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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 >>
August 29, 2016There’s no human instinct more basic than speech, and yet, for many people, talking can be taxing. One in 14 working-age Americans suffer from voice disorders that are often associated with abnormal vocal behaviors — some of which can cause damage to vocal cord tissue and lead to the formation of
August 23, 2016There are few things more frustrating than trying to use your phone on a crowded network. With phone usage growing faster than wireless spectrum, we’re all now fighting over smaller and smaller bits of bandwidth. Spectrum crunch is such a big problem that the White House is getting involved,
August 11, 2016Gas leaks are bad news for many reasons. They contribute to greenhouse gas buildup, disproportionately contribute to methane emissions, and can be physically dangerous to the people around them.But according to a team led by a CSAIL data scientist, utility companies like National grid and
August 10, 2016Computer simulations of physical systems are common in science, engineering, and entertainment, but they use several different types of tools.
If, say, you want to explore how a crack forms in an airplane wing, you need a very precise physical model of the crack’s immediate vicinity. But if you
August 09, 2016A team from CSAIL has been awarded the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 2016 Pioneer Award for their paper “Keys Under Doormats” on government backdoors and data security. EFF instituted the award in 1992 to spotlight those dedicated to expanding freedom and creativity in the technology sector.
August 09, 2016Genome-wide association studies, which try to find correlations between particular genetic variations and disease diagnoses, are a staple of modern medical research.
But because they depend on databases that contain people’s medical histories, they carry privacy risks. An attacker armed with
August 02, 2016We learn a lot about objects by manipulating them: poking, pushing, prodding, and then seeing how they react.
We obviously can’t do that with videos — just try touching that cat video on your phone and see what happens. But is it crazy to think that we could take that video and simulate how the cat
July 29, 2016After thousands of hours of work, MIT researchers have released the first major database of fully annotated English sentences written by non-native speakers.
The researchers who led the project had already shown that the grammatical quirks of non-native speakers writing in English could be a source
July 25, 20163-D movies immerse us in new worlds and allow us to see places and things in ways that we otherwise couldn’t. But behind every 3-D experience is something that is uniformly despised: those goofy glasses.
Fortunately, there may be hope. In a new paper, a team from MIT’s Computer Science and
July 19, 2016A team from CSAIL has helped develop a simulation method called "Acoustic Voxels" that allows them to develop acoustic filters that can reduce certain sounds and amplify others. With researchers at Disney Research and Columbia University, the team has discovered a way to predict acoustic
July 13, 2016Ants, it turns out, are extremely good at estimating the concentration of other ants in their vicinity. This ability appears to play a role in several communal activities, particularly in the voting procedure whereby an ant colony selects a new nest.
Biologists have long suspected that ants base
July 13, 2016Today’s robots are awkward co-workers because they are often unable to predict what humans need. In hospitals, robots are employed to perform simple tasks such as delivering supplies and medications, but they have to be explicitly told what to do.
A team from MIT’s Computer Science and
July 11, 2016Anonymity networks protect people living under repressive regimes from surveillance of their Internet use. But the recent discovery of vulnerabilities in the most popular of these networks — Tor — has prompted computer scientists to try to come up with more secure anonymity schemes.
At the Privacy
July 08, 2016When an organization needs a new database, it typically hires a contractor to build it or buys a heavily supported product customized to its industry sector.
Usually, the organization already owns all the data it wants to put in the database. But writing complex queries in SQL or some other
July 07, 2016Ce Liu PhD ’16 is the 2016 recipient of the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition’s Young Researcher Award. The Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) award is given to a researcher within 7 years of the completion of their PhD for outstanding early career research
June 21, 2016When we see two people meet, we can often predict what happens next: a handshake, a hug, or maybe even a kiss. Our ability to anticipate actions is thanks to intuitions born out of a lifetime of experiences.
Machines, on the other hand, have trouble making use of complex knowledge like that.
June 20, 2016A transistor, conceived of in digital terms, has two states: on and off, which can represent the 1s and 0s of binary arithmetic.
But in analog terms, the transistor has an infinite number of states, which could, in principle, represent an infinite range of mathematical values. Digital computing,
June 20, 2016Computer chips have stopped getting faster. For the past 10 years, chips’ performance improvements have come from the addition of processing units known as cores.
In theory, a program on a 64-core machine would be 64 times as fast as it would be on a single-core machine. But it rarely works out
June 15, 2016For the past 40 years, eye-tracking technology — which can determine where in a visual scene people are directing their gaze — has been widely used in psychological experiments and marketing research, but it’s required pricey hardware that has kept it from finding consumer applications.
June 13, 2016For robots to navigate the world, they need to be able to make reasonable assumptions about their surroundings and what might happen during a sequence of events.
One way that humans come to learn these things is through sound. For infants, poking and prodding objects is not just fun; some
June 07, 2016James Weis began merging the biological and computational worlds early on. A young marine biology enthusiast, Weis was building coral reef ecosystems in his aquariums at home before he was a teenager. Unhappy with chain pet stores that kept their wild-caught fish and coral in poor conditions, Weis
June 06, 2016Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Harvard University have developed a new algorithm that could help astronomers produce the first image of a black hole.
The algorithm would stitch together data collected from radio telescopes scattered around the
May 31, 2016Completing a game of “Super Mario Brothers” can be hard — very, very hard.
That’s the conclusion of a new paper from researchers at CSAIL, the University of Ottawa, and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. They show that the problem of solving a level in “Super Mario Brothers” is as hard as the hardest
May 25, 2016Symbolic execution is a powerful software-analysis tool that can be used to automaticallylocate and even repair programming bugs. Essentially, it traces out every path that a program’s execution might take.
But it tends not to work well with applications written using today’s programming frameworks
May 12, 2016In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at CSAIL, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields,
May 12, 2016In experiments involving a simulation of the human esophagus and stomach, researchers at CSAIL, the University of Sheffield, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and, steered by external magnetic fields, crawl
May 10, 2016Many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and schizophrenia, tend to be passed down through families. After researchers sequenced the human genome about 15 years ago, they had high hopes that this trove of information would reveal the genes that underlie these strongly heritable diseases.
May 06, 2016For as long as Leilani Battle can remember, she has always loved video games. Raised mostly outside of Seattle, (her father was in the navy), Battle followed her affinity for games through her study of computer science at the University of Washington before applying to MIT. Her passion morphed into
May 05, 2016CSAIL principal investigator Nancy Lynch is one of four MIT faculty members elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in recognition of their “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”Lynch is the NEC Professor of Software Science and Engineering in the Department of
May 01, 2016With the “Game of Thrones” season starting this week, fans have been feverishly discussing the show and its many polarizing characters. Who’s the meanest? The sexiest? The most memorable? For that last one, MIT scientists are on the case. Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and
April 28, 2016This week MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) received an unusual package: a six-foot-tall, 300-pound humanoid robot that NASA hopes to have serve on future space missions to Mars and beyond.A team of researchers led by CSAIL principal investigator Russ Tedrake
April 25, 2016A team from CSAIL has won a prestigious analytics award based on their research about how digitally-connected tools could be used to help diagnose brain disorders.
A decade-long partnership between MIT professor Randall Davis and Dr. Dana Penney of the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in
April 21, 2016Planning algorithms for teams of robots fall into two categories: centralized algorithms, in which a single computer makes decisions for the whole team, and decentralized algorithms, in which each robot makes its own decisions based on local observations.
With centralized algorithms, if the
April 20, 2016MIT has offered courses on everything from pirate training to “street-fighting math,” but a new robotics class is truly one for the birds.
This spring, a hands-on course housed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) took students on a trip to “Duckietown.” The
April 18, 2016One reason we don’t yet have robot personal assistants buzzing around doing our chores is because making them is hard. Assembling robots by hand is time-consuming, while automation — robots building other robots — is not yet fine-tuned enough to make robots that can do complex tasks.
April 18, 2016Today’s security systems usually fall into one of two categories: human or machine. So-called “analyst-driven solutions” rely on rules created by living experts and therefore miss any attacks that don’t match the rules. Meanwhile, today’s machine-learning approaches rely on “anomaly detection,”
April 15, 2016
By exploiting some peculiarities of the popular Web programming framework Ruby on Rails, CSAIL researchers have developed a system that can quickly comb through tens of thousands of lines of application code to find security flaws.
In tests on 50 popular Web applications written using
April 12, 2016A team that includes CSAIL researchers has designed a “flying monkey” robot that walks, grasps, flies, and clocks in at less than 1/10th of a pound. Modeled after the male stag beetle, the robot is part of a new class of robots capable of interacting with and modifying their surroundings, by using
April 06, 2016One reason we don’t yet have robot personal assistants buzzing around doing our chores is because making them is hard. Assembling robots by hand is time-consuming, while automation — robots building other robots — is not yet fine-tuned enough to make robots that can do complex tasks.
But if humans
March 31, 2016We’ve all been there, impatiently twiddling our thumbs while trying to locate a WiFi signal. But what if, instead, the WiFi could locate us?
According to researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), it could mean safer drones, smarter homes, and password-
March 25, 2016The Microsoft Kinect was a boon to robotics researchers. The cheap, off-the-shelf depth sensor allowed them to quickly and cost-effectively prototype innovative systems that enable robots to map, interpret, and navigate their environments.
But sensors like the Kinect, which use infrared light to
March 24, 2016For people struggling with obesity, logging calorie counts and other nutritional information at every meal is a proven way to lose weight. The technique does require consistency and accuracy, however, and when it fails, it’s usually because people don't have the time to find and record all the
March 18, 2016Most people with smartphones use a range of applications that collect personal information and store it on Internet-connected servers — and from their desktop or laptop computers, they connect to Web services that do the same. Some use still other Internet-connected devices, such as thermostats or
March 09, 2016There are few things more frustrating than a slow-loading webpage. For companies, what’s even worse is what comes after: users abandoning their site in droves. Amazon, for example, estimates that every 100-millisecond delay cuts their profits by 1 percent.To help combat this problem, researchers
March 07, 2016Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a new system that allows Web users to share self-selected aspects of their online activity with their friends and the general public. The hope is to give users themselves, as well as academics and
February 17, 2016Autonomous robots performing a joint task send each other continual updates: “I’ve passed through a door and am turning 90 degrees right.” “After advancing 2 feet I’ve encountered a wall. I’m turning 90 degrees right.” “After advancing 4 feet I’ve encountered a wall.” And so on.
February 15, 2016
Planning algorithms are widely used in logistics and control. They can help schedule flights and bus routes, guide autonomous robots, and determine control policies for the power grid, among other things.
In recent years, planning algorithms have begun to factor in uncertainty — variations
February 12, 2016
This month it was announced that CSAIL researchers Nir Shavit and Charles Leiserson will be participating in a cross-institutional consortium project at Harvard focused on brain-mapping.Merging the disciplines of data science and neuroscience, the Machine Intelligence from Cortical Networks (
February 03, 2016
In recent years, some of the most exciting advances in artificial intelligence have come courtesy of convolutional neural networks, large virtual networks of simple information-processing units, which are loosely modeled on the anatomy of the human brain.
Neural networks are typically implemented
February 02, 2016
Researchers at CSAIL and MIT's Microsystems Research Laboratories (MTL) have developed a low-power chip for processing 3-D camera data that could help visually impaired people navigate their environments. The chip consumes only one-thousandth as much power as a conventional computer