CSAIL Spotlights

  • Teaching robots to teach other robots

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    June 08, 2017
    Most robots are programmed using one of two methods: learning from demonstration, in which they watch a task being done and then replicate it, or via motion-planning techniques such as optimization or sampling, which require a programmer to explicitly specify a task’s goals and constraints...
  • Eric Schmidt visits MIT to discuss computing, artificial intelligence, and the future of technology

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    May 10, 2017
    When Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt started programming in 1969 at the age of 14, there was no explicit title for what he was doing. “I was just a nerd,” he says.
    But now computer science has fundamentally transformed fields like transportation, health care and education, and also...
  • Tim Berners-Lee wins $1 million Turing Award, "the Nobel Prize for computing"

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    April 04, 2017
    MIT Professor Tim Berners-Lee, the researcher who invented the World Wide Web and is one of the world’s most influential voices for online privacy and government transparency, has won the most prestigious honor in computer science, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) A.M. Turing Award...
  • MIT experts urge Trump administration to take immediate action on cybersecurity

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    March 28, 2017
    In a world where hackers can sabotage power plants and impact elections, there has never been a more crucial time to examine cybersecurity for critical infrastructure, most of which is privately owned.



    According to MIT experts, over the last 25 years presidents from both parties have...
  • Security for multirobot systems

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    March 20, 2017
    Distributed planning, communication, and control algorithms for autonomous robots make up a major area of research in computer science. But in the literature on multirobot systems, security has gotten relatively short shrift.
    In the latest issue of the journal Autonomous Robots, researchers from...
  • Putting data in the hands of doctors

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    February 23, 2017
    Regina Barzilay is working with MIT students and medical doctors in an ambitious bid to revolutionize cancer care. She is relying on a tool largely unrecognized in the oncology world but deeply familiar to hers: machine learning. 
    Barzilay, the Delta Electronics Professor of Electrical...
  • CSAIL PhD has made seven robots, and still finds time to meditate.

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    February 03, 2017
    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...
  • Wearable AI system can detect a conversation's tone

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    February 01, 2017
    It’s a fact of nature that a single conversation can be interpreted in very different ways. For people with anxiety or conditions such as Asperger’s, this can make social situations extremely stressful. But what if there was a more objective way to measure and understand our interactions?...
  • STUDY: CARPOOLING APPS COULD REDUCE TAXI TRAFFIC 75%

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    January 06, 2017
     Traffic is not just a nuisance for drivers: it’s also a public-health hazard and bad news for the economy.
    Transportation studies put the annual cost of congestion at $160 billion, which includes 7 billion hours of time lost to sitting in traffic and an extra 3 billion gallons of fuel...
  • Creating videos of the future

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    December 20, 2016
    Living in a dynamic physical world, it’s easy to forget how effortlessly we understand our surroundings. With minimal thought, we can figure out how scenes change and objects interact.
    But what’s second nature for us is still a huge problem for machines. With the limitless number of ways that...
  • Enabling wireless virtual reality

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    December 02, 2016
    One of the limits of today’s virtual reality (VR) headsets is that they have to be tethered to computers in order to process data well enough to deliver high-resolution visuals. But wearing an HDMI cable reduces mobility and can even lead to users tripping over cords.
    Fortunately, researchers from...
  • Making computers explain themselves

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    November 15, 2016
    In recent years, the best-performing systems in artificial-intelligence research have come courtesy of neural networks, which look for patterns in training data that yield useful predictions or classifications. A neural net might, for instance, be trained to recognize certain objects in digital...
  • CSAIL founder Robert Fano honored at 11/4 memorial

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    November 01, 2016
    Robert “Bob” Fano, a professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) whose work helped usher in the personal computing age, died in Naples, Florida on July 13. He was 98.
    His memorial took place Friday, November 4 in Kirsch Auditorium. A link to the...
  • Epoch Foundation celebrates nearly 20 years of collaboration with CSAIL

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    October 17, 2016
    In 1998 there were no iPhones, no touchscreens and no Facebook, but there was the beginning of an idea. That idea was for MIT’s best and brightest computer scientists to join forces with a group of forward-looking global businesses, with the goal of helping invent the future of computing.
    ...
  • CSAIL director Daniela Rus on robots, AI & how to get girls into coding

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    September 12, 2016
    CSAIL Director Daniela Rus sat down with Forbes Magazine to discuss robotics, artificial intelligence, and inspiring other women in the field of computer science.

    “Our goal is to invent the future of computing. We want to use computer science to tackle major challenges in fields like...
  • Heads of NSA, FBI, Akamai to discuss cybersecurity at CSAIL summit w/CNBC & Aspen Institute

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    September 11, 2016
    The Aspen Institute, CNBC, and MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) are organizing the first-ever “Cambridge Cyber Summit” on October 5 at Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus.
    The one-day summit will bring together C-suite executives and business owners with public and...
  • Reach in and touch objects in videos with “Interactive Dynamic Video”

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    August 02, 2016
    We learn a lot about objects by manipulating them: poking, pushing, prodding, and then seeing how they react.
    We obviously can’t do that with videos — just try touching that cat video on your phone and see what happens. But is it crazy to think that we could take that video and simulate how the cat...
  • Ingestible origami robot can patch wounds inside your stomach!

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    May 12, 2016
    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,...
  • First-ever 3-D printed robots made of both solids and liquids

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    April 18, 2016
    One 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...
  • How this $10 laser could help self-driving cars

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    March 25, 2016
    The 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...
  • CSAIL, University of Cambridge team up for “Cambridge 2 Cambridge” cybersecurity hackathon

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    March 07, 2016
    With 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...
  • Marvin Minsky, founding father of AI (and CSAIL), dies at 88

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    January 25, 2016
    Marvin 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...
  • PhD takes 1 million photos of Boston skyline over 5 years

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    January 19, 2016
    If 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?

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    January 05, 2016
    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...
  • Data, drones and 3D-printed hearts - the 7 coolest things that happened at CSAIL in 2015

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    December 08, 2015
    It’s been a busy year for MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Researchers won the Turing Award, created groundbreaking algorithms to fix code and detect disease, and developed exciting new robots and artificial-intelligence systems. As 2015 comes to a close,...
  • NASA gives CSAIL 6-ft-tall humanoid robot to develop software for future space missions

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    November 17, 2015
    This week NASA announced that MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is one of just two institutions who will receive “R5,” a six-foot, 290-pound humanoid robot also known as “Valkyrie” that will serve on future space missions to Mars and beyond.
    Full story here.
  • Self-flying drone dips, darts and dives through trees at 30 mph

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    November 02, 2015
    A researcher from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has developed an obstacle-detection system that allows a drone to autonomously dip, dart and dive through a tree-filled field at upwards of 30 miles per hour. (Full story)
     
  • “MultiFab” 3D-prints a record 10 materials at once, no assembly required

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    September 28, 2015
    3D printing is great, assuming that all you need to do is print one material for one purpose, and that you’re okay with it taking a few tries. But the technology is still far behind where it could be in reliably...
  • CSAIL joins with Toyota on $25 million research center for autonomous cars

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    September 04, 2015
    The World Health Organization estimates that 3,400 people die each day from traffic-related accidents. Could autonomous cars be part of the solution?
    Today CSAIL announced a new $25 million research center funded by Toyota to further the development of autonomous vehicle technologies, with...
  • CSAIL team shows President Obama their motion-tracking device at White House Demo Day

    CSAIL Spotlight image
    August 06, 2015
    It’s rare that anyone, including even an MIT computer scientist, is extended an invitation to the Oval Office. Even rarer, still: the opportunity to fall on your face in front of the “Leader of the Free World.”
    To be clear, this particular fall in question was intentional. On Tuesday, researchers...
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