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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 >>
October 26, 2015A researcher from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has developed an obstacle-detection system that allows a drone to autonomously dip, dart and dive through a tree-filled field at upwards of 30 miles per hour.
“Everyone is building drones these days, but
October 22, 2015We are making breakthroughs almost weekly in our understanding of cancer and other deadly diseases, both in how to treat and – in some cases – how to cure them. So why is funding for early stage biomedical research and development declining just when we need it most?
October 17, 2015Every year corporations under-report roughly $91 billion of taxable income via schemes known as “partnerships and S corporations." The government tweaks its regulations every year to try to keep up with all of the complicated methods, but, just like a big game of Whack-a-Mole, every time one
October 08, 2015Congratulation to this year's Nobel Prize winners!
While computer science has no formal Nobel Prize, the Association for Computing Machinery’s A.M. Turing Award is often described as “the Nobel Prize of computing.”
Over the years, more than a dozen CSAIL-affiliated computer scientists have receive
October 06, 2015
MIT researchers are developing a computer system that uses genetic, demographic, and clinical data to help predict the effects of disease on brain anatomy.
In experiments, they trained a machine-learning system on MRI data from patients with neurodegenerative diseases and found that
October 01, 2015Machine learning, which is the basis for most commercial artificial-intelligence systems, is intrinsically probabilistic. An object-recognition algorithm asked to classify a particular image, for instance, might conclude that it has a 60 percent chance of depicting a dog, but a 30 percent chance of
September 30, 2015Robots have many strong suits, but delicacy traditionally hasn’t been one of them. Rigid limbs and digits make it difficult for them to grasp, hold, and manipulate a range of everyday objects without dropping or crushing them.
Recently, CSAIL researchers have discovered that the solution may
September 28, 20153D printing is great, assuming that all you need to do is print one material for one purpose, and that you’re okay with it taking a few tries. But the technology is still far behind where it could be in reliably
September 24, 2015CSAIL researcher Matei Zaharai was recently profiled by The Economist in a story about the state of cloud-computing start-ups.
Zaharia is co-founder of Databricks, a promising startup whose data-crunching technology Spark has drawn the attention of prominent developers, as well as a little
September 23, 2015
CSAIL researchers have designed a computer system that learns how to play a text-based computer game with no prior assumptions about how language works. Although the system can’t complete the game as a whole, its ability to complete sections of it suggests that, in some sense, it discovers
September 17, 2015Researchers at CSAIL and Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a system that can take MRI scans of a patient’s heart and, in a matter of hours, convert them into a tangible, physical model that surgeons can use to plan surgery.
The models could provide a more intuitive way for surgeons to
September 14, 2015Every language has its own collection of phonemes, or the basic phonetic units from which spoken words are composed. Depending on how you count, English has somewhere between 35 and 45. Knowing a language’s phonemes can make it much easier for automated systems to learn to interpret speech.
September 09, 2015By Larry Hardesty, MIT News
In a modern, multicore chip, every core — or processor — has its own small memory cache, where it stores frequently used data. But the chip also has a larger, shared cache, which all the cores can access.
If one core tries to update data in the shared cache,
September 04, 2015The World Health Organization estimates that 3,400 people die each day from traffic-related accidents. Could autonomous cars be part of the solution?
Today CSAIL announced a new $25 million research center funded by Toyota to further the development of autonomous vehicle technologies, with
September 03, 2015
by Larry Hardesty, MIT News
The technology behind 3-D printing is growing more and more common, but the ability to create designs for it is not. Any but the simplest designs require expertise with computer-aided design (CAD) applications, and even for the experts, the design process is
September 01, 2015At the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems in September, members of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) and their colleagues will describe an experiment conducted over six days at a large public garden in Singapore, in which self-driving golf
August 27, 2015For Justin Chen, a PhD student in the MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), there is more to observe in the built environment than meets the eye. So much more, in fact, that he has designed his entire academic attention in CEE to center on structural health monitoring.
August 27, 20153D printing is great, assuming that all you need to do is print one material for one purpose, and that you’re okay with it taking a few tries. But the technology is still far behind where it could be in reliably
August 26, 2015For more than a decade, gene sequencers have been improving more rapidly than the computers required to make sense of their outputs. Searching for DNA sequences in existing genomic databases can already take hours, and the problem is likely to get worse.
Recently, Bonnie Berger’s group at CSAIL
August 24, 2015In 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.
August 19, 2015Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of the 21st century. Affecting more than 500 million people worldwide, obesity costs at least $200 billion each year in the United States alone, and contributes to potentially fatal disorders such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and
August 18, 2015For all of the advances in medical technology, many of the world’s most widely-used diagnostic tools essentially involve just two things: pen and paper.
Tests such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the Clock Drawing Test (CDT) are used to detect cognitive change arising from a wide
August 17, 2015Much of the research aimed at understanding the root causes of biological differences has focused on differences in the genes. But in recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on studying the changes in the regulatory switches in our DNA that control how genes are turned on and off.
August 10, 2015If companies like Amazon and Google have their way, soon enough we will have robots air-dropping supplies from the sky. But is our software where it needs to be to move and deliver goods in the real world?
This question has been explored for many years by researchers at MIT's Computer Science and
August 09, 2015CSAIL principal investigator Aude Oliva has received a special research award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a $13.1 million initiative to support "transformative research in neural and cognitive systems."
One of the NSF's 16 grants will go towards Oliva's
August 09, 2015The popular term “drone,” which conjures images of remote-controlled flying zombies, is becoming less and less descriptive of the latest unmanned aerial vehicles. New applications are requiring more autonomy and intelligence from UAVs.“When people think about drones, they largely think of big
August 06, 2015It’s rare that anyone, including even an MIT computer scientist, is extended an invitation to the Oval Office. Even rarer, still: the opportunity to fall on your face in front of the “Leader of the Free World.”
To be clear, this particular fall in question was intentional. On Tuesday, researchers
July 29, 2015With 2.5 million daily users, the Tor network is the world’s most popular system for protecting Internet users’ anonymity. For more than a decade, people living under repressive regimes have used Tor to conceal their Web-browsing habits from electronic surveillance, and websites hosting content
July 24, 2015This week MIT professor Nickolai Zeldovich and his former student Raluca Popa wrote in IEEE Spectrum about new approaches to data encryption being pioneered by CSAIL computer scientists.
"Not long ago, hackers stole about 40 million debit- and credit-card records from Target, another
July 24, 2015John Leonard’s group at CSAIL specializes in SLAM, or simultaneous localization and mapping, the technique whereby mobile autonomous robots map their environments and determine their locations.
Last week, at the Robotics Science and Systems conference, members of Leonard’s group presented a new
July 17, 2015When a power company wants to build a new wind farm, it generally hires a consultant to make wind speed measurements at the proposed site for eight to 12 months. Those measurements are correlated with historical data and used to assess the site’s power-generation capacity.
This month CSAIL
July 10, 2015U.S. retail chains often rely on intuition in choosing which products, from a vast inventory, will sell best at stores across the nation. Now MIT spinout Celect is refining this process with novel data analytics, revealing interesting insights into how retailers can optimize their shelf space.
July 10, 2015Random-access memory, or RAM, is where computers like to store the data they’re working on. A processor can retrieve data from RAM tens of thousands of times more rapidly than it can from the computer’s disk drive.
But in the age of big data, data sets are often much too large to fit in a single
July 09, 2015Last year, MIT computer scientists and Adobe engineers came together to try to solve a major problem that many companies face: bit-rot.
A good example is Adobe’s successful Photoshop photo editor, which just celebrated its 25th birthday. Over the years Photoshop had accumulated heaps of code that
July 04, 2015Today it was announced that CSAIL researcher Silvio Micali has been named a “Great Immigrant” by Carnegie Corporation of New York —one of 39 naturalized citizens across the country to be honored in 2015. Every July 4 since 2006, Carnegie Corporation has recognized the contributions of immigrants
July 01, 2015MOOCs — massive open online courses — grant huge numbers of people access to world-class educational resources, but they also suffer high rates of attrition.
To some degree, that’s inevitable: Many people who enroll in MOOCs may have no interest in doing homework, but simply plan to listen to
June 29, 2015CSAIL researcher Ron Rivest is one of three faculty members to be named an MIT Institute Professor. He is one 13 at MIT, along with 10 Institute Professors emeriti. Their new appointments are effective July 1, making them the first faculty members to be named Institute Professors since
June 29, 2015This month CSAIL researchers presented a new system that repairs dangerous software bugs by automatically importing functionality from other, more secure applications.
Remarkably, the system, dubbed CodePhage, doesn’t require access to the source code of the applications whose functionality it’
June 12, 2015A team of CSAIL researchers have developed a printable origami robot that folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic when heated and measures about a centimeter from front to back.
Weighing only a third of a gram, the robot can swim, climb an incline, traverse rough terrain, and carry a load
June 02, 2015Decentralized partially observable Markov decision processes are a way to model autonomous robots’ behavior in circumstances where neither their communication with each other nor their judgments about the outside world are perfect.
The problem with Dec-POMDPs (as they’re abbreviated) is that they’
May 27, 2015Today’s industrial robots are remarkably efficient — as long as they’re in a controlled environment where everything is exactly where they expect it to be.
But put them in an unfamiliar setting, where they have to think for themselves, and their efficiency plummets. And the difficulty of on-
May 21, 2015Last summer, CSAIL researchers published a paper describing an algorithm that can recover intelligible speech from the analysis of the minute vibrations of objects in video captured through soundproof glass.
In June, at the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, researchers from the
May 14, 2015The average person spends 10 to 15 minutes a day waiting for texts and instant-message (IM) replies, according to an analysis by Carrie Cai, a PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).
What if you could be more productive during those idle moments? Cai is on
May 11, 2015It’s hard to take a photo through a window without picking up reflections of the objects behind you. To solve that problem, professional photographers sometimes wrap their camera lenses in dark cloths affixed to windows by tape or suction cups. But that’s not a terribly attractive option for a
May 08, 2015Object recognition — determining what objects are where in a digital image — is a central research topic in computer vision.
But a person looking at an image will spontaneously make a higher-level judgment about the scene as whole: It’s a kitchen, or a campsite, or a conference room. Among computer
May 06, 2015For the last decade, scientists have deployed increasingly capable underwater robots to map and monitor pockets of the ocean to track the health of fisheries, and survey marine habitats and species. In general, such robots are effective at carrying out low-level tasks, specifically assigned to
May 05, 2015The average person spends 10 to 15 minutes a day waiting for texts and instant-message (IM) replies, according to an analysis by Carrie Cai, a PhD student at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).
What if you could be more productive during those idle moments? Cai is
May 05, 2015Subtle motion happens around us all the time, including tiny vibrations caused by sound. New technology shows that we can pick up on these vibrations and actually re-create sound and conversations just from a video of a seemingly still object. (See former CSAIL researcher Michael Rubinstein
April 28, 2015Today the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) announced that CSAIL researcher Matei Zaharia has won the 2014 Doctoral Dissertation Award for his innovative solutions to tackling the surges in data processing workloads.
An assistant professor at CSAIL, Zaharia has been recognized for proposing
April 27, 2015We all feel it — that panicked sensation when we check our inbox and see the deluge of emails awaiting our attention. The average person receives upwards of 150 emails a day, and it often seems like no amount of tagging or filtering can close the floodgates.
One major source of stress is the never-