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Machine Learning for Materials Informatics

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Artificial intelligence is changing the paradigm for many industries, and materials-focused commerce is no exception, where tremendous opportunities lie ahead. With the success of effective and generalizable deep learning tools, the materials industry is primed to take advantage of unprecedented breakthroughs, leveraging materials modeling, analysis, and design toward a more efficient, less costly, and more versatile response to market demands and opportunities, through materiomics. With data available from autonomous experimentation, large databases like the Materials Project within the Materials Genome initiative, or synthetic data, there exist many opportunities to accelerate and expand your materials design platform. Today, practicing engineers are expected to have both domain knowledge and a solid understanding of modern machine learning tools. This course will teach all the fundamentals necessary for you to reach the next milestone in practicing materiomics, by navigating the complex world of AI.


AI-Based Innovations at Mayo Clinic

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In a previous AI in Action column, we argued that in the world of health care, administrative applications of artificial intelligence were the low-hanging fruit. Sometimes, however, it is reasonable to reach for higher branches of the tree, and clinical applications of AI fall into that category. We expect that someday many important diagnosis and treatment decisions will be made or augmented by AI applications. Today we are in the early stages of achieving that objective. Most of the advances currently made by clinical AI are coming from innovative health care institutions.


New algorithm aces university math course questions

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Multivariable calculus, differential equations, linear algebra -- topics that many MIT students can ace without breaking a sweat -- have consistently stumped machine learning models. The best models have only been able to answer elementary or high school-level math questions, and they don't always find the correct solutions. Now, a multidisciplinary team of researchers from MIT and elsewhere, led by Iddo Drori, a lecturer in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), has used a neural network model to solve university-level math problems in a few seconds at a human level. The model also automatically explains solutions and rapidly generates new problems in university math subjects. When the researchers showed these machine-generated questions to university students, the students were unable to tell whether the questions were generated by an algorithm or a human.


Why it's a problem that pulse oximeters don't work as well on patients of color

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Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive test that measures the oxygen saturation level in a patient's blood, and it has become an important tool for monitoring many patients, including those with Covid-19. But new research links faulty readings from pulse oximeters with racial disparities in health outcomes, potentially leading to higher rates of death and complications such as organ dysfunction, in patients with darker skin. It is well known that non-white intensive care unit (ICU) patients receive less-accurate readings of their oxygen levels using pulse oximeters -- the common devices clamped on patients' fingers. Now, a paper co-authored by MIT scientists reveals that inaccurate pulse oximeter readings can lead to critically ill patients of color receiving less supplemental oxygen during ICU stays. The paper, "Assessment of Racial and Ethnic Differences in Oxygen Supplementation Among Patients in the Intensive Care Unit," published in JAMA Internal Medicine, focused on the question of whether there were differences in supplemental oxygen administration among patients of different races and ethnicities that were associated with pulse oximeter performance discrepancies.


Using artificial intelligence to control digital manufacturing

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Scientists and engineers are constantly developing new materials with unique properties that can be used for 3D printing, but figuring out how to print with these materials can be a complex, costly conundrum. Often, an expert operator must use manual trial-and-error -- possibly making thousands of prints -- to determine ideal parameters that consistently print a new material effectively. These parameters include printing speed and how much material the printer deposits. MIT researchers have now used artificial intelligence to streamline this procedure. They developed a machine-learning system that uses computer vision to watch the manufacturing process and then correct errors in how it handles the material in real-time.


Artificial Intelligence, Humanistic Ethics

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Abstract. Ethics is concerned with what it is to live a flourishing life and what it is we morally owe to others. The optimizing mindset prevalent among computer scientists and economists, among other powerful actors, has led to an approach focused on maximizing the fulfilment of human preferences, an approach that has acquired considerable influence in the ethics of AI. But this preference-based utilitarianism is open to serious objections. This essay sketches an alternative, “humanistic” ethics for AI that is sensitive to aspects of human engagement with the ethical often missed by the dominant approach. Three elements of this humanistic approach are outlined: its commitment to a plurality of values, its stress on the importance of the procedures we adopt, not just the outcomes they yield, and the centrality it accords to individual and collective participation in our understanding of human well-being and morality. The essay concludes with thoughts on how the prospect of artificial general intelligence bears on this humanistic outlook.



New hardware offers faster computation for artificial intelligence, with much less energy

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As scientists push the boundaries of machine learning, the amount of time, energy, and money required to train increasingly complex neural network models is skyrocketing. A new area of artificial intelligence called analog deep learning promises faster computation with a fraction of the energy usage. Programmable resistors are the key building blocks in analog deep learning, just like transistors are the core elements for digital processors. By repeating arrays of programmable resistors in complex layers, researchers can create a network of analog artificial "neurons" and "synapses" that execute computations just like a digital neural network. This network can then be trained to achieve complex AI tasks like image recognition and natural language processing.


MIT Schwarzman College of Computing unveils Break Through Tech AI

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Aimed at driving diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence, the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing is launching Break Through Tech AI, a new program to bridge the talent gap for women and underrepresented genders in AI positions in industry. Break Through Tech AI will provide skills-based training, industry-relevant portfolios, and mentoring to qualified undergraduate students in the Greater Boston area in order to position them more competitively for careers in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. The free, 18-month program will also provide each student with a stipend for participation to lower the barrier for those typically unable to engage in an unpaid, extra-curricular educational opportunity. "Helping position students from diverse backgrounds to succeed in fields such as data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence is critical for our society's future," says Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing and Henry Ellis Warren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "We look forward to working with students from across the Greater Boston area to provide them with skills and mentorship to help them find careers in this competitive and growing industry."


Robots play with play dough

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The inner child in many of us feels an overwhelming sense of joy when stumbling across a pile of the fluorescent, rubbery mixture of water, salt, and flour that put goo on the map: play dough. While manipulating play dough is fun and easy for 2-year-olds, the shapeless sludge is hard for robots to handle. Machines have become increasingly reliable with rigid objects, but manipulating soft, deformable objects comes with a laundry list of technical challenges, and most importantly, as with most flexible structures, if you move one part, you're likely affecting everything else. Scientists from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Stanford University recently let robots take their hand at playing with the modeling compound, but not for nostalgia's sake. Their new system learns directly from visual inputs to let a robot with a two-fingered gripper see, simulate, and shape doughy objects.