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The iconic MIT home page Spotlight features a daily-changing image and design that focuses on advances in research, technology and education taking place at the Institute. Though some Spotlights do run multiple days - for example Friday's spot usually runs through the weekend, we work very hard to maintain the daily-changing tradition. We've combed our servers and have compiled a digital archive of the Institute home page through the years - well over 2000 images. Enjoy!
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Strong signalsToday’s Spotlight features photographs by Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT.

Sitting in traffic during rush hour is not just frustrating for drivers; it also adds unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Now a study by researchers at MIT could lead to better ways of programming a city’s stoplights to reduce delays, improve efficiency, and reduce emissions.

The new findings are reported in a pair of papers by assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering Carolina Osorio and alumna Kanchana Nanduri SM ’13, published in the journals Transportation Science and Transportation Research: Part B. In these papers, the researchers describe a method of combining vehicle-level data with less precise — but more comprehensive — city-level data on traffic patterns to produce better information than current systems provide.

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The MIT home page Spotlight showcases the research, technology and education advances taking place at the Institute every day.

What makes it as a Spotlight image is an editorial decision by the MIT News Office based on factors that include timeliness, promotion of MIT's mission, the balance of interest to both internal and external audiences, and appropriateness.

We do welcome ideas and submissions for spotlights from community members, but please note we are not able to accommodate all requests. We are unable to run event previews or promotions as spotlights; for those looking to promote an event, we are happy to include your listing as an event headline on the homepage (when space is available). For more information, e-mail the spotlight team.

Request a Spotlight or Event Headline, here.
In a sea of change

In a sea of change

Today’s Spotlight uses photos in the public domain of writers (from left to right) Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and William Morris, in an illustration by Christine Daniloff/MIT.

In 1890, living in Samoa, Robert Louis Stevenson sent a letter to his fellow writer Henry James, explaining a momentous decision on his part: Disillusioned with a rapidly changing, technologically driven world, Stevenson intended to remain in “exile” on the island, never to return to his native Britain.

“I was never fond of towns, houses, society or (it seems) civilisation,” Stevenson wrote, explaining his choice. Indeed, he died in Samoa four years later.

But how exactly did Stevenson, who grew up in a well-off family of Scottish civil engineers, wind up lamenting technological progress and its social effects from a remote island in the South Pacific?

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