The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1861, MIT has since played a key role in the development of modern technology and science, ranking it among the top academic institutions in the world.
Founded in response to the increasing industrialization of the United States, MIT adopted a European polytechnic university model and stressed laboratory instruction in applied science and engineering. The institute has an urban campus that extends more than a mile (1.6 km) alongside the Charles River, and encompasses a number of major off-campus facilities such as the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the Bates Center, and the Haystack Observatory, as well as affiliated laboratories such as the Broad and Whitehead Institutes.
As of December 2021, 98 Nobel laureates, 26 Turing Award winners, and 8 Fields Medalists have been affiliated with MIT as alumni, faculty members, or researchers. In addition, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 29 National Medals of Technology and Innovation recipients, 50 MacArthur Fellows, 80 Marshall Scholars, 41 astronauts, 16 Chief Scientists of the U.S. Air Force, and numerous heads of states have been affiliated with MIT. The institute also has a strong entrepreneurial culture and MIT alumni have founded or co-founded many notable companies. MIT is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and has received more Sloan Research Fellowships than any other university in North America.
Discoveries and innovation
- Oncogene – Robert Weinberg discovered genetic basis of human cancer.
- Reverse transcription – David Baltimore independently isolated, in 1970 at MIT, two RNA tumor viruses: R-MLV and again RSV.
- Thermal death time – Samuel Cate Prescott and William Lyman Underwood from 1895 to 1898. Done for canning of food. Applications later found useful in medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.
Computer and applied sciences
- Akamai Technologies – Daniel Lewin and Tom Leighton developed a faster content delivery network, now one of the world's largest distributed computing platforms, responsible for serving between 15 and 30 percent of all web traffic.
- Cryptography – MIT researchers Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman developed one of the first practical public-key cryptosystems, the RSA cryptosystem, and started a company, RSA Security.
- Digital circuits – Claude Shannon, while a master's degree student at MIT, developed the digital circuit design theory which paved the way for modern computers.
- Electronic ink – developed by Joseph Jacobson at MIT Media Lab.
- Emacs (text editor) – development began during the 1970s at the MIT AI Lab.
- Flight recorder (black box) – Charles Stark Draper developed the black box at MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory. That lab later made the Apollo Moon landings possible through the Apollo Guidance Computer it designed for NASA.
- GNU Project – Richard Stallman formally founded the free software movement in 1983 by launching the GNU Project at MIT.
- Julia (programming language) – Development was started in 2009, by Jeff Bezanson, Stefan Karpinski, Viral B. Shah, and Alan Edelman, all at MIT at that time, and continued with the contribution of a dedicated MIT Julia Lab
- Lisp (programming language) – John McCarthy invented Lisp at MIT in 1958.
- Lithium-ion battery efficiencies – Yet-Ming Chiang and his group at MIT showed a substantial improvement in the performance of lithium batteries by boosting the material's conductivity by doping it with aluminium, niobium and zirconium.
- Macsyma, one of the oldest general-purpose computer algebra systems; the GPL-licensed version Maxima remains in wide use.
- MIT OpenCourseWare – the OpenCourseWare movement started in 1999 when the University of Tübingen in Germany published videos of lectures online for its timms initiative (Tübinger Internet Multimedia Server). The OCW movement only took off, however, with the launch of MIT OpenCourseWare and the Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University in October 2002. The movement was soon reinforced by the launch of similar projects at Yale, Utah State University, the University of Michigan and the University of California Berkeley.
- Perdix micro-drone – autonomous drone that uses artificial intelligence to swarm with many other Perdix drones.
- Project MAC – groundbreaking research in operating systems, artificial intelligence, and the theory of computation. DARPA funded project.
- Radar – developed at MIT's Radiation Laboratory during World War II.
- SKETCHPAD – invented by Ivan Sutherland at MIT (presented in his PhD thesis). It pioneered the way for human–computer interaction (HCI). Sketchpad is considered to be the ancestor of modern computer-aided design (CAD) programs as well as a major breakthrough in the development of computer graphics in general.
- VisiCalc – first spreadsheet computer program for personal computers, originally released for the Apple II by VisiCorp. MIT alumni Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston rented time sharing at night on an MIT mainframe computer (that cost $1/hr for use).
- World Wide Web Consortium – founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web
- X Window System – pioneering architecture-independent system for graphical user interfaces that has been widely used for Unix and Linux systems.