MIT News

New Debugging Method Finds 23 Undetected Security Flaws in Popular Web Applications

April 18, 2016

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New Debugging Method Finds Undetected Security Flaws in Popular Web Applications

A new debugging system found 23 previously undiagnosed security flaws in 50 popular Web applications, and it took no more than 64 seconds to analyze any given program. By exploiting some peculiarities of the popular Web programming framework Ruby on Rails, MIT researchers have developed a system that can quickly comb through tens of thousands […]

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MIT Researchers Create Perfect Nanoscrolls from Graphene Oxide

April 12, 2016

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Researchers Create Perfect Nanoscrolls

Using both low- and high-frequency ultrasonic techniques, scientists have fabricated nanoscrolls made from graphene oxide flakes. Water filters of the future may be made from billions of tiny, graphene-based nanoscrolls. Each scroll, made by rolling up a single, atom-thick layer of graphene, could be tailored to trap specific molecules and pollutants in its tightly wound […]

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A New Approach to Designing Hydrogen-Resistant Zirconium Alloys

March 29, 2016

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Designing Hydrogen-Resistant Zirconium Alloys

Researchers from MIT have developed a new approach to designing hydrogen-resistant zirconium alloys, which could be useful in nuclear reactors. High-tech metal alloys are widely used in important materials such as the cladding that protects the fuel inside a nuclear reactor. But even the best alloys degrade over time, victims of a reactor’s high temperatures, […]

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Astronomers Investigate the Mystery of Migrating ‘Hot Jupiters’

March 29, 2016

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Hot Jupiter HD 80606b

Using infrared light, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope measured the extreme temperature swings of exoplanet HD 80606b. The last decade has seen a bonanza of exoplanet discoveries. Nearly 2,000 exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — have been confirmed so far, and more than 5,000 candidate exoplanets have been identified. Many of these exotic worlds […]

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Engineers Design Calcium-Based Multi-Element for Liquid Batteries

March 22, 2016

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New Chemistries for Liquid Batteries

In a newly published study, MIT researchers show that calcium can form the basis for both the negative electrode layer and the molten salt that forms the middle layer of the three-layer battery. Liquid metal batteries, invented by MIT professor Donald Sadoway and his students a decade ago, are a promising candidate for making renewable […]

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NASA Spacecraft Map Gravity on Mars, Give Best View Yet Inside Mars

March 21, 2016

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New Gravity Map Gives Best View Yet Inside Mars

Scientists have used slight orbital fluctuations to map the gravity field of Mars, providing fresh insights into its crustal thickness, deep interior, and seasonal variations of dry ice at the poles. The new gravity map will also help to put future spacecraft into orbit more precisely, ensuring that the Mars fleet continues to return a […]

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Sustainable Power Sources Based on High Efficiency Thermopower Wave Devices

March 14, 2016

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MIT Develops Nontoxic Way of Generating Portable Power

Engineers from MIT have developed an alternative system for generating electricity, which harnesses heat and uses no metals or toxic materials. The batteries that power the ubiquitous devices of modern life, from smartphones and computers to electric cars, are mostly made of toxic materials such as lithium that can be difficult to dispose of and […]

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Scientists Reveal Amino Acids Supply Most Building Blocks for Tumor Cells

March 8, 2016

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Amino Acids Supply Most Building Blocks for Tumor Cells

New research shows that amino acids, not glucose, account for the majority of cell mass in proliferating mammalian cells. Cancer cells are notorious for their ability to divide uncontrollably and generate hordes of new tumor cells. Most of the fuel consumed by these rapidly proliferating cells is glucose, a type of sugar. Scientists had believed […]

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Neuroscientists Discover a Behavioral State Gene That May be Linked to Autism

March 7, 2016

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Gene for Behavioral State May be Linked to Autism

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT reeval a gene that plays a critical role in controlling the switch between alternative behavioral states – which for humans include hunger and fullness, or sleep and wakefulness. This gene, which the researchers dubbed vps-50, helps to regulate neuropeptides — tiny proteins that carry messages between neurons […]

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MIT Research Shows How Diet Influences Colon Cancer

March 2, 2016

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MIT Study Shows How Diet Influences Colon Cancer

New research from MIT reveals ties high-fat diet to changes in intestinal stem cells, helping to explain an increased cancer risk. Over the past decade, studies have found that obesity and eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet are significant risk factors for many types of cancer. Now, a new study from MIT reveals how a high-fat […]

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New Microfluidic Screening Device May Speed Up DNA Insertion in Bacteria

February 22, 2016

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New Microfluidic Device May Speed Up DNA Insertion in Bacteria

In search of the ideal bacteria for use in a microbial fuel cell, researchers from MIT have developed a new microfluid device to quickly sort and identify the various strains. This technology, which could lead to a carbon-neutral method of harvesting energy for the grid from wastewater, may also be useful to doctors in identifying […]

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MIT Develops New Imaging System with Open-Ended Bundle of Optical Fibers

February 17, 2016

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MIT Develops New Optical Brush

A new imaging system developed at the MIT Media Lab uses an open-ended bundle of optical fibers — no lenses, protective housing needed. The fibers are connected to an array of photosensors at one end; the other ends can be left to wave free, so they could pass individually through micrometer-scale gaps in a porous […]

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MIT Researchers Identify Cells That Represent Feelings of Isolation

February 16, 2016

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Researchers Identify Cells That Represent Feelings of Isolation

In a newly published study, MIT neuroscientists reveal how they identified a brain region that represents the feelings of loneliness. Humans, like all social animals, have a fundamental need for contact with others. This deeply ingrained instinct helps us to survive; it’s much easier to find food, shelter, and other necessities with a group than […]

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New Energy-Friendly Chip Can Perform Powerful AI Tasks

February 4, 2016

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Energy-Friendly Chip Can Perform Powerful AI Tasks

Engineers from MIT have designed a new chip to implement neural networks. It is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run powerful artificial-intelligence algorithms locally, rather than uploading data to the Internet for processing. In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence […]

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New Research May Solve Longstanding Fusion Reactor Mystery

January 21, 2016

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MIT Experiments Reveal Two Forms of Turbulence Interacting

New research from MIT shows two types of turbulence within plasma that cause significant heat loss. Solving this problem could take the world a step closer to fusion power which has the promise of limitless and relatively clean energy. One of the biggest obstacles to making fusion power practical — and realizing its promise of […]

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Voltage-Controlled Switchable Material Could Enable New Memory Chips

January 20, 2016

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Switchable Material Could Enable New Memory Chip Design

A new thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting could lead to new memory chip designs. Two MIT researchers have developed a thin-film material whose phase and electrical properties can be switched between metallic and semiconducting simply by applying a small voltage. The material then stays in its […]

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Neuroscientists Identify a Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

January 18, 2016

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Scientists Identify Protein That Allows Brain Cells to Dampen Their Sensitivity

In a newly published study, neuroscientists from MIT identify a protein that allows brain cells to dampen their sensitivity. Strengthening and weakening the connections between neurons, known as synapses, is vital to the brain’s development and everyday function. One way that neurons weaken their synapses is by swallowing up receptors on their surfaces that normally […]

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New Material Can Store Solar Energy During the Day and Release it Later as Heat

January 13, 2016

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A New Way to Store Solar Heat

Engineers from MIT have developed a new material could harvest sunlight by day and release heat on demand hours or days later. Imagine if your clothing could, on demand, release just enough heat to keep you warm and cozy, allowing you to dial back on your thermostat settings and stay comfortable in a cooler room. […]

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