcation of those scientific principles which form the basis and explanation of them, and along with this, a full and methodical review of all their leading processes and operations in connection with physical laws.
The Rogers Plan reflected the German research university model, emphasizing an independent faculty engaged in research, as well as instruction oriented around seminars and laboratories.
The new institute was founded as part of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to fund institutions 'to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes' and was a land-grant school.
In the 1930s, President Karl Taylor Compton and Vice-President (effectively Provost) Vannevar Bush emphasized the importance of pure sciences like physics and chemistry and reduced the vocational practice required in shops and drafting studios.
Still, as late as 1949, the Lewis Committee lamented in its report on the state of education at MIT that 'the Institute is widely conceived as basically a vocational school', a 'partly unjustified' perception the committee sought to change.
The report comprehensively reviewed the undergraduate curriculum, recommended offering a broader education, and warned against letting engineering and government-sponsored research detract from the sciences and humanities.
Previously marginalized faculties in the areas of economics, management, political science, and linguistics emerged into cohesive and assertive departments by attracting respected professors and launching competitive graduate programs.
A 1949 report noted the lack of 'any great slackening in the pace of life at the Institute' to match the return to peacetime, remembering the 'academic tranquility of the prewar years', though acknowledging the significant contributions of military research to the increased emphasis on graduate education and rapid growth of personnel and facilities.
By the 1950s, MIT no longer simply benefited the industries with which it had worked for three decades, and it had developed closer working relationships with new patrons, philanthropic foundations and the federal government.
In this period MIT's various departments were researching helicopters, smart bombs and counterinsurgency techniques for the war in Vietnam as well as guidance systems for nuclear missiles.
The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded on March 4, 1969 during a meeting of faculty members and students seeking to shift the emphasis on military research toward environmental and social problems.
six MIT students were sentenced to prison terms at this time and some former student leaders, such as Michael Albert and George Katsiaficas, are still indignant about MIT's role in military research and its suppression of these protests.
MIT was named a sea-grant college in 1976 to support its programs in oceanography and marine sciences and was named a space-grant college in 1989 to support its aeronautics and astronautics programs.
Despite diminishing government financial support over the past quarter century, MIT launched several successful development campaigns to significantly expand the campus: new dormitories and athletics buildings on west campus;
several buildings in the northeast corner of campus supporting research into biology, brain and cognitive sciences, genomics, biotechnology, and cancer research;
MIT launched OpenCourseWare to make the lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, and lectures from the great majority of its courses available online for no charge, though without any formal accreditation for coursework completed.
OCW expanded in 2005 to include other universities as a part of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, which currently includes more than 250 academic institutions with content available in at least six languages.
In 2011, MIT announced it would offer formal certification (but not credits or degrees) to online participants completing coursework in its 'MITx' program, for a modest fee.
Three days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013, MIT Police patrol officer Sean Collier was fatally shot by the suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, setting off a violent manhunt that shut down the campus and much of the Boston metropolitan area for a day.
One week later, Collier's memorial service was attended by more than 10,000 people, in a ceremony hosted by the MIT community with thousands of police officers from the New England region and Canada.
On November 25, 2013, MIT announced the creation of the Collier Medal, to be awarded annually to 'an individual or group that embodies the character and qualities that Officer Collier exhibited as a member of the MIT community and in all aspects of his life'.
The announcement further stated that 'Future recipients of the award will include those whose contributions exceed the boundaries of their profession, those who have contributed to building bridges across the community, and those who consistently and selflessly perform acts of kindness'.
The Cambridge neighborhoods surrounding MIT are a mixture of high tech companies occupying both modern office and rehabilitated industrial buildings, as well as socio-economically diverse residential neighborhoods.
In early 2016, MIT presented its updated Kendall Square Initiative to the City of Cambridge, with plans for mixed-use educational, retail, residential, startup incubator, and office space in a dense high-rise transit-oriented development plan.
The organization of building numbers roughly corresponds to the order in which the buildings were built and their location relative (north, west, and east) to the original center cluster of Maclaurin buildings.
Many of the buildings are connected above ground as well as through an extensive network of underground tunnels, providing protection from the Cambridge weather as well as a venue for roof and tunnel hacking.
Other notable campus facilities include a pressurized wind tunnel for testing aerodynamic research and a towing tank for testing ship and ocean structure designs.
MIT's campus-wide wireless network was completed in the fall of 2005 and consists of nearly 3,000 access points covering 9,400,000 square feet (870,000 m2) of campus.
MIT has also taken steps to reduce its environmental impact by running alternative fuel campus shuttles, subsidizing public transportation passes, and building a low-emission cogeneration plant that serves most of the campus electricity, heating, and cooling requirements.
The MIT Police with state and local authorities, in the 2009-2011 period, have investigated reports of 12 forcible sex offenses, 6 robberies, 3 aggravated assaults, 164 burglaries, 1 case of arson, and 4 cases of motor vehicle theft on campus;
MIT has substantial commercial real estate holdings in Cambridge on which it pays property taxes, plus an additional voluntary payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) on academic buildings which are legally tax-exempt.
Designed by William Welles Bosworth, these imposing buildings were built of reinforced concrete, a first for a non-industrial – much less university – building in the U.S. Bosworth's design was influenced by the City Beautiful Movement of the early 1900s
More recent buildings like Frank Gehry's Stata Center (2004), Steven Holl's Simmons Hall (2002), Charles Correa's Building 46 (2005), and Fumihiko Maki's Media Lab Extension (2009) stand out among the Boston area's classical architecture and serve as examples of contemporary campus 'starchitecture'.
The Corporation approves the budget, new programs, degrees and faculty appointments, and elects the President to serve as the chief executive officer of the university and preside over the Institute's faculty.
MIT operates on a 4–1–4 academic calendar with the fall semester beginning after Labor Day and ending in mid-December, a 4-week 'Independent Activities Period' in the month of January, and the spring semester commencing in early February and ceasing in late May.
In the 2010–2011 academic year, 1,161 bachelor of science degrees (abbreviated 'SB') were granted, the only type of undergraduate degree MIT now awards.[needs update]
In the 2011 fall term, among students who had designated a major, the School of Engineering was the most popular division, enrolling 63% of students in its 19 degree programs, followed by the School of Science (29%), School of Humanities, Arts, &
The Science Requirement, generally completed during freshman year as prerequisites for classes in science and engineering majors, comprises two semesters of physics, two semesters of calculus, one semester of chemistry, and one semester of biology.
The Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HASS) Requirement consists of eight semesters of classes in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, including at least one semester from each division as well as the courses required for a designated concentration in a HASS division.
Most classes rely on a combination of lectures, recitations led by associate professors or graduate students, weekly problem sets ('p-sets'), and periodic quizzes or tests.
(Grading had previously been 'pass/no record' all freshman year, but was amended for the Class of 2006 to prevent students from gaming the system by completing required major classes in their freshman year.) Also, freshmen may choose to join alternative learning communities, such as Experimental Study Group, Concourse, or Terrascope.
Students join or initiate research projects ('UROPs') for academic credit, pay, or on a volunteer basis through postings on the UROP website or by contacting faculty members directly.
Snyder, published The Hidden Curriculum, arguing that education at MIT was often slighted in favor of following a set of unwritten expectations, and that graduating with good grades was more often the product of figuring out the system rather than a solid education.
For example, organized student groups had compiled 'course bibles'—collections of problem-set and examination questions and answers for later students to use as references.
In the 2011 fall term, the School of Engineering was the most popular academic division, enrolling 45.0% of graduate students, followed by the Sloan School of Management (19%), School of Science (16.9%), School of Architecture and Planning (9.2%), Whitaker College of Health Sciences (5.1%),[d]
In the same lists, MIT's strongest showings apart from in engineering are in computer science, the natural sciences, business, architecture, economics, linguistics, mathematics, and, to a lesser extent, political science and philosophy.
In 2014, Money magazine ranked MIT at number three for 'Best Colleges for Your Money' in the US, based on its assessment of getting 'the most bang for your tuition buck', factoring in quality of education, affordability, and career outcomes.
Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, American politicians and business leaders accused MIT and other universities of contributing to a declining economy by transferring taxpayer-funded research and technology to international – especially Japanese – firms that were competing with struggling American businesses.
On the other hand, MIT's extensive collaboration with the federal government on research projects has led to several MIT leaders serving as presidential scientific advisers since 1940.[e]
The U.S. Justice Department began an investigation in 1989, and in 1991 filed an antitrust suit against MIT, the eight Ivy League colleges, and eleven other institutions for allegedly engaging in price-fixing during their annual 'Overlap Meetings', which were held to prevent bidding wars over promising prospective students from consuming funds for need-based scholarships.
The MIT Press is a major university press, publishing over 200 books and 30 journals annually, emphasizing science and technology as well as arts, architecture, new media, current events and social issues.
The libraries contain more than 2.9 million printed volumes, 2.4 million microforms, 49,000 print or electronic journal subscriptions, and 670 reference databases.
MIT allocates a percentage of the budget for all new construction and renovation to commission and support its extensive public art and outdoor sculpture collection.
Since 2005, its official mission has been, 'to engage the wider community with MIT's science, technology and other areas of scholarship in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century'.
The federal government was the largest source of sponsored research, with the Department of Health and Human Services granting $255.9 million, Department of Defense $97.5 million, Department of Energy $65.8 million, National Science Foundation $61.4 million, and NASA $27.4 million.
In 2011, MIT faculty and researchers disclosed 632 inventions, were issued 153 patents, earned $85.4 million in cash income, and received $69.6 million in royalties.
In electronics, magnetic core memory, radar, single electron transistors, and inertial guidance controls were invented or substantially developed by MIT researchers.
In the domain of computer science, MIT faculty and researchers made fundamental contributions to cybernetics, artificial intelligence, computer languages, machine learning, robotics, and cryptography.
Professor Ted Postol has accused the MIT administration since 2000 of attempting to whitewash potential research misconduct at the Lincoln Lab facility involving a ballistic missile defense test, though a final investigation into the matter has not been completed.
The undergraduate ring design (a separate graduate student version exists as well) varies slightly from year to year to reflect the unique character of the MIT experience for that class, but always features a three-piece design, with the MIT seal and the class year each appearing on a separate face, flanking a large rectangular bezel bearing an image of a beaver.
The initialism IHTFP, representing the informal school motto 'I Hate This Fucking Place' and jocularly euphemized as 'I Have Truly Found Paradise,' 'Institute Has The Finest Professors,' 'Institute of Hacks, Tomfoolery and Pranks,' 'It's Hard to Fondle Penguins,' and other variations, has occasionally been featured on the ring given its historical prominence in student culture.
Less traditional activities include the 'world's largest open-shelf collection of science fiction' in English, a model railroad club, and a vibrant folk dance scene.
Many MIT students also engage in 'hacking', which encompasses both the physical exploration of areas that are generally off-limits (such as rooftops and steam tunnels), as well as elaborate practical jokes.
In April 2009, budget cuts led to MIT eliminating eight of its 41 sports, including the mixed men's and women's teams in alpine skiing and pistol;
MIT received 20,247 applications for admission to the undergraduate Class of 2021: it admitted 1,452 (7.1 percent) and enrolled 1,102 (76 percent).[needs update]
82 percent of the Class of 2007 graduated within 4 years, and 93 percent (91 percent of the men and 95 percent of the women) graduated within 6 years.
62 percent of students received need-based financial aid in the form of scholarships and grants from federal, state, institutional, and external sources averaging $38,964 per student.[needs update]
Between 1993 and 2009 the proportion of women rose from 34 percent to 45 percent of undergraduates and from 20 percent to 31 percent of graduate students.
number of student deaths in the late 1990s and early 2000s resulted in considerable media attention focussing on MIT's culture and student life.
freedom of speech after he published several books and papers critical of MIT's and other research universities' reliance upon financial support from corporations and the military.
Several years later, the lawsuit was settled with undisclosed payments and the establishment of a project to encourage women and minorities to seek faculty positions.
In 1997 the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination issued a probable-cause finding supporting UMass Boston Professor James Jennings' allegations of racial discrimination after a senior faculty search committee in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning did not offer him reciprocal tenure.
In 2006–2007, MIT's denial of tenure to African-American stem-cell scientist professor James Sherley reignited accusations of racism in the tenure process, eventually leading to a protracted public dispute with the administration, a brief hunger-strike, and the resignation of Professor Frank L.
After Sherley was initially denied tenure, his case was examined three times before the university established that neither racial discrimination nor conflict of interest affected the decision.
Eliot became president of Harvard University in 1869, a post he would hold for 40 years, during which he wielded considerable influence both on American higher education and on secondary education.
Surveys cited a 'smart', 'creative', 'friendly' environment, noting that the work-life balance tilts towards a 'strong work ethic' but complaining about 'low pay' compared to an industry position.
According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, 'a survey of living MIT alumni found that they have formed 25,800 companies, employing more than three million people including about a quarter of the workforce of Silicon Valley.
MIT Technology Review Presents: EmTech Digital 2019
Part of the esteemed EmTech Event Series, this annual conference convenes innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and venture capitalists to examine the next wave of the digital revolution.
Speakers will address rising security and privacy concerns, combating bias with ethical AI, transparency, accountability, and more.
China may overtake the US with the best AI research in just two years
White House plans to cut funding for science couldn’t come at a worse time for the country’s ambitions to lead the world in artificial intelligence.
“Our economy and security has benefited greatly from the cutting-edge research being home grown in our universities and research institutes,” says Oren Etzioni, CTO of Ai2 and a leading AI researcher.“We need to urgently increase AI research funding, and commit to visas for AI students and experts.” But there are reasons to be cautious about this research, too.
“There’s definitely momentum,” he said by phone from Beijing, “but the time horizon is farther out.” Lee, who is the author of a recent book on AI in China, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, says the US still boasts the vast majority of the world’s most influential scientific thinkers, according to measures of an individual’s citations (the US is also still far ahead of China in terms of “best paper awards” at major conferences).
Quantum computing should supercharge this machine-learning technique
In principle, by exploiting the strange, probabilistic nature of physics at the quantum, or atomic, scale, these machines should be able to perform certain kinds of calculations at speeds far beyond those possible with any conventional computer (see “What is a quantum computer?”).
At the same time, because we don’t yet have large quantum computers, it isn’t entirely clear howthey will outperform ordinary supercomputers—or, in other words, what they will actually do (see “Quantum computers are finally here.
Because the machine is so small, it doesn’t prove that bigger quantum computers will have a fundamental advantage over conventional ones, but it suggests that would be the case, The largest quantum computers available today have around 50 qubits, although not all of them can be used for computation because of the need to correct for errors that creep inas a resultof the fragile nature of these quantum bits.
“We’re at stage where we don’t have applications next month or next year, but we are in a very good position to explore the possibilities,” saysXiaodi Wu, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland’s Joint Center for Quantum Information and Computer Science.Wu says he expectspractical applications to be discovered within a year or two.
- On Sunday, March 24, 2019
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