As winter sets in with a vengeance in New England, the weather is once again foremost in people’s minds. Damage prevention and safe, efficient travel are among the many reasons why more accurate weather prediction would be a valuable technology to develop. MIT researchers, including Professor Nick Roy, are working to solve this problem using the innovative solution of robotic aircraft.
Those who are frustrated by accessibility issues when browsing the web on iPhones or G1s may not have to wait much longer for relief. The World Wide Web Consortium, headed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has just released a tool called the W3C mobileOK checker to facilitate the verification of content accessibility on various devices.
Earlier in the year, we ran a quick story on Professor Hal Abelson’s course in mobile applications. Now, at the end of the semester, we’re returning to the course to see what was produced during its three month run.
The Institute has been awarded the Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration for developing, implementing and supporting Kerberos, the widely employed network authentication system. The award, which carries with it $100,000 in prize money, is given in two levels; the higher one that MIT received is in recognition for distinction over an extended period of time.
At the 2008 ID World International Congress in Milan, CSAIL Professor Srini Devadas was honored as this year’s ID Trail Blazer for his work on unclonable silicon chips. Dr. Devadas is also co-founder and CTO of Verayo Inc.
Late last month, CSAIL PI Daniel Weitzner was chosen as part of a group who will oversee President-elect Barack Obama’s “innovation agenda.” The group’s agenda is designed to increase and facilitate both civilian participation in government and government engagement in and with technology. Split into sub-groups for greater specificity, the team will focus on:
Oliver Selfridge, one of the leading lights in the early days of artificial intelligence, died Wednesday in Boston. Born in 1926, Selfridge attended Middlesex School in Concord and graduated from MIT at the age of 19 with a degree in mathematics. In 1956, he and a group of colleagues (among them Marvin Minsky) organized the first public meeting on artificial intelligence at Dartmouth, leading to the creation of the field.
In Monday’s New York Times, a few CSAIL PIs sat down to offer their views on the robotics revolution – the real, the fake, and even the Jetsons.
For the average child who grew up on Saturday morning cartoons, it was a tragedy to learn that The Future would probably include neither hovercars nor robotic butlers. But in our collective dejection, we may have missed the many ways in which robots have begun to gently invade our daily lives.
On November 8th and 9th, CSAIL played host to the fifth annual International Genetically Modified Machines (or iGem) Jamboree. Drawing on the talents of teams from 21 countries around the world, the Jamboree aims to foster creativity in partnership with standardization of biological building blocks in the field of synthetic biology.
At the 2008 Zhongguancun Forum in Beijing (Nov. 14th), the topics of discussion were innovation, development and international cooperation in advanced technology. In the current economic climate, special attention was paid to responsible, sustainable development of technology to benefit the global markets in future.
From October 29th to November 2nd, MIT played host to a series of meetings in the area of regulatory genomics. The conference was a combination of the 5th annual RECOMB Satellite on Regulatory Genomics, the 4th annual RECOMB Satellite on Systems Biology, and the 3rd annual DREAM reverse engineering challenge. Co-organized by CSAIL and the Broad Institute, this year’s conference surpassed all previous years in both complexity and success.
With the global economy spiraling downwards, the tech sector has proven to be one of the rare bright spots of expansion and growth. The diversity of the market and the nature of the products being generated is a powerful insurance against the volatility affecting other sectors, such as housing or finance, whose lights shone more brightly in past years.
CSAIL Professor Polina Golland is attempting to decipher the way in which the brain responds to different types of visual objects. Current efforts to tackle the problem are based on the assumption that the areas of the brain which recognize various types of objects are in the same place in every person.
On November 4th, as the nation prepared to elect its new president, a parallel test of electoral integrity was taking place within CSAIL. A new open source software technology, known as Scantegrity II, has been developed by an international consortium of researchers, which includes CSAIL Professor Ron Rivest and graduate student Emily Shen.
This political season, the MIT News Office has devoted a fair amount of time to examining the platforms and views of each candidate for United States President. One recent installment features CSAIL Professor Hal Abelson, along with Harry R. Lewis of Harvard, discussing the candidates’ approach to Internet policy and technology as a whole.
On October 29th, CSAIL hosted the fall meeting of its Industrial Affiliate Program. The all-day event, held in Kiva, was a chance for industry representatives to meet upcoming CSAIL graduates. It also gave them a chance to learn more about the various research initiatives taking place in the lab.
Last week, CSAIL’S Industry Affiliate Program gained its newest member, Coatue Management. Based in New York, the company manages investments on behalf of both institutional investors and nonprofit organizations, among others. In its eight years of growth, Coatue has been committed to technology; a current large project seeks to develop an overarching software platform that is capable of servicing the equity investment process from start to finish. The fund is IAP’s first financial services partner.
As the presidential election draws nearer, more attention is beginning to be paid to the solutions the next administration will use to advance both policy goals and the state of the art. Computerworld magazine recently asked a group of technology experts for their advice on the matter.
Silicon.com has chosen World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee as its number one Agenda Setter in 2008. Berners-Lee is director of the World Wide Web Consortium, which works to develop standards, software, and specifications to contribute to greater web safety, uniformity and usability.
On Friday, October 17, CSAIL played host to relatives of MIT students from around the country and the world. Family Weekend, organized in conjunction with the MIT Parents Association, is a weekend-long series of classes, receptions, tours, performances and lectures that allows families to experience MIT for themselves.
On October 15th, John Chambers of Cisco Systems visited MIT as part of a push towards greater synergy and collaboration between the two entities. Founded in San Francisco in 1984, Cisco has grown into one of the leading distributors of networking and communications technology and services in the world.
At the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS), held September 14-18 in Sydney, Australia, Julie Shah took top honors in the Best Student Paper category for her work on mixed human/robot task coordination.
A mobile-sensor network known as CarTel hopes to revolutionize the way traffic is understood, analyzed and (hopefully) avoided. The project is driven (excuse the pun) by CSAIL professors Hari Balakrishnan and Samuel Madden, in collaboration with Jacob Eriksson, Sejoon Lim and professor Daniela Rus. In a further example of cross-cutting and partnership, the initiative is funded by NSF and the T-Party Project (itself a group effort shared by MIT and Quanta Computer).
CSAIL Professor Arvind, along with Robert Armstrong of the MIT Energy Initiative, was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering early this month. The NAE, founded in 1964, honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the field of engineering in the areas research, practice, education and technology.
A group of researchers will be working towards greater efficiency in the way man-made electrodes influence and gather information about cellular activity. Professor Russ Tedrake, along with Alexandre Megretski and H. Sebastian Seung of MIT and Hongkun Park of Harvard, will be working towards a greater understanding of the dynamics of these electrodes, called planar patch-clamp arrays.
Professor Hal Abelson’s experimental course from spring 2008 (“Building Mobile Applications with Android”) has been renewed for the fall. Now titled “Building Mobile Applications,” enrollment has doubled and the range of devices it will work with has exloded. This is unsurprising, as its initial premise succeeded beyond all expectations.
The TilePro family of chips, launched at the end of September by the manufacturer Tilera, is causing a stir in the microprocessor world. The new technology seeks to circumvent the limits of communication imposed on more traditional chip structures by changing the way tiles “talk” to each other on each chip.
A new concept now in testing could make assisted navigation more seamless than ever: the autonomous wheelchair. CSAIL professor Seth Teller, along with professor Nicholas Roy of Aero/Astro and Bryan Reimer from MIT’s AgeLab, has expanded his work with autonomous passenger vehicles to include one for individual use on a daily and more personal scale.
On Wednesday, September 24th, CSAIL played host to a delegation from Taiwan’s Epoch Foundation. After being introduced by Director Victor Zue, professors Antonio Torralba, Seth Teller, Dina Katabi, Ron Rivest and John Guttag each presented an ongoing research project before the group. The visit ended with demonstrations of the Capstone Project, Language Learning, Chickenfoot, and the DARPA Grand Challenge vehicle.
This week, four CSAIL PhD candidates received the George M. Sprowls Award for the best doctoral theses in computer science. The award focuses on promoting excellence in computer science research and presentation.
Microsoft Research New England has just become the latest lab for the software giant. The center is already working in conjunction with CSAIL towards advancing the fields of computer science and the social sciences, and exploring their intersection. Its inaugural symposium was hosted at CSAIL on September 22nd.
The Mathworks company has just become the twenty-first member of the consortium that forms CSAIL’s Industry Affiliate Program. Based in Natick, the academic powerhouse developed, among other things, the influential computing environment MATLAB. It joins the growing program in its second year.
To learn more about the Industry Affiliate Program, please click here.
A paper entitled “The Complexity of Computing a Nash Equilibrium,” co-authored by Costantinos Daskalakis, has received recognition by the Game Theory Society. The Game Theory and Computer Science Prize 2008 is the first of a series of prizes to be awarded every four years at the World Congress of the Game Theory Society.
After 24 years with the Institute, CSAIL founding Director Rod Brooks is on to the next challenge. His new startup, Heartland Robotics, aims to be at the forefront of what Brooks sees as a coming revolution in the way robots will be used in daily life.
NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering Nancy Lynch was honored in late August at a series of joint lectures, co-hosted by the Principles of Distributed Computing and the International Conference on Concurrency Technology. The symposium, which coincided with the professor’s 60th birthday celebration, lauded her contributions to the foundations of distributed computing in a variety of ways. Lynch received her PhD from the Institute in 1972 and has been an MIT faculty member since 1982.
New Security Technology Exploits Uniqueness of Individual Silicon Chips for Authentication and Secret Key Generation
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Verayo, a security and authentication technology provider, today introduced security solutions based on "unclonable" silicon chips. The core technology that makes these silicon chips unclonable is called Physical Unclonable Functions (PUF).
Digital data is everywhere – and so, by definition, are its traces. It is in your cell phone calls, your social networking pages, your inbox, and even in the GPS tracker in your car. CSAIL professor Hal Abelson wants to know if, in today'’s computerized society, privacy is something that can ever be guaranteed, or even expected.
A team of MIT students walked away from their spring-semester course with a lot more than just an A and six credits: They just won a $275,000 top prize from Google for the application they developed for the company's new open-source Android cell-phone system.
CSAIL professor Rod Brooks sat down for an interview with Katie Baker at Newsweek in order to outline his vision of the directions that robotics will take going forward. Brooks, also the cofounder and CTO of iRobot, became an MIT faculty member in 1984.
Google's announcement last fall that it would be making health records available online touched off a flurry of concerns about patient privacy in the digital age. Now MIT researchers have developed a piece of software that will help to assuage doubts about how sensitive information is protected.
On July 29th, the World Wide Web Consortium took another step towards making internet access easier on mobile devices. The W3C, which is housed in CSAIL’s Stata Center, is attempting to streamline the process of remote Web access by standardizing mobile markup languages. W3C functions as a partnership between CSAIL, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics in France, and Japan’s Keio University.
On July 28th, 2008, Young Scientist Competition winner David McCarthy and his family toured CSAIL, affording them a chance to look behind the scenes at the lab. McCarthy’s project, “Variation on single instruction computer,” was selected as the top choice for the prize.
On Monday, July 21, CSAIL hosted a group from NASA’s Robotics Academy to tour the lab and find out more about what MIT has to offer; this year marks the fourth year of the Academy’s partnership with CSAIL. Assistant Director of Infrastructure Jack Costanza welcomed the 23 undergraduate students, along with Robotics Academy Dean of Academic Affairs Wence Lopez, Operations Manager Gabriel Goldman and Logistics Manager Mikaela Gomes, in the fourth-floor Kiva conference room. During a breakfast reception, they were given an overview of CSAIL’s past in the form of building 20, as well as its present research and accolades and its goals for future projects.
Despite the growing popularity of audio and video content on the Web, it can be challenging to find them. Most typical search functions can only handle text-based materials, making it very difficult to locate audio or video files without some form of text associated with it.
The Robotics Science and Systems (6.141) class taught by Professors Daniela Rus, Seth Teller and Nicholas Roy focused on building robots that can operate autonomously to build structures in new and unknown environments. Specifically students were required to engineer robots that were able to explore the environment and find materials for building a shelter. The shelters could range in complexity from a wall to a room-like structure. "The students worked very hard in small teams and built creative robots with implementations of a suite of algorithms for robot localization, navigation, and assembly control," Rus said of the students. The potential applications for this type of engineering include; autonomous navigation with dynamic obstacles, searching and rescuing victims at a disaster area, tidying up a room, clearing the dishes in a cafeteria, delivering packages in an office environment, and fetching a glass from the kitchen.
When Olivier Chatot attended the Humanoid Robotics Competition during IAP last year, he was interested in learning how to program a robot to move and fight. He didn’t expect that the class would lead to a UROP at CSAIL continuing his IAP class project, working on the Little Dog research project, or playing a key role in teaching this year’s IAP course
Sergey Yekhanin, a recent CSAIL doctoral student, has won the prestigious Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Doctoral Dissertation award, carrying with it a $20,000 cash prize. Yekhanin beat out 116 other dissertations for the prestigious honor. The competition is open to universities around the world, who are invited to nominate one or two Ph.D. theses in any area of computer science or computer engineering. Yekhanin will receive his award at ACM’s annual conference on June 21, in San Francisco, CA.
While the skylines of every major American city differ from each other, there is one thing many of them have in common: frustrated drivers who may suffer road rage from traffic delays, accidents and congested roads.
CSAIL professor Erik Demaine won the Katayanagi Emerging Leadership Prize. The Prize, sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University and Tokyo University of Technology, is endowed by Japanese entrepreneur Koh Katayanagi and honors promising young researchers in the computer science field.
A group of CSAIL students, lead by Professor Nick Roy and partnering with Ascending Technologies, won “Best Mission Performance” and “Best Rotorcraft Performance” at the 2008 Micro-Air Vehicle Competition. The competition featured select teams from around the world as part of the inaugural US-Asian Demonstration and Assessment of Micro-Aerial and Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technology Conference. Held in India from March 10-15th, the conference was created to highlight the latest research in both micro-air vehicles and unmanned ground vehicles.
During the week of March 17th, the MIT community will have a unique opportunity to view the world through a different set of eyes. Hapa, a student group dedicated to issues affecting people with mixed ethnic backgrounds, has organized the delivery of a Human Race Machine to Lobby 10.
On Thursday, March 15 Professor Robert J. Full of the University of California at Berkeley gave Dertouzos Lecturer Series Talk titled Bipedal Bugs, Galloping Ghosts and Gripping Geckos: Neuromechanical Systems Biology
For all their sophistication, computers still can't compete with nature's gift—a brain that sorts objects quickly and accurately enough so that people and primates can interpret what they see as it happens. Despite decades of development, computer vision systems still get bogged down by the massive amounts of data necessary just to identify the most basic images. Throw that same image into a different setting or change the lighting and artificial intelligence is even less of a match for good old gray matter.
For many years, Tomaso Poggio's lab at MIT ran two parallel lines of research. Some projects were aimed at understanding how the brain works, using complex computational models. Others were aimed at improving the abilities of computers to perform tasks that our brains do with ease, such as making sense of complex visual images.
To mark the ten year anniversary of the publication of its Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 as a W3C Recommendation, the World Wide Web Consortium plans throughout 2008 to recognize and thank the dedicated communities and individuals responsible for XML for their contributions -- including people who have participated in W3C's XML groups and mailing lists, the SGML community, and xml-dev -- through a variety of activities and events. XML is a simple, open, and flexible format used to exchange a wide variety of data on and off the Web. The success of XML is a strong indicator of how dedicated individuals, working within the W3C Process, can engage with a larger community to produce industry-changing results.
They're exploring the deep sea and distant planets. They're saving lives in the operating room and on the battlefield. They're transforming factory floors and filmmaking. They're - oh c'mon, they're just plain cool! From Qrio to the Terminator, here are our absolute favorites (at least for now).
Even though we still wait to see first tangible results from the Open Handset Alliance, that doesn't stop MIT to partner with Google and offer its student Android based software development class. Google folks obviously have some strong connections — and have poured some serious cash, we might add — at the famous Institute, as despite other platforms like Windows Mobile and Symbian already holding a lion share of the smartphone market, this is the first phone based development course to be offered by the school.
AS AMERICA’S presidential election process stumbles its way towards November, fears are surfacing of yet another Florida- or Ohio-style voting fiasco. In the New Hampshire primary on January 8th, both independent polls before the election and exit polls on the day itself predicted that Barack Obama would soundly defeat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. Mrs Clinton’s surprising upset cast fresh doubts over the reliability of the computerised machines used to count the vote.
A series of 3 paper sculptures titled "Computational Origami" created by CSAIL principal investigator Prof. Erik Demaine and visiting scientist Martin Demaine will be part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at MoMA Museum of Modern Art in from February 24 – May 12, 2008.
MIT scientists have found a new way that DNA can carry out its work that is about as surprising as discovering that a mold used to cast a metal tool can also serve as a tool itself, with two complementary shapes each showing distinct functional roles.