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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 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 11, 2015With the “Game of Thrones” season finale coming up Sunday, 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
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-
April 23, 2015In the last 10 years, computer security researchers have shown that malicious hackers don’t need to see your data in order to steal your data. From the pattern in which your computer accesses its memory banks, adversaries can infer a shocking amount about what’s stored there.
The risk of such
April 15, 2015Today it was announced that MIT is launching a new initiative aimed at studying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
The Digital Currency Initiative will be led by Brian Forde, former White House senior advisor for mobile and data innovation, and will include researchers from the Media Lab and
April 10, 2015CSAIL Director Daniela Rus is developing the next generation of robots – ones that can tend a garden, bake cookies from scratch, cut a birthday cake, and even dance with humans.
Learn more in a special video profile of Professor Rus done by WCVB's Chronicle as part of their "Game
March 31, 2015This week the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics named CSAIL principal investigator Charles E. Leiserson as one of its 2015 Fellows for his “enduring influence on parallel computing systems and their adoption into mainstream use through scholarly research and development.”Leiserson
March 30, 2015In computer-science classes, homework assignments consist of writing programs. It’s easy to create automated tests that determine whether a given program yields the right outputs to a series of inputs. But those tests say nothing about whether the program code is clear or confusing, whether it
March 25, 2015Credit: Erica Ferrone Photography
Michael Stonebraker, a researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) who has revolutionized the field of database management systems (DBMSs) and founded multiple successful database companies, has won the Association for
March 24, 2015CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Integer overflows are one of the most common bugs in computer programs — not only causing programs to crash but, even worse, potentially offering points of attack for malicious hackers. Computer scientists have devised a battery of techniques to identify them, but all have
March 19, 2015This week it was announced that four CSAIL researchers have been promoted within the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) department.
Polina Golland and Antonio Torralba were promoted to full professor, while Adam Chilpala and Vinod Vaikuntanathan were promoted to
March 02, 2015CSAIL roboticists are developing smart assembly-line robots that will learn from experience working alongside humans. Assembly line workers won't be swapping stories with their robotic counterparts any time soon, but future robots will be more aware of the humans they're working alongside.
February 26, 2015Here’s one way to get kids excited about programming: a "robot garden" with dozens of fast-changing LED lights and more than 100 origami robots that can crawl, swim, and blossom like flowers.
A team from CSAIL and the Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed a tablet-operated
February 26, 2015When Kalyan Veeramachaneni joined the Any Scale Learning For All (ALFA) group at MIT’s CSAIL as a postdoc in 2010, he worked on large-scale machine-learning platforms that enable the construction of models from huge data sets. “The question then was how to decompose a learning algorithm and data
February 19, 2015The sequencing of the human genome laid the foundation for the study of genetic variation and its links to a wide range of diseases. But the genome itself is only part of the story, as genes can be switched on and off by a range of chemical modifications, known as “epigenetic marks.”
Now, a decade
February 18, 2015Computer chips’ clocks have stopped getting faster. To keep delivering performance improvements, chipmakers are instead giving chips more processing units, or cores, which can execute computations in parallel.
But the ways in which a chip carves up computations can make a big difference to
February 11, 2015Educational researchers have long held that presenting students with clear outlines of the material covered in lectures improves their retention.
Recent studies indicate that the same is true of online how-to videos, and in a new paper researchers at CSAIL and Harvard University describe a new
February 02, 2015This week the BBC focused a entire program to MIT and its innovative research efforts. Much of the episode focused on CSAIL, including the "IkeaBots," "M Blocks," and other projects from CSAIL Director Daniela Rus' group.
Skip to 4:25 to see the start of the CSAIL segment:
January 30, 2015Every undergraduate computer-science major takes a course on data structures, which describes different ways of organizing data in a computer’s memory. Every data structure has its own advantages: Some are good for fast retrieval, some for efficient search, some for quick insertions and deletions,
January 21, 2015This week DARPA unveiled the new and improved Atlas robot that CSAIL's team will be using at this June's DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC).
The DRC is an international competition in which research teams from academy and industry are trying to develop a fully-autonomous robot
January 21, 2015Optimization algorithms, which try to find the minimum values of mathematical functions, are everywhere in engineering. Among other things, they’re used to evaluate design tradeoffs, to assess control systems, and to find patterns in data.
One way to solve a difficult optimization problem is to
January 16, 2015Imagine that you could tell your phone that you want to drive from your house in Boston to a hotel in upstate New York, that you want to stop for lunch at an Applebee’s at about 12:30, and that you don’t want the trip to take more than four hours. Then imagine that your phone tells you that you
January 12, 2015For household robots ever to be practical, they’ll need to be able to recognize the objects they’re supposed to manipulate. But while object recognition is one of the most widely studied topics in artificial intelligence, even the best object detectors still fail much of the time.
January 08, 2015Today the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) announced its 2014 fellows, and among the awardees were five researchers from CSAIL — more than any other academic institution in the world.
Srini Devadas, Eric Grimson, Robert Morris, Ronitt Rubinfeld, and CSAIL Director Daniela Rus were among