MEng Thesis Research Opportunities

Research assistantships for students working on a Masters of Engineering (MEng) thesis may be available with these CSAIL research projects. If you are interested, contact the researchers involved in these projects directly through their websites.

Note: MEng thesis research opportunities are open only to current MIT MEng students.

  • The MIT Center for Mobile Learning (a joint project of CSAIL and the Media Lab) has fall 2014 RAs and UROP positions for work in mobile computing and education. The research involves MIT App Inventor, a Web-based development environment for creating original apps for Android smartphones and tablets. The system is intended for people without programming experience, including high school and middle school students, college non-computer science students, and hobbyists.

    Our group runs a large-scale public Web service, with 1.9 million users, that lets people all over the world create...

    Posted date: August 14, 2014
  • Human cognition is frequently explored with a variety of tests that involve some
    form of writing (e.g., solving mazes, drawing objects, etc.). With the ability to
    easily capture digitized pen strokes (e.g., with a digitizing ballpoint pen or a stylus
    and tablet), the data available from these tests has suddenly become hundreds of
    times more precise, opening up new windows into investigating cognition, both
    healthy and impaired. Our multi-site study, underway for the past several years,
    has been collecting data at 7 sites around the US, providing a robust...

    Posted date: August 08, 2014
  • Social software has an inherent network effect, where people have to all use the same system in order to collaborate and interact online. This makes it hard for any new and creative applications to attract enough users to become useful. Even worse, because there is no single system that everyone is willing to use, it has become impossible to deploy any online tools that have the kind of universal reach we're used to with email and the Web.

    We are developing "crosscloud" protocols which allow user data to be managed separately from applications, resulting in decentralized social...

    Posted date: April 14, 2014
  • The MIT Center for Mobile Computing has a spring RA-ship available for work with MIT App Inventor, our system that makes it easy for kids and beginning programmers to create apps for Android phones. This specific RA involves experimenting with a new board Motorola is building, similar to an Arduino but designed to connect directly to Android phones, so that the phones can have apps that interface with electrical devices. This work will involve experimenting with new board and designing App Inventor “components” to control the board. You then use this to create educational projects...

    Posted date: October 22, 2013
  • Computation Structures Group, CSAIL
    Jack B. Dennis, Professor Emeritus

    Computer architects have found that putting several processor cores on the same chip is a better way of using silicon area than attempting to achieve greater performance by adding further complexity to a single processor. Moreover, the increased performance is obtained for significantly less energy consumption. However, the result so far is chips that are very difficult to program to realize their performance potential.

    The Fresh Breeze Project is attacking this programmability problem using concepts...

    Posted date: May 22, 2013
  • The Haystack project aims to develop new tools to help people organize, manipulate, and retrieve all the information they encounter on a day to day basis. A major focus is personalization, adapting over time to the specific information needs and preferences of individual users.

    The research combines ideas from databases, human-computer interaction, and machine learning. We explore database tools to build a data representation rich and flexible enough to record all the information any individual consider important, and in particular make heavy use of Semantic Web technology for...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • We are looking for a research assistant to contribute to an ongoing research project in secure group communication in dynamic mission-critical environments. The project involves studying and experimenting with available solutions, as well as designing and prototyping new solutions (Java, C, and C++), which are driven by specific applications and environment characteristics.

    A qualified student would have experience in network programming, practical network security, distributed systems, and cryptography.

    A significant portion of research will be done on-site at MIT Lincoln...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • For several decades neurologists have used a deceptively simple test to help diagnose cognitive capabilities: patients are asked to draw a clock face showing a particular time. New technology -- a ballpoint pen that digitizes as you write -- has made it possible to collect data from this test that is hundreds of times more precise than anything that can be discerned from ink on paper, as well as enabling virtually instant analysis of the data. Our current software makes several hundred measurements on each test, enabling new avenues of diagnosis for a range of diseases.

    A multi-...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • We’re looking for a UROP or MEng student who will start around IAP. The student will work on an Arabic dialogue system that could answer users’ inquiries about landmarks such as restaurants around a city. Arabic language understanding will be explored, as well as crowd-sourcing-based data collection for Arabic. Dialogue control and language generation in Arabic will also be investigated.

    Requirements: Java expertise, read/write Arabic.
    This project is expected to turn into a Super UROP or MEng thesis. If interested, please send a CV to Jingjing Liu (...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • Data curation is the act of discovering a data source(s) of interest, cleaning and transforming the new data, semantically integrating it with other local data sources, and deduplicating the resulting composite. There has been much research on the various components of curation (especially data integration and deduplication). However, there has been little work on collecting all of the curation components into an integrated system. Data Tamer is such an integrated system.

    In addition, most of the previous work will not scale to the sizes of problems that we are finding in the...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • The goal of this project is to construct a fully distributed access control protocol, and implement a system, that supports the kind of friend-oriented sharing offered by Facebook and other social media tools. The protocol should allow users to define a set of "friends" and indicate that certain resources should only be accessible to those friends. It must also provide a mechanism that allows individuals to authenticate that they are members of a given "friends" group to gain access permissions. The authentication mechanism must be distributed (so anyone who wants to can implement and "...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • Our lives are filled with small, random scraps of information that seem to have no natural home. Where do we put them, and how do we find them later? We've created (, a fast, lightweight browser extension for capturing and organizing such scraps. Listit has over 25,000 active users who have recorded more than 100,000 scraps. Analyzing them we've discovered important subpopulations such as packrats, minimalists, and spring cleaners. To advance our study of personal...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • There's a new movement in journalism to incorporate rich data visualization in news stories, but many journalists lack that skills to create their own "news apps" for this purpose. We've prototyped a data visualization framework, Datapress ( to support authoring (not programming) such visualizations in Wordpress, a popular platform for journalism. Your job is to flesh out this prototype. This will involve a cyclic process of contacting and working...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence ( is focused on answering the question: How can people and computers be connected so that--collectively--they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before? The Center includes faculty from around MIT, including CSAIL, Media Lab, and Sloan.

    We expect to have opportunities for summer jobs, MEng, UROP, or other student work on a variety of projects, including: (a) creating “radically open” computer simulation environments in which...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • Contact: Michael Stonebraker (

    The SciDB team is designing and building an open-source DBMS, optimized for science and engineering applications. It implements a nested array data model, an array query language that borrow heavily from SQL, runs on a grid of Linux nodes connected by TCP/IP networking, and contains novel features such as uncertain data and provenance. Further information can be obtained from our web site


    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • We have been investigating the deployment of smartphone-based spoken dialogue applications (on Android and iPhone/iPad devices) in several different domains such as movies, restaurants, flights, and weather, with each domain being a stand-alone application. Now a major challenge is the development of cross-domain speech interfaces, which could analyze the context of the conversation automatically and redirect the user to the corresponding dialogue path. A potentially useful application is for the vehicle environment, where the app navigation heavily relies on the speech input from users...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • Many of the current dialogue systems have employed rule-based or template-based dialogue management strategies to highly control the system response and the dialogue flow. There have also been some studies on stochastic dialogue generation such as POMDP. Both have pros and cons, as it is hard to achieve a perfect dialogue performance relying on one sole solution.

    In this project, we will explore automatic dialogue and response generation via the combination of stochastic approaches and heuristic methods. The student will explore a stochastic model to learn the best dialogue...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • We’re looking for a UROP or MEng student who will start around IAP. The student will work on a medical domain spoken dialogue system, which harvests patient-provided medical data (such as drug reviews or vaccine reports) from the web and presents the summarized content to users via spoken conversations. Statistical models such as Conditional Random Fields will be explored for spoken language understanding, and data mining approaches such as topic modeling will be investigated for medical data analysis.

    Requirements: Java expertise. This project is expected to turn into a Super UROP...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • We’re looking for a UROP or MEng student who will start around IAP. The student will work on a spoken dialogue system that will help Chinese speakers learn English. The
    research focus will be machine translation, English language learning, and the development of the speech-based interface.

    Requirements: Java expertise, read/write Mandarin Chinese.

    This project is expected to turn into a Super UROP or MEng thesis. If interested, please send a CV to Jingjing Liu

    Posted date: May 15, 2013
  • Now that we can put textbooks on the web, how can we change them to make them better? How can we make them more dynamic, more adaptable to individual students, more sociable, or more informative? We've tackled some of these questions with Nb (, a tool that lets students hold forum-type discussions in the margins of their online reading material. Nb is currently in use in roughly 25 classes at 6 universities. We have a long list of improvements to implement and assess in Nb, including social moderation, key-...

    Posted date: May 15, 2013