CSAIL: Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence

  1. Enjoying Spring outside the CSAIL Gates tower, May 2010.
    Enjoying Spring outside the CSAIL Gates tower, May 2010.
  2. CSAIL spotlight on women computer scientists, 2010.
    CSAIL spotlight on women computer scientists, 2010.
  3. Multicore Computing: a CSAIL spotlight on the research of Anant Agarwal.
    Multicore Computing: a CSAIL spotlight on the research of Anant Agarwal.
  4. Quantum Computing, the frontier of computer science that fascinates EECS/CSAIL faculty member Scott Aaronson.
    Quantum Computing, the frontier of computer science that fascinates EECS/CSAIL faculty member Scott Aaronson.
  5. Students in CSAIL involved in collaborative projects. Photo by CSAIL photographer Jason Dorfman.
    Students in CSAIL involved in collaborative projects. Photo by CSAIL photographer Jason Dorfman.
  6. Students engaged in collaborative projects at CSAIL. Photo by CSAIL photographer Jason Dorfman.
    Students engaged in collaborative projects at CSAIL. Photo by CSAIL photographer Jason Dorfman.
  7. CSAIL/EECS professor Rob Miller and Ph.D. student Tsung-Hsiang (Sean) Chang are developing a new programming interface called Sikuli.
    CSAIL/EECS professor Rob Miller and Ph.D. student Tsung-Hsiang (Sean) Chang are developing a new programming interface called Sikuli.
  8. EECS/CSAIL professor David Karger working with PhD students Max Van Kleek and Michael Berstein to develop List.it a new organizing software,  now a Firefox add-on.
    EECS/CSAIL professor David Karger working with PhD students Max Van Kleek and Michael Berstein to develop List.it a new organizing software, now a Firefox add-on.
  9. Students working in one of the many labs at the Stata Center. Photo by CSAIL photographer Jason Dorfman
    Students working in one of the many labs at the Stata Center. Photo by CSAIL photographer Jason Dorfman

The Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) is the largest interdepartmental lab on campus; two-thirds of its ~100 faculty and senior researchers are from EECS. CSAIL is the nucleus of the department’s computer science research in areas spanning algorithms, architecture, artificial intelligence, computational biology, graphics, human computer interactions, human language technology, machine learning, networks, programming languages, robotics, systems, security, theory, vision, and web sciences.

Institute Professor Barbara Liskov was the fourth CSAIL member to receive the A.M. Turing Award, the computing world’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. One of the most influential computer scientists of our age, Barbara was the first woman in the United States to receive a PhD in computer science. Ideas pioneered by Barbara are at the root of nearly every major programming language, and her work in data abstraction has revolutionized software engineering. Barbara and her students in the Programming Methodology Group are researching ways to keep systems running during partial operating failures.

Institute professor Barbara Liskov, winner of the ACM Turing Award.

Institute professor Barbara Liskov, winner of the ACM Turing Award.

The Robot Locomotion Group, headed by Associate Professor Russ Tedrake, designs and tests flying and walking robots based on a deep understanding of the principles of natural dynamics, augmented with machine learning techniques through trial and error. Currently, Tedrake and his students are creating an airplane with the ability to land on a perch. See the “perching plane” video. To develop this model, the group is studying the movements of actual birds in flight. Already, they have built and flown an autonomous ornithopter with a 2-meter wingspan based on these principles. See the “phoenix first autonomous flight” video There is much that remains to be understood about the complex aerodynamics involved in flapping-winged flight, but the Robot Locomotion Group is making great strides toward expanding our knowledge.

CSAIL/EECS professor Anant Agarwal, director of the Carbon Research Group

CSAIL/EECS professor Anant Agarwal, director of the Carbon Research Group

On the computer architecture side, Professor Anant Agarwal of the Carbon Research Group is finding new ways to streamline and grow the performance of multicore processors. The use of multiple cores allows computers to process data much faster and more efficiently. Typically, the multicore systems of today use only two to eight processors. Agarwal’s work seeks to solve communication issues between cores, looking forward to a future when computers will run on hundreds or even thousands of cores. Though such chips have yet to exist, the Carbon Group is able to test scenarios on a multicore simulator called Graphite. The group’s work could lead us into a computing future that is both energy-efficient and lightning-fast.

Explore CSAIL via the Research Spotlights on its website. Read about CSAIL Director Victor Zue, spotlighted on June 3, 2010, by the MIT ILP website Institute Insider column “The Zen of Zue – CSAIL Lab Director Victor Zue Makes Machines Talk…And Blue Chip Corporate Sponsors Listen.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Replies which add to the content of this article in the EECS Newsletter are welcome. The Department reserves the right to moderate all comments. If you would like to provide any updated information please send an email to newsletter@eecs.mit.edu.