The challenge that motivates the ANA group is to foster a healthy future for the Internet. The interplay of private sector investment, public sector regulation and public interest advocacy, as well as the global diversity in drivers and aspirations, makes for an uncertain future.
This CoR brings together researchers at CSAIL working across a broad swath of application domains. Within these lie novel and challenging machine learning problems serving science, social science and computer science.
This CoR aims to develop AI technology that synthesizes symbolic reasoning, probabilistic reasoning for dealing with uncertainty in the world, and statistical methods for extracting and exploiting regularities in the world, into an integrated picture of intelligence that is informed by computational insights and by cognitive science.
We focus on finding novel approaches to improve the performance of modern computer systems without unduly increasing the complexity faced by application developers, compiler writers, or computer architects.
This community is interested in understanding and affecting the interaction between computing systems and society through engineering, computer science and public policy research, education, and public engagement.
The Systems CoR is focused on building and investigating large-scale software systems that power modern computers, phones, data centers, and networks, including operating systems, the Internet, wireless networks, databases, and other software infrastructure.
(This project is no longer active.) The T-1000, a prototype system of a thousand realistic processors embedded throughout an ensemble of interconnected FPGAs, seeks to demonstrate the scalability of timestamp-based cache coherence protocols on distributed shared memory systems.
Our goal is to understand the nature of cyber security arms races between malicious and bonafide parties. Our vision is autonomous cyber defenses that anticipate and take measures against counter attacks.
Alloy is a language for describing structures and a tool for exploring them. It has been used in a wide range of applications from finding holes in security mechanisms to designing telephone switching networks. Hundreds of projects have used Alloy for design analysis, for verification, for simulation, and as a backend for many other kinds of analysis and synthesis tools, and Alloy is currently being taught in courses worldwide.
In order to be able to design synthetic organs that function autonomously, we will need to engineer artificial tissue homeostasis. To control the size of these artificial tissues, two major mechanisms will have to be engineered.
Using AI methods, we are developing an attack tree generator that automatically enumerates cyberattack vectors for industrial control systems in critical infrastructure (electric grids, water networks and transportation systems). The generator can quickly assess cyber risk for a system at scale.
We aim to base a variety of cryptographic primitives on complexity theoretic assumptions. We focus on the assumption that there exist highly structured problems --- admitting so called "zero-knowledge" protocols --- that are nevertheless hard to compute
BlueDBM is an architecture of computer clusters consisting of fast distributed flash storage and in-storage accelerators, which often outperforms larger and more expensive clusters in applications such as graph analytics.
We aim to better understand the features of network protocols that facilitate denial of service attacks, in order to design more robust protocols and architectures in the future and evaluate existing designs more accurately.
Existing methods for cloning and recombination of DNA enable construction of arbitrary sequences. However, the sequential nature of these techniques makes them time-consuming and expensive. Furthermore, while the transformation of an existing plasmid into a host strain can be reliable when a selection marker is used, there are many current limitations: the number of different plasmids that can be co-transformed is limited by the choice of markers and compatible origins of replication; plasmids are less stable than chromosomal DNA and are difficult to maintain indefinitely without mutation; and cistronic interactions cannot be designed since each new nucleotide sequence added is on an unconnected DNA molecule. To overcome these limitations, we are designing reconfigurable chromosomes consisting of both fixed and variable regions. While the fixed region is carefully optimized and tuned ahead of time, the variable region can be modified in the field, at the point-of-use, leading to rapid and on-demand realization of novel biocircuits with many different phenotypes.
Every spring, engineering students from MIT and law students from Georgetown University overcome the distance between their institutions and disciplines in a semester-long flurry of virtual classroom meetings and late-night Google hangout sessions, culminating in presentations to policy experts in DC.
Last week CSAIL hosted the second “Hot Topics in Computing” speaker series, a monthly forum where computing experts hold discussions with community members on various topics in the computer science field.
This week it was announced that MIT professors and CSAIL principal investigators Shafi Goldwasser, Silvio Micali, Ronald Rivest, and former MIT professor Adi Shamir won this year’s BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards in the Information and Communication Technologies category for their work in cryptography.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of “neural networks” are increasingly used in technologies like self-driving cars to be able to see and recognize objects. Such systems could even help with tasks like identifying explosives in airport security lines.
We live in the age of big data, but most of that data is “sparse.” Imagine, for instance, a massive table that mapped all of Amazon’s customers against all of its products, with a “1” for each product a given customer bought and a “0” otherwise. The table would be mostly zeroes.
In a traditional computer, a microprocessor is mounted on a “package,” a small circuit board with a grid of electrical leads on its bottom. The package snaps into the computer’s motherboard, and data travels between the processor and the computer’s main memory bank through the leads.
Most 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 servers dedicated just to caching.
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 temperatures than others, and perhaps most importantly, some are much easier to run continuously, with technicians occasionally topping up reagents in different reaction chambers.
Anonymity networks, which sit on top of the public Internet, are designed to conceal people’s Web-browsing habits from prying eyes. The most popular of these, Tor, has been around for more than a decade and is used by millions of people every day.
In a computer operating system, the file system is the part that writes data to disk and tracks where the data is stored. If the computer crashes while it’s writing data, the file system’s records can become corrupt. Hours of work could be lost, or programs could stop working properly.At a symposium this fall, MIT researchers will present the first file system that is mathematically guaranteed not to lose track of data during crashes. Although the file system is slow by today’s standards, the techniques the researchers used to verify its performance can be extended to more sophisticated designs. Ultimately, formal verification could make it much easier to develop reliable, efficient file systems.