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  • CS alum's "BubbleSort" magazine aims to get young girls excited about codingThis week represents the publication of the inaugural issue of BubbleSort, a Kickstarter-funded magazine founded by an MIT alum that's aimed at getting high-school girls interested in computer science. The zine, which earned more than $60,000 on Kickstarter, will feature cartoons and comics...
  • Robots that can recognize objects? A SLAM dunkJohn Leonard’s group at CSAIL specializes in SLAM, or simultaneous localization and mapping, the technique whereby mobile autonomous robots map their environments and determine their locations. Last week, at the Robotics Science and Systems conference, members of Leonard’s group presented a new...
  • What better wind-speed prediction can do for the energy industryWhen a power company wants to build a new wind farm, it generally hires a consultant to make wind speed measurements at the proposed site for eight to 12 months. Those measurements are correlated with historical data and used to assess the site’s power-generation capacity. This month CSAIL ...
  • Why is leadership a "dirty word" for academics? Why is "leadership" a dirty word in academia? According to CSAIL principal investigator Charles Leiserson, science faculty need it more than anyone. In the latest issue of Nature, he writes about his experience teaching the topic to hundreds of professors over the years through special workshops...
  • Cutting cost and power consumption for big dataRandom-access memory, or RAM, is where computers like to store the data they’re working on. A processor can retrieve data from RAM tens of thousands of times more rapidly than it can from the computer’s disk drive. But in the age of big data, data sets are often much too large to fit in a single...
  • Predicting what customers want - MIT spin-off develops choice-modeling softwareU.S. retail chains often rely on intuition in choosing which products, from a vast inventory, will sell best at stores across the nation. Now MIT spinout Celect is refining this process with novel data analytics, revealing interesting insights into how retailers can optimize their shelf space....
  • Computer program fixes old code faster than expert engineersLast year, MIT computer scientists and Adobe engineers came together to try to solve a major problem that many companies face: bit-rot. A good example is Adobe’s successful Photoshop photo editor, which just celebrated its 25th birthday. Over the years Photoshop had accumulated heaps of code that...
  • CSAIL report: giving government special access to data poses major security risksIn recent months, government officials in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries have made repeated calls for law-enforcement agencies to be able to access, upon due authorization, encrypted data to help them solve crimes. Beyond the ethical and political implications of such an...
  • Micali named Carnegie “Great Immigrant” in New York TimesToday it was announced that CSAIL researcher Silvio Micali has been named a “Great Immigrant” by Carnegie Corporation of New York —one of 39 naturalized citizens across the country to be honored in 2015. Every July 4 since 2006, Carnegie Corporation has recognized the contributions of immigrants...
  • Can we predict which students will drop out of MOOCs?MOOCs — massive open online courses — grant huge numbers of people access to world-class educational resources, but they also suffer high rates of attrition. To some degree, that’s inevitable: Many people who enroll in MOOCs may have no interest in doing homework, but simply plan to listen to...
  • "CodePhage" system automatically fixes bugs, without the original source codeThis month CSAIL researchers presented a new system that repairs dangerous software bugs by automatically importing functionality from other, more secure applications. Remarkably, the system, dubbed CodePhage, doesn’t require access to the source code of the applications whose functionality it’...
  • Ron Rivest named Institute Professor - one of only 23 in MIT historyCSAIL researcher Ron Rivest is one of three faculty members to be named an MIT Institute Professor. He is one 13 at MIT, along with 10 Institute Professors emeriti. Their new appointments are effective July 1, making them the first faculty members to be named Institute Professors since...
  • Furniture that disappears - a profile of CSAIL spin-off Rock Paper RobotDesigning chairs and tables isn't exactly rocket science, but Jessica Banks has the creds to make you think that's the case. After earning a master's degree from MIT, where she was in the Humanoid Robotics Group at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, and teaching in the...
  • Stonebraker officially accepts $1m Turing Award, "Nobel Prize for computing"Michael Stonebraker, a CSAIL researcher who has revolutionized the field of database management systems (DBMSs) and founded multiple successful database companies, just accepted the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as “the Nobel Prize of...
  • How a video algorithm could help out coachesFor several years now, the research groups of CSAIL principal investigators William Freeman and Frédo Durand have been investigating techniques for amplifying movements captured by video but indiscernible to the human eye. Versions of their algorithms can make the human pulse visible and even...
  • Origami robot self-folds, crawls, climbs, swims, self-destructsA team of CSAIL researchers have developed a printable origami robot that folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic when heated and measures about a centimeter from front to back. Weighing only a third of a gram, the robot can swim, climb an incline, traverse rough terrain, and carry a load...
  • Patrick Winston's 6.034 named one of five best CS classes in countryProfessor Patrick Winston's course on artificial intelligence was just named one of the five best computer science classes in the country by Bloomberg Businessweek. "6.034: Artificial Intelligence" boasts alums like U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Internet Archive founder...
  • The most memorable Game of Thrones characters, according to MIT CSAIL researchersWith the “Game of Thrones” season finale coming up Sunday, fans have been feverishly discussing the show and its many polarizing characters. Who’s the meanest? The sexiest? The most memorable?  For that last one, MIT scientists are on the case.  Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science...
  • CSAIL team proves 40-year-old algorithm can't be improved uponComparing the genomes of different species — or different members of the same species — is the basis of a great deal of modern biology. DNA sequences that are conserved across species are likely to be functionally important, while variations between members of the same species can indicate...
  • CSAIL team finishes inches away from winning $2 million DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC)CSAIL finishes inches away from winning $2 million DARPA Robotics Challenge
  • Helping robots handle uncertaintyDecentralized partially observable Markov decision processes are a way to model autonomous robots’ behavior in circumstances where neither their communication with each other nor their judgments about the outside world are perfect. The problem with Dec-POMDPs (as they’re abbreviated) is that they’...
  • Helping robots assemble furniture on the flyToday’s industrial robots are remarkably efficient — as long as they’re in a controlled environment where everything is exactly where they expect it to be. But put them in an unfamiliar setting, where they have to think for themselves, and their efficiency plummets. And the difficulty of on-...
  • To handle big data, shrink it - algorithm reduces size of data sets while preserving their mathematical properties.As anyone who’s ever used a spreadsheet can attest, it’s often convenient to organize data into tables. But in the age of big data, those tables can be enormous, with millions or even hundreds of millions of rows. One way to make big-data analysis computationally practical is to reduce the size of...
  • Gauging materials’ physical properties from videoLast summer, CSAIL researchers published a paper describing an algorithm that can recover intelligible speech from the analysis of the minute vibrations of objects in video captured through soundproof glass. In June, at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, researchers from the...
  • Learn a language while you textThe average person spends 10 to 15 minutes a day waiting for texts and instant-message (IM) replies, according to an analysis by Carrie Cai, a PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL). What if you could be more productive during those idle moments? Cai is on...
  • Algorithm removes reflections from photos taken through windowsIt’s hard to take a photo through a window without picking up reflections of the objects behind you. To solve that problem, professional photographers sometimes wrap their camera lenses in dark cloths affixed to windows by tape or suction cups. But that’s not a terribly attractive option for a...
  • Could a scene-recognition system help robots detect individual objects, too?Object recognition — determining what objects are where in a digital image — is a central research topic in computer vision. But a person looking at an image will spontaneously make a higher-level judgment about the scene as whole: It’s a kitchen, or a campsite, or a conference room. Among computer...
  • Drones - from the skies to the seasFor the last decade, scientists have deployed increasingly capable underwater robots to map and monitor pockets of the ocean to track the health of fisheries, and survey marine habitats and species. In general, such robots are effective at carrying out low-level tasks, specifically assigned to...
  • VIDEO: PhD's TEDTalk on the future of the "visual microphone"Subtle motion happens around us all the time, including tiny vibrations caused by sound. New technology shows that we can pick up on these vibrations and actually re-create sound and conversations just from a video of a seemingly still object. (See former CSAIL researcher Michael Rubinstein...
  • Learn a language while you textThe average person spends 10 to 15 minutes a day waiting for texts and instant-message (IM) replies, according to an analysis by Carrie Cai, a PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).  What if you could be more productive during those idle moments? Cai is...
  • Matei Zaharia receives ACM Doctoral Dissertation awardToday the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) announced that CSAIL researcher Matei Zaharia has won the 2014 Doctoral Dissertation Award for his innovative solutions to tackling the surges in data processing workloads. An assistant professor at CSAIL, Zaharia has been recognized for proposing...
  • Learn about Big Data online! Enroll now in CSAIL-taught course with MIT Professional EducationSign Up Now for Spring Session of "Tackling the Challenges of Big Data"Starting May 5 MIT Professional Education will be offering a new installment of the online professional course, "Tackling the Challenges of Big Data". Twelve faculty experts from CSAIL will lead the course with enhanced...
  • One way to reduce email stress: Re-invent the mailing listWe all feel it — that panicked sensation when we check our inbox and see the deluge of emails awaiting our attention. The average person receives upwards of 150 emails a day, and it often seems like no amount of tagging or filtering can close the floodgates. One major source of stress is the never-...
  • The dangers of reducing federal funding - MIT report highlights impact on cybersecurity and moreLast year was a notable one for scientific achievements: In 2014, European researchers discovered a fundamental new particle that sheds light on the origins of the universe, and the European Space Agency successfully landed the first spacecraft on a comet. Chinese researchers, meanwhile, developed...
  • Magnifying vibrations in bridges and buildingsTo the naked eye, buildings and bridges appear fixed in place, unmoved by forces like wind and rain. But in fact, these large structures do experience imperceptibly small vibrations that, depending on their frequency, may indicate instability or structural damage. CSAIL researchers have now...
  • How a CSAIL algorithm can help your doctor better diagnose cancerCorrectly diagnosing a person with cancer — and identifying the specific type of cancer — makes all the difference in successfully treating a patient. Today your doctor might draw from a dozen or so similar cases and a big book of guidelines. But what if he or she could instead plug your test...
  • Cloud security system for defending against memory-access attacks implemented in silicon chipsIn the last 10 years, computer security researchers have shown that malicious hackers don’t need to see your data in order to steal your data. From the pattern in which your computer accesses its memory banks, adversaries can infer a shocking amount about what’s stored there. The risk of such...
  • CSAIL crypto experts join MIT's new Digital Currency InitiativeToday it was announced that MIT is launching a new initiative aimed at studying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Digital Currency Initiative will be led by Brian Forde, former White House senior advisor for mobile and data innovation, and will include researchers from the Media Lab and...
  • How 3 CSAIL students fooled the world of scientific journals In recent years, the field of academic publishing has ballooned to an estimated 30,000 peer-reviewed journals churning out some 2 million articles per year. While this growth has led to more scientific scholarship, critics argue that it has also spurred increasing numbers of low-quality “...
  • VIDEO: "Game Changer" Daniela Rus is developing the next generation of robotsCSAIL Director Daniela Rus is developing the next generation of robots – ones that can tend a garden, bake cookies from scratch, cut a birthday cake, and even dance with humans.  Learn more in a special video profile of Professor Rus done by WCVB's Chronicle as part of their "Game...
  • PhDs start "Cybersecurity Factory" to help launch start-upsThis summer two CSAIL students have founded an eight-week program called the Cybersecurity Factory that provides the capital, mentorship, and other resources and support needed to launch successful security startups.Those accepted will be granted office space in Kendall Square, and a $20,000...
  • W3C launches HTML5 online course in EdX partnershipThe World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the global technical standards organization for the Web housed at CSAIL, announced today that it has joined edX, one of the world's leading online course platforms, as a new member and will offer its first course on HTML5 on 1...
  • Students' "Cybersecurity Factory" to help launch start-upsTwo MIT CSAIL PhD students, Jean Yang and Frank Wang, are launching an eight-week summer program that provides the capital, mentorship, and other resources and support needed to launch successful security startups.Those accepted to Cybersecurity Factory will be granted office space in Kendall...
  • Charles E. Leiserson named SIAM fellowThis week the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics named CSAIL principal investigator Charles E. Leiserson as one of its 2015 Fellows for his “enduring influence on parallel computing systems and their adoption into mainstream use through scholarly research and development.”Leiserson...
  • Reviewing online homework at scaleIn computer-science classes, homework assignments consist of writing programs. It’s easy to create automated tests that determine whether a given program yields the right outputs to a series of inputs. But those tests say nothing about whether the program code is clear or confusing, whether it...
  • World's first "Algorithm Auction"Ruse Laboratories and the website Artsy are hosting the world's first "Algorithm Auction," where you can bid on influential pieces of code like CSAIL researcher Hal Abelson's "Turtle Geometry." From Wired: Code is far from a utilitarian means to an end. Like painting or sculpting,...
  • Michael Stonebraker wins $1m Turing AwardCredit: Erica Ferrone Photography Michael Stonebraker, a researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) who has revolutionized the field of database management systems (DBMSs) and founded multiple successful database companies, has won the Association for...
  • A better debugger? System to find a common programming bug significantly outperforms predecessorsCAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Integer overflows are one of the most common bugs in computer programs — not only causing programs to crash but, even worse, potentially offering points of attack for malicious hackers. Computer scientists have devised a battery of techniques to identify them, but all have...
  • Faculty promotions: Chlipala, Golland, Torralba & VaikuntanathanThis week it was announced that four CSAIL researchers have been promoted within the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department. Polina Golland and Antonio Torralba were promoted to full professor, while Adam Chilpala and Vinod Vaikuntanathan were promoted to...
  • TED this week - take a look at past talks by CSAIL researchersThis week Vancouver is hosting the annual TED conference, which brings together executives, technologists and thought leaders to share ideas about technology, education, design and more. To get you in the mood, check out some TED talks given by CSAIL researchers past and present: CSAIL...
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