Featured Course Archive: October-December 2009

Photo by gnackgnackgnack on Flickr

December 28, 2009: Game Design

This is serious business: sports, game shows, games of chance, schoolyard games, board games, role playing, and digital games. This course looks at the history and evolution of games and game mechanics. Project teams in the course are required to design, develop and thoroughly test their original games.



Photo © Brad Kelly. Used with permission.

December 24, 2009: MIT President Emeritus Paul Gray Receives 2010 IEEE Founders Medal

MIT President Emeritus Paul Gray has been awarded the IEEE Founders Medal in recognition of his "exemplary career of leadership in education, research and public policy." Gray has been at MIT for more than half a century in a range of teaching, advising and administrative roles. Still, Gray found time to publish a course on OCW, Signals and Systems. The course covers the fundamentals of signal and system analysis.


Photo by Glen Scott on Flickr.

December 21, 2009: MIT Team Wins DARPA Network Challenge

An MIT team has claimed a $40,000 prize by taking less than nine hours to find 10 weather balloons placed randomly in public places as part of the most recent DARPA Challenge. The team used an inverted pyramid technique to process data about the balloons' hiding places.

Try Pattern Recognition and Analysis to build your skills in complex problem solving.


Photo of razor clams by sataylor_pix on Flickr.

December 16, 2009: Robotic Clams

MIT mechanical engineers Anette "Peko" Hosoi and Amos Winter have designed robots modeled after razor clams, which they call "the Ferrari of underwater diggers," in the hope of one day using the robots to detonate underwater mines.

Winter is no stranger to solving complex problems with practical solutions. Check out Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries, in which Winter leads students through design and development of wheelchairs for use in developing areas.



December 9, 2009: Highlights for High School

As President Obama announces the new federal Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education initiative, MIT OpenCourseWare's own STEM initiative, Highlights for High School, celebrates its one millionth visit. Watch a new video overview of the site.



December 7, 2009: Community Growth and Land-Use

Students from the Fall 2009 session of Community Growth and Land-Use met last week with the Lower Highlands Neighborhood Association in Lowell, Massachusetts to present their recommendations for housing and business opportunities in the area, as well as strategies to reuse vacant buildings and lots. Take a look at projects from a previous session of this course which focused on Medford, Massachusetts.



November 30, 2009: Writing in Tonal Forms

Musical composition is an art, not a science; sometimes the best choice of harmony or melodic detail is the freshest and least predictable. Writing in Tonal Forms I gives students an opportunity to explore the materials of tonal composition in the context of their own original compositions. Be sure to check out the student compositions in the Assignments section.


Photo by Michael Melanson on Flickr.

November 24, 2009: Quantum Mechanics

Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have circulated beams of protons in opposite directions at the same time, causing the first particle collisions in the Large Hadron Collider.

If you're a little rusty on Quantum Mechanics, give yourself a refresher with Prof. Vuletic's course.


Photo by mathowie on Flickr.

November 19, 2009: Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education

Believe it or not, computer games can be educational. Prof. Eric Klopfer's Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education is a project-based look at how we learn from interactive computer environments. Be sure to check out the student projects in the Projects section.


Photo by the queen of subtle on Flickr.

November 16, 2009: Cryptographic Voting

MIT Professor Ron Rivest has helped develop a cryptographic voting system that could ensure accurate vote counts. Prof. Rivest covers cryptography in Network and Computer Security on OCW.


Photo by daveelmore on Flickr.

November 12, 2009: Project Management

Embarking on a project? Check out Project Management, which covers basic tools, skills and the knowledge necessary to manage a project from inception to completion.


Photo by bobtravis on Flickr.

November 9, 2009: Horse Genome Sequenced

Scientists at the Broad Institute have mapped the genome of the domestic horse. The work could reveal how horses were domesticated, as well as similarities between horses and humans.

Want to learn more about DNA, genomes and biology in general? Head over to the full video lectures of 7.012 Introduction to Biology.



November 3, 2009: Where Are You?

MIT and Volkswagen have teamed up to create the AIDA (Affective, Intelligent Driving Agent), a combination personal robot and intelligent navigation system: imagine a car that lets you know the fuel is low just as you're driving by a gas station. Fundamental to this device is Global Positioning System, which is covered in detail in Prof. Thomas Herring's freshman seminar, GPS: Where Are You? on OCW.



October 29, 2009: P vs. NP

The MIT News Office takes a look at a notorious problem in theoretical computer science, the assertion that P = NP. Professor Michael Sipser tells the News Office that this concept "is important for deepening our understanding of computational complexity."

The concept is covered in detail in Sipser's Theory of Computation, and in particular in his book Introduction to the Theory of Computation (find a link to his book in the Readings section of the course).



October 27, 2009: Diversity

MIT has launched a new site focused on dialogue and action to promote an inclusive community. Watch how issues of gender and cultural identity play out in Theater and Cultural Diversity in the U.S..


Photo by whitehouse on Flickr.

October 23, 2009: Leadership in Clean Energy

President Barack Obama visits MIT Friday, October 23 to tour a research lab and address the campus community on American leadership in clean energy.

MIT has long been a leader in energy research. You can explore many of MIT's energy-related courses on OCW.


Photo by kittycat2012 on Flickr.

October 20, 2009: Brain Waves from Dreaming Rats

By listening in on the brains of sleeping rats, MIT professor Matt Wilson has found solid evidence that sleep plays a vital role in learning and memory. Learn more about learning and memory in Prof. Wilson's Neural Basis of Learning and Memory.



October 13, 2009: A New Use for Quantum Computing

MIT researchers have presented a new algorithm that could bring efficiency to systems of linear equations. It has promising implications for image, video and signal processing; robot control; and weather modeling.

One of the authors of the paper, Prof. Seth Lloyd, leads students through the ultimate limits of communication and computation in Information and Entropy.



October 8, 2009: MIT Professor Awarded National Medal of Science

Professor JoAnne Stubbe has been awarded a National Medal of Science for her work in the mechanism of enzymes involved in DNA replication and repair. During the ceremony, President Obama said, "Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, and our health, and our way of life than it has ever been."

Foster your own scientific curiosity with OCW's free, open resources such as Dr. Stubbe's own Biological Chemistry II.



October 6, 2009: Blogging MIT

MIT Admission's student blogs offer a window into life as an MIT student, often outside the classroom. MIT OpenCourseWare is a window inside the classroom, particularly courses such as Single Variable Calculus, an introductory calculus course with full video lectures.


"Blurred London" by paulbence on Flickr.

October 1, 2009: A Focus on Focus

Members of the MIT Graphics Group have demonstrated that combining several low-quality exposures with different focal depths can yield a sharper photo than a single, higher-quality exposure. The finding lays the groundwork for the next generation of digital cameras.

Graphics Group member Frédo Durand's Computer Graphics offers a broad introduction to computer graphics, including hardware, algorithms and software.