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  • The promise and perils of AI and social-messagingReprinted from Scientific American: Call your computer program a “bot” and people are going to make certain assumptions, many of them negative. Twitterbots have become notorious over the past few years for their propensity to remove the human element from the microblogging service—automatically...
  • Patching up Web applications By exploiting some peculiarities of the popular Web programming framework Ruby on Rails, CSAIL researchers have developed a system that can quickly comb through tens of thousands of lines of application code to find security flaws. In tests on 50 popular Web applications written using...
  • Who has worse drivers, Boston or NYC? This app will give us an answerIt’s a question that’s been debated as long as Bostonians and New Yorkers have existed - who are worse drivers? Thanks to a new app, we may finally get an answer.
  • “Flying Monkey” robot walks, grasps, and fliesA team that includes CSAIL researchers has designed a “flying monkey” robot that walks, grasps, flies, and clocks in at less than 1/10th of a pound. Modeled after the male stag beetle, the robot is part of a new class of robots capable of interacting with and modifying their surroundings, by using...
  • First-ever 3-D printed robots made of both solids and liquidsOne reason we don’t yet have robot personal assistants buzzing around doing our chores is because making them is hard. Assembling robots by hand is time-consuming, while automation — robots building other robots — is not yet fine-tuned enough to make robots that can do complex tasks. But if humans...
  • This MIT PhD has his fingers on the pulse of virtual-realityThese days the buzz around virtual reality (VR) has never been bigger. Last month VCs invested $800 million in a secretive venture called Magic Leap, while just this week major platforms have finally hit the market from HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus VR. Oculus’ highly anticipated system, the...
  • Wireless tech means safer drones, smarter homes and password-free WiFiWe’ve all been there, impatiently twiddling our thumbs while trying to locate a WiFi signal. But what if, instead, the WiFi could locate us? According to researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), it could mean safer drones, smarter homes, and password-...
  • How this $10 laser could help self-driving carsThe Microsoft Kinect was a boon to robotics researchers. The cheap, off-the-shelf depth sensor allowed them to quickly and cost-effectively prototype innovative systems that enable robots to map, interpret, and navigate their environments. But sensors like the Kinect, which use infrared light to...
  • Voice-controlled calorie counterFor people struggling with obesity, logging calorie counts and other nutritional information at every meal is a proven way to lose weight. The technique does require consistency and accuracy, however, and when it fails, it’s usually because people don't have the time to find and record all the...
  • Secure, user-controlled dataMost people with smartphones use a range of applications that collect personal information and store it on Internet-connected servers — and from their desktop or laptop computers, they connect to Web services that do the same. Some use still other Internet-connected devices, such as thermostats or...
  • CSAIL PhD has made seven robots, and still finds time to meditate.For Julian Straub, one man’s trash truly became his treasure when a microcontroller sparked a keen interest in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. The German native is a fourth-year EECS student studying how robots can better understand their surroundings. Straub studied electrical...
  • U.S., EU leaders talk Web policy and world economy at MITAs the Internet has become a driving force in today’s global economy, governments have come to a stark realization: The world’s Web policies are inconsistent, imprecise, and in flux. One example is the “Safe Harbor” accord, a data-transfer agreement between the United States and the European Union...
  • System loads webpages 34% faster by fetching files more effectivelyThere are few things more frustrating than a slow-loading webpage. For companies, what’s even worse is what comes after: users abandoning their site in droves. Amazon, for example, estimates that every 100-millisecond delay cuts their profits by 1 percent.To help combat this problem, researchers...
  • CSAIL, University of Cambridge team up for “Cambridge 2 Cambridge” cybersecurity hackathonWith cyber-attacks and data privacy becoming increasingly important global concerns, many cybersecurity experts have called for more international collaboration in developing technologies to help us protect our data and systems.To that end, this past weekend students from MIT’s Computer Science...
  • Browsing in publicResearchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new system that allows Web users to share self-selected aspects of their online activity with their friends and the general public. The hope is to give users themselves, as well as academics and...
  • NYT: "Smart robots make strides, but there's no need to flee just yet"In assessing AI anxiety, the New York Times offers "reassuring views from computer scientists who sense that the end is not nigh" because "machines are not nearly as clever, or necessarily as pernicious, as the fretters believe." CSAIL researchers Daniela Rus, Russ Tedrake and...
  • VIDEO: BB-8 droids deliver MIT admissions decisions!Admissions decisions are arriving soon from a galaxy far, far away. Decisions for the Class of 2020 come out on Pi Day 3/14, at (when else?) 6:28 p.m. ET.     To honor the occasion, the Admissions Office has released a new video starring Star Wars' BB-8 drones, which are...
  • Postdoc develops Twitterbot that uses AI to sound like Donald TrumpThink Donald Trump says some crazy things? Just wait until you hear his Twitterbot. This week a postdoc at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) developed a Trump Twitterbot that Tweets out remarkably Trump-like statements, such as “I’m what ISIS doesn’t need.” The bot is...
  • Madry and Moitra receive research fellowship from Sloan FoundationCSAIL principal investigators Aleksander Madry and Ankur Moitra are two of 11 at MIT to be among 126 American and Canadian researchers awarded the 2016 Sloan Research Fellowships, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced today.  Spanning 52 colleges and universities and awarded annually since...
  • Six steps to start-up success from serial entrepreneur Mike StonebrakerMost entrepreneurs would consider themselves lucky to launch a single company.For MIT’s Michael Stonebraker, try nine. A researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, Stonebraker has founded and led nine different big-data spin-offs, including VoltDB, Tamr and Vertica - the...
  • Human-robot teams to the rescue!Autonomous robots performing a joint task send each other continual updates: “I’ve passed through a door and am turning 90 degrees right.” “After advancing 2 feet I’ve encountered a wall. I’m turning 90 degrees right.” “After advancing 4 feet I’ve encountered a wall.” And so on. Computers, of...
  • Risk, reward and robots Planning algorithms are widely used in logistics and control. They can help schedule flights and bus routes, guide autonomous robots, and determine control policies for the power grid, among other things. In recent years, planning algorithms have begun to factor in uncertainty — variations...
  • CSAIL researchers collaborate on brain-mapping consortium
  • Charles Leiserson elected to National Academy of EngineeringCSAIL researcher Charles E. Leiserson is one of three at MIT to be among the 80 new members and 22 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering. The Edwin Sibley Webster Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Leiserson was...
  • Computer science meets economicsDaedalus of Crete — who, according to Greek myth, designed the labyrinth that trapped the Minotaur — is one of the oldest symbols of human ingenuity, credited with the invention of the saw, the ax, glue, and the ship’s sail, among other things. Constantinos Daskalakis, a recently tenured associate...
  • Energy-friendly chip can perform powerful artificial-intelligence tasks In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence have come courtesy of convolutional neural networks, large virtual networks of simple information-processing units, which are loosely modeled on the anatomy of the human brain.
  • A virtual “guide dog” for navigation Researchers at CSAIL and MIT's Microsystems Research Laboratories (MTL) have developed a low-power chip for processing 3-D camera data that could help visually impaired people navigate their environments. The chip consumes only one-thousandth as much power as a conventional computer...
  • Auto-bug-repair system uses machine learning to fix 10 times as many errors as its predecessorsCSAIL researchers have developed a machine-learning system that can comb through repairs to open-source computer programs and learn their general properties, in order to produce new repairs for a different set of programs. The researchers tested their system on a set of programming errors, culled...
  • Mapping regulatory elements
  • Web inventor teaches web course - learn about "Internet of Things" through edXIt seems strangely appropriate that the inventor of the World Wide Web is now teaching his first web course. Tim Berners-Lee and several other researchers from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) are part of the team behind a new first-of-its-kind "Internet of Things"...
  • Marvin Minsky, founding father of AI (and CSAIL), dies at 88Marvin Minsky, a mathematician, computer scientist, and pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence, died at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital on Sunday, Jan. 24, of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 88. Minsky, a professor emeritus at both CSAIL and the MIT Media Lab, was a pioneering...
  • Watch drones do donuts around obstacles thanks to planning algorithmsGetting drones to fly around without hitting things is no small task. Obstacle-detection and motion-planning are two of computer science’s trickiest challenges, because of the complexity involved in creating real-time flight plans that avoid obstacles and handle surprises like wind and weather. In...
  • PhD takes 1 million photos of Boston skyline over 5 yearsIf a picture’s worth a thousand words, than Adrian Dalca is one seriously verbose researcher. Over the last five years, the CSAIL PhD student has been snapping away at the Boston skyline from his MIT apartment, taking approximately one million shots with an assortment of GoPros, phone cameras and...
  • CSAIL's World Wide Web consortium wins an Emmy!The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the global web-standards organization housed at CSAIL, received a Technology & Engineering Emmy Award on Friday for its work to make video content more accessible with text captioning and subtitles. The Emmy recognizes W3C’s Timed Text Markup Language (TTML...
  • Team joins $10 million NSF grant to combat software bugsThe next time a software maker tells you to update your favorite computer application immediately to fix serious defects or patch gaping security holes, don’t lose faith. Help is on the way. A team including associate professor Adam Chlipala of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence...
  • PhD takes 1 million photos of Boston skyline over 5 yearsIf a picture’s worth a thousand words, than Adrian Dalca is one seriously verbose researcher. Over the last five years, the CSAIL PhD student has been snapping away at the Boston skyline from his MIT apartment, taking approximately one million shots with an assortment of GoPros, phone cameras and...
  • Could this app make you a better driver?Want to improve Boston’s recently-confirmed reputation for having the worst drivers in the country? Fortunately, now there’s an app for that. Mobile-based telematics — apps and hardware that measure driving behaviors — may be the future of safer roads. Increasingly, people are using these...
  • Two researchers named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" listNBA All-Star Steph Curry. "Star Wars" actor John Boyega. Platinum-selling rapper Fetty Wap. And, of course, CSAIL researchers Abe Davis and Teasha Feldman-Fitzthum.Okay, those last two might not be household names, but they were among the select few picked to be part of Forbes "30 under 30" list,...
  • Computer scientists explain what they do, in very simple wordsThis fall xkcd web cartoonist Randall Munroe published “Thing Explainer,” a book that explains the mechanics behind concepts like smartphones and nuclear reactors using only the English language’s 1,000 most commonly used words. (Well, technically, “ten hundred” - the word “thousand” isn’t on the...
  • Toyota names three CSAIL PIs to consult for AI initiativeThe new Toyota Research Institute (TRI) - a $1 billion investment in artificial intelligence - aims to reduce traffic casualties, develop cars capable of navigating without human input, and advance the field of autonomous systems. This week TRI announced the advisory board and initial technical...
  • Computer model matches humans at predicting how objects moveWe humans take for granted our remarkable ability to predict things that happen around us. For example, consider Rube Goldberg machines: One of the reasons we enjoy them is because we can watch a chain-reaction of objects fall, roll, slide and collide, and anticipate what happens next. But how do...
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