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Category: Algorithms

Tackling hard computational problems | MIT News
January 11, 2022

The notion that some computational problems in math and computer science can be hard should come as no surprise. There is, in fact, an entire class of problems deemed impossible to solve algorithmically. Just below this class lie slightly “easier” problems that are less well-understood — and may be impossible, too. David Gamarnik, professor of operations research at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the...

Physics and the machine-learning “black box” | MIT News
January 11, 2022

Machine-learning algorithms are often referred to as a “black box.” Once data are put into an algorithm, it’s not always known exactly how the algorithm arrives at its prediction. This can be particularly frustrating when things go wrong. A new mechanical engineering (MechE) course at MIT teaches students how to tackle the “black box” problem, through a combination of data science and physics-based...

Q&A: Cathy Wu on developing algorithms to safely integrate robots into our world | MIT News
December 17, 2021

Cathy Wu is the Gilbert W. Winslow Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and a member of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. As an undergraduate, Wu won MIT’s toughest robotics competition, and as a graduate student took the University of California at Berkeley’s first-ever course on deep reinforcement learning. Now back at MIT, she’s working to improve the flow of robots in Amazon...

Nonsense can make sense to machine-learning models | MIT News
December 16, 2021

For all that neural networks can accomplish, we still don’t really understand how they operate. Sure, we can program them to learn, but making sense of a machine’s decision-making process remains much like a fancy puzzle with a dizzying, complex pattern where plenty of integral pieces have yet to be fitted.  If a model was trying to classify an image of said puzzle, for example, it could encounter well-known, but...

Machine learning speeds up vehicle routing | MIT News
December 10, 2021

Waiting for a holiday package to be delivered? There’s a tricky math problem that needs to be solved before the delivery truck pulls up to your door, and MIT researchers have a strategy that could speed up the solution. The approach applies to vehicle routing problems such as last-mile delivery, where the goal is to deliver goods from a central depot to multiple cities while keeping travel costs down. While there are...

Machine-learning system flags remedies that might do more harm than good | MIT News
December 9, 2021

Sepsis claims the lives of nearly 270,000 people in the U.S. each year. The unpredictable medical condition can progress rapidly, leading to a swift drop in blood pressure, tissue damage, multiple organ failure, and death. Prompt interventions by medical professionals save lives, but some sepsis treatments can also contribute to a patient’s deterioration, so choosing the optimal therapy can be a difficult task. For...

Tiny machine learning design alleviates a bottleneck in memory usage on internet-of-things devices | MIT News
December 9, 2021

Machine learning provides powerful tools to researchers to identify and predict patterns and behaviors, as well as learn, optimize, and perform tasks. This ranges from applications like vision systems on autonomous vehicles or social robots to smart thermostats to wearable and mobile devices like smartwatches and apps that can monitor health changes. While these algorithms and their architectures are becoming more powerful...

A system for designing and training intelligent soft robots | MIT News
December 7, 2021

Let’s say you wanted to build the world’s best stair-climbing robot. You’d need to optimize for both the brain and the body, perhaps by giving the bot some high-tech legs and feet, coupled with a powerful algorithm to enable the climb.  Although design of the physical body and its brain, the “control,” are key ingredients to letting the robot move, existing benchmark environments favor only the latter....

Generating a realistic 3D world | MIT News
December 7, 2021

While standing in a kitchen, you push some metal bowls across the counter into the sink with a clang, and drape a towel over the back of a chair. In another room, it sounds like some precariously stacked wooden blocks fell over, and there’s an epic toy car crash. These interactions with our environment are just some of what humans experience on a daily basis at home, but while this world may seem real, it isn’t. A new...

SMART researchers develop method for early detection of bacterial infection in crops | MIT News
November 30, 2021

Researchers from the Disruptive and Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP) Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) of Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, and their local collaborators from Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL), have developed a rapid Raman spectroscopy-based method for detecting and quantifying early bacterial infection...

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