massachusetts institute of technology today's spotlight about
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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!
Evolutionary geologyToday’s Spotlight features a photograph, taken by Bryce Vickmark, of Taylor Perron, associate professor of geology at MIT.

From above, parts of California’s Southern Coast Ranges appear startlingly uniform: The landscape is composed of ridges and valleys that form a pattern of parallel lines as evenly spaced as teeth on a comb.

“:When you see such a regular pattern, it’s like the landscape is screaming at you to figure out what’s making it do that,” says Taylor Perron, an associate professor of geology in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS).

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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.
Doing the math

Doing the math

Today’s Spotlight uses a photograph, taken by Bryce Vickmark, of MIT management professor Vivek Farias.

When consumers look at cars at an auto dealership, they have speed on their minds — and not necessarily the sort measured by 0‑to‑60 acceleration. Rather, they want to buy cars quickly: Evidence shows that people tend to purchase something that’s available on the lot, rather than waiting for an order to arrive from another site, even though an auto is a major purchase.

This presents an interesting problem for dealers and manufacturers: Considering factors such as popularity and profit margin, what’s the optimal mix of models to showcase on the lot, given that buyers can be steered toward what’s available?

Vivek Farias builds mathematical tools that can answer this for automakers and dealers — as well as tools that can help businesses in online searches and recommendations...

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