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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 >>
January 20, 2017
Today, loading a web page on a big website usually involves a database query — to retrieve the latest contributions to a discussion you’re participating in, a list of news stories related to the one you’re reading, links targeted to your geographic location, or the like.
But database queries
January 19, 2017
The age of big data has seen a host of new techniques for analyzing large data sets. But before any of those techniques can be applied, the target data has to be aggregated, organized, and cleaned up.
That turns out to be a shockingly time-consuming task. In a 2016 survey, 80 data scientists
January 19, 2017
Daniela Rus loves Singapore. As the MIT professor sits down in her Frank Gehry-designed office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to talk about her research conducted in Singapore, her face starts to relax in a big smile.
Her story with Singapore started in the summer of 2010, when she made her
January 11, 2017People generally associate graphic processing units (GPUs) with imaging processing. Developed for video games in the 1990s, modern GPUs are specialized circuits with thousands of small, efficient processing units, or “cores,” that work simultaneously to rapidly render graphics on screen.But for the
January 09, 2017
Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a new computational model of a neural circuit in the brain, which could shed light on the biological role of inhibitory neurons — neurons that keep other neurons from firing.
The model describes a
January 06, 2017Traffic is not just a nuisance for drivers: it’s also a public-health hazard and bad news for the economy.
Transportation studies put the annual cost of congestion at $160 billion, which includes 7 billion hours of time lost to sitting in traffic and an extra 3 billion gallons of fuel
December 20, 2016Living in a dynamic physical world, it’s easy to forget how effortlessly we understand our surroundings. With minimal thought, we can figure out how scenes change and objects interact.
But what’s second nature for us is still a huge problem for machines. With the limitless number of ways that
December 16, 2016When data sets get too big, sometimes the only way to do anything useful with them is to extract much smaller subsets and analyze those instead.
Those subsets have to preserve certain properties of the full sets, however, and one property that’s useful in a wide range of applications is diversity.
December 14, 2016One way to handle big data is to shrink it. If you can identify a small subset of your data set that preserves its salient mathematical relationships, you may be able to perform useful analyses on it that would be prohibitively time consuming on the full set.
The methods for creating such “coresets
December 08, 2016This week the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) announced its 2016 fellows, which include four principal investigators from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL): professors Erik Demaine, Fredo Durand, William Freeman, and Daniel Jackson. They were among the 1
December 06, 2016Speech recognition systems, such as those that convert speech to text on cellphones, are generally the result of machine learning. A computer pores through thousands or even millions of audio files and their transcriptions, and learns which acoustic features correspond to which typed words.
December 05, 2016This fall’s new Federal Aviation Administration regulations have made drone flight easier than ever for both companies and consumers. But what if the drones out on the market aren’t exactly what you want?
A new system from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)
December 02, 2016When the filmmaking pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière screened their 1895 film, "The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat," audiences were so frightened by the real appearance of the image that they screamed and got out of the way — or so a well-known anecdote goes. Today, as one enters a virtual
December 02, 2016In recent years, computers have gotten remarkably good at recognizing speech and images: Think of the dictation software on most cellphones, or the algorithms that automatically identify people in photos posted to Facebook.
But recognition of natural sounds — such as crowds cheering or waves
December 02, 2016One of the limits of today’s virtual reality (VR) headsets is that they have to be tethered to computers in order to process data well enough to deliver high-resolution visuals. But wearing an HDMI cable reduces mobility and can even lead to users tripping over cords.
Fortunately, researchers from
December 01, 2016Traffic is not just a nuisance for drivers: it’s also a public-health hazard and bad news for the economy.Transportation studies put the annual cost of congestion at $160 billion, which includes 7 billion hours of time lost to sitting in traffic and an extra 3 billion gallons of fuel burned. One
December 01, 2016MIT researchers and their colleagues have developed a new computational model of the human brain’s face-recognition mechanism that seems to capture aspects of human neurology that previous models have missed.
The researchers designed a machine-learning system that implemented their model, and they
November 28, 2016Living in a dynamic physical world, it’s easy to forget how effortlessly we understand our surroundings. With minimal thought, we can figure out how scenes change and objects interact.
But what’s second nature for us is still a huge problem for machines. With the limitless number of ways that
November 22, 2016Surviving breast cancer changed the course of Regina Barzilay’s research. The experience showed her, in stark relief, that oncologists and their patients lack tools for data-driven decision making. That includes what treatments to recommend, but also whether a patient’s sample even warrants a
November 18, 2016Quantum computers promise huge speedups on some computational problems because they harness a strange physical property called entanglement, in which the physical state of one tiny particle depends on measurements made of another. In quantum computers, entanglement is a computational resource,
November 15, 2016CoolThink@JC, a four-year initiative of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, was launched today to empower the city’s primary school teachers and students with computational thinking skills, including coding.
Developed through a collaboration with MIT's Computer Science and Artificial
November 14, 2016One of the limits of today’s virtual reality (VR) headsets is that they have to be tethered to computers in order to process data well enough to deliver high-resolution visuals. But wearing an HDMI cable reduces mobility and can even lead to users tripping over cords.
Fortunately, researchers from
November 07, 2016Dynamic programming is a technique that can yield relatively efficient solutions to computational problems in economics, genomic analysis, and other fields. But adapting it to computer chips with multiple “cores,” or processing units, requires a level of programming expertise that few economists
November 07, 2016At MIT’s 2016 Open House last spring, more than 100 visitors took rides on an autonomous mobility scooter in a trial of software designed by researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), the National University of Singapore, and the Singapore-MIT Alliance
October 27, 2016In recent years, the best-performing systems in artificial-intelligence research have come courtesy of neural networks, which look for patterns in training data that yield useful predictions or classifications. A neural net might, for instance, be trained to recognize certain objects in digital
October 24, 2016Researchers from MIT, Boston Children's Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital have joined forces in an ambitious new project to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the health of fetuses.
Typically, fetal development is monitored with ultrasound imaging, which is cheap and
October 17, 2016Whitman Richards '53, PhD '65, professor emeritus of cognitive sciences and of media arts and sciences and principal investigator in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, died on Sept. 16 after a long battle with myelofibrosis. One of the first four PhD graduates of the
October 11, 20163-D printing has progressed over the last decade to include multi-material fabrication, enabling production of powerful, functional objects. While many advances have been made, it still has been difficult for non-programmers to create objects made of many materials (or mixtures of materials)
October 05, 2016Boston’s roads may be getting a little safer, thanks to drivers’ mobile phones. Traditionally one of the biggest sources of driver distraction, a new competition from the city of Boston is putting mobile phones to work to measure and improve users’ driving.
CSAIL spin-off Cambridge Mobile
October 03, 2016Anyone who’s watched drone videos or an episode of “BattleBots” knows that robots can break — and often it’s because they don’t have the proper padding to protect themselves.
But this week researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) will present a new method
September 21, 2016This month CSAIL PhD candidate Yongwook Bryce Kim ‘17 received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Award for Young Professionals Contributing to Smart and Connected Health at the 38th Annual IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC’16). The theme of the conference was “empowering
September 21, 2016A year ago, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory unveiled a fundamentally new way of managing memory on computer chips, one that would use circuit space much more efficiently as chips continue to comprise more and more cores, or processing units. In chips
September 20, 2016As many a relationship book can tell you, understanding someone else’s emotions can be a difficult task. Facial expressions aren’t always reliable: a smile can conceal frustration, while a poker face might mask a winning hand.
But what if technology could tell us how someone is really feeling?
September 19, 2016MIT has signed an agreement to engage in research collaborations with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) in the Netherlands. The collaboration’s flagship project will be co-led by Daniela Rus, director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
September 12, 2016Today the Aspen Institute, CNBC, and MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) announced the first-ever “Cambridge Cyber Summit” on October 5 at Kresge Auditorium on the MIT campus.
The one-day summit will bring together C-suite executives and business owners with public and
September 12, 2016CSAIL Director Daniela Rus sat down with Forbes Magazine to discuss robotics, artificial intelligence, and inspiring other women in the field of computer science. “Our goal is to invent the future of computing. We want to use computer science to tackle major challenges in fields like healthcare and
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