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  • Jegelka receives DARPA Young Faculty AwardThis August it was announced that CSAIL principal investigator and MIT professor Stefanie Jegelka will receive funding for her research on geometric methods in optimization.The award is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Young Faculty Award (YFA), which highlights young...
  • “Peel-and-go” printable structures fold themselves As 3-D printing has become a mainstream technology, industry and academic researchers have been investigating printable structures that will fold themselves into useful three-dimensional shapes when heated or immersed in water.
  • How neural networks think Artificial-intelligence research has been transformed by machine-learning systems called neural networks, which learn how to perform tasks by analyzing huge volumes of training data. During training, a neural net continually readjusts thousands of internal parameters until it can reliably...
  • IBM and MIT to pursue joint research in artificial intelligence, establish new MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab IBM and MIT today announced that IBM plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT. The lab will carry out fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research and seek to propel scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential...
  • IBM and MIT to pursue joint research in artificial intelligence, establish new MIT–IBM Watson AI LabIBM and MIT today announced that IBM plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT. The lab will carry out fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research and seek to propel scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential of AI...
  • Making data centers more energy efficientMost modern websites store data in databases, and since database queries are relatively slow, most sites also maintain so-called cache servers, which list the results of common queries for faster access. A data center for a major web service such as Google or Facebook might have as many as 1,000...
  • Two sciences tie the knot Economics and computer science had always been on friendly terms at MIT. With the growth of cloud computing, e-commerce, machine learning, and online social networks, their relationship grew more serious. Now that these tools and applications have become ubiquitous and gone global, economics...
  • Robot learns to follow orders like Alexa Despite what you might see in movies, today’s robots are still very limited in what they can do. They can be great for many repetitive tasks, but their inability to understand the nuances of human language makes them mostly useless for more complicated requests.
  • Indyk receives NSF funding for new Institute for Foundations of Data ScienceThis week it was announced that a team led by CSAIL principal investigator and MIT professor Piotr Indyk will receive funding to develop a new “Institute for Foundations of Data Science” at MIT.The project is part of the National Science Foundation’s new $17.7 million effort towards “...
  • Custom robots in a matter of minutes Even as robots become increasingly common, they remain incredibly difficult to make. From designing and modeling to fabricating and testing, the process is slow and costly: Even one small change can mean days or weeks of rethinking and revising important hardware. But what if there were a...
  • Custom robots in a matter of minutesEven as robots become increasingly common, they remain incredibly difficult to make. From designing and modeling to fabricating and testing, the process is slow and costly: Even one small change can mean days or weeks of rethinking and revising important hardware. But what if there were a way to...
  • Monitoring network traffic more efficiently In today’s data networks, traffic analysis — determining which links are getting congested and why — is usually done by computers at the network’s edge, which try to infer the state of the network from the times at which different data packets reach their destinations.
  • MIT App Inventor receives award from the Mass Technology Leadership CouncilThis week it was announced that Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC) will present CSAIL principal investigator Hal Abelson’s team with the Distinguished Leadership Award for their work on the MIT App Inventor.App Inventor is a cloud-based open-source tool that lets users of all skill levels...
  • Using machine learning to improve patient care Doctors are often deluged by signals from charts, test results, and other metrics to keep track of. It can be difficult to integrate and monitor all of these data for multiple patients while making real-time treatment decisions, especially when data is documented inconsistently across...
  • High-quality online video with less rebuffering We’ve all experienced two hugely frustrating things on YouTube: our video either suddenly gets pixelated, or it stops entirely to rebuffer. Both happen because of special algorithms that break videos into small chunks that load as you go. If your internet is slow, YouTube might make the next...
  • High-quality online video with less rebufferingWe’ve all experienced two hugely frustrating things on YouTube: our video either suddenly gets pixelated, or it stops entirely to rebuffer. Both happen because of special algorithms that break videos into small chunks that load as you go. If your internet is slow, YouTube might make the next...
  • New AI algorithm monitors sleep with radio waves More than 50 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders, and diseases including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s can also disrupt sleep. Diagnosing and monitoring these conditions usually requires attaching electrodes and a variety of other sensors to patients, which can further disrupt their...
  • Designing the microstructure of printed objects Today’s 3-D printers have a resolution of 600 dots per inch, which means that they could pack a billion tiny cubes of different materials into a volume that measures just 1.67 cubic inches. Such precise control of printed objects’ microstructure gives designers commensurate control of the...
  • Automatic image retouching on your phone The data captured by today’s digital cameras is often treated as the raw material of a final image. Before uploading pictures to social networking sites, even casual cellphone photographers might spend a minute or two balancing color and tuning contrast, with one of the many popular image-...
  • Somersaulting simulation for jumping botsIn recent years engineers have been developing new technologies to enable robots and humans to move faster and jump higher. Soft, elastic materials store energy in these devices, which, if released carefully, enable elegant dynamic motions. Robots leap over obstacles and prosthetics empower...
  • Reshaping computer-aided design Almost every object we use is developed with computer-aided design (CAD). Ironically, while CAD programs are good for creating designs, using them is actually very difficult and time-consuming if you’re trying to improve an existing design to make the most optimal product.
  • Artificial intelligence suggests recipes based on food photos There are few things social media users love more than flooding their feeds with photos of food. Yet we seldom use these images for much more than a quick scroll on our cellphones.
  • Watch 3-D movies at home, sans glassesWhile 3-D movies continue to be popular in theaters, they haven’t made the leap to our homes just yet — and the reason rests largely on the ridge of your nose. Ever wonder why we wear those pesky 3-D glasses? Theaters generally either use special polarized light or project a pair of images that...
  • Watch 3-D movies at home, sans glasses While 3-D movies continue to be popular in theaters, they haven’t made the leap to our homes just yet — and the reason rests largely on the ridge of your nose.
  • Using chip memory more efficiently For decades, computer chips have increased efficiency by using “caches,” small, local memory banks that store frequently used data and cut down on time- and energy-consuming communication with off-chip memory. Today’s chips generally have three or even four different levels of cache, each of...
  • Practical parallelism The chips in most modern desktop computers have four “cores,” or processing units, which can run different computational tasks in parallel. But the chips of the future could have dozens or even hundreds of cores, and taking advantage of all that parallelism is a stiff challenge. Researchers...
  • Peering into neural networks Neural networks, which learn to perform computational tasks by analyzing large sets of training data, are responsible for today’s best-performing artificial intelligence systems, from speech recognition systems, to automatic translators, to self-driving cars. But neural nets are black boxes...
  • Computer system predicts products of chemical reactions When organic chemists identify a useful chemical compound — a new drug, for instance — it’s up to chemical engineers to determine how to mass-produce it. There could be 100 different sequences of reactions that yield the same end product. But some of them use cheaper reagents and lower...
  • Drones that drive Being able to both walk and take flight is typical in nature — many birds, insects, and other animals can do both. If we could program robots with similar versatility, it would open up many possibilities: Imagine machines that could fly into construction areas or disaster zones that aren’t...
  • Origami anything In a 1999 paper, Erik Demaine — now a CSAIL principal investigaor, but then an 18-year-old PhD student at the University of Waterloo, in Canada — described an algorithm that could determine how to fold a piece of paper into any conceivable 3-D shape. It was a milestone paper in the...
  • New technique makes brain scans better People who suffer a stroke often undergo a brain scan at the hospital, allowing doctors to determine the location and extent of the damage. Researchers who study the effects of strokes would love to be able to analyze these images, but the resolution is often too low for many analyses.
  • Shrinking data for surgical training Laparoscopy is a surgical technique in which a fiber-optic camera is inserted into a patient’s abdominal cavity to provide a video feed that guides the surgeon through a minimally invasive procedure. Laparoscopic surgeries can take hours, and the video generated by the camera — the...
  • Teaching robots to teach other robotsMost 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...
  • Giving robots a sense of touch Eight years ago, Ted Adelson’s research group at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled a new sensor technology, called GelSight, that uses physical contact with an object to provide a remarkably detailed 3-D map of its surface. Now, by mounting...
  • CSAIL principal investigator receives two ACM SIGSOFT awardsThis week the Association for Computer Machinery presented CSAIL principal investigator Daniel Jackson with the 2017 ACM SIGSOFT Outstanding Research Award for his pioneering work in software engineering. (This fall he also received the ACM SIGSOFT Impact Paper Award for his research method for...
  • Wearable system helps visually impaired users navigate Computer scientists have been working for decades on automatic navigation systems to aid the visually impaired, but it’s been difficult to come up with anything as reliable and easy to use as the white cane, the type of metal-tipped cane that visually impaired people frequently use to...
  • Danielle Olson: Building empathy through computer science and art Communicating through computers has become an extension of our daily reality. But as speaking via screens has become commonplace, our exchanges are losing inflection, body language, and empathy. Danielle Olson ’14, a first-year PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial...
  • Armando Solar-Lezama: Academic success despite an inauspicious start When Armando Solar-Lezama was a third grader in Mexico City, his science class did a unit on electrical circuits. The students were divided into teams of three, and each team member had to bring in a light bulb, a battery, or a switch.
  • Using Bitcoin to prevent identity theft  A reaction to the 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin is a digital-currency scheme designed to wrest control of the monetary system from central banks. With Bitcoin, anyone can mint money, provided he or she can complete a complex computation quickly enough. Through a set of clever protocols...
  • New funding enables work on Internet policy and cybersecurity for key infrastructure Today, MIT’s cross-disciplinary Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI) announced that it has awarded $1.5 million to a select group of principal investigators for early-stage Internet policy and cybersecurity research projects. “Each project is aimed to support innovative research in...
  • Graduate student receives ACM Doctoral Dissertation AwardThis week the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) awarded MIT CSAIL graduate student Haitham Hassanieh the Doctoral Dissertation Award for his work in creating efficient algorithms for computing the Sparse Fourier Transform (SFT).Hassanieh, who was a grad student in CSAIL Professor...
  • Creating interactive websites, apps with HTMLEver wish your website could be edited right from the browser?A CSAIL team has developed “Mavo,” a language that lets you create and edit interactive websites and apps with nothing more than HTML.
  • Cinematography on the fly In recent years, a host of Hollywood blockbusters — including “The Fast and the Furious 7,” “Jurassic World,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” — have included aerial tracking shots provided by drone helicopters outfitted with cameras. Those shots required separate operators for the drones and...
  • Teaching robots to teach other robots 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 technologyWhen 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...
  • Eric Schmidt visits MIT to discuss computing, artificial intelligence, and the future of technology 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...
  • Detecting walking speed with wireless signals We’ve long known that blood pressure, breathing, body temperature and pulse provide an important window into the complexities of human health. But a growing body of research suggests that another vital sign – how fast you walk – could be a better predictor of health issues like...
  • Genuine enthusiasm for AI On an afternoon in early April, Tommi Jaakkola is pacing at the front of the vast auditorium that is 26-100. The chalkboards behind him are covered with equations. Jaakkola looks relaxed in a short-sleeved black shirt and jeans, and gestures to the board. “What is the answer here?” he asks...
  • Srini Devadas wins IEEE’s McDowell AwardThis week it was announced that CSAIL principal investigator Srini Devadas is the 2017 recipient of the IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award, given for “fundamental contributions that have shaped the field of secure hardware, impacting circuits, microprocessors, and systems.” The McDowell Award is given...
  • Learn a language while you wait for WiFi Hyper-connectivity has changed the way we communicate, wait, and productively use our time. Even in a world of 5G wireless and “instant” messaging, there are countless moments throughout the day when we’re waiting for messages, texts, and Snapchats to refresh. But our frustrations with...
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