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RECENT PUBLICATIONS

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June 2010
MIT Energy Initiative
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The Future of Natural Gas

Study Co-Chairs: Ernest J. Moniz, Henry D. Jacoby, Anthony J.M. Meggs
An Interdisciplinary MIT Study
The Future of Natural Gas is the third in a series of MIT multidisciplinary reports examining the role of various energy sources that may be important for meeting future demand under carbon dioxide emissions constraints. In each case, we explore the steps needed to enable competitiveness in a future marketplace conditioned by a CO2 emissions price.

The first two reports dealt with nuclear power (2003) and coal (2007). A study of natural gas is more complex because gas is a major fuel for multiple end uses — electricity, industry, heating — and is increasingly discussed as a potential pathway to reduced oil dependence for transportation. In addition, the realization over the last few years that the producible unconventional gas resource in the U.S. is very large has intensified the discussion about natural gas as a "bridge" to a low-carbon future. We have carried out the integrated analysis reported here as a contribution to the energy, security and climate debate.

Our judgment is that an interim report on our findings and recommendations is a timely contribution to that debate. A full report with additional analysis addressing a broader set of issues will follow later this year.

September 2010
MIT Press
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Becoming MIT

David Kaiser (Ed.)
Moments of Decision
How did MIT become MIT? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology marks the 150th anniversary of its founding in 2011. Over the years, MIT has lived by its motto, "Mens et Manus" ("Mind and Hand"), dedicating itself to the pursuit of knowledge and its application to real-world problems. MIT has produced leading scholars in fields ranging from aeronautics to economics, invented entire academic disciplines, and transformed ideas into market-ready devices. This book examines a series of turning points, crucial decisions that helped define MIT. Many of these issues have relevance today: the moral implications of defense contracts, the optimal balance between government funding and private investment, and the right combination of basic science, engineering, and humanistic scholarship in the curriculum.

Chapters describe the educational vison and fund-raising acumen of founder William Barton Rogers (MIT was among the earliest recipients of land grant funding); MIT's relationship with Harvard—its rival, doppelgänger, and, for a brief moment, degree-conferring partner; the battle between pure science and industrial sponsorship in the early twentieth century; MIT's rapid expansion during World War II because of defense work and military training courses; the conflict between Cold War gadgetry and the humanities; protests over defense contracts at the height of the Vietnam War; the uproar in the local community over the perceived riskiness of recombinant DNA research; and the measures taken to reverse years of institutionalized discrimination against women scientists.

Contributors: Lotte Bailyn, Deborah Douglas, John Durant, Susan Hockfield, Nancy Hopkins, David Kaiser, Christophe Lécuyer, Stuart W. Leslie, Bruce Sinclair, Merritt Roe Smith

About the Editor: David Kaiser is Associate Professor in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society and a Lecturer in the Department of Physics at MIT. He is the author of Drawing Theories Apart: The Dispersion of the Feynman Diagrams in Postwar Physics, and editor of Pedagogy and the Practices of Science: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.

September 2010
MIT Press
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Operations Rules

David Simchi-Levi
Delivering Customer Value through Flexible Operations
In recent years, management gurus have urged businesses to adopt such strategies as just-in-time, lean manufacturing, offshoring, and frequent deliveries to retail outlets. But today, these much-touted strategies may be risky. Global financial turmoil, rising labor costs in developing countries, and huge volatility in the price of oil and other commodities can disrupt a company’s entire supply chain and threaten its ability to compete. In Operations Rules, David Simchi-Levi identifies the crucial element in a company’s success: the link between the value it provides its customers and its operations strategies. And he offers a set of scientifically and empirically based rules that management can follow to achieve a quantum leap in operations performance.

Flexibility, says Simchi-Levi, is the single most important capability that allows firms to innovate in their operations and supply chain strategies...

David Simchi-Levi is Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT, editor-in-chief of the journal Operations Research, and coauthor of Designing and Managing the Supply Chain and The Logic of Logistics. He is the founder of LogicTools (now a division of IBM’s ILOG), which provides software solutions and professional services for supply chain planning.

July 2010
Oxford University Press
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Playing Our Game

Edward S. Steinfeld
Why China's Rise Doesn't Threaten the West
Conventional wisdom holds that China's burgeoning economic power has reduced the United States to little more than a customer and borrower of Beijing. The rise of China, many feel, necessarily means the decline of the West--the United States in particular.

Not so, writes Edward Steinfeld. If anything, China's economic emergence is good for America. In this fascinating new book, Steinfeld asserts that China's growth is fortifying American commercial supremacy, because (as the title says) China is playing our game. By seeking to realize its dream of modernization by integrating itself into the Western economic order, China is playing by our rules, reinforcing the dominance of our companies and regulatory institutions. The impact of the outside world has been largely beneficial to China's development, but also enormously disruptive. China has in many ways handed over--outsourced--the remaking of its domestic economy and domestic institutions to foreign companies and foreign rule-making authorities. For Chinese companies now, participation in global production also means obedience to foreign rules. At the same time, even as these companies assemble products for export to the West, the most valuable components for those products come from the West. America's share of global manufacturing, by value, has actually increased since 1990. Within China, the R&D centers established by Western companies attract the country's best scientists and engineers, and harness that talent to global, rather than indigenous Chinese, innovation efforts. In many ways, both Chinese and American society are benefiting as a result. That said, the pressures on China are intense. China is modeling its economy on the United States, with vast consequences in a country with a small fraction of America's per-capita income and scarcely any social safety net. Walmartization is not something that Asian manufacturing power is doing to us; rather, it is how we are transforming China.

From outsourcing to energy, Steinfeld overturns the conventional wisdom in this incisive and richly researched account.

Edward S. Steinfeld is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Director of the MIT-China Program. He is the author of Forging Reform in China: The Fate of State-Owned Industry.





April 2010
A.K. Peters, Ltd.
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Bright Boys

Tom Green, with Special Foreword by Jay W. Forrester
The Making of Information Technology
MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Emeritus Jay Forrester’s foreword shares insight into the school’s entrepreneurial spirit that helped launch the world of electronics and created the first real-time computer. An original member of MIT’s “bright boy” team, Forrester is a pioneer in early digital computer development and the inventor of random-access magnetic-core memory.

In his foreword, Forrester credits MIT for supporting such creativity in uncharted waters. Forrester writes, “Innovation means trying ideas outside of the accepted pattern. It means providing the opportunity to fail as a learning experience rather than an embarrassment. … An innovative spirit requires years for developing the courage to be different and calibrating oneself to identify the effective region for innovation that lies between the mundane and the impossible.”

Everything has a beginning. None was more profound—and quite unexpected—than Information Technology. Here for the first time is the untold story of how our new age came to be and the bright boys who made it happen. What began on the bare floor of an old laundry building eventually grew to rival in size the Manhattan Project. The unexpected consequence of that journey was huge—what we now know as Information Technology. For sixty years the bright boys have been totally anonymous while their achievements have become a way of life for all of us. “Bright Boys” brings them home. By 1950 they’d built the world’s first real-time computer. Three years later they one-upped themselves when they switched on the world’s first digital network. In 1953 their work was met with incredulity and completely overlooked. By 1968 their work was gospel. Today, it’s the way of the world.


A pioneer in early digital computer development and a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Jay Forrester invented random-access magnetic-core memory during the first wave of modern computers. He also pioneered the growing field of system dynamics. He has researched the behavior of economic systems, including the causes of business cycles and the major depressions; a new type of dynamics-based management education; and system dynamics as a unifying theme in pre-college education. Forrester has received numerous awards for his books and has been awarded nine honorary degrees from universities around the world.