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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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Gut checkToday’s Spotlight, by Christine Daniloff/MIT, features an image of the bacterium, Enterococcus faecalis, which lives in the human gut and is used courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Trillions of bacteria live in each person’s digestive tract. Scientists believe that some of these bacteria help digest food and stave off harmful infections, but their role in human health is not well understood. To help shed light on the role of these bacteria, a team of researchers led by MIT associate professor Eric Alm recently tracked fluctuations in the bacterial populations of two research subjects over a full year.

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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) and you are free to submit an Of Note to the MIT News office. For more information, e-mail the spotlight team.

Request a Spotlight, Of Note 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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