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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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MOOC grading at scaleToday’s Spotlight features a photograph, by Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT, of MIT graduate students Elena Glassman and Jeremy Scott.

In computer-science classes, homework assignments consist of writing programs. It’s easy to create automated tests that determine whether a given program function yields the right outputs to a series of inputs, but those tests say little about whether the function is efficiently designed or whether it contains catastrophic errors that the test inputs happen not to elicit. Professors and teaching assistants review students’ code to try to flag obvious mistakes, but even in undergraduate lecture courses, they usually don’t have time for exhaustive analysis.

In April, MIT researchers will present a new system that automatically compares students’ solutions to programming assignments, lumping together those that use substantially similar techniques.

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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.
Today’s Spotlight image is a photograph, taken by M. Scott Brauer, of associate professor of anthropology at MIT Erica James.

Erica Caple James conducted her dissertation research in trying circumstances: in Haiti, following the 1994 removal of the country’s military leaders. It was a time of social conflict and discord, yet the sense of the anxiety many Haitians felt during their everyday lives was not, to James, an incidental hazard: It was the subject of her work.

Indeed, throughout James’ career as a medical anthropologist, she has specialized in studying people confronted with social, economic, and political uncertainty. James, now an associate professor of anthropology at MIT, has often sought to address a particular question about people placed in such difficulties: Are their psychological and civic needs being addressed by the social organizations that purport to help them?

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