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Engineers design artificial synapse for “brain-on-a-chip” hardware

MIT engineers have designed an artificial synapse for “brain-on-a-chip” hardware, a major stepping stone toward portable artificial intelligence devices.

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Reading a neural network’s mind

A new analytic technique sheds light on inner workings of neural networks trained to perform natural-language-processing tasks, and even suggests possibilities for improving the performance of machine-translation systems.

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Faster big-data analysis

A new system for creating code that manipulates tensors yields programs that are 100 times as efficient as those produced by existing software packages, with ramifications for big-data analysis and machine learning.

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Material could bring optical communication onto silicon chips

Ultrathin films of a semiconductor that emits and detects light can be stacked on top of silicon wafers, researchers report in a study that could help bring optical communication onto silicon chips.

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Blood testing via sound waves may replace some tissue biopsies

Scientists from MIT and other institutions have developed a microfluidic device that uses sound waves to isolate cellular packets called exosomes from blood samples, which could be used to diagnose diseases such as cancer or fetal abnormalities.

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Ultracold molecules hold promise for quantum computing

A study by MIT researchers shows that collections of ultracold molecules can retain the information stored in them for hundreds of times longer than previously achieved in these materials. These clusters might thus serve as “qubits,” the basic building blocks of quantum computers.

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Toward optical quantum computing

MIT researchers’ new silicon photonic-crystal design, which enables photon-photon interactions at room temperature, could point the way toward all-optical quantum computing.

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Majorana fermions predicted in a superconducting material

MIT physicists propose that a class of superconducting materials can host Majorana fermions near absolute zero, and that their existence can be verified using nuclear magnetic resonance.

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Seeing RNA at the nanoscale

MIT researchers have adapted a technique known as expansion microscopy to visualize RNA molecules at high resolution in tissue samples. They have also made the technique easier to use, with off-the-shelf components.

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3Q: Thomas Levenson on the hunt for Vulcan, the missing planet

A new book from Thomas Levenson, director of the MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing, details the scientific search for the planet Vulcan – before Albert Einstein halted the quest.

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Wired for habit

Research from MIT shows that habit formation in primates is driven by neurons that weigh the cost of a habit, as well as the reward. The research provides insights into neuropsychiatric disorders that involve problems with repetitive behavior, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, and autism spectrum disorder.

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MIT Develops Brilliant Graphite Sponge that Converts Solar Energy into Steam

MIT researchers have developed a simple, graphite-based sponge that converts water to steam using the sun’s rays, providing cheap water purification and power.