Select the Right School – For Overall Development of Your Child

Everyone is aware that the importance of selecting the right school for your child is paramount. Every parent puts in all their efforts so that their child gets the best of education. To find the right school for your child, you need to do proper research; otherwise, you might end up selecting a school that you never wanted for your child.

Get information from your friends

You can discuss this issue with your friends and relatives who have their kids studying. By doing this, a lot of information about a particular school can be gained. You can discuss the fee structure, extra curriculum activities, arts, sports, and teachers. If you are satisfied, you can get your child enrolled in that school. There are many best private high schools in Tampa, so do not be disappointed and lookout for the best for your child.

Visit the site of the school 

The best way to gain full information about any school is to visit the school site. There are many important things about the school that can be gathered from the site. The school’s address, admission process, fee structure, campus area, etc. can be understood after browsing the site.

Search for the school with good ranking

If the school’s ranking is good, then it is assumed that the school is doing well in all the areas. The best school will always help your child in overall development rather than focus on studies alone. So, parents take time from your busy schedule and search for the best private high schools in Tampa.

Shortlist a few schools that you like

To avoid any confusion at a later stage, you should shortlist schools that you like. You might end up liking three to four schools. In this case, you can figure out the benefits of one school over the other. To avoid your child from wasting time commuting, it is advisable to choose the school near your home. Do not hesitate to pay more fees if the school is the best. Before enrolling your child in any school, you can visit the school along with your child.

Look for these qualities

The best school will always help your child to become a responsible citizen in the future. Remember that interaction and understanding between teachers and students is a must. A right school will always help your child to think in the right direction. It also teaches its students to be themselves and to respect other person’s points of view.

Choose a school that aspires your child to learn ways to excel. School should make its students explore the outer world so that your child can go beyond the classroom’s boundaries. School should teach their students to take part in community services to see the world with a larger view. By doing this, the child will be able to understand others and oneself in the best way.

Good schooling is significant as it helps groom your child and makes your child tough enough to overcome any challenge in life with the utmost ease.

 

Sheila Widnall: A lifetime exploring the unknown

On Sept. 30, the MIT community came together to celebrate the career of Institute Professor Emerita Sheila Widnall, who recently retired after spending 64 years at MIT. The virtual event featured remarks from MIT leaders, current and former secretaries of the U.S. Air Force, and Widnall’s faculty colleagues from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AeroAstro), who spoke of her impact at MIT and beyond.

MIT was not only a springboard for a hungry young tinkerer who became a remarkable engineer and a visionary leader, both at MIT and on the national stage. Widnall would also become one of the curious few who make MIT their intellectual home for their full adult lives. Her work in fluid dynamics would have major implications in aviation and space flight. She would become the first woman to lead a branch of the U.S. military when she was secretary of the Air Force in the 1990s. And her leadership in supporting women in the STEM fields, both at MIT and internationally, would blaze trails for six decades.

The call to adventure

It was a small chunk of uranium, a gift from an uncle who worked for a mining company that first brought Widnall face to face with her future. 

It may seem like an odd choice of present for teenager, but in the 1950s when Widnall was in high school in Tacoma, Washington, America was hot for uranium. Hollywood produced two uranium-themed movies: “Uranium Boom” and “Dig That Uranium.” The Atomic Energy Commission was paying between $3,000 and $7,000 a ton for the stuff — half the cost of a new home.

To Widnall, however, the rock had a more practical purpose. An 11th grader at Aquinas Academy, a Catholic girls’ school, she had a science project due: “I used it, along with models of atoms, to explain radioactive decay,” she told a reporter in 2009.

Her project on the degradation of uranium won first prize at the Tacoma Science Fair, and from there it was on to a national competition. She traveled with her science teacher on a two-day, 2,000-mile train trip to Ohio, where Widnall’s life was about to change forever.

Her project impressed a Tacoma civil engineer, Arthur Anderson SM ’35, SCD ’38. As a businessman he’d developed pre-stressed concrete, which could be used to create curved beams, the kind you see in monorails like the ones at Walt Disney World. Anderson thought Widnall had a future in science and told her she should apply to his alma mater, MIT.

“Where’s that?” she asked.

Soon enough, Widnall would discover how the Institute launched the intellectually curious, helping them explore the boundary where the known meets the unknown.

From Tacoma to Cambridge

Widnall attributes the fearlessness with which she faced a career in engineering to her parents, Rolland and Genevieve Evans. At a time when women were only a third of the U.S. labor force, Widnall was unique among her friends in having a mother with a full-time job. Genevieve Evans was a probation officer whose cases sometimes required her to reach back to her earlier professional experience as a social worker. “She worked with families, kids who were accused of violent crimes,” Widnall says with pride. “It was a big deal.”

Her father, Rolland Evans, was an insurance salesman. Later in his life, he went back to school to obtain a master’s degree and teach college-level business. He also taught his daughter self-reliance. “We worked together on various projects, building things. He fixed things and I’d tag along and he’d show me how. I was 20 years old before I realized you could hire people to do work on your house,” Widnall says.

After being accepted to MIT, Widnall arrived on campus in the fall of 1956. Of 6,000 students at that time, just 2 percent were female, including 23 first-years. The women felt isolated, Widnall remembers, forced to live in a rowhouse a mile off campus. While she personally experienced few instances of outright sexism, one episode stood out: “When I came to MIT and was introduced to my freshman advisor, he said “Why are you here?’, Which I took as an insult. I thought, ‘This guy is a jerk.’ But every other advisor was supportive.”

One of these, math professor George Thomas, author of the famous textbook, “Thomas’ Calculus,” brought cookies to sustain her during a test. Another, Holt Ashley, an aeronautical engineering professor known for his patience and humor, first suggested to Widnall that she pursue an advanced degree — and she readily agreed.

By then, Widnall already knew what she would study. “I love airplanes. There was never an issue about what I was going to choose,” she says. Much later in her career, she would read reports suggesting many women entering science and engineering chose fields where they believe they can make the biggest contribution. By her example, it was true. Less than a decade into her career she’d already conducted research that had an impact in aeronautics, one that every air traveler ought to appreciate.

After obtaining her PhD in 1964, Widnall was hired as the first female faculty member in the MIT School of Engineering, where she established her research program with a focus on fluid dynamics. Eventually, she published research that analyzed vortices trailing from the wing tips of aircraft. This work was used to gauge the hazards of wake turbulence. It was no small matter, as some of the largest commercial aircraft were taking to the skies, the Lockheed L10-11, the DC-10 and the jumbo jet that started it all, the 400 plus seat Boeing 747. Turbulence from the wing vortices of these enormous airplanes could and sometimes did upset the flight of airplanes nearby.

But as Widnall’s MIT colleague Dave Darmofal, the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, notes, there was a smaller phenomenon in Widnall’s research that had even larger applications for wing, engine and rocket design. “Yes, she made an impact in understanding the wing tip vortex with the obvious aviation application, but the fundamental understanding of the Widnall instability you see in many more situations,” Darmofal says. “With any kind of fluid motion this instability plays a role.”

Widnall also kept an analytical eye on how MIT and other academic institutions could contribute their research expertise to government policy. Transportation was evolving in the seventies. America’s interstate highway system was brand new, but the increasing emphasis on cars had many environmental and social consequences, not all of them positive. Could academia help government think through these issues?

Widnall got the chance to find out when fellow engineering professor Robert Cannon asked her to be the first director of the office of university research for the U.S. Department of Transportation. In the early seventies, Widnall oversaw the distribution of $6.5 million, ($31 million in 2020 dollars) for university research projects from Alaska to Atlanta.

Around this same time, Widnall was thinking about improving outcomes for MIT students who came to the Institute without strong backgrounds in engineering, and who ultimately missed out on careers in this area. She teamed up with MIT physicist and electrical engineer Mildred “Millie” Dresselhaus to spearhead a new course for first-year MIT students that introduced avenues for career advancement in various engineering fields. “We had hoped for 15 students per semester, but we got over 100,” Widnall recalled in 2017. “Many MIT women and minority students took the course, and quite a few decided to major in engineering.”

Later, Widnall saw how MIT’s own research provided a way through the persistent gender imbalance in admissions. In the 1980s, as chair of MIT’s admission committee, she proposed a simple solution: accept more of the women who apply to MIT. Her proposal relied on the research of then-engineering professor Art Smith. He had discovered that the Scholastic Aptitude Tests under-predict the actual academic performance of women students — at least as far as the math scores were concerned. The proposal, based on the data, was to add a small percentage to their SAT score. MIT was casting about for ways to increase the number of women while at the same time using an irrelevant barrier.

“People in the administration were saying, ‘We have to do more advertising we have to do more searching” for women students, Widnall says. “And I said, ‘Why are we searching? The women we should admit are the women who have applied.’”

The idea was effective. A year later, she says, “the number of women admitted rose from 26 percent to 38 percent.”

Not satisfied to stop at undergrad admissions, Widnall turned her attention to graduate applicants.

Daniel Hastings, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Education and head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, remembered Widnall’s presence at a meeting of faculty for admissions in the early 1990s. When all the candidates had been considered, the applications sat on the table, divided into stacks of yes, no, and waitlist. Then Widnall summarized the proceedings, noting that all of the women had been waitlisted while they accepted many of the men. 

“Every time there was a question, ‘Is this candidate capable?’ the men were given the benefit of the doubt and the women were not. The women went to the waitlist pile,” says Hastings. “We felt collectively ashamed and we went back to correct that.”

Hasting’s summary was simple. “Wise people are the backbone of this place.”

Leadership on a national stage

Her reputation for wise sensibility was not confined within MIT’s walls. In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton cited Widnall’s scientific acheivements when he nominated her to become secretary of the U.S. Air Force. Prior to the nomination, Widnall had served on several Air Force advisory boards and had served as chair of the Air Force Academy’s Board of Visitors in the 1980s. Accepting Clinton’s nomination, she became the first woman to lead a branch of the U.S. military.

While Widnall called it “an incredible experience,” to lead the Air Force, with an $84 billion budget, it was a time of international strife as well as domestic controversies and sexual harassment scandals, all of which were serious business. “Many pressures are brought on the secretary of the Air Force. The person has to make the tough calls and live with the key decisions,” says a successor to Widnall, 23rd Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James.

When she announced she would return to MIT in 1997, Widnall’s legacy at the Air Force was writ large and small. On the larger side is a program to develop the expendable launch vehicle used for Atlas 5 and Delta 4 rockets, which began under her direction. “These vehicles still provide the majority of the launch capability for National Security launches,” she says, adding, “There has never been a launch failure.”

Less obvious, but equally important, was her contribution to defining the character of the Air Force. The branch had no stated core values when Widnall arrived, so she elevated those of the Air Force Academy — “Integrity first. Service before self. Excellence in all we do.” — to define all 400,000 airmen and women.

“If you ask any airmen, ‘What are our values?’ my guess is 99 percent would be able to tell you,” says Heather Wilson, who became the 24th Air Force secretary two decades after Widnall broke the glass ceiling. “The best values are those when a leader says, ‘This is who we are.’”

Back to the Tech

Widnall’s return to campus was a thrilling development for MIT’s ROTC students because she volunteered to be their academic advisor.

“It was awesome,” says 1st Lt. John Graham, now an F-16 pilot. Graham found his highly accomplished advisor down-to-Earth, fun-loving, and — most important — a talented instructor.

“What she taught me I wouldn’t have learned in a different astrodynamics class,” Graham says. “She could simplify the complex.”

Meanwhile, Widnall’s service continued on the national level. Most recently she served as co-chair of a 2018 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that examined the costs and consequences of sexual harassment in these fields. It was another example of Widnall applying her experience and intellectual energy to improve the environment for female students.

Among other things, the book-length report analyzes the effectiveness of harassment awareness training programs and finds them wanting. The report concludes changing behavior is key, and efforts should be regularly assessed.

“Schools have to create a climate that supports proper behavior,” Widnall says. “They don’t do it by passing rules and regulations; they change the environment.”

To Capt. Jay Pothula ’14, a former ROTC student at MIT, this message was clear: He and all students have a role to play in creating an atmosphere conducive to achievement. “Adhering to the core values is one way we can reduce the incidents of harassment and assault,” says Pothula, now in F-15 pilot training at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.

Widnall also had a unique approach to testing students, according to Pothula, who took her aerodynamics class.

“Most of the quizzes and learning moments took place in knowledge tests,” he says. “You would go into a room with her and the teaching assistant and you would be given a problem and you would try to solve it in front of them.”

At first, Pothula found the method intimidating but before long his thoughts were flying. “These were great experiences because she would always know the right thing to say to push you ever so slightly in the right direction. She would always get you there. There was a dual purpose, testing your knowledge but you would learn a lot in the experience.”

Widnall did not reserve that kind of thought-prodding for students only. Olivier de Weck, professor of aeronautics and astronautics and of engineering systems, joined the faculty of MIT in 2001, occupying an office across the hall from Widnall, who he describes as a friend, colleague, and mentor. He hadn’t been in the job long when Widnall was asked to serve on the board looking into the loss of the space shuttle Columbia, which came apart on its return to Earth in February 2003, killing seven astronauts.

Over the course of seven months, Widnall and her fellow investigators examined the physical chain of events as well as the systemic pressures that played a role. De Weck watched in fascination as his colleague participated in writing one of the best-ever analyses of an accident.

“She is able to look under the covers,” he says describing Windall as having “an uncanny ability to peel away layers of complexity and get to the core reason about why things are and why they happen.”

It was de Weck’s habit to stop by Widnall’s office most mornings for a quick conversation or to catch up on MIT news. On occasion, though, de Weck would seek her advice. Widnall would steer the search for a solution right back to him, de Weck says, using her decades of experience to provide relevant context.

“She never tells you what to do, just how to look at the question from a holistic perspective,” de Weck says. “After leaving Sheila’s office, I felt I had a different way to think about the problem.”

When Widnall naively stepped onto the campus of MIT in 1956, she began a journey that would help her live up to the expectations of those who saw her potential in her youth and pushed her to do more. She became a role model for those who came after, inspiring those who benefited from her pioneering efforts for women and for science.

All the while she was becoming what she set out to be at the age of 15, considering that chunk of uranium; a traveler on never-ending journey along the border between the known and the unknown.

India’s culture of coping with cancer

When Dwaipayan Banerjee began studying the lives of poor cancer patients in and around Delhi, India, he noticed something distinctive: Virtually none of them used the word “cancer” itself. One elderly man Banerjee met got upset at seeing a medical van with the words “caring for cancer” on the side; the man insisted he was actually suffering from “oncology.”

Banerjee also learned, from a medical resident at a hospital, to think of these patients as experiencing “shak,” a Hindi word implying doubt, skepticism, and suspicion. For a patient, a diagnosis would create fears about not only physical well-being, but also the social stakes of the disease.

“The commonplace use of the word ‘shak’ by families and patients indicated not only the doubt that a lump or growth could be a tumor, but also revealed longer and deeper misgivings,” Banerjee says. “These doubts and suspicions were often about a lack of faith in the public health system that had failed them before, and skepticism about finding support from doctors and kin.”

For many people, having cancer creates “a sense of being unmoored from prior certainties about oneself and one’s place in the world,” writes Banerjee, an associate professor in the MIT Program in Science, Technology, and Society, in a new book exploring the world of Indian cancer patients.

In the book, “Enduring Cancer: Life, Death, and Diagnosis in Delhi,” published by Duke University Press, Banerjee delves into the psychological and social worlds of generally low-income cancer patients. The work illuminates the culture that has emerged around cancer in India — such as the tendency to avoid naming the disease — and aims to spur thought about how other cultures cope with cancer.

“It’s not as if people aren’t very careful about how they talk about cancer in the U.S. or anywhere else,” Banerjee says. “It’s still something that evinces a lot of stigma, in the same way that other diseases strongly associated with death do. People are uncomfortable around death and the possibility of dying, anywhere in the world.”

A more visible problem

Banerjee conducted much of the research for “Enduring Cancer” as anthropological fieldwork, studying patients and medical care as an inside observer with two organizations: CanSupport, an NGO dedicated to helping lower-income urban cancer patients, and the All India Institute of the Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a prestigious hospital in Delhi.

The services offered by CanSupport and AIIMS add a layer of care beyond medical procedures, helping patients cope psychologically with cancer or deal with lingering physical pain they experience.

“I grew up in Delhi, and I had never heard of doctors and organizations doing this kind of work,” Banerjee says. “That’s because there were none, at least until these last two decades. That says something about the rise of cancer as a visible problem, as well as the need for palliative care. Very distinctively, at AIIMS, cancer pain is treated as a biomedical condition deserving of attention by the country’s best anesthesiologists, rather than a symptom that can be ignored and left for nonspecialists. The United States has much to learn from this approach.”

To an extent, Banerjee observes, the presence of cancer had long been ignored in the global south by public health experts and policymakers, who associated the disease more with industrialized societies and even claimed that vegetarian diets (where present in India) reduced incidence of the disease. And yet, he notes, even British doctors in India in the 19th century were sending reports home about treating cancer patients, frustrated by the lack of attention paid to the disease by the colonial government.

“The disease has been in India as long as it has been elsewhere in the world,” Banerjee says. “It’s one of the big myths I try to unravel in the book.”

Banerjee also notes how cancer treatment at AIIMS has expanded to include an emphasis on pain management as a part of patient care: “The commitment from them to [address] pain, as highly trained specialists and not just leaving it to public health workers, is really remarkable. Pain is not a mere symptom; it’s part of the disease.”

During his fieldwork, Banerjee closely observed how a cancer diagnosis reverberates around affected families, as well as marriages, both revealing and reshaping relationship dynamics. Many times, he observed, there are delicate decisions about how much information is distributed among families.

“There is this way of distributing knowledge across families rather than putting all the burden on an individual,” Banerjee says. “Doctors are as well-aware of this as anybody else.”

But Banjerjee also found gender differences at work in families, adding tensions to the whole process of family support.

“There are imbalances within families — who gets to be told and who doesn’t — that reveal who has power within the family,” Banerjee says. “It’s often women who are not told and it’s often the male kin who make these decisions. Cancer doesn’t just easily map itself onto what hierarchies and imbalances exist, it changes them and puts pressure on what already exists.”

By the book

Even as patients avoid using the world “cancer” and may sometimes seem unclear about the nature of their illnesses, Banerjee believes, they are well-aware of their diagnoses.

“Of course they know,” he says. “They know through different nonverbal cues, from repeated hospital visits, and extrapolate from the treatments they receive. They know how to read between the lines. The decision not to talk about it, or to carefully negotiate speech around it, is more often than not a way of demonstrating care and concern, at a different register than explicit talk. It is a way through which they weave this terrifying disease into their everyday worlds.”

But as Banerjee discusses in multiple chapters, there are some explicit discussions of life as a cancer patient in Indian culture, including books and films. Banerjee has mixed views about this material. Like elsewhere in the world, most mass-market books about cancer in India are self-help volumes that provide encouragement, but may also burden people by making them feel unduly responsible for their own wellness.

“These books urge patients to be strong in the face of the disease and to be a survivor and to transcend the pain by the sheer force of personal will,” Banerjee says. “I would be wrong if I said a self-help book does not offer a degree of identification and comfort. It absolutely does. There’s a reason they’ve been popular. But this structure can end up distracting from the more political aspects of the disease.”

Consider some of the book’s titles: ‘The Joy of Cancer,” “To Cancer with Love,” “My Date with Cancer,” and “Cancer Made Me,” which Banerjee says sends a clear message to patients: “Don’t let them know you’ve lost your hair or are experiencing so much pain. Learn to love the disease and let it teach you about not just surviving, but becoming a better person. The assumption here is that the habits of the patient’s life before the disease contributed to its occurrence. For women, this can be especially dangerous, as they are often accused of transitioning to quickly to a “modern” working lifestyle and not taking care of their own health.

“Of course, I see the value of encouraging patients to be resilient,” Banerjee says. “But in the end, I think the books’ intent is to make everyone around patients feel comfortable; not the patients themselves. Instead of ‘loving’ or ‘accepting’ cancer, there is a case to be made for being justifiably upset and angry — angry at the lack of political will to address the environmental containments and inequalities of medical that have become part of public health systems all over the world.”

“Enduring Cancer” has received praise from other scholars in the field. Vincanne Adams, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of California at San Francisco, calls the book a “wonderful ethnography,” in which Banerjee “shows how cancer in India exists across many relationships, aspirations, frustrations, gendered battles, caregiving gestures, medical sciences, and familial trials.” Harrison Solomon, a professor of cultural anthropology and global health at Duke University, describes the book as “a landmark for thinking about survival and endurance in medical anthropology, science studies, public health, and South Asian studies.” 

For his part, Banerjee says he wants to help readers consider how cancer is experienced by people, and what everyone can do to help.

“It’s not a battle that your psychological state got you into, and it’s not a battle that your psychological state alone solves,” Banerjee says. “Increasingly, there is a new kind of activism around cancer that I find very heartening. In the best of circumstances, it’s a difficult disease for a patient to present a cheerful face about. The onus is on the rest of us to make sure treatments are available, and the patient is supported.”

Exploring the lives of MIT pioneers through drama

With the Covid-19 pandemic squelching a lot of typical summer research activities for MIT students in 2020, three undergraduates joined forces for a different kind project: researching and writing a theatrical script about the lives of pioneering MIT students. Sponsored by visiting professor Jeffrey Toney as part of MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the script was a collaboration between junior Rose Bielak, a physics student; junior Valerie Chen, a political science major; and sophomore Jovita Li, an applied mathematics and economics major.

The undergraduates researched several history-making students from MIT and other institutions, and wound up writing a script in which the main figures have a dialogue across time. The play focuses on chemist and engineer Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman admitted to MIT, in the 1860s, and later its first female instructor; Shirley Ann Jackson ’68, PhD ’73, currently the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and, as a physics student, the first African-American woman to receive a PhD from MIT; Marion Mahony Griffin, the second female architecture graduate of MIT, in 1894, and a noted member of the Prairie School style; and Richard Greener, who in 1870 became the first African-American graduate of Harvard University and later served as dean of Howard University’s law school.

“I was so impressed with how they internalized the research,” says Toney, the provost and vice president for research and faculty at Kean University, a former MIT postdoc in chemistry, a visiting professor in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and a visiting scholar in Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science. MIT News spoke with Bielak, Chen, and Li about the experience of researching and writing about these historical figures.

Q: How did this project start and why did it interest you?

Li: I thought it was interesting because it was something I didn’t quite expect from MIT. Being a freshman who had had a quarter of the year just completely slashed, I wanted to do something related to school over the summer. And it was good to honor these figures, who were pioneers and paved the way for people like us.

Q: Are there particular aspects of their lives that jumped out the most?

Bielak: For me it was the isolation. Shirley Ann Jackson and Ellen Swallow Richards faced almost complete social isolation, in enforced and non-enforced ways. And through that, the fact that they reached such great heights, and never slowed down or gave up. Ellen Swallow Richards didn’t even get to be in the classroom with the guys at first. She was just off in some little basement and doing the exact same work as them, with no help. That was impressive to me.

Chen: We all started out researching Ellen Swallow Richards. Then I found my way to Marion Mahony Griffin and drew parallels between their ideals — for Ellen Swallow Richards, building a better environment, with a focus on chemistry and sanitation, while Marion was an architect and designer who wanted to build in harmony with the environment. Ellen Swallow Richards is more recognized now. Marion Mahony Griffin’s husband was the architect Walter Burley Griffin — they moved to Australia, so their reputation has never been as big here. They made the design for Canberra, the new capital city. She collaborated with her husband, but no one’s really sure who did how much, so she’s also been overlooked.

Q: What was the writing process like? What was most challenging?

Bielak: We spent the first couple of weeks just researching Ellen Swallow Richards, and read a lot of the same material. But from there we branched out to do our own research on other possible charaters. We would come together and talk about which had the most prospects for our play. We were all writing our own scenes and we would share them. It was a lot of individual work that grew together.

Li: Right at the end of the summer when the UROP period was ending we stitched the scenes together in an order that made sense. We kind of quilted it together. For me the toughest part was writing dialogue that sounded like something real people would say, as opposed to just throwing in our facts and themes and the points we wanted to get across — we’re trying to embody the characters and show, not tell.

Chen: It’s about exploring the frameworks they thought in, while not attributing things to them that we think they should have believed in, when we have no evidence either way.

Q: Do you relate this all to your own experience? You’re in a different situation today, but to what extent are people still dealing with these issues  of acceptance, isolation, and stereotypes in different fields?

Bielak: Obviously we’ve come such a long way since any of these women were at MIT, so I suppose the differences are pretty stark. But there is always an undercurrent of feeling like a bit of an underdog as a woman in STEM. You’re never going to be discouraged, but you’ll see very little representation in a number of fields. So we are lucky in a lot of ways, but despite the fact that there isn’t any verbal or obvious discouragement, people absorb the things they see, and that remains in your mind a little bit. At the same time we’ve come so far. 150 years ago, Ellen Swallow Richards was stuck in a basement.

Q: Would you like to get this script produced? What are the next steps?

Bielak: Yes. I mean, it’s obviously hard with the current situation in the world. This is a penultimate version of the draft, but we’re going to figure out in what capacity it could be performed. At one point, we were thinking about a podcast or an onstage play. We definitely would be interested in reaching out to some play groups and seeing if anyone would want to perform it.

Li: As things start opening up, we’ll want to return to the project and see what more we can do with it.

Exploring the lives of MIT pioneers through drama

With the Covid-19 pandemic squelching a lot of typical summer research activities for MIT students in 2020, three undergraduates joined forces for a different kind project: researching and writing a theatrical script about the lives of pioneering MIT students. Sponsored by visiting professor Jeffrey Toney as part of MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the script was a collaboration between junior Rose Bielak, a physics student; junior Valerie Chen, a political science major; and sophomore Jovita Li, an applied mathematics and economics major.

The undergraduates researched several history-making students from MIT and other institutions, and wound up writing a script in which the main figures have a dialogue across time. The play focuses on chemist and engineer Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman admitted to MIT, in the 1860s, and later its first female instructor; Shirley Ann Jackson ’68, PhD ’73, currently the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and, as a physics student, the first African-American woman to receive a PhD from MIT; Marion Mahony Griffin, the second female architecture graduate of MIT, in 1894, and a noted member of the Prairie School style; and Richard Greener, who in 1870 became the first African-American graduate of Harvard University and later served as dean of Howard University’s law school.

“I was so impressed with how they internalized the research,” says Toney, the provost and vice president for research and faculty at Kean University, a former MIT postdoc in chemistry, a visiting professor in MIT’s Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, and a visiting scholar in Harvard University’s Department of the History of Science. MIT News spoke with Bielak, Chen, and Li about the experience of researching and writing about these historical figures.

Q: How did this project start and why did it interest you?

Li: I thought it was interesting because it was something I didn’t quite expect from MIT. Being a freshman who had had a quarter of the year just completely slashed, I wanted to do something related to school over the summer. And it was good to honor these figures, who were pioneers and paved the way for people like us.

Q: Are there particular aspects of their lives that jumped out the most?

Bielak: For me it was the isolation. Shirley Ann Jackson and Ellen Swallow Richards faced almost complete social isolation, in enforced and non-enforced ways. And through that, the fact that they reached such great heights, and never slowed down or gave up. Ellen Swallow Richards didn’t even get to be in the classroom with the guys at first. She was just off in some little basement and doing the exact same work as them, with no help. That was impressive to me.

Chen: We all started out researching Ellen Swallow Richards. Then I found my way to Marion Mahony Griffin and drew parallels between their ideals — for Ellen Swallow Richards, building a better environment, with a focus on chemistry and sanitation, while Marion was an architect and designer who wanted to build in harmony with the environment. Ellen Swallow Richards is more recognized now. Marion Mahony Griffin’s husband was the architect Walter Burley Griffin — they moved to Australia, so their reputation has never been as big here. They made the design for Canberra, the new capital city. She collaborated with her husband, but no one’s really sure who did how much, so she’s also been overlooked.

Q: What was the writing process like? What was most challenging?

Bielak: We spent the first couple of weeks just researching Ellen Swallow Richards, and read a lot of the same material. But from there we branched out to do our own research on other possible charaters. We would come together and talk about which had the most prospects for our play. We were all writing our own scenes and we would share them. It was a lot of individual work that grew together.

Li: Right at the end of the summer when the UROP period was ending we stitched the scenes together in an order that made sense. We kind of quilted it together. For me the toughest part was writing dialogue that sounded like something real people would say, as opposed to just throwing in our facts and themes and the points we wanted to get across — we’re trying to embody the characters and show, not tell.

Chen: It’s about exploring the frameworks they thought in, while not attributing things to them that we think they should have believed in, when we have no evidence either way.

Q: Do you relate this all to your own experience? You’re in a different situation today, but to what extent are people still dealing with these issues  of acceptance, isolation, and stereotypes in different fields?

Bielak: Obviously we’ve come such a long way since any of these women were at MIT, so I suppose the differences are pretty stark. But there is always an undercurrent of feeling like a bit of an underdog as a woman in STEM. You’re never going to be discouraged, but you’ll see very little representation in a number of fields. So we are lucky in a lot of ways, but despite the fact that there isn’t any verbal or obvious discouragement, people absorb the things they see, and that remains in your mind a little bit. At the same time we’ve come so far. 150 years ago, Ellen Swallow Richards was stuck in a basement.

Q: Would you like to get this script produced? What are the next steps?

Bielak: Yes. I mean, it’s obviously hard with the current situation in the world. This is a penultimate version of the draft, but we’re going to figure out in what capacity it could be performed. At one point, we were thinking about a podcast or an onstage play. We definitely would be interested in reaching out to some play groups and seeing if anyone would want to perform it.

Li: As things start opening up, we’ll want to return to the project and see what more we can do with it.

3 Questions: Nancy Hopkins on improving gender equality in academia

Over the course of her exceptional career, Amgen Professor of Biology Emerita Nancy Hopkins has overturned assumptions and defied expectations at the lab bench and beyond. After arriving at MIT in 1973, she set to work mapping RNA tumor virus genes, before switching her focus and pioneering zebrafish as a model system to probe vertebrate development and cancer.

Her experiences in male-dominated fields and institutions led her to catalyze an investigation that evolved into the groundbreaking 1999 public report on the status of women at MIT. These findings spurred nine universities, including MIT, to establish an ongoing effort to improve gender equity. A recent documentary, Picture a Scientist,chronicles this watershed report and spotlights researchers like Hopkins who champion underrepresented voices. She sat down to discuss what has changed for women in academia in the last two decades — and what hasn’t.

Q: How has the situation for women in science evolved since the landmark 1999 report?

A: It’s hard today to remember just how radical the 1999 report was at the time. I read it now and think, ‘What was so radical about that?’   

The report documented that women joined the faculty believing that only greater family responsibilities might impede their success relative to male colleagues. But, as they progressed through tenure, many were marginalized and undervalued. Data showed this resulted in women having fewer institutional resources and rewards for their research, and in their exclusion from important professional opportunities. When the study began, only 8% of the science faculty were women.

Former MIT Dean of Science Robert Birgeneau addressed inequities on a case-by-case basis, adjusting salaries, space, and resources. He recruited women aggressively, quickly increasing the number of women School of Science faculty by 50%. 

When the report became public, the overwhelming public reaction made clear that it described problems that were epidemic among women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Former MIT President Chuck Vest and Provost Bob Brown addressed gender bias for all of MIT and “institutionalized” solutions. They established committees in the five MIT schools to ensure that inequities were promptly addressed and hiring policies were fair; rewrote family leave policies with input from women faculty; built day care facilities on campus; and recruited women faculty to high-level administrative positions.  

Today, we realize that the MIT report elucidated two underappreciated forms of bias: “institutional bias” resulting from a system designed for a man with a wife at home; and “unconscious or implicit gender bias.” Voluminous research by psychologists has documented the latter, showing that identical work is undervalued if people believe it was done by a woman. Refusal to acknowledge unconscious gender bias today is akin to denying the world is round.

Q: What do you hope people will take away from the “Picture a Scientist” film?

A: I hope people will better understand why women are underrepresented in science, and women of color particularly so. The film does a terrific job of portraying the range of destructive behaviors that collectively explain the question, “Why so few?” The movie also focuses on the courage it takes for young women scientists to expose these problems.

I hope people will agree that, despite all the progress for women in my generation, as the bombshell report from the National Academy of Sciences documented in 2018, sexual harassment and gender discrimination persist and still require constant attention. It remains a challenge to identify, attract, and retain the best STEM talent. And, as the movie points out, it’s critical to do so.

The producers have received an unprecedented number of requests to show the documentary in institutes, universities, and companies, confirming that underrepresentation remains a widespread and pressing issue.

Q: Where do we go from here? How can academia better support underrepresented groups in science moving forward?

A: People often say you have to “change the culture,” but what does that really mean? You have to do what MIT did: look at the data; make corrections, including policy changes if necessary; continue to track the data to see if the policies work; and repeat as needed. Second, as the National Academies report points out, you must reward administrators who create a diverse workplace. Top talent is distributed among diverse groups. You can only be the best by being diverse.

But how do you change the behavior of individual faculty? Years ago, President Vest told me, “Nancy, anything I can measure I can fix, but I don’t know how to fix marginalization.” His comment was prescient. We’re pretty good at fixing things we can measure. But not at retraining our own unconscious biases: preference for working with people who look just like us; and unexamined, biased assumptions about people different from us. But psychologists tell us all we have to do is ‘change the world and our biases will change along with it.’  Furthermore, they now have methods to measure change in our biases.

I championed this cause because I believe being a scientist is the greatest job there is. I want anyone with this passion to be able to be a scientist. I’m grateful I got to see change first hand. I just wish the change was faster, so young women like Jane Willenbring and Raychelle Burks in the movie can just be scientists.

Milo Phillips-Brown receives inaugural MAC3 Society and Ethics in Computing Research Award

Milo Phillips-Brown, a postdoc in the ethics of technology in MIT Philosophy, was recently named the inaugural recipient of the MAC3 Society and Ethics in Computing Research Award, which provides support to promising PhD candidates or postdocs conducting interdisciplinary research on the societal and ethical dimensions of computing.

Phillips-Brown is being recognized for his work teaching responsible engineering practices to computer scientists. At MIT, he teaches two courses, 24.131 (Ethics of Technology) and 24.133 (Experiential Ethics), and has been an active participant in the activities of the Social and Ethical Responsibilities of Computing (SERC), a new cross-cutting area in the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing that aims to weave social, ethical, and policy considerations into the teaching, research, and implementation of computing.

“We are delighted to be able to work so closely with Milo,” says Julie Shah, an associate professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, who along with David Kaiser, the Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science and professor of physics, serves as associate dean of SERC. “Over this past spring semester, Milo was a great thought partner in the design of SERC-related materials, including original homework assignments and in-class demonstrations for instructors to embed into a wide variety of courses at MIT,” says Shah.

“We knew we had an exceptional colleague when we selected Milo as our inaugural postdoc. We look forward to collaborating with him and his continued contributions to SERC,” adds Kaiser.

In addition to active learning projects, Phillips-Brown has been working with Shah and Kaiser on preparing the first set of original case studies on social and ethical responsibilities of computing for release in the coming months. Commissioned and curated by SERC, each case study will be brief and appropriate for use in undergraduate instruction and will also be available to the public via MIT’s open access channels.

“I’m thrilled to be the inaugural recipient of the MAC3 Society and Ethics in Computing Research Award. This is a time when we need to be exploring all possible avenues for how to teach MIT students to build technologies ethically, and the award is enabling me to help just do that: work with professors and students across the Institute to develop new models for ethical engineering pedagogy,” says Phillips-Brown.

Phillips-Brown PhD ’19 received his doctorate in philosophy from MIT and his bachelor’s in philosophy from Reed College. He is a research fellow in digital ethics and governance at the Jain Family Institute and a member of the Society for Philosophy and Disability. From 2015 to 2018, he directed the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key (PIKSI) Boston, a summer program for undergraduates from underrepresented groups. In January 2021, he will begin an appointment at Oxford University as an associate professor of philosophy in the Faculty of Philosophy and the Department of Computer Science.

The MAC3 Society and Ethics in Computing Research Award was established through the MAC3 Impact Philanthropies which provides targeted support to organizations and initiatives that impact early childhood, health and education, as well as the environment and the oceans.

J-PAL North America launches research initiative to focus on Covid-19 recovery

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in incalculable losses for millions of Americans, particularly among low-income communities and communities of color. As decision-makers work to address this unparalleled public health crisis, urgent questions remain on how the Covid-19 pandemic will impact the social and economic well-being of people in the United States once the immediate crisis has resolved.

This summer, J-PAL North America launched a new research initiative that aims to inform these pressing policy questions. The COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Initiative will catalyze research on how to recover in the aftermath of the pandemic, with a focus on improving outcomes for those most harmed by this crisis. Academic leadership for the initiative will be provided by J-PAL North America’s scientific directors: Amy Finkelstein (MIT) and Lawrence Katz (Harvard University). 

The pandemic has laid bare fundamental inequities that limit access to opportunity for low-income communities and communities of color, making the need for bold policy action all the more pressing. Policymakers and social sector leaders are seeking solutions to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic both in the immediate and long term. Evidence will be a critical tool to help determine which policies — from universal basic income to extended school years — will work to restart the economy and rebuild lives.

The Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Initiative will seek to advance the dual goals of helping decision-makers implement evidence-based solutions in the immediate term while generating rigorous evidence on longer-term policy measures. Ultimately, J-PAL North America aims to create a playbook of evidence-based solutions by identifying key policy challenges, rigorously evaluating promising solutions, and sharing findings with decision-makers who can act on rigorous evidence to improve lives. 

Drawing on insights from J-PAL’s network of leading academic scholars, the initiative established a learning agenda to guide work in the priority policy areas of (1) jobs, labor, and the social safety net; (2) education, youth, and opportunity; and (3) health care delivery

These guides for future research outline a selection of prioritized research questions that, if answered, could significantly advance decision-makers’ understanding of how to effectively respond to this crisis. While not intended to be comprehensive, the research guides aim to serve as inspiration for researchers and as a resource to guide investment strategies for donors.

Prioritized questions in the policy areas of jobs, labor, and the social safety net focus on methods to support individuals who are unemployed in the short- and long-term, keep workers connected to benefits, and effectively smooth the job search process. In education, questions largely center on the need to address learning loss, minimize the widening of income- and race-based educational inequities, and support students’ mental health and social-emotional development. Lastly, prioritized focus areas for future inquiry in health care delivery include identifying methods to expand access to quality and affordable health care, increase take-up of positive health behaviors, and minimize the public health risks of additional waves of Covid-19. 

For more information on the Covid-19 Recovery and Resilience Initiative or the initiative research agenda, see the J-PAL North America website or contact Initiative Manager Vincent Quan.

Anti-racism in technology and policy design

When Kate Turner was an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, she kept hearing the same message.

“As a Black woman, people kept telling me, ‘we need more Black women in STEM!’” recalls Turner.

The message had some influence on her choice of major — but then, so did a global recession. And while STEM fields might have seemed to offer more stable career prospects, Turner’s chemical engineering path did not at first inspire.

It took seeing the science through the lens of societal challenges and policy to really spark a passion.

“I very serendipitously met a professor who offered me a position working in his lab,” Turner recounts. “He was an Earth scientist who worked on nuclear issues, specifically nuclear waste management.” The issue interested Turner because, as she puts it, “you cannot divorce the policy and the social science from the STEM work.”

“The questions one has to consider when designing nuclear waste management are inherently technical (structures, geologic repositories, etc.), but then you have this policy and sociological piece. Facilities that store nuclear waste are situated near where people live. You’re not making decisions in a vacuum.”

Turner’s passion for sociotechnical issues led her on to a PhD in Earth sciences at Stanford University, and to her current role as a researcher for the Space Enabled group at the MIT Media Lab, where she works with Assistant Professor Danielle Wood, a systems engineer working in aerospace who is an alumna of the MIT Technology and Policy Program and Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS). Space Enabled strives to apply space technologies to challenges here on Earth — including the challenges of racial inequity.

“So many STEM issues have a greater impact on the lives of people of color, especially Black people,” Turner points out. “So why is there so little diversity in STEM?”

Research to policy engagement

At MIT, Turner is a fellow of the Research to Policy Engagement Initiative, an IDSS effort aimed at bridging knowledge to action on major societal challenges. The initiative connects policymakers, stakeholders, and researchers from diverse disciplines.

“The initiative is a good space for people to talk in an interdisciplinary way about societal issues,” says Turner. “We ask big questions, like ‘How do we design policy with equity?’ or ‘How do we create a better pipeline so that scientific research is incorporated into policy?’”

The importance of bridging research and policy was a key lesson from Turner’s undergrad experience in nuclear waste management. “You can be doing work that can technically solve an issue, but if it doesn’t have social and political acceptance, it doesn’t matter.”

A societal perspective that examines the impact of policy motivates Space Enabled’s new “Invisible Variables” project, which examines how individuals in the Greater Boston area are affected by stay-at-home advisories and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. The project looks at impacts on safety, income, and autonomy while taking into account Boston-area specific factors like population density, high rents, and older homes.

“In the U.S., we have a lack of a social safety net as part of the fabric of our society,” says Turner. “This project is aiming to look at how that lack of a safety net in greater Boston has impacted people in ways we’re not often talking about. These are variables of a society’s health, just like how many Covid cases or ICU beds there are.”

Research at the intersection of technology and policy necessitates cross-disciplinary collaboration. The Research to Policy Engagement Initiative fosters these connections. “I’m hoping that the initiative can turn into a hub for people who are either working in the STEM community or the policy community to think about how to meaningfully create science-informed policy.”

Humanizing difference

At the Media Lab, Turner examines how technology — including sociotechnical systems like transportation networks, power grids, and health care — can exacerbate inequities and reproduce social hierarchies. She thinks about how technology design and implementation lead to inequitable outcomes, and how innovation often occurs in spaces where race isn’t considered and people of color have little to no input. Their Inclusive Innovation projects seek not only to make innovation spaces more inclusive, but also to work against assumptions that innovation is driven by a dominant, normative culture.

“In the U.S., what we think of as normative for innovation is not very inclusive. It is a broken record at this point that STEM industries like tech struggle with diversity and inclusion, but it is important to emphasize that these disparities lead to inequitable outcomes. When we have decision-makers that are predominantly coming from one kind of perspective, education, or lived experience, this contributes to the creation of inequity throughout technology’s design and implementation in society. Everything from gentrification to facial recognition software not accurately categorizing faces of color — these issues stem ultimately from inequity in innovation practices. Who is seen as an ‘innovator,’ what kind of education or lived experiences they have, what they look like or speak like, etc. — all these factors contribute to disparate outcomes.”

And when innovation happens outside of these normative spaces, it’s not necessarily recognized as innovation at all. “It’s not seen as ingenuity, engineering, or creation,” Turner says. “Sometimes it’s invisible.”

Turner’s work, which is also influenced by intersectional feminism, incorporates critical race theory and anti-racism directly into both technology and policy design. “When our society was founded, ideas like assimilationism, racism, classism, and sexism were normalized,” she explains. “Even though today — especially in this moment — mainstream society largely rejects these values and tries to prioritize equity, we need to actively work to create anti-racism and intersectionality in our technology, policies, and norms, and in order to create and sustain equity across axes like race, class, and gender. These sort of changes won’t happen on their own.”

Incorporating these lenses helps to identify biases in tech spaces. Race theory and feminism expose how ideas are used to dehumanize and marginalize women and people of color. Ultimately the goal is to imagine anti-racist technology design and implementation.

“Intersectionality and anti-racism humanize difference,” says Turner. Rather than overlooking or rejecting certain technology users, Turner asks: “How do the different experiences of marginalized people shape their needs? How can they inform our design questions, what sorts of products we create, how technology is used? How can we include and celebrate diversity in design, implementation, and policy — rather than erase or criminalize it?”

Though Turner’s research has pivoted some since joining Space Enabled, she and Wood still work closely with nuclear and aerospace systems. An upcoming project looks within these two domains to offer a systems architecture analysis of the technology design process with the goal of producing anti-racist outcomes in society.

“I’m still very much thinking about the STEM questions of nuclear policy and equity,” says Turner. “I’m hoping that adding lenses like anti-racism and intersectional feminism will lead to more equitable outcomes in those areas.”

Helping companies prioritize their cybersecurity investments

One reason that cyberattacks have continued to grow in recent years is that we never actually learn all that much about how they happen. Companies fear that reporting attacks will tarnish their public image, and even those who do report them don’t share many details because they worry that their competitors will gain insight into their security practices. 

“It’s really a nice gift that we’ve given to cyber-criminals,” says Taylor Reynolds, technology policy director at MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI). “In an ideal world, these attacks wouldn’t happen over and over again, because companies would be able to use data from attacks to develop quantitative measurements of the security risk so that we could prevent such incidents in the future.”

In an economy where most industries are tightening their belts, many organizations don’t know which types of attacks lead to the largest financial losses, and therefore how to best deploy scarce security resources. 

But a new platform from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) aims to change that, quantifying companies’ security risk without requiring them to disclose sensitive data about their systems to the research team, much less their competitors.

Developed by Reynolds alongside economist Andrew Lo and cryptographer Vinod Vaikuntanathan, the platform helps companies do multiple things:

  • quantify how secure they are;
  • understand how their security compares to peers; and
  • evaluate whether they’re spending the right amount of money on security, and if and how they should change their particular security priorities.

The team received internal data from seven large companies that averaged 50,000 employees and annual revenues of $24 billion. By securely aggregating 50 different security incidents that took place at the companies, the researchers were able to analyze which specific steps were not taken that could have prevented them. (Their analysis used a well-established set of nearly 200 security actions referred to as the Center for Internet Security Sub-Controls.) 

“We were able to paint a really thorough picture in terms of which security failures were costing companies the most money,” says Reynolds, who co-authored a related paper with professors Lo and Vaikuntanathan, MIT graduate student Leo de Castro, Principal Research Scientist Daniel J. Weitzner, PhD student Fransisca Susan, and graduate student Nicolas Zhang. “If you’re a chief information security officer at one of these organizations, it can be an overwhelming task to try to defend absolutely everything. They need to know where they should direct their attention.”

The team calls their platform “SCRAM,” for “Secure Cyber Risk Aggregation and Measurement.” Among other findings, they determined that the three following security vulnerabilities had the largest total losses, each in excess of $1 million:

Failures in preventing malware attacks

Malware attacks, like the one last month that reportedly forced the wearables company Garmin to pay a $10 million ransom, are still a tried-and-true method of gaining control of valuable consumer data. Reynolds says that companies continue to struggle to prevent such attacks, relying on regularly backing up their data and reminding their employees not to click on suspicious emails. 

Communication over unauthorized ports 

Curiously, the team found that every firm in their study said they had, in fact, implemented the security measure of blocking access to unauthorized ports — the digital equivalent of companies locking all their doors. Even still, attacks that involved gaining access to these ports accounted for a large number of high-cost losses. 

“Losses can arise even when there are defenses that are well-developed and understood,” says Weitzner, who also serves as director of MIT IPRI. “It’s important to recognize that improving common existing defenses should not be neglected in favor of expanding into new areas of defense.”

Failures in log management for security incidents 

Every day companies amass detailed “logs” denoting activity within their systems. Senior security officers often turn to these logs after an attack to audit the incident and see what happened. Reynolds says that there are many ways that companies could be using machine learning and artificial intelligence more efficiently to help understand what’s happening — including, crucially, during or even before a security attack. 

Two other key areas that warrant further analysis include taking inventory of hardware so that only authorized devices are given access, as well as boundary defenses like firewalls and proxies that aim to control the flow of traffic through network borders. 

The team developed their data aggregation platform in conjunction with MIT cryptography experts, using an existing method called multi-party computation (MPC) that allows them to perform calculations on data without themselves being able to read or unlock it. After computing its anonymized findings, the SCRAM system then asks each contributing company to help it unlock only the answer using their own secret cryptographic key.

“The power of this platform is that it allows firms to contribute locked data that would otherwise be too sensitive or risky to share with a third party,” says Reynolds.

As a next step, the researchers plan to expand the pool of participating companies, with representation from a range of different sectors that include electricity, finance, and biotech. Reynolds says that if the team can gather data from upwards of 70 or 80 companies, they’ll be able to do something unprecedented: put an actual dollar figure on the risk of particular defenses failing.

The project was a cross-campus effort involving affiliates at IPRI, CSAIL’s Theory of Computation group, and the MIT Sloan School of Management. It was funded by the Hewlett Foundation and CSAIL’s Financial Technology industry initiative (“FinTech@CSAIL”). 

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