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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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Curbing cab timeToday’s Spotlight features a ThinkStock photograph.

Cellphone apps that find users car rides in real time are exploding in popularity: The car-service company Uber was recently valued at $18 billion, and even as it faces legal wrangles, a number of companies that provide similar services with licensed taxi cabs have sprung up.

What if the taxi-service app on your cellphone had a button on it that let you indicate that you were willing to share a ride with another passenger? How drastically could cab-sharing reduce traffic, fares, and carbon dioxide emissions?

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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.
No-wait data centers

No-wait data centers

Today’s Spotlight is by Christine Daniloff/MIT and features an animation by Jonathan Perry. This simulation of data transfer in a server form demonstrates how Fastpass selects routes through the network so as to avoid congestion at any point between the sender and the receiver.

Big websites usually maintain their own “data centers,” banks of tens or even hundreds of thousands of servers, all passing data back and forth to field users’ requests. Like any big, decentralized network, data centers are prone to congestion: Packets of data arriving at the same router at the same time are put in a queue, and if the queues get too long, packets can be delayed.

At the annual conference of the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication, in August, MIT researchers will present a new network-management system that, in experiments, reduced the average queue length of routers in a Facebook data center by 99.6 percent — virtually doing away with queues.

Read full article.