News Archive 2010

  • Kick-off 2011 with IAP As the new year begins, CSAIL students, professors and staff are invited to kick-off 2011 with a fun twist on MIT’s traditional academic and extracurricular offerings, thanks to the Independent Activities Period (IAP). Held each January, this four-week special term allows MIT community members to share a skill with fellow students and colleagues, explore an intriguing new subject and learn...
  • Learning From the Fruit Fly Diving deep into the functional elements of the fruit fly to grasp a better understanding of human biology may seem like a long shot, but that’s exactly what CSAIL Principal Investigator Manolis Kellis and his colleagues have done. In a paper released in the December 24 edition of Science, Kellis and members of the model organism ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements Consortium (modENCODE) publish...
  • Creating a Sense of Stability What if emergency teams had access to the most up-to-date information on road conditions when responding to a natural disaster? What if soldiers in war-torn regions could tap into the latest intelligence briefings to help avoid dangerous situations? For years CSAIL Principal Investigator Nancy Lynch has dedicated her efforts to creating stable access to unstable networks of devices. A paper on...
  • Triceratops Invades CSAIL A warning to all those who dare to venture into the Stata Center this week: There is a dinosaur on the loose. Thanks to OrigaMIT, a life-size origami Triceratops skeleton is now on display in front of the Gates Tower elevators. The Triceratops will be on display throughout the week of December 13.
    Standing about five-feet high, 11-feet long and four-feet wide, the Triceratops took club members...
  • The Future of Computer Architectures Explored Microsoft Research Technical Fellow Chuck Thacker spoke at CSAIL on Thursday, December 9 as part of the 2010-2011 Dertouzos Lecturer Series. Thacker has worked for 40 years in industrial research labs creating hardware for systems like the Ethernet and Alto, the first networked personal computer. His presentation focused on The Future of Computer Architecture Research, examining the future of...
  • CSAIL Brings 'Minority Report' Technology AliveThe futuristic technology of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, which saw Tom Cruise work with a glove-controlled interface that allowed him to pull, drag and toss images around a computer screen, is now possible thanks to a new graphical interface coming out of CSAIL. Systems Robotics Engineer Garratt Gallagher has released a video where he plucks images from a reel he drags onto the...
  • Thacker Speaking as Part of Dertouzos Lecturer Series The Dertouzos Lecturer Series continues this Thursday with a presentation by Chuck Thacker, Technical Fellow at Microsoft Research. Thacker will speak on December 9 from 4:30PM- 5:30PM in the Kirsch Auditorium (room 32-123) at CSAIL on The Future of Computer Architecture Research. Thacker will discuss the obstacles currently posed to the development and improvement of computer architectures and...
  • CSAIL Reacts to NASA Press ConferenceAbout 20 CSAIL students, researchers and staff gathered in the Kiva seminar room on Thursday, December 2 to watch NASA’s press conference on astrobiology research that NASA believes challenges fundamental concepts about requirements for life on Earth. Researchers think they have discovered a microorganism that can substitute arsenic for phosphorus and still manage to grow and thrive- a...
  • Pushing Computer LimitsCSAIL Associate Professor Scott Aaronson is delving into the next frontier of computing: quantum computing. The wild west of the computer world, quantum computing is a new means of expanding the boundaries of information processing.
  • Bridging the Gap Between Science and Art Nurturing the relationship between science and art was the goal of a recent workshop hosted by CSAIL Associate Professor Fox Harrell, who splits his time between CSAIL and teaching Digital Media in the Comparative Media Studies and Writing and Humanistic Studies programs at MIT. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, Harrell brought together 55 intellectual leaders- including...
  • Aaronson & Kellis Nominated for PECASE Program The spotlight shone on two CSAIL Principal Investigators earlier this month as President Obama honored Scott Aaronson and Manolis Kellis with Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon up-and-coming science and engineering professionals. The Presidential Awards were created in 1996 by the National Science and...
  • Rock Star of Robotics Speaks to MIT Students Rodney Brooks, introduced by CSAIL Director Victor Zue as the “bad boy of robotics,” wowed the crowds with his presentation on Robots Working with People as part of CSAIL’s 2010-2011 Dertouzos Lecturer Series on Thursday, November 18. Brooks, the former director of CSAIL and the founder, chairman, and CTO of Heartland Robotics, offered his perspective on the future of robotics...
  • Origami Comes Alive It’s a bird, it’s a plane…it’s a reconfigurable robot! One of the latest inventions coming out of CSAIL is a flat piece of semi-rigid plastic, about a half-millimeter thick, that can transform from an origami boat into a paper airplane, all without the aid of guiding human hands. Developed by researchers from CSAIL and Harvard University, the sheet uses the concepts behind origami and electrical...
  • Morris Awarded for Efforts in Operating Systems Research CSAIL Principal Investigator (PI) and MIT Professor Robert Morris has been honored with the 2010 Mark Weiser Award for over 20 years of innovation in the field of operating systems research. The award, presented by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Operating Systems (ACM SIGOPS) and created in honor of computing visionary Mark Weiser, recognizes a researcher who...
  • CSAIL Papers Honored at ACM Conference CSAIL was awarded top honors at the ACM User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) conference this October in the form of best paper awards for two works created by CSAIL members.
    CSAIL PhD student Michael Bernstein was awarded the best student paper award for his work "Soylent: A Word Processor with a Crowd Inside." Soylent is a Microsoft Word application that recruits individuals from...
  • Improving Max Flow For years computer scientists approached the maximum-flow (max flow) problem, the greatest amount of data that can be sent across a specific network, using a tried-and-true method: Graphs that depict a network’s maximum capacity. The graphs allowed users to search for the most efficient mode of delivering information and proved useful in a variety of fields, from network analysis to digital image...
  • George M. Sprowls Award Recipients Announced It was recently announced that the following students were named recipients of the George M. Sprowls Award, which is awarded for the best doctoral theses in computer science. The awards will be presented at the EECS awards ceremony in the spring of 2011. Benjamin Rossman was recognized for his work on “Average-Case Complexity of Detecting Cliques” under the supervision of Madhu...
  • Announcing the 10/11 Dertouzos Lecturer Series It's fall once more, which means it's time for the return of CSAIL's annual Dertouzos Lecturer Series. Named in honor of former lab director Michael Dertouzos, the series brings some of the greatest minds in computer science and robotics to the Stata Center.
    This year's lineup is no exception, featuring distinguished speakers from Microsoft, Google, the University of California at Berkeley, and...
  • Two New PIs Join CSAIL This fall, CSAIL welcomes two new Principal Investigators to its ranks--Associate Professor D. Fox Harrell and Assistant Professor Dana Moshkovitz.
    Harrell's work focuses on the connection between imaginative cognition and computation. He received a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his advances in digital media. Harrell's research at CSAIL will dovetail with work for MIT's...
  • Perching Glider Takes a Cue from the BirdsCSAIL Spotlight imageIt isn't everyday that a computer scientist wins one of the most coveted awards in aeronautics. But when Rick Cory started in Associate Professor Russ Tedrake's Robot Locomotion Group as a Ph.D. student, he wasn't out to conduct robotics as usual. "We were trying to think of a project that could push the limits of robot control," Cory explains. "And the idea came up of trying to...
  • The P vs. NP Debate Heats Up For decades, it's been the most compelling--and the most seemingly unsolvable--problem in computer science. Does P = NP? In other words, can a problem that can be checked by a computer also be solved by a computer? HP Labs mathematician Vinay Deolalikar claims to have definitively answered the question.
    But CSAIL's Scott Aaronson is certain that Deolalikar can't back it up. So certain, in fact,...
  • CSAIL to Help DARPA Develop New Supercomputer The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched an initiative this week to fast-track the development of next-generation supercomputers. CSAIL is among four organizations tapped by the newly-founded Ubiquitous High Performance Computing (UHPC) program to help build the new system.
    A prototype of an exascale, energy-efficient computer is planned for 2018. DARPA is hoping to far...
  • See What's New in PlaygroundWhile much of the research being done at CSAIL is under wraps, some projects are available to the larger public. You can find the latest on Playground, CSAIL's collection of downloadable, homegrown programs and apps.
    Recent additions include Firefox organizational add-on list.it, interactive iPhone app WAMI, and Sikuli, a streamlined visual programming tool. Click here to check out Playground for...
  • Kaelbling and Micali Named EECS ChairsTwo CSAIL Principal Investigators, Professors Leslie Kaelbling and Silvio Micali, have been named faculty Chairs in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
    Kaelbling, who co-heads the Learning and Intelligent Systems Group, takes on the Panasonic Chair. The position was created by the Matsushita Electric Industrial Company for leaders at the forefront of robotics and...
  • Robotic Forklift Put Through the Paces Last month, the Agile Robotics team demonstrated their autonomous forklift for the U.S. Army Logistics Innovation Agency at Fort Lee in Virginia. The group, helmed by Professor Seth Teller, has modified a Toyota 8-Series lift truck to drive and manipulate pallets unmanned.
    The forklift is programmed to follow vocal commands to transport loads from place to place. It's being developed for...
  • A Program That Deciphers Ancient Languages Thanks to a new computer program, the world may be one step closer to deciphering ancient languages that so far have eluded translation. The program is already is able to automatically translate the 3,000-year-old Ugaritic script by comparing its patterns with those of Hebrew text.
    Created by Professor Regina Barzilay in collaboration with Ben Snyder and Kevin Knight, the program represents a...
  • Learning to Perch Like a Bird Why brake on the ground when you can brake in the air? That's the principal behind the Robot Locomotion Group's perching glider, developed by Russ Tedrake and Rick Cory. Made from flat-plane foam and using minimal controls, the glider has the ability to land on a perch.
  • Program-Your-Own Droid Apps Android smartphone users now have the power to create their own apps, thanks to a new do-it-yourself software tool from Google. App Inventor was spearheaded by CSAIL's Harold Abelson, who took a sabbatical from MIT to work on the project with Google.
    App Inventor is designed for use by non-programmers, using a simple menu and a drag-and-drop interface. “The goal is to enable people to become...
  • Seneff Steps Up in EECSCSAIL's Stephanie Seneff has been promoted to the position of Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. At CSAIL, Seneff is a Principal Investigator in the Spoken Language Systems group.
    Seneff has played a major part in the development of spoken language computer interfaces. Her work has contributed significantly to the fields of speech...
  • Origami That Folds Itself CSAIL researchers Daniela Rus and Erik Demaine, in partnership with Harvard University's Robert Wood, have developed a small resin-fiberglass sheet programmed to fold itself into three-dimensional shapes.
    At this point, the object can only take on two shapes—but it's a major development in the burgeoning field of computational origami. And if you can teach a flat sheet to form itself into a...
  • Get Ready for CompSust '10 From June 28th to 30th, CSAIL and the Stata Center will play host to the 2nd Annual International Conference on Computational Sustainability (aka CompSust '10). The event looks into ways computation can bring us closer to an environmentally sustainable future.
    Co-chaired by CSAIL's Brian Williams, Oregon State University's Thomas Dietterich and Cornell University's Carla Gomes, the conference...
  • Linked Data: From the Classroom to the MarketplaceIf you're aiming to learn about the future of the World Wide Web, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better instructor than the man who invented it—Sir Tim Berners-Lee. He's one of five experts who will teach Linked Data Ventures, a new graduate-level course, next semester at MIT.
    The course takes a hands-on approach to teaching students about linked data, an innovative method of organizing and...
  • Victor Zue on Running CSAIL, Talking to Machines For CSAIL Lab Director Victor Zue, working with machines has always boiled down to communication. Interaction between humans and computers is imperfect now, but as Zue discusses in this piece from the MIT ILP Institute Insider, he hopes to one day change all that.
    In the article, Zue also discusses his philosophy of running the lab, partnering research with industry, and CSAIL's symposium during...
  • Photo Gallery: CSAIL Commencement 2010A number of CSAILers were among those to receive graduate degrees at last Friday's MIT Commencement. After the ceremony, a reception was held in the Stata Center to toast the lab's newly minted Masters and PhDs. Click here for more photos of the event, and here for the list of graduates. Congratulations to all!
  • CSAIL Graduates Begin New Chapter On Friday, June 4th, the Institute will hold its 144th commencement ceremony. We here at CSAIL would like to join the speaker, Raymond S. Stata, in wishing our graduates luck on the next leg of their journey. The CSAIL students matriculating in both Masters and PhD programs are listed below; congratulations, and best wishes for an exciting future!
     
     
  • Researchers and Industrialists Rub Elbows at 2010 IAP Meeting CSAIL hosted the Annual Meeting of the Industry Affiliates Program last week, an event that included demonstrations and talks on the latest research being done at the lab. The two-day conference gave CSAIL's industrial partners the chance to mingle with both researchers and fellow businesspeople.
    To see photos from the IAP event, click here.
  • Gloves of Many ColorsWith a single piece of inexpensive hardware — a multicolored glove — MIT researchers are making Minority Report-style interfaces more accessible. Read More
  • KarDo Makes It to Finals in MIT $100K KarDo, a startup venture developed at CSAIL, was one of six finalists in MIT's $100K Entrepreneurship Competition. The contest annually awards $100,000 to an outstanding MIT student-generated business plan.
    KarDo is the joint work of graduate students Nate Kushman, Branavan, and Hariharan Rahul, and Professors Regina Barzilay and Dina Katabi. The venture offers a way to save time and money in the...
  • A Wealth of Recent Honors for CSAILersCSAIL researchers and staff have been racking up accolades lately, and these past few weeks have been no exception.
    Rodney Brooks, former CSAIL director and the founder of Heartland Robotics and iRobot Corp., has been named an Honorary Member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. It's the Society's highest recognition, awarded in honor of Brooks' unprecedented innovation in the field of...
  • Shafi Goldwasser Wins Ben Franklin Medal Shafi Goldwasser, RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is among 11 awardees of this year's Benjamin Franklin Medal. The award is given in the category of Computer and Cognitive Science, in honor of Goldwasser's contributions to modern cryptography.
    Co-head of the Cryptography and Information Security Group at CSAIL, Goldwasser's accomplishments include the zero-knowledge...
  • Bill Gates Stops by Stata Retired Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates paid a visit to CSAIL earlier this week during a visit to campus. Funds donated by Gates helped to make the Stata Center a reality, and the building's Gates Tower bears his name.
    Now chiefly a philanthropist, Gates believes that first and foremost, technology should be a force for good in the world. He shared this message Wednesday with MIT students in a...
  • CSAIL Researchers Honored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences This week sees the naming of 229 new members to the Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest independent research societies in the United States. Among them are CSAIL's Edward H. Adelson, Nancy Ann Lynch, Michael Stonebraker, and Madhu Sudan.
    Academy fellows come from a wide spectrum of disciplines, leaders in fields ranging from writing and performing to research and industry. Created in...
  • Introducing CSAIL to the Class of 2014 Last week, the undergraduate class of 2014 got their first comprehensive look at MIT. During this year's Campus Preview Weekend, incoming freshmen and their families turned out in droves to get the inside scoop on CSAIL.
    Following an introduction by Director Victor Zue, a series of Principal Investigators and graduate students discussed their respective fields of research. The lineup included:
    -...
  • Sikuli Rethinks ProgrammingCSAIL Spotlight imageFor as long as there have been computers, there has been coding. And with coding comes repetition—lots of it. That's always been the basic fact of a programmer's existence, even as computers have become ever more friendly from a user's perspective. That's where Sikuli comes in. The latest from CSAIL's User Interface Design Group, it's a programming tool that has the ability to see like a...
  • Summer Courses with CSAIL Faculty This summer, three CSAIL faculty members are teaching courses as part of MIT's Professional Education program. These Short Programs, which meet for two to five sessions, offer business professionals an opportunity to learn firsthand from top experts in academia.
    Courses being offered by CSAIL Principal Investigators include:
    Leadership Skills for Engineering and Science Faculty

    Charles...
  • A New Line of Defense Against Cyberattacks In a project funded and tested by the US Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), a team of CSAIL investigators is developing a new way to defend against hackers.
  • How Deep Can Data Miners Dig?Privacy has always been a concern on the World Wide Web, but new findings show that personal information may be even more vulnerable than previously thought. A piece by Steve Lohr in the New York Times' Technology section cites several recent studies and projects about just how protected your protected information really is.
    Lohr points out ways that information shared in diffuse areas of the Web...
  • Jeffrey Jaffe Named CEO of W3C The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has found a new CEO in Jeffrey Jaffe, an MIT alumnus and tech industry stalwart. Jaffe brings with him past experience in executive roles at IBM, Bell Labs, and most recently Novell.
    Founded by Tim Berners-Lee, W3C is a global consortium dedicated to pioneering standards and protocols on the World Wide Web. While Berners-Lee will stay on as Director, Jaffe's...
  • NSF Opens Door to Information Science ExplorationAs it stands, we're pretty ill informed about the science of information. Information systems have developed so rapidly in recent decades, they've outstripped our ability to understand their behavior.
    A team of researchers from colleges around the country, led by Purdue University's Wojciech Szpankowski, aim to change all that. Thanks to a new Science and Technology Center award from the National...
  • Will.i.am Gets That Future Flow at CSAIL While in town for a concert at TD Garden, Black Eyed Peas mastermind William James Adams, Jr. (aka Will.i.am) paid a visit to the Stata Center for a tour of the labs. Aside from rapping, songwriting, and producing, Adams is also an amateur robotics enthusiast.
    During his tour of CSAIL, the artist had a look at projects from Daniela Rus' Distributed Robotics Lab, Russ Tedrake's Robot Locomotion...