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MIT’s Food Computer: The Future of Urban Agriculture?

Open-source, Internet-assisted farming aims for a new green revolution

3 min read
MIT’s Food Computer: The Future of Urban Agriculture?
The Food Computer: This tabletop machine lets you program the climate you want for your tasty experiments.
Photo: MIT Media Lab

Is urban agriculture on the verge of an Internet-enabled revolution? According to a team of technologists at MIT, this unexpected possibility may yet emerge from a series of recent technological breakthroughs. These include the development of high-efficiency blue LED lighting, whose inventors received the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The MIT researchers say that as technology enables new farming opportunities in indoor, warehouse-based settings, food production can be retooled to accommodate high-density urban living and maintain food security despite a future of increasing climate instabilities and vulnerabilities. The visionaries behind this new farming tech are working toward a networked agricultural system that looks to the open-source software movement for inspiration.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
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You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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