CSAIL is committed to pioneering new approaches to computing that will bring about positive changes in the way people around the globe live, play, and work.
We focus on developing fundamental new technologies, conducting basic research that furthers the field of computing, and inspiring and educating future generations of scientists and technologists.
With more than 60 research groups working on hundreds of diverse projects, researchers focus on discovering novel ways to make systems and machines smarter, easier to use, more secure, and more efficient.
Already a major part of everyday life, computing will become more and more integrated into human experience over the next 50 years. CSAIL will be a driver of this change, attracting brilliant, original thinkers who will dream up technological advances that truly improve our collective existence.
CSAIL has its roots in two MIT computing powerhouses: The Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) and the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (AI Lab).
LCS was founded in 1963 as Project MAC (Multiple Access Computing or Machine-Aided Cognition), a project sponsored by the Department of Defense to develop a computer system accessible to a large number of people.
Among the projects that came out of Project MAC and LCS were time-sharing systems like the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) and Multics, which both allowed many users to share the resources of a single large computer. These systems inspired the development of Unix and laid the foundation for many of today's basic design concepts for software and operating systems.
The AI Lab
The AI Lab was founded as the AI project in 1959. The Lab pioneered new methods for image-guided surgery and natural-language-based Web access, produced new generations of micro displays, made haptic interfaces a reality, and developed bacterial robots and behavior-based robots that are used for planetary exploration, military reconnaissance and in consumer devices.
As collaboration across the two labs increased, and with the construction of a major new building designed to house the information sciences at MIT, the two labs merged in 2003, to form the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.
In 2014 CSAIL celebrated the 50th anniversary of Project MAC and the 10th anniversary of CSAIL’s formation.