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Democratizing Innovation (MIT Press)
Innovation is rapidly becoming democratized. Users, aided by improvements in computer and communications technology, increasingly can develop their own new products and services. These innovating users -- both individuals and firms -- often freely share their innovations with others, creating user-innovation communities and a rich intellectual commons. In Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel looks closely at this emerging system of user-centered innovation. He explains why and when users find it profitable to develop new products and services for themselves, and why it often pays users to reveal their innovations freely for the use of all.The trend toward democratized innovation can be seen in software and information products -- most notably in the free and open-source software movement -- but also in physical products. Von Hippel's many examples of user innovation in action range from surgical equipment to surfboards to software security features. He shows that product and service development is concentrated among "lead users," who are ahead on marketplace trends and whose innovations are often commercially attractive.Von Hippel argues that manufacturers should redesign their innovation processes and that they should systematically seek out innovations developed by users. He points to businesses -- the custom semiconductor industry is one example -- that have learned to assist user-innovators by providing them with toolkits for developing new products. User innovation has a positive impact on social welfare, and von Hippel proposes that government policies, including R&D subsidies and tax credits, should be realigned to eliminate biases against it. The goal of a democratized user-centered innovation system, says von Hippel, is well worth striving for. An electronic version of this book is available under a Creative Commons license.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 02/17/2006
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 216 pages

Computing: A Concise History (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
The history of computing could be told as the story of hardware and software, or the story of the Internet, or the story of "smart" hand-held devices, with subplots involving IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. In this concise and accessible account of the invention and development of digital technology, computer historian Paul Ceruzzi offers a broader and more useful perspective. He identifies four major threads that run throughout all of computing's technological development: digitization--the coding of information, computation, and control in binary form, ones and zeros; the convergence of multiple streams of techniques, devices, and machines, yielding more than the sum of their parts; the steady advance of electronic technology, as characterized famously by "Moore's Law"; and the human-machine interface.Ceruzzi guides us through computing history, telling how a Bell Labs mathematician coined the word "digital" in 1942 (to describe a high-speed method of calculating used in anti-aircraft devices), and recounting the development of the punch card (for use in the 1890 U.S. Census). He describes the ENIAC, built for scientific and military applications; the UNIVAC, the first general purpose computer; and ARPANET, the Internet's precursor. Ceruzzi's account traces the world-changing evolution of the computer from a room-size ensemble of machinery to a "minicomputer" to a desktop computer to a pocket-sized smart phone. He describes the development of the silicon chip, which could store ever-increasing amounts of data and enabled ever-decreasing device size. He visits that hotbed of innovation, Silicon Valley, and brings the story up to the present with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social networking.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 06/15/2012
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 199 pages

Metadata (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
When "metadata" became breaking news, appearing in stories about surveillance by the National Security Agency, many members of the public encountered this once-obscure term from information science for the first time. Should people be reassured that the NSA was "only" collecting metadata about phone calls -- information about the caller, the recipient, the time, the duration, the location -- and not recordings of the conversations themselves? Or does phone call metadata reveal more than it seems? In this book, Jeffrey Pomerantz offers an accessible and concise introduction to metadata.In the era of ubiquitous computing, metadata has become infrastructural, like the electrical grid or the highway system. We interact with it or generate it every day. It is not, Pomerantz tell us, just "data about data." It is a means by which the complexity of an object is represented in a simpler form. For example, the title, the author, and the cover art are metadata about a book. When metadata does its job well, it fades into the background; everyone (except perhaps the NSA) takes it for granted.Pomerantz explains what metadata is, and why it exists. He distinguishes among different types of metadata -- descriptive, administrative, structural, preservation, and use -- and examines different users and uses of each type. He discusses the technologies that make modern metadata possible, and he speculates about metadata's future. By the end of the book, readers will see metadata everywhere. Because, Pomerantz warns us, it's metadata's world, and we are just living in it.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 11/13/2015
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 252 pages

Types and Programming Languages (MIT Press)
A type system is a syntactic method for automatically checking the absence of certain erroneous behaviors by classifying program phrases according to the kinds of values they compute. The study of type systems -- and of programming languages from a type-theoretic perspective -- has important applications in software engineering, language design, high-performance compilers, and security.This text provides a comprehensive introduction both to type systems in computer science and to the basic theory of programming languages. The approach is pragmatic and operational; each new concept is motivated by programming examples and the more theoretical sections are driven by the needs of implementations. Each chapter is accompanied by numerous exercises and solutions, as well as a running implementation, available via the Web. Dependencies between chapters are explicitly identified, allowing readers to choose a variety of paths through the material.The core topics include the untyped lambda-calculus, simple type systems, type reconstruction, universal and existential polymorphism, subtyping, bounded quantification, recursive types, kinds, and type operators. Extended case studies develop a variety of approaches to modeling the features of object-oriented languages.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 01/04/2002
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 645 pages

Energy and Civilization: A History (MIT Press)
"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. -- Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the YearEnergy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel--driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts -- from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.
Author: Vaclav Smil
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 05/12/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 568 pages

The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy (MIT Press)
The United States is becoming a nation of rich and poor, with few families in the middle. In this book, MIT economist Peter Temin offers an illuminating way to look at the vanishing middle class. Temin argues that American history and politics, particularly slavery and its aftermath, play an important part in the widening gap between rich and poor. Temin employs a well-known, simple model of a dual economy to examine the dynamics of the rich/poor divide in America, and outlines ways to work toward greater equality so that America will no longer have one economy for the rich and one for the poor.Many poorer Americans live in conditions resembling those of a developing country -- substandard education, dilapidated housing, and few stable employment opportunities. And although almost half of black Americans are poor, most poor people are not black. Conservative white politicians still appeal to the racism of poor white voters to get support for policies that harm low-income people as a whole, casting recipients of social programs as the Other -- black, Latino, not like "us." Politicians also use mass incarceration as a tool to keep black and Latino Americans from participating fully in society. Money goes to a vast entrenched prison system rather than to education. In the dual justice system, the rich pay fines and the poor go to jail.
Author: Peter Temin
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 03/10/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 256 pages

MATLAB for Brain and Cognitive Scientists (MIT Press)
MATLAB is one of the most popular programming languages for neuroscience and psychology research. Its balance of usability, visualization, and widespread use makes it one of the most powerful tools in a scientist's toolbox. In this book, Mike Cohen teaches brain scientists how to program in MATLAB, with a focus on applications most commonly used in neuroscience and psychology. Although most MATLAB tutorials will abandon users at the beginner's level, leaving them to sink or swim, MATLAB for Brain and Cognitive Scientists takes readers from beginning to intermediate and advanced levels of MATLAB programming, helping them gain real expertise in applications that they will use in their work.The book offers a mix of instructive text and rigorous explanations of MATLAB code along with programming tips and tricks. The goal is to teach the reader how to program data analyses in neuroscience and psychology. Readers will learn not only how to but also how not to program, with examples of bad code that they are invited to correct or improve. Chapters end with exercises that test and develop the skills taught in each chapter. Interviews with neuroscientists and cognitive scientists who have made significant contributions their field using MATLAB appear throughout the book. MATLAB for Brain and Cognitive Scientists is an essential resource for both students and instructors, in the classroom or for independent study.
Author: Mike X Cohen
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 07/07/2017
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 576 pages

Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python: With Application to Understanding Data (MIT Press)
This book introduces students with little or no prior programming experience to the art of computational problem solving using Python and various Python libraries, including PyLab. It provides students with skills that will enable them to make productive use of computational techniques, including some of the tools and techniques of data science for using computation to model and interpret data. The book is based on an MIT course (which became the most popular course offered through MIT's OpenCourseWare) and was developed for use not only in a conventional classroom but in in a massive open online course (MOOC). This new edition has been updated for Python 3, reorganized to make it easier to use for courses that cover only a subset of the material, and offers additional material including five new chapters.Students are introduced to Python and the basics of programming in the context of such computational concepts and techniques as exhaustive enumeration, bisection search, and efficient approximation algorithms. Although it covers such traditional topics as computational complexity and simple algorithms, the book focuses on a wide range of topics not found in most introductory texts, including information visualization, simulations to model randomness, computational techniques to understand data, and statistical techniques that inform (and misinform) as well as two related but relatively advanced topics: optimization problems and dynamic programming. This edition offers expanded material on statistics and machine learning and new chapters on Frequentist and Bayesian statistics.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 08/08/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 472 pages

Intellectual Property Strategy (The MIT Press Essential Knowledge series)
Most managers leave intellectual property issues to the legal department, unaware that an organization's intellectual property can help accomplish a range of management goals, from accessing new markets to improving existing products to generating new revenue streams. In this book, intellectual property expert and Harvard Law School professor John Palfrey offers a short briefing on intellectual property strategy for corporate managers and nonprofit administrators. Palfrey argues for strategies that go beyond the traditional highly restrictive "sword and shield" approach, suggesting that flexibility and creativity are essential to a profitable long-term intellectual property strategy -- especially in an era of changing attitudes about media.Intellectual property, writes Palfrey, should be considered a key strategic asset class. Almost every organization has an intellectual property portfolio of some value and therefore the need for an intellectual property strategy. A brand, for example, is an important form of intellectual property, as is any information managed and produced by an organization. Palfrey identifies the essential areas of intellectual property -- patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret -- and describes strategic approaches to each in a variety of organizational contexts, based on four basic steps.The most innovative organizations employ multiple intellectual property approaches, depending on the situation, asking hard, context-specific questions. By doing so, they achieve both short- and long-term benefits while positioning themselves for success in the global information economy.
Author: John Palfrey
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 10/07/2011
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 260 pages

Free Innovation (MIT Press)
In this book, Eric von Hippel, author of the influential Democratizing Innovation, integrates new theory and research findings into the framework of a "free innovation paradigm." Free innovation, as he defines it, involves innovations developed by consumers who are self-rewarded for their efforts, and who give their designs away "for free." It is an inherently simple grassroots innovation process, unencumbered by compensated transactions and intellectual property rights.Free innovation is already widespread in national economies and is steadily increasing in both scale and scope. Today, tens of millions of consumers are collectively spending tens of billions of dollars annually on innovation development. However, because free innovations are developed during consumers' unpaid, discretionary time and are given away rather than sold, their collective impact and value have until very recently been hidden from view. This has caused researchers, governments, and firms to focus too much on the Schumpeterian idea of innovation as a producer-dominated activity. Free innovation has both advantages and drawbacks. Because free innovators are self-rewarded by such factors as personal utility, learning, and fun, they often pioneer new areas before producers see commercial potential. At the same time, because they give away their innovations, free innovators generally have very little incentive to invest in diffusing what they create, which reduces the social value of their efforts. The best solution, von Hippel and his colleagues argue, is a division of labor between free innovators and producers, enabling each to do what they do best. The result will be both increased producer profits and increased social welfare -- a gain for all.
Published by: The MIT Press | Publication date: 11/10/2016
Kindle book details: Kindle Edition, 242 pages
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