Khan Academy’s Marcia Lee Builds Tools for Online Education

Marcia Lee shapes the Khan Academy’s tools for Web-based instruction

3 min read
Marcia Lee

Despite being photographed outdoors in full sunlight, a 160-mm-diagonal, color cholesteric liquid-crystal display, built with off-the-shelf electronics for demonstration purposes by Kent Displays Inc., shows a bright image. The image is produced by reflected light, not backlighting, and no power is needed to hold the image on the screen.

Photo: Gabriela Hasbun; Stylist: Tietjen Fischer


In late August 2010, Marcia Lee, newly graduated from Stanford with a master's degree in computer science, packed her car and drove north from Silicon Valley for what she thought would be a fantastic job at Microsoft and an awesome apartment in Seattle. She turned out to be right about the digs but wrong about the work.

So after just five months, Lee quit Microsoft and headed back to Silicon Valley. The apartment she settled into there was nothing special, but the new job she found, at the Khan Academy, sang to her heart.

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Climate-Friendly Ethereum Is One Merge Away

Successful tests set the stage for the cryptocurrency’s switchover in September

3 min read
A large blue lit data center. A figure wearing a white cleanroom suit walks towards a green lit room.

Here pictured is Evobits crypto farm, an Ethereum mining rig in Romania.

Akos Stiller/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The merge is coming, and crypto may never be the same.

“The merge” is shorthand for Ethereum’s rapidly approaching switch from one compute-intensive form of blockchain verification to a much less resource-heavy method. In other words, the cryptocurrency will be switching from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This move, which is years in the making, changes how Ethereum maintains consensus—and drastically slashes power consumption.

“Ethereum’s power-hungry days will soon be numbered,” says Terence Tsao, Ethereum protocol developer at Prysmatic Labs. “And I hope that’s true for the rest of the industry, too.”

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Boston Dynamics AI Institute Targets Basic Research

Hyundai’s new robotics venture recalls Bell Labs’ and Xerox PARC’s glory days

4 min read
A collage of a headshot of Marc Raibert who is an older man with a beard and glasses in a flower print shirt, and an large black and white Atlas humanoid robot
Photo-illustration: IEEE Spectrum; Photos: Boston Dynamics

This morning, Hyundai Motor Group and Boston Dynamics announced the launch of the Boston Dynamics AI Institute, to “spearhead advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics.” BDAII (I guess we’ll have to get used to that acronym!) will be located in Cambridge, Mass., with more than US $400 million of initial investment from Hyundai (Boston Dynamics’ parent company) and BD itself to get things started. Heading up the whole thing will be Boston Dynamics founder Marc Raibert himself, with Al Rizzi (Boston Dynamics’ chief scientist) as chief technology officer.

This new venture looks promising.

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Get the Coursera Campus Skills Report 2022

Download the report to learn which job skills students need to build high-growth careers

1 min read

Get comprehensive insights into higher education skill trends based on data from 3.8M registered learners on Coursera, and learn clear steps you can take to ensure your institution's engineering curriculum is aligned with the needs of the current and future job market. Download the report now!