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Research is the lifeblood of CSAIL. Applying computational thinking and advanced technologies, we pose difficult questions and pursue innovative answers. While research is our core activity, we view it not as an end in itself but as a means to an end. The goal is not merely to build our knowledge but rather to impact our world. Ultimately, our research is intended to someday improve the way we live, work, and play; heal, travel, and learn; manage our lives, and care for our environment. READ MORE >>
May 27, 2015Today’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-
July 01, 2015MOOCs — 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
June 29, 2015CSAIL 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
June 29, 2015This 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’
May 11, 2015It’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
June 12, 2015A 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
June 11, 2015With 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
June 02, 2015Decentralized 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’
May 14, 2015The 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
May 05, 2015The 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
February 02, 2015This week the BBC focused a entire program to MIT and its innovative research efforts. Much of the episode focused on CSAIL, including the "IkeaBots," "M Blocks," and other projects from CSAIL Director Daniela Rus' group.
Skip to 4:25 to see the start of the CSAIL segment:
May 06, 2015For 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
May 08, 2015Object 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
May 05, 2015Subtle 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
April 28, 2015Today 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
April 27, 2015We 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-
April 23, 2015In 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
April 15, 2015Today 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
April 10, 2015CSAIL 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
March 31, 2015This 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
March 30, 2015In 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
March 25, 2015Credit: 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
March 19, 2015This 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
March 24, 2015CAMBRIDGE, 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
March 02, 2015CSAIL roboticists are developing smart assembly-line robots that will learn from experience working alongside humans. Assembly line workers won't be swapping stories with their robotic counterparts any time soon, but future robots will be more aware of the humans they're working alongside.
February 26, 2015Here’s one way to get kids excited about programming: a "robot garden" with dozens of fast-changing LED lights and more than 100 origami robots that can crawl, swim, and blossom like flowers.
A team from CSAIL and the Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed a tablet-operated
February 26, 2015When Kalyan Veeramachaneni joined the Any Scale Learning For All (ALFA) group at MIT’s CSAIL as a postdoc in 2010, he worked on large-scale machine-learning platforms that enable the construction of models from huge data sets. “The question then was how to decompose a learning algorithm and data
February 19, 2015The sequencing of the human genome laid the foundation for the study of genetic variation and its links to a wide range of diseases. But the genome itself is only part of the story, as genes can be switched on and off by a range of chemical modifications, known as “epigenetic marks.”
Now, a decade
February 18, 2015Computer chips’ clocks have stopped getting faster. To keep delivering performance improvements, chipmakers are instead giving chips more processing units, or cores, which can execute computations in parallel.
But the ways in which a chip carves up computations can make a big difference to
February 11, 2015Educational researchers have long held that presenting students with clear outlines of the material covered in lectures improves their retention.
Recent studies indicate that the same is true of online how-to videos, and in a new paper researchers at CSAIL and Harvard University describe a new
January 30, 2015Every undergraduate computer-science major takes a course on data structures, which describes different ways of organizing data in a computer’s memory. Every data structure has its own advantages: Some are good for fast retrieval, some for efficient search, some for quick insertions and deletions,
January 21, 2015This week DARPA unveiled the new and improved Atlas robot that CSAIL's team will be using at this June's DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC).
The DRC is an international competition in which research teams from academy and industry are trying to develop a fully-autonomous robot
January 21, 2015Optimization algorithms, which try to find the minimum values of mathematical functions, are everywhere in engineering. Among other things, they’re used to evaluate design tradeoffs, to assess control systems, and to find patterns in data.
One way to solve a difficult optimization problem is to
January 16, 2015Imagine that you could tell your phone that you want to drive from your house in Boston to a hotel in upstate New York, that you want to stop for lunch at an Applebee’s at about 12:30, and that you don’t want the trip to take more than four hours. Then imagine that your phone tells you that you
January 12, 2015For household robots ever to be practical, they’ll need to be able to recognize the objects they’re supposed to manipulate. But while object recognition is one of the most widely studied topics in artificial intelligence, even the best object detectors still fail much of the time.
January 08, 2015Today the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) announced its 2014 fellows, and among the awardees were five researchers from CSAIL — more than any other academic institution in the world.
Srini Devadas, Eric Grimson, Robert Morris, Ronitt Rubinfeld, and CSAIL Director Daniela Rus were among
December 22, 2014Think that sparrow whistling outside your bedroom window is nothing more than pleasant background noise?
A new paper from a CSAIL researcher suggests that we can apply what we know about songbirds to our understanding of human speech production — and, therefore, come closer to
October 09, 2014By crunching 130 million mouse-clicks, two CSAIL researchers have developed a machine-learning model that can predict with surprising accuracy whether or not a MOOC student will drop out of a given course.
Kalyan Veermachaneni and Una-May O’Reilly used machine-learning techniques to analyze which
November 30, 2014This past week the AI company Sentient Technologies LLC emerged with $103.5 million in new funding.
CSAIL researchers that include Una-May O'Reilly have been part of regular collaborations with Sentient on medical-data analysis work related to sepsis, a form of inflammation brought
December 12, 2014Communication protocols for digital devices are very efficient but also very brittle: They require information to be specified in a precise order with a precise number of bits. If sender and receiver — say, a computer and a printer — are off by even a single bit relative to each other,
December 03, 2014CSAIL cybersecurity expert Howard Shrobe was prominently featured in the New York Times' special "Security" section this week.
From "Reinventing the Internet to Make it Safer":
With the advent of cloud computing and shiny new phones, tablets and watches, it can be easy to forget that in
December 05, 2014Computers are good at identifying patterns in huge data sets. Humans, by contrast, are good at inferring patterns from just a few examples.
In a paper appearing at the Neural Information Processing Society’s conference next week, CSAIL researchers present a new system that bridges these two
November 18, 2014
MIT has received $15 million in funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to establish an initiative aimed at laying the foundations for a smart, sustainable cybersecurity policy to deal with the growing cyber threats faced by governments, businesses, and individuals.
November 17, 2014CSAIL principal investigator Devavrat Shah’s group specializes in analyzing how social networks process information. In 2012, the group demonstrated algorithms that could predict what topics would trend on Twitter up to five hours in advance; this year, they used the same framework to predict
November 11, 2014This week Wired profiled Skylar Tibbits at MIT's Self-Assembly Lab, which is aimed at developing unique new materials that can self-assemble into useful objects like furniture or clothing.
Tibbits' work with CSAIL principal investigator Erik Demaine include clothing that would be able to
November 03, 2014From MIT Technology Review:
Here’s a curious experiment. Take some white noise and use it to produce a set of images that are essentially random arrangements of different coloured blocks. Show these images to a number of people and ask whether any of the images remind them of, say, a car.
Getting metabolism right - analysis of metabolic processes finds flaws in nearly half, suggests corrections
October 08, 2014Metabolic networks are mathematical models of every possible sequence of chemical reactions available to an organ or organism, and they’re used to design microbes for manufacturing processes or to study disease. Based on both genetic analysis and empirical study, they can take years to assemble.
October 02, 2014Error-correcting codes are one of the glories of the information age: They’re what guarantee the flawless transmission of digital information over the airwaves or through copper wire, even in the presence of the corrupting influences that engineers call “noise.”
But classical error-correcting codes
December 22, 2013CSAIL Principal Investigator Srini Devadas and three former students have been selected as the 2014 winners of the Most Influential Paper Award at a prestigious systems research conference.
Devadas, Edward Suh, Jae W. Lee, and David Zhang will be honored at next March’s Nineteenth