Monthly Archives: November 2014

November 28, 2014

Workshop in ESL IAP course: Lottery opens Dec 1

21F.217 Workshop in Strategies for Effective Learning (ELS) is a 3-unit, for-credit mini-module for international teaching assistants that covers special problems in teaching when English is a second language and the USA is a second culture.  The class will meet Monday through Friday, January 12th through 16th, 2015 from 2:30pm to 5:00pm in MIT Room 14N-225.  This class is limited to 14, so there will be a lottery for enrollment.  The lottery will be available here starting at 9:00am on Monday, December 1st, 2014 and will run until 5:00pm on Friday, December 5th.  Students are expected to attend all sessions.  The instructor will be A.C. Kemp.

November 28, 2014

ART21 Screening: Fiction Dec. 2

Come to a free screening on Tuesday, December 2nd at 7:00pm in Bartos Theater (Weisner Building, E15, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts) to celebrate the newest season of ART21: Art in the 21st Century, the award-winning documentary series that showcases contemporary art and artists. The episode “Fiction” examines how artists tell compelling stories.  How do artists disrupt everyday reality in the service of revealing subtler truths?  This episode features Joan Jonas, Katharina Grosse and Omer Fast who explore the virtues of ambiguity, mix genres, and merge aesthetic disciplines to discern not simply what stories mean, but how and why they come to have meaning.  We are pleased to screen this presentation featuring MIT Professor Emerita Joan Jonas, who will represent the United States in the 2015 Venice Biennale.  Curated by Paul C. Ha, Director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center and commissioner for the project; and Ute Meta Bauer, currently the Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and previously the Founding Director of the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) at MIT, Jonas’s installation for the U.S. Pavilion in May 2015 will be an exceptional moment in her longstanding career.

November 26, 2014

Inter-American Dialogue honors Salvador Paiz

Fighting violent crime, reducing malnutrition, helping children learn to read and getting rid of corrupt judges – any of these would be commendable goals to pursue in one of Latin America’s poorest countries. Last Thursday, Guatemala’s Salvador Paiz received the Inter-American Dialogue’s Award for Civic Engagement for his success in all of these areas. Paiz is co-chairman of Grupo PDC and chairman of Fundación Sergio Paiz Andrade (Funsepa).  Paiz’s company is a holding company with interests in distribution and real estate finance throughout Central America. The young entrepreneur, who’s also a member of the board of Walmart Mexico, has a bachelor’s from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Business. Read the article on The Tico Timesphoto by Larry Luxner

November 26, 2014

Apply for StartIAP 2015 by Dec. 1

Not yet sure what to do this coming IAP? Want to participate in hands-on workshops on topics such as customer development, legal responsibilities, and fundraising taught by industry experts like Bill Aulet? Apply for the StartIAP Bootcamp! StartIAP is an accelerator that lasts for all of IAP that allows students to take a concept and develop their skills on the way to turning it into a company. For more information, visit the StartIAP website. Applications are now open and due December 1stPhoto by Tom Stohlman.

November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Movie Night: Xiu Chun Dao Nov. 29

Staying at school this Thanksgiving weekend? Going to be exhausted after Black Friday shopping? Take a break and chill on Saturday, November 29th by watching a kungfu movie called Xiu Chun Dao! The screening will be in 4-231 at 7:30pm and will have English subtitles. Snacks and drinks will be provided! Check out the trailer!

November 26, 2014

ISA Thanksgiving Dinner Nov. 28

Join the International Students Association (ISA) for a Thanksgiving dinner on Friday, November 28th! The feast will begin at 7pm in W4 (McCormick Dining Room). It will be the real deal. There will be Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and all of the other delicious components that make up the classic Thanksgiving feast, and there will be plenty. Come and stuff your belly! An entrance fee of $5 will be charged at the door. Photo by David Goehring.

November 25, 2014

Lee makes safety alert system for Jawbone health tracker

The Clinton Foundation brought together a number of innovators on Sunday, each looking to weave together technology, education and health in a codeathon to solve issues around women’s health. Four locals – Ying Cao, a Harvard University Health Services psychiatry fellow; Val Lee, an MBA candidate in the MIT Sloan School of Management; Nathaniel Roysden, a Harvard Medical student; and Dushyanthi Pieris, a Ruby on Rails Developer – came together at the event to take home first place, capitalizing off the technology platform of the Jawbone fitness tracker, one of the sponsors. The program, called, would allow users to sent out discrete alerts to emergency contacts by using the Jawbone wristband. Read the rest of the article in the Boston Business Journalphoto by Ben Sisto

November 25, 2014

caltech space challenge

Apply for the Caltech Space Challenge 2015 by Dec. 15

The Caltech Space Challenge 2015: Design the Next Human Spaceflight Mission will be from March 22-27, 2015 at Caltech in Pasadena, CA. Applications are due December 15, 2014. Design a human mission to extract resources from a redirected asteroid in lunar orbit! Thirty-two students, split into two teams, will be invited to Caltech to participate in a 5-day mission design competition supported by JPL scientists, Caltech faculty, and industry professionals.  Undergraduates and graduate students from universities around the world are encouraged to apply.  Expenses will be covered during the competition, and partial travel reimbursement will be provided. For more details, visit here. Please email questions to

November 25, 2014

ART21 Screening: Secrets Nov. 25

Come to a free screening on Tuesday, November 25th at 7:00pm in Bartos Theater (Weisner Building, E15, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts) to celebrate the newest season of ART21: Art in the 21st Century, the award-winning documentary series that showcases contemporary art and artists.  The episode “Secrets” examines how artists make the invisible visible.  What hidden elements persist in artists’ work?  Is it the artist’s role to reveal them, or not?  Featured in this episode is artist Trevor Paglen, who completed a residency project at the List in 2011 which culminated in the project The Last Pictures.  Discover the work of artists Elliot Hundley and Arlene Shechet as well.

November 24, 2014

Bauer manipulates materials with voltage

A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage, developed by researchers at MIT and collaborators elsewhere, could signal the beginning of a new family of materials with a variety of switchable properties, the researchers say. The technique could ultimately be used to control properties other than magnetism, including reflectivity or thermal conductivity, they say. The first application of the new finding is likely to be a new kind of memory chip that requires no power to maintain data once it’s written, drastically lowering its overall power needs. This could be especially useful for mobile devices, where battery life is often a major limitation.

The findings were published this week in the journal Nature Materials by MIT doctoral student Uwe Bauer, associate professor Geoffrey Beach, and six other co-authors. Beach, the Class of ’58 Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, says the work is the culmination of Bauer’s PhD thesis research on voltage-programmable materials. The work could lead to a new kind of nonvolatile, ultralow-power memory chips, Beach says. Continue reading on MIT News.

November 24, 2014

Improving Graduate Student Financial Literacy

Finances are a key aspect of graduate school, and graduate student financial literacy is a topic of increasing discussion nationally. The Office of the Dean for Graduate Education (ODGE) is committed to enhancing graduate student financial knowledge to support informed and effective decision-making regarding financial support, budgeting, and long-term planning. In this article, we will discuss practices for promoting graduate student financial literacy that graduate programs have found useful, the resources available to MIT graduate students, and possible new avenues to increase graduate student financial literacy. Continue reading the article in the MIT Faculty Newsletter.

November 24, 2014

“Bike Lights, Camera, Action!” Nov. 25

Like bikes? Like lights? Like parties? Come to the bike lights dance party on Tuesday, November 25th! From 4pm to 6pm in front of the MIT Student Center, dress up in lights and party before the Thanksgiving break. Have a good time with friends learning about bike safety, brought to you by MIT PN2K, as you enjoy refreshments and jam out to music. This event is in partnership with Planet Bike.

November 21, 2014

Marvin E. Goody Award application deadline Dec. 1

Submit an application for the Marvin E. Goody Award! This award of $5,000 is given to an MIT graduate student in any department at MIT who is expecting to complete his or her Master’s thesis or the equivalent (i.e., M.Eng., SM, MCP, SMBT, SMArchS, M.Arch) in June 2015. The aims of the award are to extend the horizons of existing building techniques and use of materials, to encourage links between the academic world and the building industry, and to increase appreciation of the bond between good design and good building. To be appropriate for the Goody Award a thesis proposal must address one or more of these stated aims. To apply, submit an application form, resume, thesis proposal, two letters of recommendation, and a budget indicating the proposed use of funds. The application deadline is December 1, 2014 and the winner will be announced on December 17, 2014. For an application form and further information, please visit the grant website or visit the Headquarters of the Department of Architecture in room 7-337. Photo by chocogato.

November 21, 2014

Food Drive at the Animal Rescue League Nov. 23

Would you like to help animals in the Boston area?  Sort food for feral cat colonies and get a our of the Animal Rescue League…as well as cupcakes!  We will be sorting donated food and handing it out to colony caretakers on Sunday, November 23rd from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at the Animal Rescue League of Boston, 10 Chandler Street.  Following the event, we will go to South End Buttery for a snack!  There is also an opportunity to distribute flyers in the South End area with an ARL dog helper on November 15.  Please contact Brandy Dixon ( for more information or to volunteer!  Also, visit the website.

November 21, 2014

Survey: Grad Student Experience at MIT

The Baker Foundation and the Institute Community and Equity Officer (ICEO) are working together to learn about student experiences at MIT.  Please take this survey for a chance to win up to $50.  One student will win a $50 gift card, and two students will each win a $25 gift card.  If you choose to enter the lottery for one of these prizes, your Kerberos ID will not be associated with your survey responses.

November 20, 2014

Kotru develops approach to small, stable atomic clocks

A group at MIT and Draper Laboratory has come up with a new approach to atomic timekeeping that may enable more stable and accurate portable atomic clocks, potentially the size of a Rubik’s cube. The group has outlined its approach in the journal Physical Review A. While chip-sized atomic clocks (CSACs) are commercially available, the researchers say these low-power devices — about the size of a matchbox — drift over time, and are less accurate than fountain clocks, the much larger atomic clocks that set the world’s standard. However, while fountain clocks are the most precise timekeepers, they can’t be made portable without losing stability.

“You could put one in a pickup truck or a trailer and drive it around with you, but I’m guessing it won’t deal very well with the bumps on the road,” says co-author Krish Kotru, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. “We have a path toward making a compact, robust clock that’s better than CSACs by a couple of orders of magnitude, and more stable over longer periods of time.” Continue reading on MIT News.

November 20, 2014

Falzonic Research Ensemble and Grammar Nov. 20

Come to the next showcase in the Ampersand Concert Series on Thursday, November 20th, at 8:00pm (door open at 7:30pm) in Bartos Theater, Wiesner Building E15, 20 Ames Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Falzonic Research Ensemble, featuring members of the band Vio/Mire, will perform a live score for the absurdist short film “For Reasons Unknown” by Providence/LA filmmaker Mike Formanski.  Local Somerville band Grammar will open the night with mellow pop and calming visuals created specifically for the performance.  Tickets are available for purchase at the door.  Only cash will be accepted, at $3 with an MIT ID and at $5 for general admission.  Ampersand, a collaborative concert series presented by WMBR and the List Visual Arts Center, showcases contemporary music in Bartos Theater on MIT’s campus.

November 20, 2014

Online Adaptive Model Reduction for Nonlinear Systems Nov. 20

On Thursday, November 20th at 4pm, come to 56-114 for the next segment of the MIT SIAM-CCE Seminar Series: Online Adaptive Model Reduction for Nonlinear Systems. Benjamin Peherstorfer of MIT AeroAstro will be discussing his work and experience with the subject.

This work presents a nonlinear model reduction approach for systems of equations stemming from the discretization of partial differential equations with nonlinear terms. The approach constructs a reduced system with proper orthogonal decomposition and the discrete empirical interpolation method (DEIM); however, whereas classical DEIM derives a linear approximation of the nonlinear terms in a static DEIM space generated in an offline phase, our method adapts the DEIM space as the online calculation proceeds and thus provides a nonlinear approximation. The online adaptation uses new data to produce a reduced system that accurately approximates behavior not anticipated in the offline phase. Interested? For more, attend to the seminar!

November 20, 2014

“We Are One” Community Mixer Nov. 21

On Friday, November 21st, student health groups will put on a mixer called We Are One: Building a Better MIT Through Conversation in the Bush Room from 11 to 2pm to encourage discussion about wellness and promote empathy and understanding within the community. Many conversations about the tragedies over the last few months and our reactions have occurred behind closed doors—in administrative offices, at student club meetings or on dorm room floors—and the purpose of this mixer is to bring the conversation out in the open for those who have things to say. It will be a safe space and environment where students, faculty and staff alike can talk with each other about stress and mental health and think about how MIT can better support community members who are struggling.

By breaking down the barriers to interaction, MIT community members will gain a better understanding of each other. Please join as everyone comes together to share experiences and find the similarities that define us all. Finding these common threads is the first step in rebuilding a stronger, healthier, and more united MIT. If you are available on November 21st anytime between 11 and 2, please stop by the Bush Room to chat! It’s fine to come for just a little while if you can’t stay the whole time. Additionally, if you are aware of any other MIT community members who would like to be part of this conversation, please feel free to pass the information along! Photo by Jesslee Cuizon.

November 19, 2014

Ippolito improving health care through macro-engineering

Andrea Ippolito, a second-year graduate student in the Engineering Systems Division, began her career at Boston Scientific after getting bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering from Cornell University. Back then, she worked on drug-coated medical devices and studied how they interfaced with the surrounding cells of a patient. She liked working on those systems, but also began fostering an interest in health care engineering on a more macroscopic scale: Rather than one device, one human, or one interface, Ippolito wanted to look at the entire health care ecosystem.

Ippolito’s initial research focused on the use of “telehealth” — treatment via video chat — and in particular on the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within military health systems. The problem is that when members of the military return from deployment, they often do so in large numbers. As a result, the health care providers that administer PTSD screenings are overwhelmed with work. Telehealth treatment could make it easier to spread out workloads for overall better care and more predictable scheduling. It could also enable the standardization of certain health care best practices, a boon for a complex health care network like that of the U.S. military. Continue reading on MIT News.

November 19, 2014

Immigration Law Workshop with Start-up Focus Nov. 19

Are you an international student working on a start-up?  Would you like to know more about visa and immigration options that would allow you to work on your venture?  Come to the Immigration Law Workshop on Wednesday, November 19th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the Stata Center, MIT Room 32-155.  Boston’s best law firms will be in attendance to share tips and insights on immigration law for start-up co-founders.  Food and desserts from Boston’s North End will be provided.

November 19, 2014

True Bread Sound Installation & Neil Leonard Concert Nov. 19

From 7 to 9:30 PM on Wednesday, November 19, attend an auditory experience presented by ACT research affiliate Neil Leonard. The night begins with “True Bread”, a 10-channel sound installation based on Leonard’s collaboration with a category of Cuban street vendors known as pregoneros. The piece, on display from 7pm to 8pm in the Wiesner Building’s Lower Atrium, explores aspects of exile, censorship, and the onset of global capitalism with video footage of the vendors at work in Matanzas, Cuba, highlighting a series of interventions that began as informal field recordings. It is then followed by a concert in Bartos Theatre from 8pm to 9:30pm celebrating the release of Leonard’s new albums, For Kounellis and Mil ManerasFor Kounellis is a meditative, evocative electronic work featuring samples from Jannis Kounellis’ sculpture, voice, live electronics, and soprano saxophone works. Mil Maneras showcases the work that Leonard has developed since he broke with musical convention and began collaborating with visual artists thirty years ago. These pieces are known widely through exhibitions and performances at the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, and Venice Biennale. This concert is free and open to the public. To find out more about the event, visit the event page.

November 18, 2014

Farzadfard turns E. Coli into long-term recording devices

MIT engineers have transformed the genome of the bacterium E. coli into a long-term storage device for memory. They envision that this stable, erasable, and easy-to-retrieve memory will be well suited for applications such as sensors for environmental and medical monitoring. The new strategy, described in the Nov. 13 issue of the journal Science, overcomes several limitations of existing methods for storing memory in bacterial genomes, says Lu, the paper’s senior author. Those methods require a large number of genetic regulatory elements, limiting the amount of information that can be stored.

The earlier efforts are also limited to digital memory, meaning that they can record only all-or-nothing memories, such as whether a particular event occurred. Lu and graduate student Fahim Farzadfard, the paper’s lead author, set out to create a system for storing analog memory, which can reveal how much exposure there was, or how long it lasted. To achieve that, they designed a “genomic tape recorder” that lets researchers write new information into any bacterial DNA sequence. Continue reading on MIT News.

November 18, 2014

Christian Faiths: Responding to Social Change Movements Nov. 18

On Tuesday, November 18, the Addir Fellows group welcomes you to attend a panel/discussion: Christian Faiths: Responding to Social Change Movements. This event will take place in W11, the Main Dining Room, and will start at 7:15 pm. Catholic, Lutheran, Mormon and Evangelical Clergies will give individual reflections. Speakers of the panel include Father Richard Clancy, Rev. Kari Jo Verhulst, Dr. Barbara Morgan, and Adam Reynolds. All are welcome. Dessert will be provided! Photo by Sharon.

November 18, 2014

Transportation Trivia Night Nov. 18

You think you know some things about transportation? Join the MIT Transportation Club and Young Professionals in Transportation Boston for an evening of transportation-themed trivia in Lir Irish Pub and Restaurant (903 Boylston Street, Boston)! Meet local professionals and help MIT defend its transportation trivia title! Take part in the fun starting at 6pm for free appetizers. Trivia will begin at 6:30. Photo by Kevin Zolkiewicz.

November 17, 2014

Misailovic devises energy efficient system with error prone chips

With information technology consuming a steadily growing fraction of the world’s energy supplies, some researchers and hardware manufacturers are exploring the possibility of simply letting chips botch the occasional computation. In many popular applications — video rendering, for instance — users probably wouldn’t notice the difference, and it could significantly improve energy efficiency.

At this year’s Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA) conference, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory presented a new system that lets programmers identify sections of their code that can tolerate a little error. The system then determines which program instructions to assign to unreliable hardware components, to maximize energy savings while still meeting the programmers’ accuracy requirements. […]

“One of the observations from all of our previous research was that usually, the computations we analyzed spent most of their time on one or several functions that were really computationally intensive,” says Sasa Misailovic, a graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science and lead author on the new paper.

Continue reading on MIT News.

November 17, 2014

MIT Water Innovation Prize Idea Pitch and Dinner on Nov 17

Come to the launch for the MIT Water Innovation Prize on Monday, November 17th, from 6:00pm to 9:00pm in the MIT Media Lab, 6th floor.  Registration ends at 6:30pm!  The Water Innovations Prize is a new solutions-to-market competition for water start-ups.  Pitch your water-related idea/research/project at this event, find team members, and learn about the exciting water innovation happening at MIT.  Space is limited, so RSVP online!  Learn more at or contact for more information.

November 17, 2014

Developing Analytics for the Healthcare Safety Net Nov. 17

As part of the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series, there will be a webinar featuring David Hartzband, D.Sc., Research Affiliate, Engineering Systems Division, MIT, on Monday, November 17th from 12pm to 1pm. The title of the webinar is Developing Analytics for the Healthcare Safety Net: A Systems Approach. The main focus will be on the idea that no matter which area receives more attention–big data, small data, or both–analytics is transforming healthcare by enabling better decision-making in both clinical and operational areas. This online event is free and open to all. For more details and registration visit the event page.

November 17, 2014

Lalage Snow: Modern War Gardens – Paradise Lost Nov. 18

On Tuesday, November 18th at 5:30 PM, come hear photographer Lalage Snow speak about her current photo project Paradise Lost. Snow contends that images of war have ceased to shock viewers, so instead of photographing the atrocities of 21st-century war zones, she photographs gardens: spaces of permanence, longevity, hope, and growth. Gardens provide food and peace, and their cultivation becomes both an act of resistance and a form of therapy. These photos brings to light what life is like for those living in the shadows of war. Presented by MIT Global France Seminar, this event is free, open to the public, and located in 2-105.

November 17, 2014

Grad Coffee Hour Nov. 17

Like free food? How about free coffee and hot chocolate? On Monday, November 17th, start the week off right by coming to Grad Coffee Hour at 7PM in Forbes Cafe (Stata)! Enjoy an array of healthy snacks as you hang out with good friends and make new ones. Take that well deserved break from research and/or studying to relax and take in the goodness of free warm drinks and nourishment with those that are close to you. Photos by Stephanie BondSusanne Nilsson, and Henry Zbyszynski.

November 14, 2014

Caulfield named one of Gambit’s 40 under 40

Erich Caulfield helps government function better for the people of New Orleans. The Baton Rouge native has an extensive resume of leadership positions, including serving as chief policy advisor to former Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker. Soon after, President Barack Obama appointed Caulfield a White House Fellow, and he worked at the White House Domestic Policy Council. When Caulfield had a chance to return home to Louisiana, however, he jumped at it. He was selected to be the New Orleans Community Solutions Team Lead for the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative. Working closely with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s senior staff, Caulfield helped implement federal programs, and his team ultimately helped create dozens of new construction jobs, cut the number of patients waiting to get psychiatric care in emergency rooms by 25 percent and helped nearly 70 homeless residents find housing.  Read more on Gambit.

November 14, 2014

Conflict Management Training: Apps due Dec. 7

Want more ease in your interactions with other people? Want more understanding about why others behave the way they do (or even why you behave the way you do)? You’re in luck! The Three-Tier Training by Conflict Management@MIT will be held again over IAP! With skill modules in negotiation, reflective listening, dealing with emotions in difficult conversations, and other important areas of improvement, you’ll come away with plenty of tools to help you manage the challenges in your life and work.

The training is tiered at 15-hour, 30-hour, and 40-hour levels, and will take place over the course of two weeks. There are 24 spots available, and all tiers are open to the MIT community. For dates, times, and tier descriptions visit the application page. There is no charge for current students, but a fee applies to all faculty, staff, and others affiliated with MIT (please e-mail for current training rates). MIT faculty & staff members are eligible to apply for tuition reimbursement. MIT community members will be given priority. Non-MIT members please inquire for training rates.

Apply by Sunday, December 7th, 2014 at midnight. All successful and waitlisted applicants will be notified by Friday, December 12th, 2014 at 5pm. Photo by Aidan Jones.

November 14, 2014

Being Great Partners: Creating a Mutually Satisfying Life Together Nov. 15

On Saturday, November 15th, a three-hour workshop dedicated to providing MIT couples with tools for connecting with each other and communicating effectively will be held from 1 to 4pm. Located in the Stata Star Room (32-D463), this workshop is titled Being Great Partners: Creating a Mutually Satisfying Life Together. It is open to everyone (both couples and individuals) and is helpful for all types of relationships (spouses, partners, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.). Space is limited and registration is required, so sign up now! Refreshments will be provided.

November 13, 2014

Resnik revamps method of buying used cars with Beepi

Alejandro Resnik, MBA ’13, has always been driven to solve problems with innovation. So when he learned firsthand the misery of owning a lemon of a used car, Resnik set out to change the way Americans buy automobiles. On April 15, 2014, Resnik launched Beepi, an online marketplace that enables customers to buy or sell vehicles from home with free delivery, the support of a certified inspection, and a money back guarantee for buyers. The company has grown quickly in California and last month secured a $60 million funding round to expand across the U.S. “Beepi is the first company to sell cars 100 percent online. It’s as big an innovation as Zappos was in the 2000s when they started selling shoes 100 percent online,” Resnik said. “Both seller and buyer face better prices than when transacting with dealers, simply because Beepi doesn’t have salesmen, lots, and other fixed costs—also because Beepi faces more supply and demand than any local dealer by virtue of operating in the entire market without geography restrictions.” Continue reading on MIT Sloan Newsroom.

November 13, 2014

Infinite Record: Archive, Memory, and Performance Nov. 14-15

On November 14th and 15th come to an Infinite Record conference on theater and performance for a variety of artistic performances, presentations, and dialogues. Bridging the sciences and the arts, this seminar features lectures, panels, and performances by an array of notable artists and scholars including: Joan Jonas, Anna Kohler, Jay Scheib, Serge von Arx, Bunky Echo-Hawk, with panels and lectures by John Jesurun, Arnold Dreyblatt, Ingrid Jungermann and Maiya Geddes, Eleonora Fabião, John Gabrieli, Rebecca Schneider, Julie Tolentino, Dr. Karmenlara Ely, Maria Magdalena Schwaegermann, and more! Located at Rinaldi (34 Carleton St, Cambridge) and Killian Hall (160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge), this event is free, but registration is required. For more information visit the event website.

November 13, 2014

Your Decks will Never Be Cleared

Face It: Your Decks Will Never Be Cleared

One of the most widespread myths in academic writing is that you can, and should, try to “clear the decks”—that is, finish all of your other obligations before you can focus on your scholarship. In a recent faculty workshop on “stalled projects,” six colleagues committed to try, for two weeks, a few of the writing approaches I’ve been recommending. No pressure, I told them. This wasn’t a permanent commitment. It was just a way to explore why these projects weren’t moving forward. The day before our second meeting, one colleague emailed to say that she couldn’t start using the techniques because she was overwhelmed. There was just too much going on, it wasn’t an opportune time for writing, and now grading had to take precedence. She couldn’t make the meeting, and she would be out of town the following week, but hoped she could continue with the group once things settled down. Obviously the “cleared decks” delusion had her in its grip. Continue reading this article on Vitae.

November 12, 2014

Omidshafiei and Agha-mohammadi visualize robot thoughts

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. As the robot considers its options, its “thoughts” are projected on the ground: A large pink dot appears to follow the pedestrian — a symbol of the robot’s perception of the pedestrian’s position in space. Lines, each representing a possible route for the robot to take, radiate across the room in meandering patterns and colors, with a green line signifying the optimal route. The lines and dots shift and adjust as the pedestrian and the robot move.

This new visualization system combines ceiling-mounted projectors with motion-capture technology and animation software to project a robot’s intentions in real time. The researchers have dubbed the system “measurable virtual reality (MVR) — a spin on conventional virtual reality that’s designed to visualize a robot’s “perceptions and understanding of the world,” says Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi, a postdoc in MIT’s Aerospace Controls Lab. The system was developed by Shayegan Omidshafiei, a graduate student, and Agha-mohammadi. Read more on MIT News.

November 12, 2014

Apply to be an iREFS by Nov. 19; help ease stress!

This coming February, the Graduate Student Council and Conflict Management are launching the peer-support program for graduate students called iREFS. REFS (Resources for Easing Friction and Stress) is an umbrella term for peer support programs at the Institute. There are currently graduate student dREFS in departments, labs and centers across campus; and medREFS, people in MIT Medical who are resources to fellow staff. The new initiative called iREFS (Institute-wide REFS) will be launching in February 2015 for graduate students to serve their peers regardless of affiliation or location.

REFS provide low barrier, informal, confidential services to their peers in conflict management. They are available to their fellows to support, informally mentor, and mediate during times of uncertainty, stress or conflict. If you are interested in becoming an iREFS (Institute-wide Resource for Easing Friction and Stress) and receiving free conflict management training, please submit your application by Wednesday, November 19thPhoto by Igor Grushevskiy.

November 12, 2014

“It’s on Us MIT” campus-wide kick-off Nov. 12-14

The “It’s On Us MIT” Kick-Off is your chance to learn more about sexual assault prevention and pledge to be a part of the solution. Part of the White House’s “It’s On Us” campaign to promote awareness about sexual assault on college campuses, this three day event from Wednesday, November 12th through Friday, November 14th focuses on empowering individuals to lead by example and commit to being active bystanders. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to come by Memorial Lobby on the first floor of building 10 anytime from 9AM to 5PM to take the campaign pledge.
For more information on the Kick-Off, please visit the campaign website. This event was developed by the Title IX Working Group consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, and staff working to promote a safe, inclusive and supportive MIT.

November 12, 2014

Learn about Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan Nov. 12

Join TPSS in celebrating the international cultures represented by our classmates! On Wednesday, November 12 at 4:30 PM in E40-380 come get an inside look at Turkey, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan by learning from students who call these places home. Each country will have its own presentation. Open to the MIT community, this event will also provide lunch. iAmbassador presentations are co-sponsored by the GSC Funding Board. Photo by Mark Heard.

November 11, 2014

Cisneros helps kindergarteners get to college

This past February, President Obama named José Cisneros ’78 to his new President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans. In large part, this was an acknowledgement of Cisneros’s work with the youngest of Americans in San Francisco, where he serves as city treasurer. Launching the city’s Kindergarten to College Program in 2011, Cisneros is credited with helping secure college funding for thousands of children from low-income families. Continue reading the article in Slice of MIT.

November 11, 2014

clinton global initiative

Clinton Global Initiative University: Apply by Dec. 1

The Clinton Global Initiative University 2015 will be hosted by the University of Miami and will take place from Friday, March 6 to Sunday, March 8, 2015. CGI U is President Clinton’s initiative to engage the next generation of leaders on college campuses around the world.  Each CGI U student must make a Commitment to Action: a specific plan of action that addresses a pressing challenge on campus, in the community, or in a different part of the world. The early application and travel assistance deadline is Friday, October 17, 2014, and the final application deadline is Monday, December 1, 2014. Students selected for CGI U 2015 may be eligible to receive travel stipends and seed funding to support their projects if they apply by the early decision deadline. To find out more, visit here.

November 11, 2014

Chancellor’s forum on sexual assault survey results Nov. 12

Have questions about the survey results on sexual assault at MIT? Come to the forum Chancellor Barnhart is hosting next Wednesday, November 12th in 10-250! She will discuss the results of the survey as well as the multitude of ways to get involved and what’s already being done here on campus. This forum will also have food provided. Photo by Tom Woodward.

November 10, 2014

Rossi invents dog health and fitness tracker

Have you ever wondered what your dog does all day? Could she be feeling sluggish and ill? Did the dog walker really take him out? Davide Rossi, MBA ’10, has launched a company to answer such questions not only for himself but for a wide range of people interested in the health and welfare of dogs, including veterinarians, pet food companies, and doggie day care centers. “Our mission is to fill a huge gap in the way we understand the health and the behavior of our pets,” said Rossi, co-founder and CEO of FitBark, which makes fitness trackers for dogs. “Our first product is a beautiful activity monitor that helps owners understand the health and the behavior of their dogs.” Continue reading the article in the Newsroom at MIT Sloan.

November 10, 2014

A Founder’s Orientation to Startup Law Nov. 12

Should I do an LLC? (Most likely not.) Should I split the equity evenly? (Oof!)  There are some key legal secrets in starting a company that can save you headaches down the road.  Come get a founder’s orientation to startup law on Wednesday, November 12th from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in MIT Room E40-160.  Martin Trust Center program coordinator Sam Breen, a trained lawyer, will discuss several key topics in startup law.  Non-pizza lunch will be provided.  RSVP here!  Contact for more information.

November 10, 2014

Service outing at Greater Boston Food Bank Nov. 12

Want to donate some time on Wednesday, November 12th for a good cause? From 5PM to 8PM, give back to your community and help end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts by sorting donated food at the Greater Boston Food Bank (70 S Bay Ave, Boston, MA)! MBTA transportation will be provided from 77 Mass Ave and back. There will be a free pizza dinner prior to a brief orientation. Funded by the GSC-PSC Service Fund, all grad students welcome. There are limited spots, so sign up now! Participants will be notified. Photo by Deval Patrick.

November 8, 2014

Chinese Mahjong Night Nov. 9

Want to have some fun playing a special game this long weekend? Come to Chinese Mahjong Night on Sunday, November 9th, 7-10PM in W20-301! If you haven’t learned how to play this very famous Chinese table game, there are 101 tutoring slots for everyone who wants to give it a try! If you already know how to play Mahjong, register (required) and come play some games! We have limited slots for China Standard, Japanese, US, and many other styles! English tutoring is available. Basic Chinese skills will help with learning but is not necessary. Drinks will be provided. This event is open to all MIT, hosted by MIT CSSA, and sponsored by MIT GSC. Photo by Sandro Lacarbona.

November 8, 2014

Tech Show Time: A brief history of Chinese Food Nov. 8

China is a country of splendid food culture. For over 2000 years, Chinese people have not stopped creating and developing their way of preparing and eating food. On Saturday, November 8th, from 2 to 4 PM, come to the Edgerton Large Lounge (143 Albany St.) to hear the event speaker, Zhaohong Han, give a brief history of Chinese food. Chinese tea and refreshment will be provided. Sign up now! Photo by Chewy Chua.

November 7, 2014

The ODGE mourns the loss of Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, Director of the ISO

Danielle Guichard-Ashbrook, associate dean for international students and director of MIT’s International Students Office (ISO), passed away Wednesday at her home in Newton, Mass., surrounded by family. She was 60. Her death was announced by her husband’s employer, radio station WBUR, which said the cause was cancer. “Danielle was a dear colleague, as well as a nationally recognized expert in international student issues and global education,” says Christine Ortiz, MIT’s dean for graduate education. “She led one of the most complex and critically important organizations at the Institute with grace, passion, excellence, dedication, and warmth — her contributions to our students, to our office, and to MIT were immense. Danielle was a steadfast champion for the well-being of our students, and continually strived to create a welcoming and inclusive climate for all. She was a cherished member of our team, and of our community, and we will miss her greatly.” Read more at MIT News.

November 6, 2014

Rinderknecht a finalist in Dance Your PhD

Rather than explain their scientific research through verbose papers and speech, creative Ph.D. students have all competed to win the 2014 Dance Your Ph.D. contest, leaving just 12 finalists to take home the trophy!  One of these finalists, graduate student Hans Rinderknecht, choreographed a dance based on his thesis, “Studies of non-hydrodynamic processes in Inertial Confinement Fusion implosions on OMEGA and the NIF.”  Check out his video here!  A panel of esteemed scientists, artists, and educators are judging the finalists now to choose the winners.  The winners—and audience favorite—will be announced on 3 November.