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  • Professor Emeritus Seymour Papert, pioneer of constructionist learning, dies at 88Seymour Papert, whose ideas and inventions transformed how millions of children around the world create and learn, died Sunday at his home in East Blue Hill, Maine. He was 88.
  • First major database of non-native EnglishAfter thousands of hours of work, MIT researchers have released the first major database of fully annotated English sentences written by non-native speakers. The researchers who led the project had already shown that the grammatical quirks of non-native speakers writing in English could be a source...
  • App detects light for the visually impairedWe humans rely on light for a profoundly wide range of activities, from aiding circadian rhythms, to regulating mental health, to the simple task of figuring out if our Wi-Fi router is on.But for those who are blind or visually impaired, locating sources of light can be a difficult process....
  • New movie screen allows for glasses-free 3-D at a larger scale3-D movies immerse us in new worlds and allow us to see places and things in ways that we otherwise couldn’t. But behind every 3-D experience is something that is uniformly despised: those goofy glasses. Fortunately, there may be hope. In a new paper, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and...
  • "Astute Assistants" photo series spotlights CSAIL staffOne playful portrait was enough to become the catalyst for a photographic series highlighting the administrative assistants of CSAIL.  When MIT professor Daniel Jackson caught sight of Patrice Macaluso holding a sparkling Elizabeth Taylor book, he wanted to photograph her holding it. When...
  • Acoustic-filtering system could spur better earmuffs, mufflers & even musical instrumentsA team from CSAIL has helped develop a simulation method called "Acoustic Voxels" that allows them to develop acoustic filters that can reduce certain sounds and amplify others. With researchers at Disney Research and Columbia University, the team has discovered a way to predict acoustic...
  • JuliaCon draws global users of a dynamic, easy-to-learn programming language"Julia is a great tool." That's what New York University professor of economics and Nobel laureate Thomas J. Sargent told 250 engineers, computer scientists, programmers, and data scientists at the third annual JuliaCon held at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory...
  • Robot helps nurses schedule tasks on labor floorToday’s robots are awkward co-workers because they are often unable to predict what humans need. In hospitals, robots are employed to perform simple tasks such as delivering supplies and medications, but they have to be explicitly told what to do. A team from MIT’s Computer Science and...
  • What ants teach us about exploring networks efficientlyAnts, it turns out, are extremely good at estimating the concentration of other ants in their vicinity. This ability appears to play a role in several communal activities, particularly in the voting procedure whereby an ant colony selects a new nest. Biologists have long suspected that ants base...
  • How to stay anonymous onlineAnonymity networks protect people living under repressive regimes from surveillance of their Internet use. But the recent discovery of vulnerabilities in the most popular of these networks — Tor — has prompted computer scientists to try to come up with more secure anonymity schemes. At the Privacy...
  • Democratizing databasesWhen an organization needs a new database, it typically hires a contractor to build it or buys a heavily supported product customized to its industry sector. Usually, the organization already owns all the data it wants to put in the database. But writing complex queries in SQL or some other...
  • Ce Liu PhD ’16 wins Young Researcher AwardCe Liu PhD ’16 is the 2016 recipient of the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition’s Young Researcher Award. The Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) award is given to a researcher within 7 years of the completion of their PhD for outstanding early career research...
  • Broderick doubly awarded at ISBA 2016 World MeetingTamara Broderick has received two awards at the 2016 World Meeting of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis (ISBA) that took place in June 2016 in Sardinia. ISBA is the largest scientific society devoted to the development and promotion of Bayesian methods and their analysis. The first...
  • Teaching machines to predict the futureWhen we see two people meet, we can often predict what happens next: a handshake, a hug, or maybe even a kiss. Our ability to anticipate actions is thanks to intuitions born out of a lifetime of experiences. Machines, on the other hand, have trouble making use of complex knowledge like that....
  • Parallel programming made easyComputer chips have stopped getting faster. For the past 10 years, chips’ performance improvements have come from the addition of processing units known as cores. In theory, a program on a 64-core machine would be 64 times as fast as it would be on a single-core machine. But it rarely works out...
  • Analog computing returnsA transistor, conceived of in digital terms, has two states: on and off, which can represent the 1s and 0s of binary arithmetic. But in analog terms, the transistor has an infinite number of states, which could, in principle, represent an infinite range of mathematical values. Digital computing,...
  • CSAIL hosts 3rd annual Julia conference June 21-25The third Julia conference will take place June 21-25 at CSAIL. Named for the programming language that was developed at CSAIL, the conference features cutting-edge technical talks, hands-on workshops, a chance to rub shoulders with Julia's creators, and a weekend in a city known for its historical...
  • Eye-tracking system uses ordinary cellphone cameraFor the past 40 years, eye-tracking technology — which can determine where in a visual scene people are directing their gaze — has been widely used in psychological experiments and marketing research, but it’s required pricey hardware that has kept it from finding consumer applications. Researchers...
  • Artificial intelligence produces realistic sounds that fool humansFor robots to navigate the world, they need to be able to make reasonable assumptions about their surroundings and what might happen during a sequence of events. One way that humans come to learn these things is through sound. For infants, poking and prodding objects is not just fun; some...
  • Where bio, AI and engineering meetJames Weis began merging the biological and computational worlds early on. A young marine biology enthusiast, Weis was building coral reef ecosystems in his aquariums at home before he was a teenager. Unhappy with chain pet stores that kept their wild-caught fish and coral in poor conditions, Weis...
  • A method to image black holesResearchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Harvard University have developed a new algorithm that could help astronomers produce the first image of a black hole. The algorithm would stitch together data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the...
  • Super Mario Brothers isn't just hard - it's NP-hard.Completing a game of “Super Mario Brothers” can be hard — very, very hard. That’s the conclusion of a new paper from researchers at CSAIL, the University of Ottawa, and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. They show that the problem of solving a level in “Super Mario Brothers” is as hard as the hardest...
  • Automatic bug finderSymbolic execution is a powerful software-analysis tool that can be used to automaticallylocate and even repair programming bugs. Essentially, it traces out every path that a program’s execution might take. But it tends not to work well with applications written using today’s programming frameworks...
  • MIT team earns silver at ACM's global programming competitionThis week the MIT Progamming Team earned silver at the World Finals of the Association for Computing Machinery's 40th annual International College Programming Contest (ICPC) in Phuket, Thailand. The world's most prestigious programming contest, ICPC involves 300,000 students from two...
  • A learn-by-doing approach to codingComputer science and engineering, a.k.a. CS or Course 6-3, was the most heavily enrolled major at MIT in the 2015-2016 academic year, with 594 undergraduates. The major has grown rapidly over the last several years, and with this growth CS faculty noticed students were starting out with a range of...
  • MIT launches $5 billion "Campaign for a Better World"This past week MIT officially launched a new fundraising initiative aimed at advancing the institute's research and scholarship on some of the world's biggest challenges.  Called the "MIT Campaign for a Better World", the effort aims to raise $5 billion that will go towards topics like...
  • Ingestible origami robot can patch wounds inside your stomach!In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at CSAIL, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl...
  • Ingestible origami robot can patch wounds inside your stomach!In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at CSAIL, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields,...
  • New approach to genetic analysis yields markers linked to complex diseasesMany diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and schizophrenia, tend to be passed down through families. After researchers sequenced the human genome about 15 years ago, they had high hopes that this trove of information would reveal the genes that underlie these strongly heritable diseases. However,...
  • CSAIL PhD has sharp vision for visualizations and video gamesFor as long as Leilani Battle can remember, she has always loved video games. Raised mostly outside of Seattle, (her father was in the navy), Battle followed her affinity for games through her study of computer science at the University of Washington before applying to MIT. Her passion morphed into...
  • Lynch elected to the National Academy of SciencesCSAIL principal investigator Nancy Lynch is one of four MIT faculty members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”Lynch is the NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering in the Department of...
  • The most memorable Game of Thrones characters, according to CSAIL researchersWith the “Game of Thrones” season starting this week, 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 and...
  • NASA's humanoid robot lands at CSAILThis week MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) received an unusual package: a six-foot-tall, 300-pound humanoid robot that NASA hopes to have serve on future space missions to Mars and beyond.A team of researchers led by CSAIL principal investigator Russ Tedrake...
  • Team wins analytics award for work with Lahey ClinicA team from CSAIL has won a prestigious analytics award based on their research about how digitally-connected tools could be used to help diagnose brain disorders. 

A decade-long partnership between MIT professor Randall Davis and Dr. Dana Penney of the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in...
  • Collision-free robots, guaranteedPlanning algorithms for teams of robots fall into two categories: centralized algorithms, in which a single computer makes decisions for the whole team, and decentralized algorithms, in which each robot makes its own decisions based on local observations. With centralized algorithms, if the...
  • Self-driving cars, meet rubber duckiesMIT has offered courses on everything from pirate training to “street-fighting math,” but a new robotics class is truly one for the birds. This spring, a hands-on course housed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) took students on a trip to “Duckietown.” The...
  • System predicts 85 percent of cyber-attacks using input from human expertsToday’s security systems usually fall into one of two categories: human or machine. So-called “analyst-driven solutions” rely on rules created by living experts and therefore miss any attacks that don’t match the rules. Meanwhile, today’s machine-learning approaches rely on “anomaly detection,”...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
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