How AI and a popular card game can help engineers predict catastrophic failure – by finding the absence of a pattern

What mathematicians call ‘disordered collections’ can help engineers explore real-world worst-case scenarios. The simple card game Set illustrates how to predict internet and electrical grid failures.

John Edward McCarthy, Professor of Mathematics, Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis • conversation
March 26, 2024 ~7 min

Artificial reef designed by MIT engineers could protect marine life, reduce storm damage

The sustainable and cost-saving structure could dissipate more than 95 percent of incoming wave energy using a small fraction of the material normally needed.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News • mit
March 26, 2024 ~9 min

With a new experimental technique, MIT engineers probe the mechanisms of landslides and earthquakes

The behavior of granular materials has been difficult to visualize, but a new method reveals their internal forces in 3D detail.

David L. Chandler | MIT News • mit
March 25, 2024 ~8 min

Large language models use a surprisingly simple mechanism to retrieve some stored knowledge

Researchers demonstrate a technique that can be used to probe a model to see what it knows about new subjects.

Adam Zewe | MIT News • mit
March 25, 2024 ~8 min

Engineering household robots to have a little common sense

With help from a large language model, MIT engineers enabled robots to self-correct after missteps and carry on with their chores.

Jennifer Chu | MIT News • mit
March 25, 2024 ~8 min

Study: Movement disorder ALS and cognitive disorder FTLD show strong molecular overlaps

Single-cell gene expression patterns in the brain, and evidence from follow-up experiments, reveal many shared cellular and molecular similarities that could be targeted for potential treatment.

David Orenstein | The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory • mit
March 22, 2024 ~9 min

Thin, bacteria-coated fibers could lead to self-healing concrete that fills in its own cracks

Your skin heals from cuts and scrapes on its own − what if concrete could do that too?

Yaghoob Farnam, Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering, Drexel University • conversation
March 22, 2024 ~7 min

A new way to quantify climate change impacts: “Outdoor days”

This measure, developed by MIT researchers, reflects direct effects on people’s quality of life — and reveals significant global disparities.

David L. Chandler | MIT News • mit
March 22, 2024 ~5 min

Lessons from Fukushima: Prepare for the unlikely

An analysis of the 2011 nuclear accident reveals a need for more preparation, training, and protocols for responding to low-probability accidents.

David L. Chandler | MIT News • mit
March 21, 2024 ~7 min

Future nuclear power reactors could rely on molten salts — but what about corrosion?

MIT researchers show that using the right metals could alleviate the corrosion problem in these promising new reactor designs.

Nancy W. Stauffer | MIT Energy Initiative • mit
March 21, 2024 ~18 min