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Category: Aeronautical and astronautical engineering

How well do explanation methods for machine-learning models work? | MIT News
January 18, 2022

Imagine a team of physicians using a neural network to detect cancer in mammogram images. Even if this machine-learning model seems to be performing well, it might be focusing on image features that are accidentally correlated with tumors, like a watermark or timestamp, rather than actual signs of tumors. To test these models, researchers use “feature-attribution methods,” techniques that are supposed to tell them...

Three with MIT ties win 2022 Churchill Scholarships | MIT News
January 13, 2022

MIT seniors David Darrow and Tara Venkatadri have been selected as 2022 Churchill Scholars and will embark on a year of graduate studies in the U.K. starting next fall. James Diao, a graduate student in the Harvard-MIT Program in Health Sciences and Technology (HST), received the Kanders Churchill Scholarship in Science Policy. The Churchill Scholarship is a highly competitive fellowship that annually offers 16 American...

Making computation come alive | MIT News
January 6, 2022

As a Martian lander descends toward the Red Planet’s surface, when can its parachute be safely deployed? Open it too early, while the lander is hurtling through the atmosphere, and it might tear off — but open it too late and the lander might not slow down enough to prevent a catastrophic crash landing. There are seemingly endless possibilities in this complex conundrum. One way to solve this puzzle is to use a...

Meet the 2021-22 Accenture Fellows | MIT News
January 4, 2022

Launched in October of 2020, the MIT and Accenture Convergence Initiative for Industry and Technology underscores the ways in which industry and technology come together to spur innovation. The five-year initiative aims to achieve its mission through research, education, and fellowships. To that end, Accenture has once again awarded five annual fellowships to MIT graduate students working on research in industry and...

MIT engineers test an idea for a new hovering rover | MIT News
December 21, 2021

Aerospace engineers at MIT are testing a new concept for a hovering rover that levitates by harnessing the moon’s natural charge. Because they lack an atmosphere, the moon and other airless bodies such as asteroids can build up an electric field through direct exposure to the sun and surrounding plasma. On the moon, this surface charge is strong enough to levitate dust more than 1 meter above the ground, much the way...

Could acid-neutralizing life-forms make habitable pockets in Venus’ clouds? | MIT News
December 20, 2021

It’s hard to imagine a more inhospitable world than our closest planetary neighbor. With an atmosphere thick with carbon dioxide, and a surface hot enough to melt lead, Venus is a scorched and suffocating wasteland where life as we know it could not survive. The planet’s clouds are similarly hostile, blanketing the planet in droplets of sulfuric acid caustic enough to burn a hole through human skin. And yet, a new...

“Newer, nimbler, faster:” Venus probe will search for signs of life in clouds of sulfuric acid | MIT News
December 10, 2021

With multiple rovers landed and a mission set to return samples to Earth, Mars has dominated the search for life in the solar system for decades. But Venus has some fresh attention coming its way. In a new report published today, a team led by MIT researchers lays out the scientific plan and rationale for a suite of scrappy, privately-funded missions set to hunt for signs of life among the ultra-acidic atmosphere of the...

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