Jennifer Chu

covers mechanical engineering, mathematics, physics, aeronautics, astronautics, and earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences as a writer for MIT News.

Recent Articles by New method uses patent data to estimate a technology’s future rate of improvement

New method uses patent data to estimate a technology’s future rate of improvement

The team devised an equation incorporating a patent set’s average forward citation and average publication date, and calculated the rate of improvement for each technology domain. Their results matched closely with the rates determined through the more labor-intensive approach of finding numerous historical performance data points for each technology. Among the 28 domains analyzed, the researchers found the fastest-developing technologies include optical and wireless communications, 3-D printing, and MRI technology, while domains such as batteries, wind turbines, and combustion engines appear to be improving at slower rates.