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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 >>

For Justin Chen, a PhD student in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), there is more to observe in the built environment than meets the eye. So much more, in fact, that he has designed his entire academic attention in CEE to center on structural health monitoring.
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
For more than a decade, gene sequencers have been improving more rapidly than the computers required to make sense of their outputs. Searching for DNA sequences in existing genomic databases can already take hours, and the problem is likely to get worse.
Recently, Bonnie Berger’s group at CSAIL
In a computer operating system, the file system is the part that writes data to disk and tracks where the data is stored. If the computer crashes while it’s writing data, the file system’s records can become corrupt. Hours of work could be lost, or programs could stop working properly.
At a
Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and
For all of the advances in medical technology, many of the world’s most widely-used diagnostic tools essentially involve just two things: pen and paper.
Tests such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the Clock Drawing Test (CDT) are used to detect cognitive change arising from a wide
Much of the research aimed at understanding the root causes of biological differences has focused on differences in the genes. But in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on studying the changes in the regulatory switches in our DNA that control how genes are turned on and off.
A key
If companies like Amazon and Google have their way, soon enough we will have robots air-dropping supplies from the sky. But is our software where it needs to be to move and deliver goods in the real world?
This question has been explored for many years by researchers at MIT's Computer Science and
CSAIL principal investigator Aude Oliva has received a special research award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a $13.1 million initiative to support "transformative research in neural and cognitive systems." 
One of the NSF's 16 grants will go towards Oliva's
The popular term “drone,” which conjures images of remote-controlled flying zombies, is becoming less and less descriptive of the latest unmanned aerial vehicles. New applications are requiring more autonomy and intelligence from UAVs.“When people think about drones, they largely think of big
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
With 2.5 million daily users, the Tor network is the world’s most popular system for protecting Internet users’ anonymity. For more than a decade, people living under repressive regimes have used Tor to conceal their Web-browsing habits from electronic surveillance, and websites hosting content
This week MIT professor Nickolai Zeldovich and his former student Raluca Popa wrote in IEEE Spectrum about new approaches to data encryption being pioneered by CSAIL computer scientists.
"Not long ago, hackers stole about 40 million debit- and credit-card records from Target, another
John 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
When 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 
U.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.
Random-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
Last 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
Today 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
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
CSAIL 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
This 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’
A 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
Decentralized 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’
Today’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-
Last 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
The 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
It’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
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
For 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
The 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
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
Today 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
We 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-
In 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
Today 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
CSAIL 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
This 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
In 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
Credit: 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
CAMBRIDGE, 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
This 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
CSAIL 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.
Here’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
When 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
The 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
Computer 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
Educational 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
This 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:

Every 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