Advertised Project Openings


Below are currently advertised UROP projects available to eligible undergraduates. All projects, regardless of mode (pay, credit, or volunteer) are expected to be worth MIT academic credit and be supervised by MIT faculty. Projects appear on this list in the order they have been received.

These projects do not represent all available UROPs as many faculty do not submit project listings for this site. Rather, they expect interested students to contact them based on their general research to discuss potential UROPs.

Available UROPs

3/21/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Smart Ship System Design

Project Description: We are developing a new software environment for designing and analyzing shipboard systems.  This software can be used to assemble the components of various ship systems, such as electrical power or cooling water, into a full system, then to simulate and analyze performance of that system under various operating conditions.  Individual components represent equipment items such as generators, chillers, pumps, power converters, cables, switches, valves, propellers, shafts, and more.

This project involves using the new software and creating new software components.  The UROP student will use the software to construct and simulate systems in order to beta test the software.  In addition, the student may create new component models and the components themselves for use in designs of ship systems.  Through the use of the software, the student will gain some knowledge of the considerations in the design of ship systems.

Prerequisites: Basic coding skills are necessary, some knowledge of C++ will be very helpful, basic knowledge of either mechanical or electrical engineering fundamentals is needed to aid in developing new models

Contact: Julie Chalfant: chalfant@mit.edu


3/21/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Xuanhe Zhao

Project Title: Vibration Assisted Deicing

Project Description: Ice accretion on the surfaces of wings reduces the performance of the aircraft and in severe cases, disastrous. In this project, we will explore the use of mechanical vibration for the removal of ice from surfaces. The UROP will be involved in designing an experimental protocol to grow different types of ice on the surface, performing the experiment and figuring out the parameters that are important in causing the ice to detach from the surface.

Prerequisites: Enthusiasm is greatly appreciated! You are responsible for the direct funding application, opt for credits or volunteers. No prior experience is required, although candidates who had studied solid mechanics are preferred.

Contact: Grace Goon: graceg@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Pozen

Project Title: Health Insurance at State and Federal Levels

Project Description: Data collection and analysis of state healthcare reinsurance program and federal legislation entitled Medicare for All

Prerequisites: High intelligent, detail oriented, strong work ethic and data analysis skills

Contact: Robert Pozen: bobpozen@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer/Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Bonnie Berger

Project Title: Development of highly performant software for genomic data alignment

Project Description: The analysis and storage of ever-increasing amounts of sequencing data present a huge computational challenge for the genomics community. Recently, compressive genomics has been introduced as a way of improving the accuracy and efficiency of searching large sequencing databases. We have recently developed CORA, a computational tool that utilizes compressive acceleration to boost the performance of aligning DNA sequenced data to a reference genome.

We are looking for a UROP who can modernize and improve the current implementation of CORA (http://cb.csail.mit.edu/cb/cora/) and make it more usable for the larger scientific audience.

Prerequisites:

  • Computer science background
  • Being (somewhat) familiar with Python programming language

Relevant URL: http://people.csail.mit.edu/bab/

Contact: Ibrahim Numanagic: inumanag@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Improving oyster aquaculture by real-time detection of Vibrio pathogenicity

Project Description: Oysters are the most valuable marine species being farmed in the Northeastern US, with 38% of the value of the domestic marine aquaculture industry. We are developing a sensor that can detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria contaminating oysters in a quick, real time assessment of oyster safety. Results from this grant can also be used for the global aquaculture industry. This Vibrio sensor will be a demonstration project in our program to develop sensor based environmental monitoring to improve aquaculture production beginning with a NE region focus, but ultimately applicable to production nationally and globally. Final output of this particular project will be a handheld, integrated biosensor. Testing will be at field sites along the Massachusetts coastline.

The UROP will work with an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from UMass Boston’s School for the Environment and MIT Sea Grant program. Thus, it is desirable that the UROP has strong reporting and scientific communication skills. The UROP will further skills in molecular cloning, microbiology, and it is expected a willing disposition to learn and explore engineering solutions for biological systems.

Prerequisites: This project is suitable for a student with interests in biology, molecular biology and engineering applications to environmental sciences. Experience in cloning, PCR, microbiological and molecular biology techniques are desired. Understanding of engineering design principles is a plus. Course 7, 20, 10, 1 students or those with suitable experience are encouraged to apply. Priority given to applicants able to submit by April 11, 2019.

Relevant URL:  http://www.tlusty.solutions/, http://eng.umb.edu/~hamad, https://www.umb.edu/academics/csm/faculty

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Methods for Generalizable and Efficient Genome Editing using Viral Proteins

Project Description: While CRISPR-Cas9 has taken the genome editing world by storm, alternative methods of targeted genome editing have received less attention. Currently, Cas9 can effectively disable genes across a broad range of cell types, but genome editing methods using template DNA are more limited, especially in cells which do not encode efficient homologous repair machinery. Here, we work to expand a phage based homologous recombination method (Lambda-Red) which is normally restricted to a specific species of bacteria (E. coli) to broad range of organisms including eukaryotes. We recently enabled a broad method for Lambda-Red based editing which functions across diverse bacterial species, and currently are examining if these methods enable activity in human cells. Our long term goal is to produce improved methods for homologous genome editing in-vivo to cure genetic disease, especially in non-replicating cells where Cas9 based homology-directed editing using template DNA is inefficient.

Prerequisites: None, other than a willingness to work hard and learn.

Relevant URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19633652

Contact: Gabriel Filsinger: filsinger@g.harvard.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Thomas R. Consi

Project Title: Collecting and Photographing Plankton from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Project Description: Project Description: A UROP position is currently available for the Summer of 2019 to collect and photograph the plankton that inhabits Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.   Stellwagen Bank is an amazing underwater national park located off the coast of Massachusetts that is best known as a feeding ground for whales.  MIT Sea Grant is collaborating with famed underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen to document the entire ecosystem of Stellwagen Bank, from the tiny plankton to the giant whales, for education and public outreach.  This UROP focuses on the microscopic creatures of Stellwagen Bank – the phytoplankton and zooplankton that constitute the base of the food chain for the entire marine ecosystem.  You will learn how to collect plankton using a plankton net.  About once per week you will go out to Stellwagen Bank either on a Whale Watch Boat or the Sea Grant boat to collect live plankton.  Once you have brought the sample back to the lab you will employ a variety of light microscopy techniques to photograph the planktonic creatures using digital still and video cameras. You will learn how to take still and video images through the microscope as well as how to use bright-field, dark-field, polarization, Hoffman contrast, and focus stacking techniques.  Finally, you will assist Dr. Consi and Mr. Ellenbogen in imaging select plankton specimens with a scanning electron microscope.  This is a great project for a student who is interested in Biology, Marine Science, Environmental Science, Image Processing, or is just plain curious about the natural world (engineering majors welcome to apply!)

Prerequisites: Enthusiasm is the prime prerequisite for this project.  Familiarity with microscopy and/or digital imaging (still or video) is desirable.  Any experience with image analysis will also be very helpful.  Interested students should contact Dr. Consi.

Relevant URL: https://stellwagen.noaa.gov/welcome.html

Contact: Dr. Thomas R. Consi: consi@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Thomas R. Consi

Project Title:  Analyzing Satellite Data of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Project Description: A UROP position is available for the Summer of 2019 to process and analyze satellite imaging data of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.   Stellwagen Bank is an amazing underwater national park located off the coast of Massachusetts that is best known as a feeding ground for whales.  MIT Sea Grant is collaborating with famed underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen to document the entire ecosystem of Stellwagen Bank, from the tiny plankton to the giant whales, for education and public outreach.  This project focuses on  processing and analyzing Landsat satellite image data of the sanctuary.  We are particularly interested in identifying and locating phytoplankton blooms, gargantuan aggregates of single-celled algae that are so large they can be seen from space.  This UROP will involve taking raw satellite image data and processing it with MATLAB and other software to produce compelling images of Stellwagen Bank as seen from space that will be part of our image gallery of the sanctuary.  The project will also involve working with another student to go out in a boat to gather actual plankton samples from Stellwagen Bank.  The samples will be analyzed to identify the phytoplankton species that may be causing the blooms seen from space.

Prerequisites: Enthusiasm is the prime prerequisite for this project.  Familiarity with MATLAB is desirable.  Any experience with image analysis will also be very helpful.  Interested students should contact Dr. Consi.

Relevant URL: https://stellwagen.noaa.gov/welcome.html

Contact: Dr. Thomas R. Consi: consi@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Zen Chu

Project Title: Tracking successful innovations in healthcare throughout thenentrepreneurial ecosystem

Project Description: Healthcare hackathons and other early-stage innovation events can result in teams and projects that go on to be extremely successful. What determines a successful team and how can we track their journey from formation to exit?

We are looking for an undergraduate researcher to develop methods to (1) examine the paths of successful startups in healthcare and (2) enable reliable tracking of teams in upcoming hackathons. An ideal student would be familiar with databases and data mining techniques, enthusiastic about applying them to this exciting problem, and willing and eager to connect with local startups via email, phone, or in-person.

Prerequisites: Basic proficiency in databases. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 12 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs. The position is available starting immediately.

Contact: Khalil Ramadi: kramadi@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Zen Chu

Project Title: Quantifying innovation impact through temporal and geographical trends in healthcare using data analytics

Project Description: MIT Hacking Medicine has run healthcare entrepreneurship events around the world over the past 6 years. The group has amassed data from over 150 events including healthcare hackathons and design thinking workshops. Collectively, this repository of data could reflect the state of healthcare in a specific region at a specific point in time.

We are looking for an undergraduate researcher to develop methods to analyze this data in the context of macro healthcare and entrepreneurship trends. This will be a valuable experience for data analysts interested in working together with senior healthcare professionals and learning more about the complex healthcare space.

An ideal student would be familiar with data analysis techniques data mining, natural language processing (NLP) methods, phrase mining and topic modeling techniques to apply them to this data set and ascertain trends/associations.

Prerequisites: Basic proficiency in data analysis and data mining, natural language processing (NLP) methods, phrase mining or topic modeling techniques is preferred. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 12 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs. The position is available starting immediately.

Contact: Khalil Ramadi: kramadi@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Synthetic Biology Meets Control Theory

Project Description: The field of synthetic biology allows researchers to engineer life. We can program cells to create bio-fuels from renewable energy sources, detect toxins, battle disease and bring us closer towards making space exploration cost-effective. However, like any other maturing field, there are several challenges that must be addressed before unlocking its full potential.

A key issue facing synthetic biology is characterizing how natural cellular resources (which power our bio-molecular circuits) are shared within the cell. When these resources become limiting the performance of our circuit  is harmed. In this project we attempt to build biomolecular controllers to mitigate the negative affects of resource sharing using fundamental principles in control theory.

Role: Biomolecular circuit design, assembly and testing.

Prerequisites: Basic bio lab experienced  (7.02)

  • Cloning experience
  • Plasmid design ( using Benchling or Snapgene)
  • Basic knowledge of ordinary differential equations useful butnot required
  • Some Matlab (not required, but useful)

Relevant URL: http://scripts.mit.edu/~ddv/index.php

Contact: If you are interested in this project, please contact Carlos Barajas (carlobar@mit.edu) with your resume and any questions.


3/15/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Moncton

Project Title: Neutron scattering data analysis to study atomic structure of new materials

Project Description: Neutron scattering is one of the most useful techniques to study the structure and dynamic of materials on the atomic and molecular scale. MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory operates a neutron diffractometer for studies of recently-made materials. We also conduct neutron diffraction experiments at national neutron facilities at Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Labs. Current materials of interest include molten salts and semiconductors for nuclear-energy applications. The student will help with data reduction and analysis of the experiments at Oak Ridge and MIT.  The project will involve mostly writing scripts to reduce, plot, and analyze the data, although some experimental work might be possible at the MIT Reactor and Oak Ridge National Lab.

Prerequisites: The project is suitable for students interested in materials and/or nuclear science and/or physics. Basic knowledge of the atomic structure of materials is necessary. Coding and scripting skills and interest are required. Familiarity with Python or Matlab will be needed to complete this project.

Relevant URL: http://nrl.mit.edu

Contact: Boris Khaykovich: bkh@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Gareth H. McKinley

Project Title: Measuring toughness in soft materials

Project Description: The McKinley group is interested in using rheological tools to discover novel and important properties in complex fluids and soft materials. An example of such property is toughness, which is often very difficult to measure using standard tensile methods due to their structural fragility and compliance. We are looking for a motivated student to join us in the summer to develop a simple yet effective solution to measuring toughness in soft materials using a standard rheometer. As part of the UROP, you will be involved in synthesis of polymer hydrogels, and their mechanical characterization via the rheometer and the tensile machine. Depending on the interest, the UROP may also involve the fabrication of 3-D printed parts to be used in rheometer analyses.

Prerequisites: This is an interdisciplinary project which is suitable for students with an interest in mechanics of materials / soft materials, and with backgrounds in relevant fields (e.g. Courses 1, 2, 3, 8 and 10). No prior experience is required; however, the student must be comfortable with basic levels of solid mechanics.

This is a full-time summer UROP with possible extension into the academic year. We are seeking applicants before the UROP funding date (April 11) unless the applicants are interested in summer credits.

Relevant URL: https://nnf.mit.edu/

Contact: Jake Song: jakesong@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. George M. Church

Project Title: Hacking existing cell functions for burst transgene expression.

Project Description: While all living cells actively control and fluctuate the expression level of thousands of genes in response to time and environment, in biological research we primarily use constitutive (always on) promoters. The benefit of specifying gene expression temporally in cells goes beyond simply growing populations of cells that blink different colors. It is also one of the necessary components towards programming sequential temporal behavior into living cells - one of the key requirements for functional living computers. We are looking for a highly motivated junior or senior student to start training as soon as possible, with the expectation of working full-time this summer of 2019 (either as an UROP or a post bac fellow). The student will work with a well-established team within the Church Lab at Harvard Medical School to identify and characterize components the cell already uses to regulate expression, then attempt to fine tune them for synthetic biology applications. The student will be able to gain skills in genomic editing tools, preparing and analyzing next-generation sequencing samples, using fluorescent confocal microscopes to verify their success, and, if interested, writing code to quantify captured images. We are looking for someone with prior wet lab experience who is motivated, good at time management, and a team player. If the student demonstrate exceptional ability, there may be potential to fund a year-long UROP or a post-bac fellowship position. We expect this position to be highly competitive, so please carefully read the prerequisite before applying.

Must have:

  • Taken intro and intermediate biology coursework
  • At least one semester of biology lab coursework
  • Be willing to start as soon as possible and work full time over the summer

Strongly prefer:

  • Prior experience working in wet lab environment
  • Experience with primer design for PCR and cloning experience using Gibson Assembly
  • Prior experience with fluorescent microscopy
  • Interested in going to graduate school

Bonus points:

  • 1+ year of prior UROP experience
  • Strong cell biology knowledge
  • Coding experience in Python

Contact: George Chao: gchao@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Developing raw materials to spin powerful fibers

Project Description: Fatigue-resistant, conductive, and strong materials are highly desirable for many applications including but not limited to flexible electronics, aerospace, and automotive systems, but very few materials exist that combine all of these properties. The objective of this project is to develop the recipe for a solution combining polymers and carbon nanotubes with the right fluid properties to make it stable and “spinnable” into long, thin fibers, which can then be woven and molded to components for applications. The project will include mixing and testing solutions, characterizing conductivity, and using the solutions in a fiber-spinning process to make high-conductivity and high-strength fibers. The UROP will be involved in hands-on chemical work in the lab, measuring fluid viscosity, turbidity, and solution quality, and finally using the solutions for fiber spinning in devices developed previously in our lab, as well as testing the fibers. In addition, the UROP will apply some fluid mechanics analysis to characterize the control of flow rates to tune the fiber spinning process. The UROP will learn basic lab skills, synthesis and testing protocols for nanomaterials, and application of fluid mechanics to adjust processes in an attempt to make novel, highly useful materials. These are great skills for a Course 10, 5 or 2 student, though any course may apply.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with solution chemistry or carbon nanotubes. Previous lab work or demonstrated hands-on experience.

URL: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu), Changhong Cao (chcao@mit.edu)


3/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Building a Novel Thread-Based Fabrication/Prototyping Machine

Project Description: We would like to build a novel system to explore a new perspective on personal fabrication in the realm of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Help to design and construct a novel 2-axis thread-deposition-based desktop fabrication machine for personal fabrication. The student will focus primarily on (1) designing and constructing the frame and the mechanical parts of the machine and (2) designing the control electronics (i.e. micro-controller, motors and sensors) to accurately coordinate its motion and tool path. This is an opportunity to collaborate in building something new, and in doing so bring your own creativity to the table to solve some unique building challenges. We aim to publish the results of this project as a full conference-paper at the CHI 2020 conference.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate has a mechatronics background. This student should be comfortable designing and building mechanical and electrical systems and writing associated firmware. Relevant knowledge to have:

  • Mechanical Design and Construction
  • Electronics / Microelectronics
  • Programming (Arduino, C/C++, Processing)
  • Measurement & Data Processing

Contact: Joanne Leong: joaleong@media.mit.edu


3/13/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ekene Ijeoma

Project Title: Poetic Justice

Project Description: Poetic Justice is a new group at MIT Media Lab which researches social issues and produces conceptual artworks ranging from websites and apps to sculptures, large-scale installations, and music performances.

Some of our first projects include:

  • The Green Project, a series of publications and interactive installations developed through storytelling and mapping workshops that reimagine the Negro Motorist Green Book for “traveling while Black” in today's “New Jim Crows”.
  • The Scream Project, a series of publications and interactive installations which revive the Teotihuacan folklore/ritual of women practicing catharsis in the pyramids to contemporary urban spaces.
  • Look Up, an app-based public artwork which prompts city-goers to look up at every intersection in the US.

Prerequisites:  Poetic Justice is looking for applicants who are passionate about breaking down the complexities of social issues and building up visibility, accountability, and solidarity around them. Applicants should be interested or experienced in at least one of the following: hardware/electrical/mechanical engineering, software engineering, interaction design, information design, architectural design, industrial design, graphic design, music, performance, film, writing/journalism, storytelling, and community organizing/activism.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/poetic-justice/overview/

Contact: Rebecca Cuscaden: cuscaden@media.mit.edu


3/13/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: Computational models of vague language

Project Description: Enter a brief description of your UROP projectThe fact that humans communicate relatively effectively using language is remarkable. Natural languages are rife with vagueness, posing serious computational challenges to both humans and machines. Take the word "tall", for instance. “Tall” is vague and context-dependent: A tall building is much taller than a tall man, and there's no specific height at which something becomes "tall". A standard linguistic analysis will tell you that the word "tall" means that the height of the object is greater than some threshold, but how should a rational speaker of a language set the threshold? In this project, we will investigate different theories of the influence of context on language use using probabilistic models of language and test them using behavioral experiments run online on human participants. We will start working at least for a few hours a week during the Spring but we expect a strong commitment for the Summer term. Comfort with programming is important. Familiarity with web-programming (JS / HTML / CSS) or R / tidyverse / ggplot2 are both benefits.

Prerequisites: One semester of programming experience (6.00 or equivalent). Desired but not required

  • Familiarity with web-programming (JS / HTML / CSS) or R / tidyverse / ggplot2
  • Experience in probability, statistics, and/or machine learning (6.041B, 9.40, or equivalent)
  • 9.59J Laboratory in psycholinguistics and/or 9.19 Computational
  • Psycholinguistics

Contact: MH Tessler: tessler@mit.edu


3/13/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Diagnosing and preventing depression with wearable devices and data analytics

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab is looking for UROP students who join us to develop tools to organize and visualize data collected during clinical trials using mobile phones and wearable sensors. We will conduct long-term ambulatory measurement experiments for depressed patients at MGH to find new methods for diagnosis of depression. You will help us to analyze the collected data and to visualize the results.

Prerequisites: The student must have interests and experience in data analysis and visualization. Expertise in Python (and django), java script (and d3.js, n3.js or other interactive visualization platforms) is a plus.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/leveraging-artificial-intelligence-for-the-assessment-of-severity-of-depressive-symptoms/over

Contact: Szymon Fedorl: sfedor@mit.edu


3/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: MoleCube

Project Description: Tangible Media Group (TMG) is excited to launch a new project called MoleCube. We aim to create mathematical model and computational design strategy to define how reconfigurable physical cubes are able to form 3D aggregations. By using Shape Grammars, we will create a set of rules on how cubes form non-fixed geometries. By utilizing TMG's prior work on shape-changing materials we will then invent a new actuation mechanism allowing multiple transformations through a scale-independent hinge mechanism.

Required: EECS or MechE with strong math background & experience in computational simulation.

Contact: Nikolaos Vlavianos: nv2247@media.mit.edu


3/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Music and Theater Arts (Course 21M)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Garo Saraydarian

Project Title: Nameless Chamber: Music Dictation Web Application

Project Description: Nameless Chamber  is a tool to help students learn to hear musical elements (rhythm, meter, key, melody, harmony) and notate them using solfege.  The application leads students through a pedagogical process and offers timely and flexible feedback to their work.

This project consists of finishing a final list of debugging and design so that the application can be launched in Fall 2019 for use in the classroom. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1n3W70GyvAkcaE_nfQUYa9Sq9aoZCqADMtQ6k2YD7gW8/edit?usp=sharing - Final List

The following link shows a brief survey of what has been done thus far https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZGw7bKB6Lt7lc9uJNaGH9plUgG9bdIhM/view?usp=sharing

Prerequisites:

  • Requires experience in both backend and frontend programming
  • Ability to become familiar with Vexflow for music notation - vexflow.com
  • Javascript
  • Commitment to completing project

Relevant URL: https://github.com/NamelessChamber/NamelessChamber - Github Repository

Contact: Garo Saraydarianl: garo@mit.edu


3/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Elsa Olivetti

Project Title: Laboratory Waste Audit

Project Description: Gloves are a major consumable used in MIT laboratories, with an estimated three million gloves purchased annually through MIT vendor catalogs. In an effort to divert this waste stream from trash to recycling, glove recycling has been piloted in Chemical Engineering labs since 2016 and has also expanded to the Microsystems Technology Laboratories. Now that the glove recycling pilot has become established in these labs, a laboratory waste audit presents an important opportunity to assess the effectiveness of glove recycling in the participating labs. In addition, this is an opportunity for a parallel effort to gain a broader understanding of the categories of waste generated by researchers in MIT labs.

The UROP student(s) will collect recycling and trash waste from a sample set of labs. Data will be collected on the composition of the recycling and trash waste streams in order to (1) identify the effectiveness of the glove recycling pilot program, (2) determine if an intervention is needed to improve participation in glove recycling and implement an intervention if appropriate, and (3) categorize the waste generated by the labs. Outcomes of this project will help inform the expansion of the glove recycling program to other labs across MIT.

Additional URLs:

Prerequisites: We are looking for students that are dedicated, interactive, and love hands-on learning. Anticipated time commitment of 4-6 hours/week throughout Spring semester.

Relevant URL: http://olivetti.mit.edu/

Contact: Dr. Whitney Hess at wrhess@mit.edu.


3/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Linguistics and Philosophy (Course 24)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Martin Hackl

Project Title: Child Language Development Research

Project Description: We investigate the nature of human language, by studying immature language in the child (the development of language). The research interweaves current linguistic theory and empirical work. The current research areas include quantified statements, focus operators, and presuppositions. Your work will involve (i) running experiments with children (mainly 3-6 years old), (ii) data entering and assisting with interpretation, (iii) interacting with day cares and parents for consent. It might also involve (iv) assistance in experimental design and preparation of experimental materials. The ideal UROP will be enthusiastic about engaging with children, interested in linguistics and language development, and looking for a chance to learn new skills. The UROP's main goals will be: engagement with cutting edge theoretical developments in language acquisition and acquiring hands-on experience with behavioral research with children. Please contact us with a resume or CV. Wellesley Students are welcome and encouraged to apply.

Prerequisites: There are no pre-requisites for this UROP assignment. Having taken 24.900 is preferred but not required. Given that the work is mainly about interaction with children and keeping them engaged in the experiments, you will have to be very good at playing with kids in a structured way. You must also have large chunks of time available during weekdays in either mornings or afternoons, in order to run experiments.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/lacqlab/home.html

Contact: Leo Rosenstein: leaena@mit.edu


3/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nicholas Roy

Project Title: Developing stateoftheart.ai

Project Description: Interested in machine learning and AI? Have a background in web development? Help us build stateoftheart.ai into the definitive repository for state of the art, quantifiable results across AI/ML tasks.

Potential responsibilities include keeping the repository up to date (via web scraping, adding papers from conferences, etc.), building out a search bar and graph timelines, fixing metric errors, adding links to code, and incorporating more specs about tasks.

Your existing skill set should look somewhat similar to one (or both) of the following:

Frontend

  • Experience with Javascript (ES6 preferred)
  • Experience with CSS and HTML
  • Experience with web-client frameworks such as React, Vue JS, Angular or Angular JS (Preferred Vue JS)
  • Experience in web development
  • Experience with Sass is preferred
  • Basic Knowledge of webpack

Backend

  • Experience or at least have notions of backend development
  • Experience with Node JS (javascript)
  • Experience or at least have notions using or building RESTful apps (or web services)
  • Knowledge of MongoDB (or some kind of database management system).
  • Basic knowledge of unix-like systems and shell/bash/cmd commands
  • (preferred but not mandatory) Knowledge of Elasticsearch

Relevant URL: https://www.stateoftheart.ai

Contact: Antonio Teran: teran@mit.edu


3/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Luis F. Velásquez-García

Project Title: Plant Cell Culture for Homogeneous Tissue Generation

Project Description: Every plant cell contains the necessary genetic material to produce an entirely new, clonal replicate of the parent plant. With exposure to the right balance of hormones and nutrients, plant cell culture enables the controlled differentiation of plant cells into any potential terminal state. This has permitted and encouraged the in vitro investigation of various chemical pathways and enabled the propagation of slow-producing or endangered plant species.

In this project, we aim to capitalize on these properties of plant cells and develop in-house protocols to produce controlled plant cell differentiation into single tissues, for later use. We are in the early stages of project development and will be focusing on: (1) the modification of a lab space to support plant cell culture, (2) development of a stable suspension culture from plant tissues and (3) establishment of methods to analyze plant cell viability, states of differentiation, and secondary wall thickening. As the project is in the early stages, the UROP has an opportunity to make a significant contribution to this work.

This project is co-sponsored by Draper and the applicant will need to be a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder and potentially undergo training to use Draper laboratory facilities.

The position is available for Summer 2019 with possible extension.

Expected Workload:

  • Summer: 20 hours per week
  • Semester (if extended): 10 hours per week

In your inquiry email, please include:

  • Major, year
  • A description of your interest in and qualifications for the project
  • If you have (any) previous experimental or lab experience, please include a description of these activities in your list of qualifications. We would appreciate if you could provide a reference (Instructor/ Principal Investigator /Mentor) for this experience.
  • Additionally, please specify whether you would like to do the UROP for pay or credit. If you are selected and wish to complete the UROP for pay, you will need to create a project proposal for review by a member of our research team several days in advance of the UROP office deadline.
  • Please indicate your availability for a short interview.

Desired Qualifications:

  • (Required) U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder
  • (Preferred) General biology knowledge or background
  • (Preferred) Experience working in a wet lab, preferably in cell biology applications
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently

Contact: Ashley Beckwith: ashbeck@mit.edu


3/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Herman L. Marshall

Project Title: X-ray Polarimetry Lab Experimentation

Project Description: The student will be trained to reconfigure, align, and operate the MIT X-ray Polarimetry Beamline in NE83.  The beamline is used to validate components and optical design to be used in a rocket-based instrument to measure the X-ray polarization of astrophysical sources.  The instrument is the first of its kind, which could determine the uniformity and direction of magnetic field in the jet emanating from a blazar, which has a supermassive black hole at its core.  The student will learn to operate the X-ray source, the vacuum system, the X-ray detector, and its associated computer control system.  The student will assist with the construction and use of an alignment fixture, among other specific projects.  Data analysis and some hardware disassembly and reassembly will be involved as well.

Prerequisites: Experience with python and the linux operating system or with computer controlled mechanical systems are desirable.

Relevant URL: https://space.mit.edu/~hermanm/polarimeter/

Contact: Herman L. Marshall: hermanm@space.mit.edu


3/12/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Market Research for Atomic Force Microscope

Project Description: Market research for commercialization potential of new generation Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) technology. In preparation for 15.371 Innovation Teams class project for further business planning (student participating in this UROP project do not have to take this class).

Prerequisites: Market research class or experience is needed. Familiarity with the instrumentation technology sector or market scope in China (sponsors major business area) would be a plus

Relevant URL: http://news.mit.edu/2015/new-microscope-real-time-videos-nanoscale-1214

Contact: Fangzhou Xia: xiafz@mit.edu


3/8/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Probing the Interplay between the Brain and the Body

Project Description: Wearable sensors now make it possible to measure physiological responses from the body unobtrusively and longitudinally. However, the connection between what these sensors measure and what is going on inside the brain remains elusive.

A collaboration between the Affective Computing group at the Media Lab and the Gabrieli Lab in the Brain & Cognitive Sciences Dept. is seeking 1-2 motivated UROPs to help run and analyze concurrent brain and physiology data in a multi-faceted fMRI study. In addition to measuring neural activation, we capture microscopic changes in sweat glands (electrodermal activity; EDA) from both sides of the body and heart rate via color changes in the skin (PPG) during the scan. The results from this study will help inform prediction and treatment modalities for individuals with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and autism, with future implications for digital health and personalized medicine.

This position is available for Spring 2019 with possible extension to Summer 2019.

Prerequisites: Successful UROPs will be trained to run fMRI experiments and operate specialized equipment during brain scanning sessions. Preference will be given to candidates with some programming experience, the ability to learn new equipment and software quickly, and a love of multi-tasking. Due to the nature of the experiments, it is ideal to have chunks (>2 consecutive hours) of open time during weekdays between 10-5 pm.

In your response, please state the following:

  • Major
  • Class year
  • Relevant background/experience
  • Notable scheduling constraints
  • Why you’re interested in this project (optional)

Contact: Kristy Johnson: ktj@mit.edu


3/8/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Guoping Feng

Project Title: Dissecting the role of thalamic neural circuits in learning and memory

Project Description: Learning and memory are essential functions of the brain and are critical for everyday life. While it has been demonstrated that the hippocampus, amygdala, and several cortical regions play a critical role in memory formation, the contributions of thalamic neural circuits remain unknown. In this project, there are three aims/experiments, which will help enhance our understanding of thalamic circuits in learning and memory: (a) Using genome engineering (via CRISPR/Cas9), we will develop novel mouse models that permit the selective manipulation of individual thalamic circuits; (b) Using circuit-tracing and viral injections into the mouse brain, we will map the input-output architecture of sub-nuclei within the thalamus; and (c) Using in vivo neural activity manipulations (via optogenetics) and recordings (via GCaMP imaging), we will uncover the functional role of thalamic neural circuits during mouse behavioral paradigms and further investigate how these circuits are disrupted in mouse models of human disorders including autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and intellectual disability. We are looking to fill 1-2 UROP positions for these experiments immediately.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will be excited to join a dynamic research team in the neuroscience field and be motivated to develop molecular/circuit-tracing skills in an efficient manner. Experience with mouse surgeries, behavior, or molecular biology is a plus.

Relevant URL: http://fenglaboratory.org/

Contact: Dheeraj Roy: droy@broadinstitute.org


3/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Cima

Project Title: Silicone oxygen sensors for personalized cancer therapies

Project Description: The Cima Lab is looking for an undergraduate researcher to participate in the development of a new class of polymeric oxygen sensors. These sensors are measured using MRI and enable real-time, quantitative, and long-term oxygen measurements. MRI-based quantitative oxygen sensing will allow clinicians to optimize cancer therapies including customization of radiation dose levels and distribution and selection of chemotherapy.

A student on this project will focus on synthesizing, characterizing, and testing sensor formulations for different applications. An ideal student will be enthusiastic about learning new synthesis and characterization techniques, interested in expanding their general knowledge, and committed to making an impact on the project.

Prerequisites: No prior experience is required. Training will be provided in all areas. Familiarity with polymer synthesis and materials characterization would be beneficial. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 10 hours per week during the academic year.

Contact: Gregory Ekchian: gekchian@mit.edu


3/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Characterizing prediction in autism spectrum disorders

Project Description: When you tap your foot to music, your brain is doing two remarkable things. First, it is integrating information across time to infer the rhythmic structure of the auditory stream and second, it is choreographing the activity of several muscles in advance so that your foot moves precisely in time with the beats. You don’t have to wait for the beat, you anticipate it after hearing a bit of the audio sequence. The goal of this project is to systematically study this phenomenon of ‘entrainment’ using sequences of different kinds and an array of recording modalities, including electroencephalography (EEG), electrocardiogram/heart rate (ECG), and electrodermal activity (EDA). This will give us rich quantitative data regarding physiological response to repetitive stimuli. This study will not only help us better understand temporal integration and prediction mechanisms in the typical brain, but also have bearing on conditions like autism that are associated with challenges in processing sequences and other kinds of dynamic information. The UROP will contribute to electrophysiological data collection and analysis using MATLAB or Python, using sophisticated signal processing methods.  The student will join an interdisciplinary team and have substantial opportunity to work independently. This position is available for pay or credit.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have previous experience in Python, C , or other programming languages, MATLAB, engineering, and strong analytical skills. Must be able to commit 8-10 hours per week during the fall semester. A background in computer science, engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, or related field is desired.

Application and Deadlines: The deadline to apply through the UROP office for direct funding is listed on the UROP deadlines page. We recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if you wish to apply. We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis starting now until the position is filled.

Visit the UROP website for details about UROP requirements: http://uaap.mit.edu/research-exploration/urop/guidelines  

Contact: To apply, please e-mail Annie Cardinaux, Project Coordinator at anniec@mit.edu, and include your Resume/CV and a cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the project. Please specify whether you would like to do the UROP for pay or credit. If you are selected and wish to complete the UROP for pay, you will need to create a project proposal for review by a member of our research team several days in advance of the UROP office deadline.


3/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Paraffin Wax Microgravity Experiment for Hybrid Rocket Applications

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space.  Space technology contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals via communication, Earth observation, positioning, microgravity research, spinoffs and research capacity.  Space Enabled uses six methods to apply space technology to development, including art, design, social science, complex systems modeling, satellite engineering and data science.

The research group is working on the centrifugal casting of paraffin wax for hybrid rocket applications.  Two experiments are being designed and tested -- one laboratory-based and the other for a microgravity flight -- which aid in understanding the fluid mechanics and heat transfer associated with liquid paraffin wax within a centrifuge.  The UROP student will conduct mechanical analyses of the experiment structures (free body diagrams, et cetera), program an Arduino for experimental control, conduct CAD and conceptual design, machine parts for the experiment, and run a ground-based test campaign.

Prerequisites: Minimum 10 hours per week availability; background in mechanical, aerospace, or electrical engineering; strong preference for students who have taken courses in at least one of the following: mechanics of materials, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics/heat transfer/convection; strong preference for students who have experience in: machine tools (lathe, mill, laser cutter, band saw, et cetera), CAD, and/or Arduino.

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


3/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joe Paradiso

Project Title: Climate CubeSat Co-build Program

Project Description: The Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative is driven by an effort to democratize the future of space exploration. As such, we are committed to the development of meaningful community engagement endeavors related to achieving an open and hackable "New Space Age." With this in mind, we launched our Climate CubeSat Co-building Outreach Program (C3), in which we mentor 20 Boston-area high school students through designing, building, testing, and launching a CubeSat that will take visual and infrared images of cloudtops. The CubeSat will be launched this summer in a balloon and will send images back to MIT through radio communications. After analysis, the images will tell us the temperature of the clouds. A group of four grad students from the AeroAstro department are guiding the high school students through the design, construction, and testing of the satellite. There is a lot of work to be done, though! We are looking for a UROP to help design and make the communication system, the satellite software, the thermal control, the payload sensors, and the structure, and to help mentor the high school students during the classes. The classes/build sessions happen on Tuesdays from 4 to 6pm. It is a nice experience that will encompass many satellite subsystems. And, of course, you will not be alone! The AeroAstro grads will also be in the classes/build sessions and will guide you through the process as nicely as possible!

Prerequisites: Strong verbal communication skills, experience with satellite subsystems, experience with space systems engineering.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/cubesat/overview/

Contact: Paula do Vale Pereira: paulavp@mit.edu


3/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Antoine Allanore

Project Title: Virtual reality rendering of a sustainable metallurgical processing facility

Project Description: Many existing metallurgical processes have difficulty adapting to challenges surrounding environmental sustainability in the 21st century.  In the Allanore group, we seek to develop high temperature electrochemical technologies for copper extraction and processing that have the potential to demonstrate improved environmental sustainability.  However, individuals from outside the field such as representatives from government and industry often struggle to visualize the scope and scale of such an electrochemical metallurgical facility.Enter a brief description of your UROP project. As a UROP, your role in this project would be to construct a 3-D virtual rendering of an electrochemical metallurgical facility that mimics a tour or high fidelity model of the proposed plant for the viewer.  Day to day research will include synthesis of technical, economic, and design conclusions from other group members into a cohesive virtual experience. Students excited about the following will be a good fit for the project: environmentally sustainable processing, virtual reality, computer science, mechanical engineering, and visual studies.

Prerequisites: Students should be experienced with the implementation of virtual reality technologies and principles of visual studies, as well as able to provide examples of their previous rendering work.  Familiarity with chemical engineering, materials science, or mechanical engineering is appreciated but n

Contact: Hilary Sheldon: hsheldon@mit.edu


3/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Antoine Allanore

Project Title: Electrolyte design for sustainable metallurgical processing

Project Description: Many existing metallurgical processes have difficulty adapting to challenges surrounding environmental sustainability in the 21st century.  In the Allanore group, we seek to develop high temperature electrochemical technologies for copper extraction and processing that have the potential to demonstrate improved environmental sustainability.  However, many materials-based challenges remain in the adoption of sustainable electrochemical methods for metals production.

As a UROP, your role in this project would be in the design and synthesis of molten electrolytes for the electrolytic production of copper.  Day to day research will include machining of refractory materials, laboratory glass blowing, and high-temperature experiments.  Students excited about the following will be a good fit for the project: environmentally sustainable processing, chemical synthesis, reactor design, fabrication, thermodynamics, and transport phenomena.

Prerequisites: Students should have an interest in chemical engineering or material science, in addition to hands-on experimentation. Familiarity with thermodynamics, kinetics, and transport phenomena is appreciated but not required.

Contact: Hilary Sheldon: hsheldon@mit.edu


3/4/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Strain mapping and creating human-machine interface via flexible piezoelectric micro-devices

Project Description: Our lab, Conformable Decoders, works on translating biological signals around us - especially from the human body - into energy, imaging, and data for early detection and diagnosis of diseases. We also microfabricate the devices for energy harvesting and sensing in our very own cleanroom (YellowBox) at the Media Lab. In this project, the student will collaborate closely with the student advisor to (1) characterise the micro structure of a flexible piezo-electric sensor, (2) record sleep pattern via the flexible piezo-electric sensor, (3) post data analysis for recorded data. In the meanwhile, on the basis of a well-established model, the student will help the student advisor to link the electrical signals from the flexible sensor with the stain distribution across the specific areas of face due to a facial micro-motion, and create a human machine interface to control some external devices. In this project, the UROP will be taught how to operate the testing equipment such as oscilloscope, National Instrument system, impedance analyser, laser doppler vibrometer, etc, process recorded data, and write academic articles. In addition, you will facilitate the student advisor to set up experiments and review literatures.

Prerequisites: We are looking for one UROP who is self motivated, methodical, careful and able to to commit at least 10 hours a week in the Spring.

Contact: Tao Sun: taosun01@media.mit.edu


3/4/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: - Academic Departments -

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ahmed Ghoniem

Project Title: Experimental characterization of products for a biomass upgrading reactor system

Project Description: In many parts of the developing world (including the U.S.), crop and forest residues are simply burned in the open air, creating air pollution. Thermochemical treatment is a process whereby such residues can be upgraded into solid fuel or other chemicals. This has the potential to provide renewable energy, create new income and jobs, reduce waste, and in some cases cut down pollution and greenhouse emissions.  We work on small-scale, low-cost, portable systems that can potentially be latched onto the back of tractors, shipping containers, etc. to locally convert/upgrade the biomass residues at source.

It is important to fully characterize the sample products generated from our lab-scale prototype. You will assist in operating and testing these samples in the lab. You will learn the basics of experimental design and data acquisition. This is a hands-on project -- involving work with calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. You don't need to know what these analyses do, but you should be willing to learn how to operate these expensive equipment safely.

Unlike the previous related UROP position in decentralized biomass offered by our lab, this UROP position requires no previous technical experience.

Prerequisites: As the system requires few hours of operation to finish a test, a preferred candidate will have one large chunk of many hours open on his/her weekly schedule, rather than multiple small chunks of time.

Relevant URL: http://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/torrefaction-reactor/

Contact: Kevin Kung: kkung@mit.edu


3/4/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jeffrey Grossman

Project Title: Scalable nanoporous silicon as an ultra- and nano- filtration membrane

Project Description: Nanoporous silicon (NPSi) membranes are a patented technology developed in the Grossman lab, which have demonstrated potential for use in industrial applications across the food & beverage, textiles, semiconductor, drinking water, and oil & gas industries. The technology, produced by a simple and low cost chemical etching process, is a promising alternative to commercial polymer and ceramic membranes, which foul easily and/or are too expensive for widespread use. This UROP will focus on the extensive testing of the silicon membrane in a variety of industrial applications, in order to further inform the development of the optimization and production process. We are looking for interested and motivated UROPs who are comfortable working in a laboratory environment. Work will involve preparation of silicon for pore etching, use of microfabrication tools in a cleanroom facility, assembly of large scale filtration testing systems, and evaluation of membrane performance using industrially relevant process streams. Characterization of membranes through imaging and analytical techniques including UV-Vis, ICP-MS, TGA, and SEM will also be performed. Depending on experience and interest, work can include CAD-based design and CNC milling creation of membrane filtration modules.

Prerequisites: Motivation and interest in project is essential, we need people who are passionate about creating impact by increasing energy efficiency and efficacy of industrial liquid separation processes. Attention to safety protocols and situational awareness is paramount. Comfort in a laboratory environment, and basic understanding of filtration processes is valued. Experience and proficiency in data analysis tools such as Excel or MATLAB. Basic comfort with hand tools to perform pressure cell testing. Additional design and fabrication skills (CAD, CNC milling, 3D printing) may be useful, but are not necessary. High degree of interest in experimental work.

Contact: Brendan Smith: b_smith@mit.edu


3/1/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sasha Costanza-Chock

Project Title: Civic Engagement via Location-Based Gaming

Project Description: Interested in game design and civic engagement? This opportunity will give you hands-on experience with early-stage game design and testing. Forward is a location-based civic engagement game that connects activists and changemakers with Mission alerts based on their interests, skills, availability, and location. Based on scholarship from the fields of educational game design, civic technology, and social movement studies, this project explores how the affordances of location-based games like Pokemon Go can foster civic engagement and civic education.

As a UROP, your role in the project will be to help research and write content for the game’s first public beta test, which will be taking place this summer. Students with an interest in the following will be a good fit for this project: educational game design, social movements and activism, systems thinking. Students with strong writing skills and an interest in activism preferred.

This project is being developed by CMS Master’s student Libby Falck under the direction of Sasha Costanza-Chock and Scot Osterweil.

Prerequisites: None.

Relevant URL: forwardlabs.io

Contact: Libby Falck: falck@mit.edu


2/28/2019

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew Whittle

Project Title: Development of a Geospatial Resilience Analysis Tool for Urban Transit Systems

Project Description: Sea level rise and anthropogenic climate change pose a steadily increasing risk to coastal cities and the engineered systems therein. In this project, we will utilize ArcMAP and Python to create a resilience assessment tool for Greater Boston’s rapid transit system (colloquially known as the “T”). This project will involve processing of geospatial data in order to understand and quantify the impacts of projected flood risks on the rapid transit network. Longitudinal analyses of system resilience will also be performed, in which a Monte Carlo simulation will be used to better characterize the stochastic nature of the problem. 5 - 10 hours of work per week will be expected, but accommodations can be made.

Prerequisites: The student should be comfortable programming in Python, although strong programming skills are preferred. Additionally, experience with ArcMAP or GIS software is preferred, but not necessary. 

Contact: If you are interested in this project, please send a brief bio and resume to Michael Martello (martello@mit.edu).


2/27/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hazhir Rahmandad

Project Title: Social Learning with Forgetting

Project Description: You will be designing an online experiment to understand how agents learn in a setting where they may forget some of the signals they receive. This is an exciting research area where a lot can be done. There will be the option to be funded for this or take it for credit.

Prerequisites: Very confortable with programming and web design

Contact: Jad Sassine: jsassine@mit.edu


2/27/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Engineering Systems Division (ESD)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stan Finkelstein

Project Title: FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) Technologies for Connecting Mobile Apps to Healthcare Systems

Project Description: InfoSAGE (http://www.infosagehealth.org), short for 'Information Sharing Across Generations,' is an innovative web and mobile application created to help families coordinate the care of older adults. The program was created by researchers at the Division of Clinical Informatics (http://www.hmfpinformatics.org) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. InfoSAGE allows an older adult, or their proxy, to create a private social network to help coordinate their care. Functions of InfoSAGE include the ability to manage an outpatient medication list, create a task list, and search a list of selected web information resources. We are interested in expanding the InfoSAGE functionality by allowing users to electronically import a medication list after being discharged from the hospital. We plan to expand the InfoSAGE mobile app to connect to electronic medical record systems via FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) to import medications with proper login-authorized access by the patient. FHIR (https://www.hl7.org/fhir/) is an international standard that is enabling health data interchange across electronic systems. Future work will involved expanding InfoSAGE to other electronic biometric devices. The student will work closely with Dr. Yuri Quintana at BIDMC.

Prerequisites: No specific prerequisites.

Relevant URL: http://www.infosagehealth.orghttp://www.hmfpinformatics.org; https://www.hl7.org/fhir/

Contact: Stan Finkelstein: snf@mit.edu


2/27/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Project Title: Equitable Resilience in Climate Change: The case of climate-induced displacement in Chennai and Kerala

Project Description: This project seeks to increase an understanding of equitable dimensions of resilience, especially how grassroots communities experience displacement caused by climatic events.  The focus in our research is on environment-induced displacement, connected with the 2015 floods in Chennai, and the 2018 floods in Kerala, India. The South Indian states are among the most urbanized in India, and Tamil Nadu, of which Chennai is the capital, is India’s most urbanized.  Thus, a study of the floods in these areas will likely tell us a lot about how urban planning, climatic conditions and social vulnerability combine to produce inequitable impacts in some of the most challenging conditions in the world.  The floods in 2015 and 2018 raised concerns about the lack of environmental and natural resource planning, inadequate urban design, and infrastructure and public health mismanagement: realities that are revealed “when climate change meets poor urban planning” . There is also a paucity of data about the lives of displaced populations, such as where they end up, the conditions they face post-displacement, and opportunities that are afforded by way of resettlement, rehabilitation, or restitution. More broadly we seek to insert a concern about displacement and resettlement into an understanding of equitable resilience.  This is increasingly important, considering that from January to June 2018 alone, 373,000 individuals were displaced from monsoon floods in India .  A consistent message in the recent IPCC reports  is that the impact of climate change is likely to be among greatest in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and thus our study intends to be a major contribution to equitable resilience.

Prerequisites: Experience working in or with marginalized communities in South Asia, or the global south, is a plus.  Qualitative research methods emphasized, but familiarity with GIS, satellite imagery etc is useful.  Interest in displacement research is key.

Relevant URL: http://mitdisplacement.org

Contact: Balakrishnan Rajagopal: braj@MIT.EDU


2/27/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Benjamin Weiss

Project Title: Using Meteorites to Measure Early Solar System Magnetic Fields

Project Description: Magnetic fields produced by the the cloud of gas, which is the origin of planetary systems, play a central role in planetary formation. In this project, we will be using components from meteorites, that formed in the cloud of gas of our solar system, to constrain the intensity of magnetic fields across its different times and locations. Our results will elucidate how meteorites, their parent bodies and components, and planets form in our solar system and elsewhere.

The student will learn how to:

  • select and prepare meteorites for paleomagnetic measurements;
  • measure samples using magnetometers;
  • process and interpret the data;

There will be a chance to contribute and, potentially, lead peer reviewed publications. The student will have their own project and will provide assistance to other projects in the laboratory.

Prerequisites:

  • Freshman year physics
  • Programming skills (e.g., Python, C, Matlab)

Contact: Caue Borlina: caue@mit.edu


2/27/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dirk Englund

Project Title: Tool for Advanced Annealing and Irradiation of Quantum Materials

Project Description: To make significant advances in solid-state quantum information processing, we must enhance our capability to process quantum materials. This project will focus on quantum emitters hosted in diamond such as the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center. We recently received funding to construct a tool that will allow us to create quantum emitters in a more favorable regime than what was previously possible. 

The student's initial tasks will be: (i) familiarizing themselves with the function and interdependence of the tool's components and (ii) designing and CADing scaffolding and parts to hold the main components in place. Later potential tasks will include: (iii) assembling the tool, (iv) programming and automating the tool, (v) finding optimal tool parameters, and/or (vi) conducting related fundamental research made possible by this tool. 

The student will receive guidance from experts in ultra-high vacuum, ion beam, high voltage, and annealing systems, among other fields, along with general assistance from our team. We emphasize that the student will have a level of creative control over the design and final budget of this tool.

Prerequisites:

  • Sophomore or Junior preferred, but not necessary
  • General physics and engineering background (e.g. courses 2, 3, 6, or 8 preferred, but not necessary)
  • CAD Experience: Inventor, SolidWorks, or equivalent
  • Coding Experience: some C++, Python, or MATLAB
  • Ability to commit at least 10 hours a week in the Spring

Contact: Ian Christen: ichr@mit.edu


2/27/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Effects of ocean acidification on calcification of marine organisms

Project Description: Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (pCO2) increases since the Industrial Revolution has caused the acidity of surface seawater to decrease by 30% or 0.1 pH units. As increased pCO2 is largely due to anthropogenic use of fossil fuels and deforestation, seawater pH will likely decrease 0.3–0.4 units more by the end of this century. This, in turn, will result in a nearly 50% reduction in the carbonate ion concentration of seawater, making it more difficult for many calcifying organisms to produce or maintain their shells and skeletons. This research seeks to advance our understanding of the combined effects of pCO2 and temperature on critical aspects of shell/skeletal mineralization during the early life stages of oysters. Massachusetts has among the highest sensitivity to the potential effects of ocean acidification in the US due to its economic dependence on the shellfish industry and wide use of marine resources, including oysters, scallops, mussels, and lobsters. Thus, understanding the impact of acidification on the early life stages of the organisms that support these shellfish industries is our primary interest for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. This is an ongoing research covering a broad range of aspects, from properties of skeleton surfaces (roughness, mineral density, structural pattern) that can readily account for those effects in calcification, to more integral effects of ocean acidification in animal physiology, such as survival and feeding. Thus, working in this project provides experience in various techniques to acquire and process data, including 3-D stereomicroscopy, scanning electron microscope and image analyses. There is additional lab training in carbonate chemistry analyses, water quality measurements and husbandry of living organisms in seawater.

Prerequisites: This project is suitable for a student with interests in biology, environmental science and climate change. Interest in the topic, motivation and reliability are key. Prior image analysis and Matlab experience are preferred but not required. The applicant is expected to work 35-40 h per week during a 10 week period of summer UROP, with the possibility of expanding her/his work towards a senior project or equivalent requirement if desired. Seeking applicants before April 11, 2019 unless interested in summer credits.

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


2/27/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Status of commercial mollusks in Massachusetts

Project Description: Conservation efforts and fishery sustainability rely on appropriate, timely data and concurrent management of resources. A knowledge gap exists on the status of bivalve species that are targeted commercially in near shore waters in MA. Current status is based on landed catch data, but fishery-independent measures of abundance are scarce to non-existent for most of these species. Thus, an enhanced assessment of mollusk species conforming coastal fishery in Massachusetts would greatly benefit its management and the implementation of climate adaptation initiatives.

This project aims to determine the status of populations (distribution and abundance) of commercially important mollusks (namely targeted species of clams, oysters, quahogs, mussels, and scallops) in coastal waters of Massachusetts. For particular species, the project aims to assess changes in the abundance through historical data and re-surveys. With Boston Harbor as a pilot study area, this project will provide ground-truth data for existent shellfish suitability maps. Data acquisition includes side scan sonar and underwater images. Results of this project will support conservation efforts of mollusks that are commercially and socially valuable in the coasts of MA. As a first logical step to conserve any species, this project will provide the updated abundance and distribution of targeted species and their historical trend in the area to inform fisheries management.

Prerequisites: This project is suitable for a student with interests in biology, environmental science and marine sciences. Motivation and reliability are key aspects. Prior mapping experience, knowledge of GIS or other geospatial technologies/applications are desired. This is a position for the 10 week period of summer UROP, with the possibility of expanding her/his work towards a senior project or equivalent requirement. Seeking applicants before April 11, 2019 unless interested in summer credits

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


2/27/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. John Gabrieli

Project Title: Neural Basis of Comorbidity in Reading and Math Disorders

Project Description: The goal of this project is to examine the neural basis of commonly co-occurring disorders including math disorder, dyslexia, and ADHD. The Gabrieli lab is recruiting children in 3 rd -6th grades for both neuropsychological assessments and neuroimaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI). We are seeking a UROP to assist in neuroimaging sessions, participant recruitment, database management, scoring of standardized neuropsychological assessments, and potentially neuroimaging analysis. UROPs should be available for ~6 hours/week. 

Relevant URL: https://gablab.mit.edu/

Contact: Please contact Dayna Wilmot (dvwilmot@mit.edu) to state your interest!


2/27/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joshua McDermott

Project Title: Theoretical Study of Neural Manifolds in Deep Networks and the Brain

Project Description: This UROP position at the intersection of deep learning and brain science is available immediately. Flexible to host 3/6/9-month shorter term positions. Ideal for gaining research experience before grad school, or a Master’s degree project.

The candidate will help analyze how neural manifold representations reformat in sensory hierarchies. We will study these issues in deep convolutional and recurrent networks for time-dependent classification tasks (such as video, auditory or language-processing tasks), using recently developed theoretical frameworks for analyzing neural object manifolds. The candidate will work with the latest deep learning frameworks (i.e., Tensorflow, PyTorch), and analyze neural data if an opportunity arises.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in Matlab or Python is required. Familiarity in recent deep learning framework (i.e. PyTorch, Tensorflow) is recommended. The position comes with an expectation that the project will continue through December 2019, and potentially through May 2020.  

Contact: If interested, please email SueYeon Chung sueyeon@mit.edu with CV, including information about your background/experience in machine learning, and exposure to neuroscience (if any).


2/27/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Carlo Ratti

Project Title: City Scanner: Modeling and Analysis of Realtime Environmental Data

Project Description: The proposed project is part of the environmental monitoring research in context of City Scanner project that is being developed at the Senseable City Lab. The city scanner project aims to capture the spatiotemporal variation in environmental parameters of urban areas by means of mobile sensors. To this end, we have developed a drive by IoT framework with a modular sensing architecture, which enables cost-effective mass data acquisition on a multitude of city features such as air quality.

The spatio temporal datasets collected with these sensors play a significant role by empowering advanced analytics solutions for cities. The proposed project offers a unique opportunity to work with realtime environmental data in order to develop cloud-based analytical models and algorithms.

Prerequisites: We are looking for candidate with background in computer science, big data, and statistics. The candidate needs also excellent cloud computing and programming skills and familiarity with environmental data analysis and machine learning are of advantage. In context of this project, you will design and develop data models, cloud services, and tools for realtime analysis and visualization of sensor data in collaboration with our City Scanner team at Senseable City Lab.

Relevant URL: http://senseable.mit.edu/cityscanner/

Contact: Simone Mora: moras@mit.edu


2/20/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Water Pipeline Rehabilitation Robot

Project Description: The average city loses 20% of its drinking water supply due to leaks that are too small to detect with conventional methods, or pipe bursts that were not caught in time. MRL has developed a few iterations of soft robot that can successfully detect leaks. After detection of in-pipe leaks, another big problem facing the engineers is how to repair the leaks in time. Currently most repair jobs are done by digging out a huge area around the pipe section, finding the leak and replacing the entire pipe, which is costly and labor-intensive. The goal of this project is to develop a few robotic modules that can accomplish the repair task without shutting down normal water service. The modules will need to operate under high water-pressure and high water-flow condition. The UROP will be involved in the design and manufacturing process. The UROP will perform CAD and FEA on robot design. The UROP will also work on how to stably control the hardware with the use of Microcontrollers or higher-level controllers. The UROP will implement control software for the robot. The UROP will also work with data from multiple sources, such as government water departments, water associations and robotics companies to study in-pipe conditions and challenges for an in-pipe robot. The UROP will also carry out rapid prototyping for numerous designs. This project is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to explore interest in robotics design, rapid manufacturing, controls and coding skills. Expected hours are 10-15 per week. The candidate should be committed to the project and interested in working with robotics. The nature of work with successive iterations necessitates a responsible and organized approach, and attention to details.

Contact: To apply, please email Steven Y. Yeung (yyeung@mit.edu) your current resume and a short cover letter explaining your interest in the project.


2/20/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Moshe Ben-Akiva

Project Title: Integrated logistic data collection using mobile sensing and wireless communication

Project Description: Future Mobility Sensing (FMS) is a next-generation automated travel and freight survey software that leverages advanced sensing technologies, and machine learning techniques to deliver previously unobtainable mobility behavioral data and insights. The student will work on a logistic performance evaluator being designed and implemented in this software, which serves as an analytical tool to assist users, such as drivers, establishments and government agencies, to facilitate more efficient logistics and transport operations. The student’s responsibility will mainly focus on data analysis and visualization, along with providing necessary technical support for the ongoing pilot of data collection with the software (maintaining the backend system/database). The student will receive close support and guidance by researchers at MIT and software engineers in Singapore-MIT research alliance, and part of the tasks will be shared with rest of the team.

Prerequisites: The following skills are preferred but not necessarily required. 

  • Learning ability would be highly appreciated.
  • Ruby on Rails 4.1+ (5.1+ preferred), Nodejs
  • Relational databases (MySQL and PostgreSQL) and No-relational database (Mongodb)
  • Javascript, HTML, CSS, D3.js, Leaflet.js, Cesium.js and jQuery.js
  • UNIX systems proficiency (Ubuntu, Debian)

Relevant URL: https://truckers.mit.edu

Contact: Yifei Xie: yifeix@mit.edu


2/20/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Gang Chen

Project Title: Evaluation of Thermal Energy Storage Technology

Project Description: We are seeking a motivated student to help analyze the economic and technical potential of a new thermal energy storage technology. One of the targets for our technology is Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facilities, where excess electricity at off-peak times can be stored as heat and later released when demand is high. The main responsibility will be to research market needs, which will entail online research and establishing contacts at power plants and with others in the energy industry. There may also be opportunities to participate in developing the technology as the project progresses. The project is available for pay or for credit, and could be extended into the summer.

Prerequisites:

  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Interest in both the business and technical sides of power generation
  • Enough technical background to be familiar with the terminology used in the energy industry; ideally a course in thermodynamics or similar
  • Detail-oriented, good organizational abilities
  • Ability to commit at least 10 hours a week
  • Familiarity with Matlab may be helpful

Contact: Aaron Schmidt: aarons@mit.edu


2/20/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Women in Marine Science, Technology, and Industry

Project Description: Women are significantly under-represented in many marine science and technology fields, but make up over half of the seafood related workforce globally.  At the same time, concerns have been raised over challenges in recruiting the future workforce for marine resource management, research, and industry.  This project seeks to explore trends over time in various sub-sectors, better understand the contributing factors to the current workforce demographics, and explore challenges and opportunities for women in marine and ocean science related careers.  As this project is in the early stages, there are several opportunities for participation depending on student interests ranging from analysis of marine scientist demographics, surveys and interviews of existing workforce, or other topics.  Analytical approaches from statistics, demographics, anthropology, public policy, gender studies, and other fields are all relevant to this project.  Participation of a minimum of 5-10 hours per week is preferable, but there is flexibility. This UROP may be taken for pay (direct funding), credit, or volunteer. Multiple positions available.

Prerequisites: Interest in the research topic.

Relevant URLs:

Contact: Lindsey Williams: lcwillia@mit.edu


2/20/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: American Lobster Research, Management, and Industry Assessment

Project Description: American Lobster is a key part of the ecology, economy, and social fabric of communities in the Northeast United States.  In Massachusetts, lobster brought in over $82 million in dockside value in 2016, second only to Maine in lobster landings and the third highest value fishery in the state after scallop and oysters (NOAA Fisheries, 2018).  Past research efforts provide important foundations to better understand the needs, interests, and perspectives of those associated with the lobster industry, but further work is needed.  This project will begin to fill some of these gaps, particularly as they pertain to the role that research extension activities might play in better connecting science, management, and industry and seeking to build collaborative partnerships that benefit the production of science, the management decisions that need to be made, the health of the resource, and the livelihoods of those who depend on that resource.

UROP research associated with this project could focus on student interests and/or support conducting a stakeholder assessment, a survey of community perspectives, and interviews to further assess interests.  Analytical approaches from statistics, demographics, conflict and dispute resolution, science-policy interface, history anthropology, public policy, and other fields are all relevant to this project.  Participation of a minimum of 5-10 hours per week during the school year is preferable, but there is flexibility.  Participation of 20-30 hours in summer and IAP is preferable, but there is flexibility. This UROP may be taken for pay (direct funding), credit, or volunteer.  Multiple positions available.

Prerequisites: Interest in the research topic.

Relevant URLs:

Contact: Lindsey Williams: lcwillia@mit.edu


2/15/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: Crowdsourcing behavioral data on language learning

Project Description: We are launching an exciting new study on how humans implicitly learn the rules of their language as they process it. We are looking for a highly motivated student with a strong interest in language to join the project during the Spring semester. As part of the UROP, you will learn about experimental techniques in psycholinguistics and will be in charge of developing and running a series of experiments using an online crowdsourcing platform. If there’s interest, there may be a possibility to continue the UROP into the Summer.

Prerequisites:

  • Responsible, independent, and highly attentive to detail.
  • Interest in language and the mind.
  • Ideally at least one semester of programming or experience with Javascript/HTML.
  • Availability to work 10 hours per week.

Contact: Rachel Ryskin: ryskin@mit.edu


2/15/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Anette Hosoi

Project Title: Ultrasound Volume Painting using RGB-D SLAM

Project Description: Renal volumes are a robust indicator of kidney health. As such, they serve as a valuable biomarker in tracking the onset and progression of chronic kidney diseases (CKD). Currently techniques for renal volume measurements include CT, MR and 3D ultrasound all of which suffer from key drawbacks: long scan times, high cost, lack of portability and the need for constrained scanning configurations. We propose the use of conventional 1D ultrasound probes equipped with RGB-D cameras to estimate renal volumes using freehand scans. The framework currently employs visual SLAM to localize the probe in freespace and combine it with manually segmented images of the kidney to create 3D volumes. Preliminary testing indicates a very high level of accuracy.

Proposed Work: In order for this technology to become a viable clinical tool, it must undergo the following upgrades:

  1. Automatic segmentation of renal cross-sections in 2D ultrasound images (deep learning)
  2. Restructuring of the existing libraries to allow for real-time volume generation. The proposed method will be akin in “painting”, whereby the clinician will scan the kidney and immediately see a continuously updating volume.
  3. Creation of deployable hardware and software that is as close to a finished product as possible.

Prerequisites:

  1. Python
  2. C++
  3. MATLAB
  4. Efficient code creation and execution on GPUs
  5. Deep learning software (Tensorflow, Keras, PyTorch etc).
  6. Computer Vision (Visual Odometry and SLAM)

Contact: Alex Benjamin: arb93@mit.edu


2/14/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alan Berger

Project Title: Journal of Advanced Urbanism

Project Description: The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is starting a new initiative that aims to address the gap in publishing outlets for the emerging field of urbanism. The center aims to create a new mixed-media, digital first, publishing and information sharing platform. We intend to develop a more ideal format for emerging research coming out of MIT and other universities that combines rigorous methods, such as modeling and simulation, with future-oriented spatial design at the neighborhood, city, and regional scale. Given the pressing need for both sustainable and resilient transitions in our cities over the coming decades, it is crucial that novel, forward-looking, multidisciplinary urban design finds an appropriate platform for dissemination and discussion. Come help us develop this platform.

Journal and Lab Review: Existing urbanism labs and publication survey, analysis, and classification. This is a good fit for courses 4, 11, 11.6, 21, 24, MAS, and any students interested in understanding the current state of urbanism research and publication options within the allied design and urban science and planning fields. This will provide the UROP with a broad overview of the state of the art in the field, while asking them to rigorously classify and analyze the relationships between work being produced and work being published.

Relevant URL: lcau.mit.edu

Contact: Pru Robinson: pru@mit.edu


2/14/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David R. Keith

Project Title: Optimal Planning of Electric Vehicle Charging Station Deployment

Project Description: The ubiquitous availability of charging stations is a critical enabler of consumer adoption of electric vehicles.  Yet few charging stations exist today, and many cities are actively pursuing the build-out of charging stations to fulfil their climate mitigation goals. In this project, we will work with the City of Boston to develop a strategy for the optimal deployment of charging stations using GIS location-allocation algorithms.

Prerequisites: Available to work 8-10 hours per week during the spring semester. Programming skills, preferably Python and/or GIS.

Contact: David R. Keith: dkeith@mit.edu


2/13/19

Multiple Openings

Spring 2019

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Jose Gomez-Marquez

The Little Devices researchers reinvents the way people create medical devices for international and domestic healthcare systems using design approaches such as affordability, modularity and DIY. Our lab aims to design technology that is robust and economical, yet intelligent using advanced sensors and smart materials. Projects from the group have been launched in Germany, Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Space (New!! See below) The work has been featured by the New York Times, Wired, CNN, and TED. More at: littledevices.mit.edu

UROP positions for Spring 2019 are listed below.  We will give you important challenges, guidance and autonomy and resources and you will surprise us with smart solutions. All positions have the option for pay or credit. There is a 2-day fabrication and design orientation to be scheduled upon assignment. You will be joining a fast paced, interdisciplinary group who focuses on hands-on ideation and prototyping. To schedule an interview please reach out to littledevices@mit.edu

Project #1: Space based Pharmacy Open Chemistry (Wet lab, Course 5, 7, Course 10, Course 20, etc)

Description: Work at the intersection of materials science and chemical engineering on next generation low-cost medical technologies. Among the major projects in this role is the generation of protocols to create drugs and diagnostics in extreme environments. You will be working as part of our International Space Station “Space based Pharmacy” project to reinvent the way we make medicine. Students with an interest in chemistry and synthesis play an integral role in our research as we develop procedures for pharmaceutical manufacturing and novel approaches to diagnostic tools.

Prerequisites: Good understanding of organic chemistry and wet lab experience a plus. You will work closely with our chemistry and biology team to create assays, apply reactions to our space platform and deploy them for launch.  You will have a good overview of analytical methods or a willing disposition to learn and explore them.  

To schedule an interview please reach out to littledevices@mit.edu

_____________

Project #2: Healthcare robotics (Mechanical Design, Course 2, Course 10, Course 20, or surprise with what you've built)

Description: We are working on new ways of using mechatronic and robotic systems make medical devices using digital fabrication tools. Our robotic system is combining small, portable automated systems with biological platforms. Create modular components for users to remix and customize these medical devices. Final output will use robots for affordable health applications that will be tested in our fields sites in Canary Islands, Chile and Honduras. 

Prerequisites: Experience with CAD or other 3D modeling software, fabrication experience (machine tools, laser-cutter), hardware assembly and basic robotics (paths, manipulation, transport). Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to apply. 

To schedule an interview please reach out to littledevices@mit.edu

_____________

Project #3: Healthcare robotics electronics design (Course 6-1)

Description: Our robotics platforms is informed by biology. Our robotic system is combining small, portable automated systems with biological platforms to enable labs around the world to make their own assays. You will work with our mechanical and biological teams to construct and program our mechanical and sensor systems. You will design PCBs, circuits, sensor and power electronics. Working with our chemistry, biology and mechanical teams you will design new ways to enable bots with elegant behavior to achieve their tasks. Final output will use robots for affordable health applications that will be tested in our fields sites in Canary Islands, Chile and Honduras. 

Prerequisites: Experience with designing, prototyping (such as Arduino) testing and debugging electronic circuits Experience with wireless sensors or protocols helpful (e.g. Bluetooth, WiFi) and prior robotic electronics useful.  Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to apply. 

To schedule an interview please reach out to littledevices@mit.edu

_____________

Project #4: Robotic systems software design for health

Description: We are looking for a software engineer to join a multidisciplinary team of undergraduates (chemists, mechanical designers, biologists): over the past year, we have been working together on developing open source robotics systems that interact dynamically with visual, motion and chemical data in their environment.

Our aim is to design smart, lightweight biorobotic systems that can contribute to a next generation of research endeavors at the scale of the Human Genome Project. Our technology is designed to be affordable and easily scalable: we want to empower communities to contribute their own experimental findings in a public platform. We contribute to the democratization of medical research by generating more open access tools.

The ideal candidate has experience in software architecture and some ML. Previous electronics experience (Arduino, etc) helpful. Freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to apply. 

To schedule an interview please reach out to littledevices@mit.edu


2/13/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kurt Fendt

Project Title: Visualizing Scientific Organizations

Project Description: Scientific organizations are a difficult environment to explore and understand because of their size and complexity. Network visualizations can offer innovative means for visual analysis of complex systems. Through recent visualization technologies, this project aims to visualize a large dataset provided by ORCID, a non-profit organization that supports an open-data research. The work is structured as follows: 1) Dataset import into a graph database, 2) Export of data as a web service, 3) Development of a standard network visualization, 4) Inclusion of an interactive layer (e.g. a filter function), and 5) interpretation of the visualization. 

Student will develop technical skills related to the organization and visualization of information as well as a humanistic approach to the interpretation, discussing potential insights into the network visualization. Potential co-writing of a scientific paper.

Prerequisites:

  • JavaScript
  • Database knowledge
  • Optional: d3.js, WebGL, Node.js,.

Relevant URL: https:///affinitymap.epfl.ch

Contact: Dario Rodighiero: rodighie@mit.edu


2/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Systems for Sustainable Development

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space. Space technology contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals via communication, earth observation, positioning, microgravity research, spinoffs and research capability. Space Enabled uses six research methods: design, art, social science, complex systems, satellite engineering and data science. We are looking for a highly-motivated student with a strong interest at the intersection of artificial intelligence and human computer interaction for socio-economic development. The responsibilities include studying, designing, implementing, and evaluating AI powered social and mobile computing systems. The project is led by Neil Gaikwad, a doctoral student, and is supported by MIT-Sensetime Alliance on Artificial Intelligence, as part of the MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI) initiative. This is a great opportunity to develop strong research skills and gain experience in the development of open sourced human-centered socio-technical system. The student will participate in the full research cycle — needfinding, design, web-based software implementation, and potentially publishing the results in a paper or poster in a conference. The student may have the possibility to extend the project into the summer.

Prerequisites: Experience and proficiency with either front-end web frameworks (React or Vue.js) or back-end web frameworks (Django or Node.js), or Both Proficiency with Python, Javascript, Html/CSS, React, GitHub, and SQL Recommended prerequisite coursework: 6.813/6.831, 6.148, 6.006 or similar at other universities

Good to have: A web-based portfolio, familiarity with social computing systems research

Estimated hours per week: 12

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Neil Gaikwad: gaikwad@media.mit.edu


2/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: Analysis of Qualitative Data Using NVivo or similar tool

Project Description: This project involves analysis of qualitative data related to interviews conducted with professionals basis in US, Asia, and Australia. The persons interviewed include managers, doctors, nurses, and engineers. Analysis of qualitative data led to publication of papers in reputed journal and one of such papers was selected for the Best Paper of the Year Award by the Academy of Management (OCIS Division)

Prerequisites: Experience with NVivo or similar tool. Project available for credit or for direct funding by UROP office. The deadline for for submitting the online application for the latter option is 5 pm on Thursday, Feb 14.

Relevant URL: news.mit.edu/2018/removing-health-care-barriers-and-boundaries-amar-gupta-telemedicine-0522

Contact: Amar Gupta: agupta@mit.edu


2/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alvar Saenz-Otero

Project Title: Zero Robotics Game Programing & Testing; Resource Development

Project Description: The Zero Robotics Team is looking for 10 students (any year, freshmen encouraged to apply) during Spring and Summer terms to help us prepare and run the Middle School Summer Program. Students that want to do both Spring+Summer are especially encouraged to apply!

UROP for pay or credit, 10-12 hours/week

Help us get everything ready to run the Middle School Summer Program competition in July and August, with the finals happening aboard the International Space Station in August! 

The tasks include:

  • Evaluate and simplify the High School "ECO-SPHERES" game (available in our website now) to be played by MS students.
  • Re-program the game and visualization.
  • Update the game manual and create new introduction videos.
  • Test the game in our simulation environment.
  • Update our website graphical editor.
  • Help upgrade the website with new API's for real-time sharing.
  • Review educational materials for both students and teachers.
  • Prepare the "Teacher Training" at MIT in early May.

Students interested in being with the team for both Spring and Summer are especially encouraged to apply!

Requirements:

  • Team Player
  • Interest in working with grade-school students / outreach
  • Strong interpersonal & communication skills

Previous experience:

  • Programming in C/C++ (or similar language) a plus
  • Working knowledge of MATLAB helpful
  • Experience with JavaScript, ActionScript, HTML5 helpful
  • Experience with Linux based systems (programing, configuring) helpful
  • Alum of a Zero Robotics or FIRST Robotics team a plus

Relevant URL: http://zerorobotics.mit.edu

Contact: zr-officers@mit.edu


2/13/19

Spring

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Azra Aksamija

Project Title: 1002 Inventions – Book about Art and Design in the Al Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan

Project Description: We invite you to participate in the production of the publication “1002 Inventions: Art and Design in Al Azraq Refugee Camp,” which takes readers on a visit to the everyday-life in the Al Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan to discover hundreds of fascinating creations designed by Syrian refugees. The book documents a wide range of design projects, through a selection of photographs, paintings and stories written by a group of 20 young authors from the camp. The ingenuity and resourcefulness of Al Azraq creations reveal the cultural, emotional and architectural needs of refugees within a context of scarcity, war trauma, and struggle for a future. Refugee inventions demonstrate how art, architecture, and design inspire hope and underpin innovation in a humanitarian context. The book suggests a method for a culturally sensitive approach to humanitarian architecture informed by the resilience and creativity of displaced communities. The objective is to inform the competencies of humanitarian design today and offer new modes for cultural preservation in conflict and crisis.

You will be working with the Future Heritage Lab project team and other graduate and undergraduate students on 3D and 2D drawings that reverse-engineer the refugee inventions. The goal is to elevate these inventions and design artifacts, produce knowledge about the making process, which can be shared with other designers, makers, students, and humanitarian aid workers.

Ideally, you are interested in learning about:

  • The role of art, design, and technology in the humanitarian context
  • The work involves the design analysis of refugee inventions through 3D modeling and Illustrator drawings based on photographs. You would be credited as a book contributor.
  • Repurposing recyclable materials and hacking various tools for design inventions and creative work.

Prerequisites:

  • Skills in a computer drawing software to produce 2D and/or 3D drawings (Rhino, AutoCAD or Illustrator)
  • Our goal is to have all drawings for the book ready by the Spring Break, so we are looking for someone who is not overburdened with coursework and can dedicate 6-8 h per week.
  • Once the work on the drawings is completed, and if you are interested, we could include you in another project related to our work in the refugee camp (see our UROP offerings for the Lightweaver and the T-Serai projects)

Relevant URL: http://www.grahamfoundation.org/grantees/5850-1002-inventions-art-and-design-in-al-azraq-refugee-camp

_____________

Project #2: T-Serai – Hacking the surplus of the global textile industry for humanitarian aid

Project Description: The T-Serai – Textile Systems for Engagement and Research in Artistic Impact – is a portable cultural shelter/teahouse inspired by the cultural traditions of the MENA region. The project suggests an open-source design of modular tapestries using recycled clothes. Patterns and ornaments from historical architectural monuments (i.e. Palmyra), as well as traditional textile crafts,  are reinterpreted with new fabrication methods. The overproduction of the global textile industry is hacked as a resource to support new forms of cultural preservation at the time of war. The aim is to reinforce the link of cultural heritage with the social realm, broaden the narrative around historical events, address the loss of history and identity and encourage social cohesion. Produced across USA, Canada, UAE, and Jordan, the creation and use of the T-Serai allow for immersive knowledge exchange across borders over transcultural infusions. We are working on a set of portable tent installations that will be exhibited around the world and also implemented in the l Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan as a cultural/social space.

You will be working with the Future Heritage Lab project team on either the research or the hands-on dimensions of this project, or both.

Ideally, you are interested in learning about:

  • The role of art, design, and technology in the humanitarian context
  • The social and environmental cost of the global textile industry
  • The research involves documentation/analysis/mapping the production and global circulation of discarded/donated/recyclable clothes, aiming to find potentials for their use in the project.
  • The hands-on work will involve creative work on tapestries involving recycling of clothes

Prerequisites:

  • For the hands-on work: simple operating of the sewing machine (machines would be provided)
  • For the hands-on work: to be passionate about the research of supply chains, the global economy
  • Our goal is to have the project prototype ready by the end of the spring term, so we are looking for someone who is not overburdened with coursework and can dedicate 6-10 h per week.

Relevant URL: https://arts.mit.edu/future-heritage-lab-devises-creative-responses-humanitarian-crises/

______________

Project #3: The Lightweaver – A Kinetic Lighting Device for Refugee Education

Project Description: The Lightweaver is a transdisciplinary educational toolkit for the design and making of a kinetic lighting device as a means for the preservation of cultural heritage geared towards refugee youth. The portable device enables the creation of an immersive cultural environment through three-dimensional light projections, inspired by historic textile patterns and calligraphy. Considering the available resources of refugee camps and the limited capacity of humanitarian aid organizations, we are developing a self-paced educational toolkit, which includes a textbook and an instruction manual enriched with downloadable video tutorials.

You will be working with the Future Heritage Lab project team, aiming to develop educational material by improving the existing Lightweaver prototypes and a how-to-make manual. Depending on your skills, the work involves hands-on creation of lamp shades, prototyping of simple gear mechanisms and LED light circuits, 2D and 3D drawings for the manual.

Ideally, you are interested in learning about:

  • The role of art, design, and technology in the humanitarian context
  • How a combination of art and technology can be deployed to support refugee education and the preservation of living cultural heritage
  • Repurposing recyclable materials and hacking various tools for creative work.

Prerequisites:

  • Our goal is to have a working prototype of the toolkit by May 30, so we are looking for someone who is not overburdened with coursework and can dedicate 7-10h per week.
  • You can help develop short engineering exercises for the assembly of a simple gear mechanism made of cardboard.
  • You can help develop short engineering exercises for LED electronics through the assembly of a light circuit.
  • Skills in a computer drawing software to produce 2D and/or 3D drawings

Relevant URL: https://www.futureheritagelab.com/work/#/lightweaver/

Contact: Melina Philippou: fhl@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amos Winter

Project Title: Prototyping of low-cost drip irrigation emitters

Project Description: Drip irrigation delivers a steady, controlled flow of water directly to a plant’s roots. This leads to improved water use efficiency over other irrigation methods, and greater control over irrigation amounts and scheduling, enabling farmers to grow higher-value crops and produce better yields. Despite these and other benefits, drip irrigation has very low adoption rates in developing countries. Major barriers include the high cost of drip irrigation systems (pump and piping), especially in locations without an electric grid.  GEAR Lab is developing components that will enable high-performance, low-cost, on- and off-grid irrigation systems by reducing the power needed to pump water through the system. We have designed and field-tested a new low-pressure online drip emitter, which reduced pumping energy by ~70% over conventional online emitters, and are currently manufacturing a low-pressure inline drip emitter, which will be field-tested this spring.

The next step in our work involves reducing the size and cost of the low-pressure inline emitter, and developing new emitter geometries for even lower cost and better clogging resistance. We are looking for a UROP who is comfortable in the machine shop to fabricate and test new inline drip irrigation emitters, primarily by CNC milling (although we are exploring other processes). Work will involve drawing in SolidWorks, creating CNC toolpaths in HSMWorks, milling, metrology, (potentially) comparison of different 3D printed prototypes to milled prototypes, and fluid pressure/flow testing in the laboratory. If student is interested and motivated, involvement can extend into summer 2019 or later, and potentially in future field trials in the Middle East or Africa. (Sponsored funding may be available, but direct funding preferred.)

Prerequisites: Comfort with manual & CNC milling (can train on CNC if needed) and hand tools. Additional fabrication skills (3D printing, laser cutting, waterjetting) may be useful. Interest in experimental work.

Relevant URL: http://gear.mit.edu/projects/drip.html

Contact: Julia Sokol: sokol@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rebecca Masterson

Project Title: Aerospace Corporation Space Debris Challenge

Project Description: Space debris is big problem! Many systems have been proposed to reduce the amount of orbital debris in our skies, everything from grappling and docking mechanisms for retrieving debris, to nets for capture of satellites, to using lasers to slowly deorbit larger pieces. The Space Systems Lab (SSL), in conjunction with the Aerospace Corporation, is running a UROP Space Debris Challenge to generate innovative engineering solutions to the retrieval of spent rocket bodies. SSL is seeking undergraduate students to design, prototype and test space debris capture methods. Students will be formed into mixed-year UROP teams to build and test their project to compete for a prize awarded at the end of semester. This position is for credit only, open to all years.

Prerequisites:

  • Passion and interest in innovation, prototyping and testing
  • Experience in/interested in learning machine shop, 3D printing and electronics skills

Relevant URL: https://tinyurl.com/space-debris-spring

Contact: Jessica Todd: jetodd@bigpond.net.au


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Bevin Engelward

Project Title: Help to support the health of people in environmental justice communities and indigenous peoples

Project Description: There is an opening for a UROP student in the Engelward laboratory to be part of a multi-lab project aimed at supporting indigenous people through dietary interventions. The first phase of this project is to create a website that provides educational information regarding probiotics. The project involves a thorough literature search, drafting a review article (for which formal authorship is a possibility), and creating educational materials (a website, a trifold, and possibly an app). There is also an opportunity to be part of a team working on the design of a human intervention study, with the longer range goal of mitigating diseases caused by environmental exposures.

Prerequisites: Applicants will need to have taken organic chemistry.

Relevant URL: http://engelward-lab.mit.edu/

Contact: Bevin Engelward: bevin@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Neri Oxman

Project Title: Hybrid Living Devices and Wearables

Project Description: This project combines living and non-living materials and fabrication processes for the creation of 'Hybrid Living Materials'. The team works to integrate customized computational and digital fabrication tools with synthetic biology to digitally fabricate objects that can host and interface with microorganisms. We aim to achieve templated or patterned control of functional bio-synthesized outputs.

To work across multiple disciplines, we are interested in applicants who have past experience  and current interest in one or more of the following: Bio/Bio Engineering (Course 20/7), Material Science, Fabrication, and Design.

Currently, we have a special interest in accepting UROPs with interest/experience in fibers and weaving processes and structures across scales.

Prerequisites:

  • wet lab experience (esp. molecular biology/gene engineering, microbial gene sequencing, & general microbiology techniques)
  • CAD and 3DP rapid prototyping experience
  • bio material interest or familiarity with fibers or woven structures
  • independent thinker/worker and ability to connect broad reaching technical and conceptual themes
  • open to rapidly learn/explore new skill sets
  • preferred: commitment to UROPing more than one semester, for pay is an option

Relevant URL: https://mediatedmattergroup.com/vespers-iii/

Contact: Rachel Smith: rssmith@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ceasar McDowell

Project Title: Civic Design using VR/AR and Gaming

Project Description: This project brings together the Film & Music Industry, Big Data, AR/VR technologies, and critical pedagogy to understand ways to develop civic design tools using new media. Our primary project uses the development tool UNITY to create a civic design tool to help reimagine the future of cities and communities. We will also work on a podcast, Civic Design and Zombie Aliens, which uses the Civic Design Framework created by professor Ceasar McDowell to use a creative approach to convey civic design themes.

As part of this UROP you will work with the team and visiting “Artists in Residence” who will share their works of art and help to shape the Unity project and the podcast.

Objectives include:

  • Support the marketing and rollout of the interactive portal “themove.mit.edu”.
  • Do Data research on macroeconomics of systematic injustice
  • Design AR/VR data visualization tools
  • Work with community organizations and youth groups on the podcast

Prerequisites: None. Basic coding (C sharp) would be ideal or experience creating creative projects.

Relevant URL: TheMove.mit.edu

Contact: Sultan Sharrief: sultans@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chintan Vaishnav, Karen Sollins

Project Title: A Flight Simulator for Government Privacy and Efficiency

Project Description: Are you excited about improving the efficiency and transparency of government’s use of citizen data while they effectively protect citizen’s privacy? This is an opportunity to take the findings from our team’s rigorous research in Indian cities and build a simulation that will be used to convince the city governments that they can maximize both governance efficiency and information privacy by implementing the right set of data management practices.

India is pushing for greater use of open, digital data to improve

transparency and accountability just as the Indian Supreme Court recently declared privacy a fundamental human right. Through quantitative analysis of how Indian city and state government officials interact with urban electronic-governance platforms, we have assessed the cultural, functional, financial, and privacy implications of making government data accessible to the wider public, and shifts the conversation about efficiency vs. privacy from a zero sum game to one in which both privacy and efficiency can be maximized through government data-management practices.

Your role will be to work with our interdisciplinary team and India-based field partners to conceptualize and build this simulator that we will together take to impact on the ground this summer.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with Python, SQL, and JavaScript is necessary. Please indicate the number of hours per week that you want to devote to this endeavor along with resume, short blurb on why you are interested, and preference for credit/pay.

Contact: Nikita Kodali: nkkodali@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ed Boyden

Project Title: Nanoscale Imaging of Brain

Project Description: We recently discovered that it was possible to achieve super resolution imaging through physical magnification of biological specimens, by embedding them in dense, swellable polyelectrolyte gels. We will use this technique, which we named Expansion Microscopy, to decipher the biological building blocks of brain in health and neurological diseases.

Prerequisites: preferred but not required

  • experience with mice work (perfusion, injections)
  • experience using confocal microscope

Relevant URL: http://expansionmicroscopy.org/

Contact: Deblina Sarkar: deblina@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tomaso Poggio

Project Title: Creating an environment to challenge AI systems in mathematical reasoning

Project Description: Artificial neural networks are showing great promise at processing sensory information, finding patterns in data or playing games, so it seems natural to ask whether they can be applied to the uniquely human discipline of asking and answering mathematical questions. Overcoming the challenges of this problem will provide a clearer path towards other high cognitive tasks.

Before this task can be tackled fully and effectively by the AI research community we need a reliable environment to test any such intelligent systems on. We need something that will provide the initial challenges to mathematical AI systems but is also easy and readily available to use like the MNIST and ImageNet datasets in machine vision. Thus, the main objective of this project will be to create a mathematical environment to test AI agents at proving mathematical theorems, as well as designing a simple agent showcasing the effectiveness of the environment.

We are searching for students to work on the following projects:

  1. Implement an environment for a Reinforcement Learning agent to prove theorems and do mathematics
  2. Implement an agent-agnostic environment for mathematical reasoning and theorem proving
  3. Create benchmarks for different versions of the environments (or data sets) and check how modern algorithms perform on the task

Prerequisites:

  • Computing Experience: at least 6.009 or equivalent/software internship (if you can provide a reference letter, this is a plus)
  • Mathematics basis: knowledge of linear algebra, analysis/calculus, geometry. If you think your favorite field should be represented, make a case for it.
  • Knowledge of machine learning & deep learning would be beneficial, e.g. 6.036, 6.867, etc.
  • Previous research experience would be an asset.
  • Experience in formal methods is a plus (e.g. taking program analysis 6.820 type class)

Contact: Please send your resume with GPA and a short description of why you are interested in the project to Andrzej Banburski: kappa666@mit.edu or Brando Miranda: brando90@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joe Paradiso

Project Title: Climate CubeSat Co-build Program

Project Description: The Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative is driven by an effort to democratize the future of space exploration. As such, we are committed to the development of meaningful community engagement endeavors related to achieving an open and hackable "New Space Age." With this in mind, launched our Climate CubeSat Co-building Outreach Program (C3), in which we mentor 20 Boston-area high school students through designing, building, testing, and launching a cubesat taking thermal imaging of oceans.

Our local program (the beta test for expanding nationally and globally) currently supports 20 high school students, focusing on under-represented minorities and young women. The students are supported throughout the program with background knowledge curriculum sessions, an open journaling and learning exchange platform, technical mentorship for design and building tasks, part kits, testing and launch support, and training for post-flight data analysis. We are actively building out this program to scale nationally via high schools, public libraries, and maker spaces across the nation!

We are looking for a UROP to join our team and help design and compile curriculum materials as well as prototype new modules!

Prerequisites: Strong verbal and written communication skills, experience with designing STEM educational programming

Preferred: experience with cubesats and subsystems, sensors, microcontrollers, fabrication

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/cubesat/overview/

Contact: Devora Najjar: devora@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Strano

Project Title: Development of carbon nanotube based optical sensor for in vivo plant hormone detection

Project Description: Our project focuses on developing carbon nanotube based sensor for plant hormone detection. It includes learning of  general scheme about sensor development which is related to optics and nanotechnology. Also, it involves synthesis of polymers which is related to chemistry.  The ultimate goal of this project is continuous monitoring of plant hormones inside plant with the sensor developed. It would be a good opportunity to learn how the nanotechnology is applied in plant bioengineering.

Prerequisites: It is good if you know how to use MATLAB and Excel, but it is not required.

Contact: Minkyung Park: minkyung@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Vladimir Bulovic

Project Title: Using a Laser Scriber to Create Solar Modules

Goal: To use a laser scriber to “etch” into different layers of a solar cell to interconnect individual cells and create a solar module. Specifically, the research project will involve generating P1, P2, and P3 scribes (see https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1331057 for details).

Context: The GridEdge Solar Research program (https://gridedgesolar.org/) is a highly collaborative team of electrical/mechanical engineers, chemists, and materials scientists. The team is working toward design, manufacturing and piloting of lightweight and flexible solar cells to increase energy access in low-income communities. These solar cells have tremendous potential to provide energy services for low-income people whose livelihoods often require them to be mobile.

Details of the role: We are looking for a highly qualified applicant to test various settings (laser intensity, focus, etc) of a laser scriber on perovskite solar cells. After etching through various layers of the device stack, the patterns will be tested for their quality and further iterations will be made in the laser settings. The project may be expanded to test and optimize for different interconnect materials and deposition.

Skills to be gained: High power laser usage and safety, characterization of solar cell using profilometry, basic understanding of scanning electric microscopy, basic understanding of how solar cells are fabricated and implemented into large-area modules.

Tools to be used: Laser scriber (Class 4 20W YAG 1064nm ms pulsed laser), profilometer, Python (or other data analysis software), LabView (or other GUI programming language)

Output: Laser settings optimized and tuned to scribe through different layers of a perovskite solar cell. A small report or presentation detailing the optimized scribing process.

Estimated time commitment: 4-8 hours/week

Time required to get to output: One semester minimum

Prerequisites: Previous experience with high power lasers and/or laser cutters preferred but not required. Familiarity with Python and/or Matlab.

Contact: Roberto Brenes: rbrenes@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Jegelka

Project Title: Generative machine learning models across incomparable spaces

Project Description: Adversarial training has become the de facto standard for generative modeling. While adversarial approaches have shown remarkable success in learning a distribution that faithfully recovers a reference distribution in its entirety, they are not applicable when one wishes the generated distribution to recover some —but not all— aspects of the reference distribution.

In this project, we explore generative models that allow for learning across "incomparable" spaces: e.g., images of different resolution, different style or even across different data modalities (text-to-image). In particular, our approach relies on the framework of Optimal Transport, a mature field at the intersection of mathematics, optimization and statistics, which has become one of the preferred tools for training generative models due to its stability, theoretical grounding and efficiency.

Specific responsibilities include: literature review on foundational (optimal transport) and practical (generative models) topics, implementation of experiments, extension of the current framework and, for highly motivated students, development of novel models. Successful candidates should be equally comfortable with theoretical concepts and computational implementation.

Prerequisites:

  • Demonstrated experience in machine learning (e.g., 6.036, 6.867 or similar)
  • Proficiency in python
  • Proficiency in at least one deep learning library (pytorch strongly preferred)
  • Nice to have: previous experience training generative models
  • Nice to have: familiarity with theoretical foundations of optimization, strong algorithms experience (e.g. via 6.854)

Relevant URL: https://people.csail.mit.edu/davidam/incompGAN

Contact: David Alvarez-Melis: dalvmel@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Douglas Hart

Project Title: Machine Design UROP/Senior Thesis - Designing & building polymer mixing and dispensing machine

Project Description: This is a project ideal for a course 2 senior thesis or advanced junior that is interested in machine design. We are mixing multi-part polymers with additives for casting soft-robotics components into molds and want to automate the process . In short, the UROP task is to design and build a machine that will mix the polymers and additives and dispense them onto molds for casting. The machine needs to be robust for every day use in a lab shared by many students.

Prerequisites:

  • Autonomous Senior/Advanded Junior
  • Machine Shop skills (lathe/mill/waterjet)
  • Rapid Prototyping skills (laser cutter/3D printer/hand tools)
  • Experience using electromechanical components (motors, pumps, solenoids, sensors)
  • Programming is a plus

Contact: If you think you are interested in this project send me Alban Cobi: acobi@mit.edu an e-mail asap so we can schedule a time to meet and discuss.


2/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: TaleBlazer – Location-based Augmented Reality (AR) on Mobile Phones

Project Description: Intrigued by location-based technology? Do you like to play and/or design games? Are you interested in mobile app and/or web app development?

TaleBlazer is a location-based Augmented Reality (AR) game creation platform. Game designers build interactive games using the TaleBlazer Editor web application. Similar to StarLogo, Scratch or App Inventor, the TaleBlazer Editor includes a blocks-based programming environment that allows the game designer to specify the game logic.

Game players use the TaleBlazer mobile application to download and play TaleBlazer games on GPS enabled phones (Android or iOS). As the players move around the real world, they meet virtual characters or objects in the game world that the game designers have built for them.

TaleBlazer is intended for educational purposes – the players explore subject matter in a new and exciting way in a real world context. We have worked with zoos, schools, after-school clubs, etc. to design and launch various professionally developed games with science, math, and history content. The TaleBlazer Editor can also be a valuable teaching and learning tool for student game designers, who learn programming skills and game design, while delving deeply into subject matter to create games about specific topics.

More About Us: The STEP Lab / Education Arcade is a dynamic, fun-loving workplace with a supportive team-based environment. Want to learn more? Visit us at http://taleblazer.org and download TaleBlazer Mobile from Google Play or the App Store and play one of our sample games on the MIT campus.

Technology: The TaleBlazer Mobile application is built via Axway Studio using Titanium, a 3rd party toolkit which allows the programmer to write a single codebase in JavaScript that is then compiled into native iOS and Android applications. The TaleBlazer website is based on a CakePHP/MySQL backend with a JavaScript/HTML/CSS frontend.

===========

The following positions for the summer of 2019 are available for pay. Ability to continue as a part-time UROP in the fall would be a bonus.

UROP Project #1: Mobile Front End

Project Description: Modernize the layout of our mobile interface Make it easier for the player to find and access existing game-play  functionality

___________

UROP Project #2: Customizable Gameplay Screens

Project Description: Allow the game designer to add custom mobile tabs for enhanced game-play mechanics Design, develop, and iterate this feature on our web application and our mobile interface. UROPs should expect to work 35 - 40 hours per week, with the majority of those hours onsite at the STEP Lab during business hours. (Some work may be done remotely at other times.)

Prerequisites: These positions require a strong programming background.

Relevant URL: taleblazer.org, education.mit.edu

Contact: If you are interested in this position, please send an email to tea-jobs@mit.edu and include:

  • an overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
  • please specify which position(s) you are interested in
  • a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume)
  • a short description of why you are interested in working on this project
  • Please put "TaleBlazer" in the subject line

2/12/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ahmed Ghoniem

Project Title: Plasma Assisted Combustion for Advanced Propulsion and Power

Project Description: This UROP will support DOE and NASA funded projects at the Reacting Gas Dynamics Lab in Building 31. These projects relate to developing plasma actuators to improve combustion stability in jet engines and gas turbine engines.

UROP students will support these efforts by developing electronic control circuits for experimental equipment, designing new test pieces, improving the functionality of existing high pressure combustor test facilities

Prerequisites: The ideal UROP student should have experience in LabView, Solidworks and electronics.

Relevant URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smQNndzsLjs

Contact: Felipe Gomez del Campo: fgdelc@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Sensing physiological signals and creating human-machine interface via flexible piezoelectric micro-devices

Project Description: In daily life, human body intrinsically and continuously generates diverse physiological signals, such as electrical, mechanical, biochemical, acoustic, and magnetic signals to reflect the health status. Our lab, Conformable Decoders, works on translating these biological signals around us - especially from the human body - into energy, imaging, and data for early detection of diseases. We microfabricate the devices for energy harvesting and sensing in our very own cleanroom (YellowBox) at the Media Lab. In this project, the student will collaborate closely with the student advisor to (1) characterise the micro structure of a flexible piezo-electric sensor, (2) monitor the vital signs, and (3) record sleep pattern via the flexible piezo-electric sensor. (4) post data analysis for recorded data. In the meanwhile, on the basis of a well-established model, the student will help the student advisor create a human machine interface to control some external device. In this project, the UROP will be taught how to operate the testing equipment such as oscilloscope, National Instrument system, impedance analyser, laser doppler vibrometer, etc, process recorded data, and write academic report. In addition, you will facilitate the student advisor to set up experiments and review literatures.

Prerequisites: We are looking for one UROP who is self-motivated, methodical, careful and organized and diligent.

Contact: Tao Sun: taosun01@media.mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alex 'Sandy' Pentland

Project Title: Build open-source machine learning software and fight algorithmic bias.

Project Description: Different types of biases like gender and racial bias are found in algorithms that are used in nearly all machine learning applications including texts analysis, computer vision, and medical analyses. At the MIT Media Lab, we have been developing a new framework to reduce algorithmic bias which we recently published and presented at AAAI AIES in Hawaii.

Although academic conferences are important to encourage other researchers to build on our work, it doesn't bring our methods to the developers who actually deploy machine learning systems in the real world. That's where you come in! We have partnered with IBM Research to integrate our methods into their open source Python package "AI Fairness 360". This package is used by practitioners all over the world to measure and mitigate algorithmic bias in their systems.

To help integrate our methods in their package, we are looking for a UROP with great Python skills and some knowledge of machine learning. Your code will be used to fight algorithmic bias in real-world machine learning systems. You will be supervised by the Media Lab team that created the methods as well as by the team that built "AI Fairness 360".

Prerequisites:

  • Experience coding in Python
  • Knowledge of machine learning
  • Excited to work on open source software that will be used to improve real-world systems
  • Excited to reduce bias in machine learning algorithms
  • Software engineer work experience (eg through internships) is a plus

Relevant URL:

Contact: Please send you resume and a short motivation to Michiel Bakker bakker@mit.edu. Look forward to meeting you!


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: AlterEgo -- Weaving AI directly as an extension of human cognition through a wearable peripheral brain-computer interface.

Project Description: Demo!: https://goo.gl/GnzfHp

AlterEgo is a new platform that aims to weave the artificial intelligence (AI) as an extension of the human condition, and augmenting our cognition in a variety of ways. The wearable platform uses a combination of peripheral nerve impulses of the speech system and bone conduction audio -- to provide the subjective experience of a AI agent that could be interacted with from within the user's head, while still being a non-intrusive interface. We are moving ahead with full steam to rehabilitate and give a voice in real-time to people with conditions such as ALS, stroke, cerebral palsy, oral cancer.

If you're interested in designing the next generation of personal computing -- are passionate about AI/machine learning, neuroscience, language, electronic design, PCB design, please come talk to us! We are looking for passionate individuals who are comfortable with taking a lead, contributing to design, engineering & research and are willing to contribute to our goal of directly combining human and machine intelligence.

Relevant skills include circuit testing and design, board design, soldering and some programming (Arduino/C++) among other things.

Prerequisites: Some experience or coursework in electrical engineering and coding.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/alterego/overview/

Contact: Arnav Kapur: arnavkapur@gmail.com


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Exploring Future Concepts for Low-Cost Lunar Scientific Measurements

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space.  Space technology contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals via communication, Earth observation, positioning, microgravity research, spinoffs and fundamental research.  Space Enabled uses six methods to apply space technology to development, including art, design, social science, complex systems modeling, satellite engineering and data science.

Renewed interest in lunar missions has catalyzed new research related to platforms for observations and measurements on the lunar surface.  Lunar activities were traditionally completed by governments with extensive science budgets but current trends towards lower-cost scientific missions on the moon warrant an examination of technologies to aid these efforts.  This study focuses on three areas: the (1) characterization of radiation, (2) the impact of lunar dust on materials, and (3) position determination using measurements of the Earth and Sun.  This project will involve five steps: (1) a literature review of past lunar missions and international priorities for lunar science; (3) the proposal of conceptual designs for sensor systems to make measurements related to the three aforementioned areas of scientific interest, (4) a search for examples of technology that already exist which could be adapted for scientific lunar sensor kits; and (5) the proposal of specific designs for low-cost observation platforms.

Prerequisites: Background in planetary science, material science, aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, physics, chemistry, or related field

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title:  CLEVR - Collaborative Learning Environments in VR

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab and Education Arcade are developing and pilot testing a proof-of-concept VR game for a high school audience. We want to help students understand relative scale in Biology and collaborate with each other on problem-solving.

We currently have a 3D environment of the interior of a human cell, in which one person in VR is exploring, and a tablet-based companion app for non-VR players to interact with the in-VR player.

We are looking for 4 UROPs to join our development team this IAP through Summer, to develop and refine our VR and tablet gameplay.

Positions available:

  • Programmer x2
  • Game designer x2

Positions opening in June:

  • Artist (3D or 2D) x2
  • Scrummaster

UROP Responsibilities may include:

  • Working alongside and reporting to MIT Game Lab/Education Arcade staff developers
  • Development of our VR game in Unity, for the Oculus Rift and Microsoft Surface.
  • Designing, modeling, and animating 3D assets for use in-game of molecules, proteins, DNA, and organelles.
  • Collaborating with other UROPs to design, implement, test, and iterate on game features.

Relevant experience may include:

  • Unity and/or C#
  • Game design
  • Developing for VR headsets
  • Developing for touchscreens
  • 3D modeling and animation
  • 2D illustration and graphic design
  • User Interface design
  • Github
  • Working in teams

Relevant URL: https://education.mit.edu/project/clevr/

To apply: To apply to any of these UROPs, please send a resume, link to portfolio, and cover letter (stating which Project Title you are interested in) to Rik Eberhardt . We would like to conduct interviews ASAP for students.


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A John Hart

Project Title: Development of Electrochemical Reader for On Site Soil Nutrient Analysis

Project Description: We are developing an on site soil nutrient analysis and management system to provide small holding farmers with actionable soil health information.  The soil nutrient analysis system will enable the accurate measurement of pH, nitrate, phosphate, and potassium - providing critical information for the farmer to efficiently utilize fertilizer inputs and maximize crop yields. We are seeking a student to help with the development of a point of use electrochemical reader, designing the system for a pilot test in India.  The project will involve the continued development and refinement of a microcontroller-based system for making open circuit potential measurements, and integrating the system into a user friendly, portable device.

Prerequisites: The project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Interest and experience in electronics hardware fabrication, pcb design, arduino programming, and/or design for resource constrained environments is great.

Contact: If you are interested, please email Michael Arnold (mjarnold@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Development of Height & Force Controlled Tiled Floor

Project Description: Tangible Media Group has been working on developing a series of shape changing display hardware and design novel interaction that meditate digital world and physical environment with the shape displays. In this project, we scale up the shape display technology into a floor scale so that the shape changing interaction can be embedded into our daily environment of home / office. We will need a help of developing the first proof-of-concept prototype for us to scale up the vision of shape changing interface into daily environment.

Prerequisites: Mechanical Design, CAD/CAM (SOLIDWORKS etc..), Electronics (Arduino etc)

Contact: Ken Nakagaki: ken_n@media.mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: Mobile Educational Games

Project Description: Interested in games?  Want to work in web and app development? Apply to work on Participatory Simulations in STEP/TEA as a UROP!

Over many years and many iterations of technologies (from Palm Pilots to iPhones) we (Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade) have been working on whole class systems-based mobile simulation games. Imagine a classroom game in which you must interact with others but avoid getting contaminated with a virus being passed around.  OR trying to maintain the balance in a classroom digital ecosystem while keeping yourself alive. These are just some of the scenarios we’ve developed over the years with a lot of success.

The latest iterations of these games are being designed for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets using portable technologies (React).  We are looking for UROPs to help design new iterations of these games and implement them using scalable web technologies.

The system is currently using React (js) and Firebase.  This IAP we plan to add a React client and, design and implement at least one new game.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students with a strong programming background.  Experience with JavaScript/HTML/CSS, React/Redux and NoSQL databases is helpful. Interests/expertise in front end design and game design are also big strengths.  Availability to work during IAP for at least part-time at the STEP/TEA Lab is required.

Contact: If you are interested in this position, please send an email to jhaas@mit.edu and include:

  • an overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
  • a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume if you have one)
  • a short description of why you are interested in working on this project
  • Please put “PSims" in the subject line

2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Drazen Prelec

Project Title: Online Experiments for Wisdom of Crowds

Project Description: The wisdom of crowds is a concept of which we could obtain a prediction that is very close to the ground truth by aggregating opinions from many individuals. It is a research area that draws interests from many different disciplines such as Statistics, Economics, Cognitive science, Psychology, etc. For this project, the student is asked to code experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk or Empirica.ly following protocols provided by the supervisors . From this project, the student could learn how to properly design a lab experiment and maybe develop his or her own interest in the wisdom of crowds concept.

Prerequisites: The student is required to know how to code experiments on MTurk or Empirica.ly (https://empirica.ly/), preferably both. Ideally, the student should have prior experience working with these platforms.

Contact: Yunhao (Jerry) Zhang: zyhjerry@mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Paper Dreams: explores the various modes of creativity that can be enabled by artificial intelligence.

Project Description: A fair amount of current research has been focused on using machine intelligence to learn “creativity,” from transfer learning of artistic styles to translation of languages. However, the application of current machine learning algorithms and multi-modal inputs to the augmentation of existing human creativity is a relatively unexplored area. By focusing on the dynamics of this human-machine interaction and working with the representations inside machine learning models, we can give people new tools for reasoning. Our system at its current form provides a user with a canvas that it is more like a mirror, where we draw strokes and re-evaluate what our drawing looks like at each step in order to continue. We do this by building a neural network which takes a small number of input variables, called latent variables, and produces the entire sketch as output.

Some of the driving questions for this project are:

  • To what extent are these new tools enabling creativity?
  • Can they be used to generate ideas which are truly surprising and new, or are the ideas clichés, based on trivial recombinations of existing ideas?
  • Can such systems be used to develop fundamental new interface primitives? 
  • How will those new primitives change and expand the way humans think?

What you will learn: Recording and analyzing brain activity using the state of the art EEG sensors Implementing modern deep neural networks such as Generative Adversarial Networks, Variational Autoencoders, Seq2Seq models etc. Development of interactive deep learning models

Prerequisites:

  • Linear Algebra
  • Image Processing
  • Signal Processing
  • Machine Learning

Relevant URL: 

Contact: Guillermo Bernal: gbernal@media.mit.edu


2/12/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Distributed & Collaborative ML

Project Description: We are looking for motivated UROPs at Camera Culture research group at the MIT Media Lab. The projects would involve deep learning, optimization, statistics and some coding with any of PyTorch/TensorFlow/Keras/Matlab. The projects are well-defined and scoped out and an ideal candidate should be able to proactively contribute with periodic updates. Work around adjacent problem areas is also encouraged. Both hands-on experimental projects and/or theoretical opportunities exist.

Desired background:  Coding fluency / research mindset.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/distributed-learning-and-collaborative-learning-1/overview/

Contact: Apply by sending your resume and brief description of experience / interest to Maggie Cohen: cohenm@media.mit.edu


2/11/2019

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Miho Mazereeuw

Project Title: Disaster Housing Pre-planning Toolkit

Project Description: The Urban Risk Lab is currently conducting a multi-year project studying alternatives for FEMA’s post-disaster housing system. Under this project, we are developing the “Disaster Housing Pre-Planning Toolkit,” an interactive web interface that helps local governments plan for post-disaster housing and housing resilience. By addressing safe housing before a disaster strikes, this Toolkit helps ensure cities are better prepared for and more resilient to hazards including floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes.



The toolkit comprises of two modules: 1) step-by-step process for communities to work through a series of planning activities which are specific to their local hazard profile, level of planning and other characteristics; 2) an interactive map that displays local hazards and vulnerabilities via national datasets.



UROPs will help:

  • Develop the overall software architecture

  • Develop the front-end framework and UI/UX design.

  • Set up basic server functionality and schema design.

  • The lab has experience with developing map-based decision support systems, and mentors will be guiding the student with the above development tasks.

Learning + opportunity

The student will be exposed to planning and coordination for disaster housing in three pilots in the US, in collaboration with FEMA, local officials and emergency management agencies. By working through this toolkit, municipalities will develop local disaster housing plans which prioritize creating safer housing that aligns with the community’s larger goals and vision.

Prerequisites (if any):

  • Required: Knowledge of front-end web frameworks, Mapbox GL JS, Node.js server

  • Preferred: Schema design, PostgreSQL GIS, spatial data manipulation for web

Contact Name: Miho Mazereeuw

Contact Email: mmaz@mit.edu


2/6/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sai Ravela

Project Title: Neural Dynamical Systems Research

Project Description: Under a project in collaboration with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Earth Signals & Systems group is developing a neural class of models of dynamical systems that can initialize the states, calibrate the parameters, reduce complexity, parameterize structural errors, and improve accuracy of numerical models  derived from governing equations of said systems by using both numerical simulations from the numerical models and data.

The systems we consider include chaotic idealized systems (e.g. Lorenz) as well as fluid dynamical systems (e.g. Navier Stokes with homogeneous turbulence), and Geophysical fluids (e.g. porous media, and ocean and atmospheric circulation models).

In this UROP, we will develop a class of training algorithms that is based on newly developed loss functions for stable learning suitable for dynamical systems. We will compare them with traditional approaches and publish these results. The experiments will initially involve idealized systems and success thereafter will then enable us to implement a new ocean circulation model for climate simulations.

Prerequisites:

  • Are you interested in dynamical systems?
  • Do you know how to program neural networks?
  • Do you know something about modeling dynamical systems?
  • Do you know some linear algebra, for example, to understand stability?
  • Do you want to make an impact in climate modeling?
  • Do you like to work closely with the faculty supervisor?

If you positively score  4/6 in the above list, you are a good candidate. EECS, Mech E, AeroAstro, CEE, ChemE, EAPS, Physics or Math is fine, but what really matters is that you are interested in Learning and Dynamical systems.

Relevant URL: essg.mit.edu

Contact: Sai Ravela Please send a resume to Sai Ravela (ravela@mit.edu), if interested. Positions are to be filled asap.


2/6/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sai Ravela

Project Title: Hybrid Unmanned Aircraft System Design and Field Experiment

Project Description: Under a Navy award, the Earth Signals and Systems Group is developing a new class of adaptive autopilots that allow for rapid prototyping with changing aircraft system configuration. These autopilots are being developed using a new set of techniques for estimation and control including ensemble and retrospective cost adaptive control.

The second aspect of this project involves developing a new class of hybrid VTOL long-endurance aircraft both for low altitude operations and high altitude operations. The former are rotary-fixed wing hybrids and the latter are solar energy-based Dynastats.

This UROP advertisement seeks up to three UROPS with interest in unmanned aircraft systems, with experience in mechanical, aeronautical, electrical engineering, computer science or environmental engineering. You would work on one of the following tasks:

  1. Perpare and optimize our aircraft (we design them) for experiments with Glaciers, Volcanos, Clouds and Cyclones.
  2. Develop autopilots using Ensemble and Restrospective Cost based adaptive control.
  3. Help in the design of hybrid aircraft and their power plants as described above.

Prerequisites: If you have taken Unified Engineering, Controls, Autonomy, Aeromodeling or are generally adept at fabrication, you'd be a good fit. Over 15 UROPs have in the past worked with the Earth Signals and Systems group developing and flying aircraft for cooperative autonomous observing system experiments to study coherent structures the atmosphere. Therefore, there is the opportunity both for a great field experience (we'll be flying much) and a fundamental understanding of autonomy.

Juniors and Seniors are probably the population pool for this project, and seniors with ambition for MEng might have an additional advantage. However, as a lab we pride in helping advance your research experience through detailed 1x1 interactions, therefore, freshman and sophomores with some experience with aircraft (e.g. modeling) and electronics (e.g. Beaglebone, RF circuits or power amplifiers) or GPU programming (e.g. Tegra) will also fit nicely.

Relevant URL: essg.mit.edu

Contact: Sai Ravela Please send a resume to Sai Ravela (ravela@mit.edu), if interested. Positions are to be filled asap.


2/6/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniel Anderson

Project Title: Synthesis and identification of glucose responsive materials

Project Description: Type 1 diabetes (T1D), also known as juvenile diabetes, is a growing health crisis all over the world with the total annual global costs amounting to US$500 billion including the treatment related to its complications. Self-administration of insulin injections, which is critical in maintaining a healthy normal blood glucose level, is an important component in managing diabetes. As the traditional insulin therapy is expensive, painful and inconvenient. This project will involve synthesis and evaluation of the next generation glucose-responsive chemosensors with physiologically relevant glucose-responsiveness. It involves interesting and challenging organic synthesis as well as molecular biology.

Prerequisites: We seek students with a strong background and hands-on experience in organic chemistry and molecular biology.

Relevant URL: http://anderson-lab.mit.edu/ and http://langerlab.mit.edu/

Contact: Chandra Bhattacharya: cbhattac@mit.edu


2/6/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniel Anderson

Project Title: Synthesis and evaluation of lipid nanoparticles for gene delivery

Project Description: Gene therapy is a promising treatment strategy and has the ability to regulate protein concentrations at the cellular level. Development of delivery strategies is critical in realizing their full clinical potential. In the current study, we want to design, synthesize and biologically evaluate the lipid nanoparticles that can deliver short interfering RNAs or messenger RNAs. Keywords- drug delivery, gene therapy, organic chemistry

Prerequisites: Organic chemistry 1 and 2 preferred. Hands on experience in organic chemistry and molecular biology.

Relevant URL: http://anderson-lab.mit.edu/ and http://langerlab.mit.edu/

Contact: Chandra Bhattacharya: cbhattac@mit.edu


2/6/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andy Lippman

Project Title: CivicLink: A Self-Hosted Community Organizing Tool

Project Description: You will be working with the Viral Communications group on the CivicLink project team, aiming to create meaningful UI for a decentralized yet self-hosted platform geared towards internal community organizers that aims to leverage community physical co-presence. CivicLink provides a calendar, event listings, and discussion forums for an organization. There is also moderation support to facilitate discussion and action.

Ideally, you're good at or are interested in learning:

  • creating robust discussion platform UI/UX
  • developing in react.js, preact.js vue
  • have experience with ActivityPub,  CalDAV, CardDAV etc

Our goal is to have a working demo by April 22 for a Media Lab wide conference (members week), so we're looking for someone who is willing to work as much as they can until the prototype is complete! Once the demo is presented, we're looking for a UROP who will want to continue on with the team (if you like us)  and better CivicLink with creative ideas!

Prerequisites:

  • You're passionate about empowering activist communities through data ownership
  • You don't have an insane course load
  • You're ready to collaborate in an interactive team environment

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/civic-link/overview/

Contact: Océane Boulais: oceane@media.mit.edu


2/6/19

Spring

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Namrata Kala

Project Title: How Do Environmental Firm Relocation Policies Affect Firms, Workers, and Environmental Quality?

Project Description: In this project, we will use quasi-experimental methods to evaluate the impacts of industrial relocation policies in several Indian cities which mandated closure of certain industries (classified as “polluting industries) to certain designated areas – on outcomes such as firm location, pollution agglomeration, and residential expansion. To so do we will combine several data sources, including satellite data and Census data. The project is at an early stage, and the UROP will get an opportunity to make substantial contributions to the project.

Prerequisites:

Position #1

  • Required: experience coding machine learning methods for image processing
  • Preferred: experience with spatial modeling tools like geographically weighted regression, experience with remote sensing

Position #2

  • Required: experience coding in Python
  • Preferred: experience with ArcGIS/ArcPy or similar GIS package with an API

Contact: Namrata Kala: kala@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof Ahmed Ghoniem

Project Title: Techno-economic analysis of the crop residue value chain

Project Description: In many parts of the developing world, agricultural and other biomass waste is simply burned in the open air, creating much toxic pollution. Thermochemical treatment is a process whereby this waste can be converted into solid fuel. This has the potential to provide renewable energy, create new income opportunities, reduce waste, and reduce pollution and greenhouse emissions.

We are conducting a techno-economic analysis of the crop residue value chain. In many places around the world, there are apps (mostly Android-based) or websites capable of pulling the updated prices of local biomass residues. The UROP will automate the data collection process from these sources at least every day such that they can be better analyzed.

Prerequisites:

  • Must:  Coding skills involving extracting data from mobile apps and websites
  • Preferred but not essential: Experience with techno-economic analysis or life cycle analysis

Contact: Sonal Thengane: sonalt@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evan Ziporyn

Project Title: “Language of Shadows” Art and AI project with CAST Visiting Artist Matthew Ritchie

Project Description: Matthew Ritchie is the Dasha Zhukova Distinguished Visiting Artist at the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology. This project is part of a larger suite of installations and performances planned for the culmination of Ritchie’s MIT residency in 2019-2020.

The basis of this project is melding the latent space of a GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) with the physical world and modulating visual perception. The role of the UROP will be to gather several types of MIT-specific input data, train the GAN, and prepare the outputs for the next steps in the project. The results generated by the GAN will form the database for creating a VR/AR environment with the “visual score” generated by the GAN. The UROP will work with MIT Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music Evan Ziporyn, CAST Visiting Artist Matthew Ritchie, and MIT Brain and Cognitive Sciences Doctoral Candidate Sarah Schwettmann.

“Language of Shadows” full project description: A visual score is generated by a GAN to select for higher order resemblances used to build a shadow AR ‘time information’ model of MIT. A room of ‘time information’ is assembled. The time information room sections serve as visual triggers for wandering players wearing the AR masks for a choreographic VR/AR experience. The time information is also printed on textured panels. The room can then be installed and exhibited in two forms – as a continuous space or disassembled and distributed across campus.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with GANs, Tensorflow. Proficient in C++ and Python

Relevant URL: arts.mit.edu/artists/matthew-ritchie/

Contact: Lydia Brosnahan: lydiab@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: TaleBlazer – Location-based Augmented Reality (AR) on Smartphones

Project Description: Interested in location-based technology? Interested in games? Want to play with smartphones? Apply to work on TaleBlazer for pay as a UROP! TaleBlazer is a location-based Augmented Reality (AR) game creation platform. Game designers build interactive games using the TaleBlazer Editor web application. Similar to StarLogo, Scratch or App Inventor, the TaleBlazer Editor includes a blocks-based programming environment that allows the game designer to specify the game logic.

Game players use the TaleBlazer mobile application to download and play TaleBlazer games on GPS enabled phones (Android or iOS). As the players move around the real world, they meet virtual characters or objects in the game world that the game designers have built for them.

TaleBlazer is intended for educational purposes – the players explore subject matter in a new and exciting way in a real world context. We have worked with zoos, schools, after-school clubs, etc. to design and launch various professionally developed games with science, math, and history content. The TaleBlazer Editor can also be a valuable teaching and learning tool for student game designers, who learn programming skills and game design, while delving deeply into subject matter to create games about specific topics.

Technology: The TaleBlazer Mobile application is built via Axway Studio using Titanium, a 3rd party toolkit which allows the programmer to write a single codebase in JavaScript that is then compiled into native iOS and Android applications. The TaleBlazer website is based on a CakePHP/MySQL backend with a JavaScript/HTML/CSS frontend.

A single semester paid position for the spring semester 2019 is available. Ability to continue full-time for summer 2019 would be a bonus.

Project: Map Improvements

  • Make it easier for the Game Designer to create maps at a pedestrian friendly and GPS appropriate scale
  • Make it easier for the Game Designer to port a game to a new location
  • Design a wizard to make placing agents in ported games more easily
  • Allow the Player to zoom in, pan, and rotate a map during gameplay
  • Identify and implement other usability enhancements

Prerequisites:

  • These positions require a strong programming background.
  • Team members should expect to work ~10-12 hours/week, with the majority of those hours onsite at the STEP Lab during business hours. (Some work may be done remotely at other times.)

Relevant URL: education.mit.edu, taleblazer.org

Contact: If you are interested in this position, please send an email to tea-jobs@mit.edu and include:

  • an overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
  • please specify which position(s) you are interested in
  • a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume if you have one)
  • a short description of why you are interested in working on this project
  • Please put "TaleBlazer" in the subject line

2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Energy Harvesting for Intelligent Pipe System

Project Description: Every day, about 20% of the clean water produced in the world is lost due to pipe leaks. Due to limitations in available technologies, most of the leaks are either not found, or found too late. Every year, there are 240,000 water pipe breaks in the US, and many of them cause sinkholes and other severe damage to the infrastructure. Water utilities need methods for predicting and detecting such leaks before they become big breaks, so that they can perform preventative maintenance. Effective ways can be sending robots into the network to perform detection task or implementing sensors along pipes to achieve real-time health monitoring and prognostics. The success of robot manipulation and wireless sensor networks somehow requires the widely-distributed energy supply, and it gradually becomes the main constraint in our system. Thus, we are going to develop a magnetohydrodynamics mechanism and system, that can harvest kinematics energy from flow and regulate the output for better consumption by robots and wireless sensor networks.

This project combines theoretical, simulational and experimental analysis. The UROP will perform CAD modeling, hydrodynamics simulation, electronics rectifier design, device design, experiments and data analysis. This project is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to explore work in mechatronics, design, electronics and hydrodynamics.

Expected hours are 10 per week. The candidate should be committed to the project and interested in working with energy harvesting. The nature of extensive work with electronics parts desires a background of electronics engineering, but it is not required.

Prerequisites:

  • Proficiency in Solidworks and MATLAB
  • Creativity in design
  • Backgrounds of electronics engineering, or willingness to learn quickly

Contact: Xiaotong Zhang: kevxt@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring 2019

UROP Department, Lab or Center: BCS, Computational Psycholinguistics Lab

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Eye tracking for language processing

Project Description: We are launching an exciting new study on how humans read and process language in real time using eye tracking technology. We are looking for a highly motivated student with a strong interest in language to join the project during the Spring semester. As part of the UROP, you will learn about experimental techniques in psycholinguistics and will be in charge of running a series of experiments using a state-of-the-art eyetracker. Upon interest, there may be a possibility to continue the UROP into the Summer.

Prerequisites: 

  • Responsible, independent, and highly attentive to detail.
  • Ideally at least one semester of programming experience.
  • Availability to work 10 hours per week.

Contact: Yevgeni Berzak: berzak@mit.edu. Please include a CV and a copy of your transcript with your application.


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Edgerton Center (EC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Mobile Game Development for Mental Health Assessment

Project Description: Mental health is an important concern which touches most of our lives, yet this aspect of our health is often neglected. While there are many  specific mental health disorders, our group has been developing simple  mobile-phone based video games as a tool to help people monitor and assess  their mental health. We are designing games that test specific neurocognitive measures such as fatigue, working memory, stress level, cognition, and impulsivity. Our goal is to create mobile tools that are fun to use and can function as screening tools as well as biofeedback to help increase our self-awareness. Since very few commercially available mental health apps are actually clinically validated, Our research plan includes rigorous clinical testing of the tools we develop. Our lab has a  strong connection to the psychology and behavioral medicine community as  well as affiliation with Mass General Hospital and UMass Medical School department of Psychiatry.

Skills and tasks: We are seeking students with software and mobile programming skills, who may also have an interest in psychology or mental health, and who are motivated to create new ways to revolutionize mental health assessment and treatment. Our initial video game prototypes were developed using a specific cross-platform framework called LibGDX (https://libgdx.badlogicgames.com/); however, support for this platform has waned, so we are now moving to a new game platform

(https://unity.com/developers-corner), which is much better supported.  Experience with mobile app development or video game development experience in Unity is desired.  At this time, we are interviewing students for Spring semester, with the option of continuing into IAP or beyond.  We seek someone who is self-motivated and able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress. Pay or credit is available or UAP project consideration.

Relevant URL: https://mobilehealthlab.com/portfolio/games-for-mental-health-screening/

Contact: Richard Fletcher: fletcher@media.mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Edgerton Center (EC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Mobile Platform for Human Trafficking Victims

Project Description: Human trafficking and exploitation occurs throughout the world, including here in the US.  Populations that are exploited are generally the poor, as well as immigrants, and native americans. While many types of trafficking exist, the primary type of human trafficking that we wish to address is sex trafficking.  We are working with an organization in the US which provides support and temporary shelter for women who are transitioning out of the lifestyle and into mainstream society.  A primary challenge in this work is that people who escape human trafficking often fall back into the lifestyle, as a result of financial or social pressures.  For this, we are interested in developing a mobile platform (app and server) that will provide peer support for women who are in the transition program.  Besides creating a simple secure peer support channel, we are also interested in creating probabilistic algorithms that can predict vulnerability that can provide alerts and support in critical times to prevent women from falling back into the lifestyle.

Prerequisites: We are seeking students with software and/or mobile programming skills, who have an interest in helping vulnerable populations.  In addition to mobile app development, we also seek student with a math or probability background who can help build Bayesian models and prediction algorithms that can be integrated into our platform.  For certain tasks, a background in security or encryption is also welcome.  At this time, we are interviewing students for Spring semester, with the option of continuing into the summer or beyond.  We seek someone who is self-motivated and able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress. Pay or credit is available or UAP project consideration.

Relevant URL: http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org/

Contact: Richard Fletcher: fletcher@media.mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Edgerton Center (EC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Mobile AR and Machine Vision for Health Applications

Project Description: Machine Vision and Augmented reality (AR) provides powerful new ways to recognize objects and represent and display information on mobile phones and tablets.  This functionality can enable completely new applications of smart phones for patient examination as well as treatment. Augmented reality also provides important feedback that enables the user interface to be dramatically simplified.   Our group is applying this technology to a variety of applications ranging from scanning a surgical wound, to printed diagnostics, to automated measurement of breathing and biofeedback.

Prerequisites: We are currently seeking a UROP students with some Android or JAVA experience to help develop applications using the Qualcomm Vuforia SDK for Android. (https://developer.vuforia.com/)  This powerful SDK enables a wide variety of useful augmented reality functions (see for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP5le6lZ_bw).  We are looking for students with good experience with either Android or iOS, with preference given to Android. Prior experience with AR, machine vision, or image processing is a plus. Experience with the Android NDK or C/C++ coding is also a plus.  No biomedical experience or knowledge is necessary, but of course, a general interest in creating technologies to help people is desirable. The student should be able to work independently, and attend weekly team meetings to check on progress. At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working for the Spring term and open to the possibility of continuing beyond that. Pay or credit is available, or UAP project consideration.

Relevant URL: http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org/portfolio

Contact: Richard Fletcher: fletcher@media.mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Strano

Project Title: Nanoparticle-mediated gene delivery to pollen and root systems

Project Description: Plants are sessile organisms which have developed complex physical structure and signaling mechanisms to perceive their surroundings. The interface of nanomaterials and plants, also described as plant nanobionics, can equip the latter with novel and augmented functions such as environmental sensing, light emission and increased crop production. The Strano Lab in MIT is a pioneer in plant nanobionics research, with light-emitting plants and explosive-sensing plants that can send an e-mail upon analyte detection as our most recent achievements.

We are currently attempting to utilize single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNTs) to deliver genetic materials to the pollen of oil palm plants for plant genetic engineering. Pollen contains the male gametes (sperm cells) necessary for plant reproduction and breeding. By delivering genetic materials into the pollen, we can modify the nuclear genome to code beneficial traits, such as drought or disease resistance, which can then be passed to the offspring, However, pollen is coated with one of the most inert biopolymers ever made in nature called sporopollenin, rendering the current method to deliver genetic materials past the pollen cell wall ineffective. We have previously shown that SWNTs can passively traffic past the plant cell wall, cell membrane and even the double lipid bilayers of chloroplast. Our preliminary experiments indicate that SWNTs can also penetrate past the sporopollenin. This suggests that SWNTs can potentially be used as nanocarriers to deliver biomaterial into the pollen grains without the need of high energy input or chemically destructive method.

As a student of this project, you will be assisting in preparing various functionalized SWNTs with different conjugation chemistry strategies. You will also be evaluating their efficiency in binding and delivering genetic materials into plant materials, and their effect on pollen germination rate or health. You will be exposed to different areas of research such as nanotechnology, material science and plant biology, with tasks ranging from synthesizing the nanocarriers to evaluating how these nanocarriers interact with pollen materials. There are also opportunities to get involved in side projects such as studying how nanoparticle physical traits can affect its uptake into the roots of plants in microfluidic chips, and metal ion sensing using nanoparticle in plants.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students who are responsible, organized, willing to learn and able to work independently. No specific skills required - you will receive training from graduate students in the lab. Basic chemistry wet lab experience is a plus. Students who can commit at least two semesters of UROPs are preferred.

Contact: Tedrick Salim Lew: tedrick@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amos Winter

Project Title: Mechanism Design for Water Desalination System

Project Description: The Global Engineering and Research (GEAR) Lab focuses on the marriage of mechanical design theory and user-centered product design to create simple, elegant technological solutions for use in highly constrained environments. As part of this goal, the GEAR Lab is developing a home-use Electrodialysis water purification system that conserves twice as much water as conventional reverse osmosis systems.

We are looking for a student to design the water flow control mechanisms to route the purified water through the system. The student will drive concept generation, analysis and prototyping for this portion of the project. They will become familiar with valves, mechanical actuators, and hydraulic pressure and will combine this with knowledge of manufacturing and material constraints. The project deliverable will be a novel design concept that meets the system requirements.

Prerequisites: Enjoys understanding how machines and mechanisms work, experience with CAD, comfort with (or excitement for) prototyping and machining expected.

Relevant URL: http://gear.mit.edu/projects/home_desal.html

Contact: Hannah Varner: varnerh@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: The Internet Hate Observatory Project – IHOP

Project Description: We are currently building the Internet Hate Observatory Platform. In short, this is a series of tools to see what’s happening on the platforms* where hate speech is hiding and prospering. We need technical help to build these tools. If you have good programming skills, we’d be happy to chat with you. No, you don’t have to be Course 6. Yes, some ML experience is a plus. *8chan, Gab, Threema, PewTube, etc.

Prerequisites: Some coding experience

Contact: Léopold Mebazaa: L@media.mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: Eye tracking for language understanding in context

Project Description: We study how humans integrate contextual and linguistic information in real time using eye tracking technology. We are looking for a highly motivated student who is interested in language to join the project during the Spring Semester. The student will be expected to work between 9 and 12 hours a week for the project. You will learn about experimental techniques used in psycholinguistics and to operate a state-of-the-art eyetracker. The student will be in charge of running a series of eye-tracking experiments. Upon interest, there will be a possibility to continue the UROP into the Summer semester and participate in analyzing the collected data.

Prerequisites:

  • Responsible, reliable while independent, and highly attentive to detail.
  • Preferably at least one semester of programming experience (e.g. 6.00/6.0001+6.0002).

Contact: Helena Aparicio: haparici@mit.edu.  Please include a CV and a copy of your transcript with your application.


2/5/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph Jacobson

Project Title: Scaling Science: Machine Learning on Linked Data to Predict Impactful Technologies

Project Description: We have built a linked-data graph containing a large percentage of all published research, and have computed graph-based metrics of impact, as well as unsupervised community detection algorithms, to discover structure. This UROP will involve assisting in the construction of algorithms to compute on this datasource. For example, on current effort involves the identification of features that drive highly impactful science--and ultimately predicting what technologies and scientific advancements will be  highly impactful in the future. There is also an opportunity to join this work with portfolio theory and economics in analysis of impact-optimal funding for technological ventures.

Prerequisites:

  • Critical: Excellent programming abilities, consistent time commitment, highly motivated, and the ability to work independently.
  • Important: Advanced statistics or machine learning, back-end development and/or database experience
  • Ideal: Exposure to graph theory and/or portfolio theory, front-end or UI/UX development experience

Contact: James Weis: jww@mit.edu


2/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Center for Bits and Atoms

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Neil Gershenfeld

Project Title: Discrete Robotic Construction

Project Description:  At the Center for Bits and Atoms we work on advancing digital fabrication. We’re looking beyond just computers controlling machine tools, and instead look to digitize the materials themselves, applying principles from computer science and biology to the fabrication of complex integrated structures from digital designs.

This project specifically focuses on the assembly of robotic systems that integrate structure, mechanism, actuation, circuitry, and computation from a small set of millimeter scale parts. Potential projects will vary based on the skills of the applicant but could include some of the following:

  • Assembly automation: assisting in the development of pick-and-place assembly platforms.
  • Materials testing and characterization: designing experiments and fixturing to analyze the mechanical properties of assembled structures and mechanisms.
  • Integrated electronics: prototyping, assembling, and testing small-scale electronic assemblies made from microcontroller building blocks.
  • Simulation and design: developing computer models of assembled capabilities which could include mechanical, actuation, mechanism, and/or networking/computation.
  • Students will have the opportunity to work in the CBA/Media Lab shop and use machines including wire-EDM, micro-machining lasers, and precision CNC machining tools. 

Prerequisites: The work spans many disciplines and we are seeking applicants who have broad interests but who are technically deep in at least one of the following areas:

  • structures/materials testing
  • mechanical design and prototyping (Fusion 360 preferred as well as extensive experience with 3D printing, laser cutting, and (ideally) mill + lathe)
  • circuit design (Eagle/KiCad) and embedded programming (AVR).
  • numerical modeling (Python Scipy/Numpy or javascript)

Relevant URL: https://assembledassemblers.pages.cba.mit.edu/assembledWeb/

Contact: Will Langford. will.langford@cba.mit.edu


2/1/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Gregory C. Rutledge

Project Title: Oil Sorption of Electrospun Nanofiber Membranes

Project Description: Oil contamination is one of the major sources of water pollution, especially in areas of industrial development and urban expansion. Among various clean-up methods, oil extraction with sorbents is one of the most economical and efficient options. Recent work at MIT and elsewhere indicates that nonwoven mats made of synthetic and/or natural polymer fibers can be produced by electrospinning, and that such mats have smaller pore sizes for a given porosity than those made by alternative methods. Such materials are expected to exhibit strong capillary forces and good capacity for swelling. In previous work, electrospun polystyrene mats have been shown to exhibit higher oil retention than that of commercial polypropylene mats. The performance of mats made of polymer blends have also been studied. However, the kinetics of sorption and recoverability in electrospun mats has received little attention to date. The objectives of this project are to 1) fabricate a the porous nonwoven fiber mats by the method of electrospinning. 2) characterize the ability of the mats to absorb oil selectively from contaminated water, in terms of parameters such as sorption capacity, rate of sorption and reusability of the mats. 3) study the kinetics of sorption. The goal is to determine the mode of operation and effectiveness of the mats in adsorbing oil from water, and to relate the observed performance back to the intrinsic properties of the mats.

Prerequisites: Junior or senior preferred, basic knowledge in transport phenomena preferred; No specific skills required - you will receive training and mentorship from grad students in the lab; Responsible, willing to learn, able to think and work independently.

Contact: Junli Hao: junlihao@mit.edu


2/1/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta



Project Title: Front-end development of Patient Reported Outcomes system to evaluate and enhance quality of Digital Health approaches algorithms

Project Description: Designing and developing the front-end of a web-based platform for feedback and reporting of AI-based and other Digital Health based approaches and algorithms for healthcare. The theme is to use Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) to look at evolving Digital-Health based approaches, devices, and algorithms, especially ones that are not subject to approval by governmental or other authorities. Work involves interacting with back-end developers and medical doctors.

Prerequisites: Experience in front-end web development.

Relevant URL: learning-modules.mit.edu/materials/index.html?uuid=/course/6/sp18/6.884#materials

Contact: Amar Gupta: agupta@mit.edu


2/1/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Front-End Development for Urban Mobility Visualization and Simulation

Project Description: The City Science research group at the Media Lab is developing a shared-use, on-demand autonomous tricycle for moving people and goods in cities. This new category of hybrid, robotic vehicles opens up a new avenue of research not just in new mobility services, but also in the design of streets and infrastructure.  To help accelerate the adoption of such new solutions, we are also building tools for public sectors to visualize urban mobility-related conditions and simulate change. This role (paid) will play a key support to researchers at City Science on maintaining and further developing new browser-based tools for mobility visualization and simulation. Successful UROPs will have the opportunity to further develop the project during summer time (paid)and into a senior-year, super-UROP project through 6.UAR.Interested candidates should submit a project reference  (Github or project link) and be interviewed by Friday Feb 8th.

 Overall project background: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/mod/overview/

Previous work example: https://ooookai.github.io/velotropolis/

Prerequisites: Javascript

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/mod/overview/

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


2/1/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research (MKI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. George Ricker

Project Title: Stellar and Extragalactic Science with TESS

Project Description: NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is currently searching the sky for small exoplanets around bright stars.  TESS data also provides a unique view on stellar variability, binary systems, compact objects, stellar outbursts/explosions/supernovae, active galaxies, and black holes.  We are seeking a student to write software connecting existing astrophysical catalogs with data reduction/analysis routines applied to TESS data.  If time permits, the student will also design and implement a system to host the results for public access.

Prerequisites:

  • Strong Python and Numpy/Scipy skills are required.
  • Familiarity with web frameworks and databases is a plus.

Relevant URL: https://tess.mit.edu/

Contact: Dr. Michael Fausnaugh: faus@mit.edu


2/1/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Music and Theater Arts (Course 21M)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Scott Cuthbert

Project Title: Digital Humanities Spring '19 UROP - History of Computing at MIT, 1950–1962

Project Description: MIT recently announced the creation of the Schwarzman College of Computing to begin in 2019, affording the perfect opportunity as humanists to reflect on the history of computation at the Institute in the past. The project mixes archival work in the Institute's Archives and Special Collections with coding skills (including old computer simulation) to create a digital repository of information about how computing was integrated into the history of MIT. By not just focusing on principal figures such as Philip Morse but also the people who maintained the computers and facilitated their use, the Computation History project aims to give a deep and balanced insight into how computation has transformed the Institute, the humanities, and the world.

Code on GitHub: https://github.com/dhmit/computation_hist

Prerequisites:

  • Coding Skills
  • Python & Django skills preferred

Contact: Nicole Fountain: digitalhumanities@mit.edu


2/1/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Political Science (Course 17)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Regina Bateson

Project Title: Inside the 2018 Midterm Elections

Project Description: The 2018 midterm elections saw a record number of candidates run for Congress. This research project seeks to document and analyze their experiences.

Prof. Bateson is assembling a team of UROPs to assist with research on candidates, to communicate directly with candidates, and to organize a conference of candidates, journalists, and academics, which will be held in late April or early May 2019.

Wellesley students are especially encouraged to apply.

The undergraduate researchers will:

  • Gather and code information about candidates for Congress. This will include reviewing campaign finance reports, personal financial disclosures, and other primary-source documents.
  • Find contact information for current and former Congressional candidates, and assist with scheduling interviews with them.
  • Help to plan and execute a conference of 2018 Congressional candidates. The conference will be held in the greater Boston area in late April or early May 2019. UROPs will provide logistical support, invite candidates, publicize the conference, and recruit journalists and academics to serve as moderators.
  • Attend office hours in person or via Skype at least once every two weeks.

This is a unique opportunity to join a dynamic team working at the intersection of real-world politics and academic research. In 2016, Prof. Bateson was recognized as MIT’s UROP mentor of the year. She was also recently a candidate for Congress in California’s 4th District.

Prerequisites:

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Responsible and reliable.
  • Demonstrates good judgment and has the maturity and discretion to be communicating with current and former political candidates, journalists, and academics.
  • Outstanding organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Experience working on a campaign or volunteering for a political candidate is an asset, but applicants do not necessarily need to have any political experience or any particular academic preparation.

Note: Liberal, moderate, and conservative students are all encouraged to apply. Diverse viewpoints make teams stronger.

Contact: To apply, please send your resume to Regina Bateson bateson@mit.edu with the subject line, “Spring 2019 UROP application.”


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jonathan Polimeni

Project Title: The effect of brain geometry in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Project Description: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is used to study neuronal activity in the human brain non-invasively. FMRI techniques have been refined and pushed to higher spatial and temporal resolution over the last decade. The hope is to improve the ability of this technique to accurately measure neuronal function using higher resolution imaging, however there is evidence that higher resolution makes the fMRI signals more biased to the geometry of local brain anatomy and vasculature. This project looks into fMRI data analysis to investigate the effect of measuring brain function at different resolution.

We are looking for a student with a background in either CS, Physics, EE or similar that is interested in learning more about fMRI and the human brain. No prior knowledge in neuroscience is required. Most of the work will comprise bash scripting and data analysis in Matlab. The student will gain experience in specific software for brain imaging data, handling large data sets, signal processing, brain physiology, and of course fMRI.

Prerequisites: Comfortable with LINUX/UNIX and Matlab.

Contact: Olivia Viessmann: oviessmann@mgh.harvard.edu


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: AI Software Development for the Bridge K-12 Education Initiative

Project Description: Are you interested in democratizing AI education? Help us build an interactive platform for students of all ages to learn about AI!  From Scratch-based microworlds to Jupyter notebooks, we’re developing the software services and infrastructure that will give K-12+ students a hands-on, project-based introduction to fundamental concepts and practices of AI: machine perception, machine learning, knowledge representation, human-AI interaction, autonomous systems, ethical design issues, and more.

We are currently looking for a UROP who has previous programming experience with Generative Adversarial Networks to work on a specific GAN-based application. Responsibilities will include collecting and preparing a new project-appropriate training dataset, training the GANs on the dataset, and working with a team to integrate the application into a Scratch-based framework.

Required: Programming experience with GANs.

Not required but will be significantly helpful: Programming experience in Python and JavaScript; experience with TensorFlow and/or PyTorch; experience with git-based version control and continuous integration; experience integrating with large cloud service providers (e.g. GCP, IBM Cloud, AWS); experience with Scratch 3.0 or Snap!, front-end UX design and development. 

Contact: Katherine Gallagher: kvg0@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew B. Lippman

Project Title: Decentralized Crowd-sourced News Verification System

Project Description: The aim of this project is to implement and deploy an information system that thwarts the spread of misinformation. This information system will provide Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms with useful data to identify and remove fake content, malicious users and disruptive behaviors. You will have the opportunity to work on the following areas of your choice:

(I) Web user interface design and/or front-end development of

      (A) Ethereum DApp

      (B) Facebook App

      (C) Twitter App

(II) Back-end development of

      (A) Ethereum Smart Contracts, and distributed databases

      (B) DApp API for Facebook

      (C) DApp API for Twitter

Regardless of your desired role, you should be self-motivated and able to take on tasks independently.  While guidance and support is provided, you are expected to learn a lot of new things and share them with your team. By the end of this opportunity, you will have developed area expertise and learned how to communicate your perspective effectively - while contributing to solving one of the most important problems of our time.

Prerequisites:

User interface designers:

  • User interface designers are encouraged to demonstrate a portfolio of their work
  • Front-end and back-end experience are a plus

Front-end developers:

  • Prior experience with Facebook and Twitter App development are a plus
  • Programming experience required (HTML, CSS, Javascript (for example React.js))

Back-end developers:

  • Experience designing data models (either relational or NoSQL) and APIs is strongly preferred
  • Prior experience with Solidity is a plus
  • Programming experience required (at least one of the following: Python, C++, Solidity, Javascript (e.g. Node.js))

Contact: Please send your resume/CV with an indication of availability (avg per week) and your area of interest to Mike Hao Jiang (mhjiang@mit.edu).


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kripa Varanasi

Project Title: Nanoparticle assisted nucleation of protein crystals

Project Description: Improving the crystallization of large proteins could open new avenues for vaccine and other protein-based drugs manufacturing and storage leading to lower costs and increased availability. This project will experimentally explore the use of functionalized nanoparticles to enhance protein nucleation. You will setup experiments with different starting conditions, image the resulting structures and analyze the results to determine crystallization phase diagrams.

Prerequisites: Prior experience working in a chemistry or bio lab preferred but not necessary.

Time commitment: 2 times 3 hours per week set 3 or 4 days apart.

Contact: Henri-Louis Girard: hlgirard@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Yoel Fink

Project Title: Computer Vision for Augmented Reality with Fabrics

Project Description: Augmented reality (AR) technologies have created fun dynamic digital interactions between tangible real objects and the users. Our research group, in collaboration with Advanced Functional Fabric of America (AFFOA), has developed the world’s first fabric-based AR system that allows users with smartphones to digitally interact with their clothings or bagpacks through real-time image recognition of cross-hatched patterns on these items. We are seeking UROPs, for this exciting large scale project this term, to assist us in optimizing the image recognition speed and fidelity, improving signal processing, and exploring other means of item recognition including investigating unique spatial patterns and temporal markers such as blinking LEDs. The UROPs can expect to learn more about fabric design, interactions between users and objects, machine/computer vision, signal processing and mobile development.

Prerequisites: The project is open to students majoring in electrical engineering or computer science, The UROP must have some experience in any of the following: computer/machine vision, mobile app development, or signal processing.

Relevant URL: https://looksapp.affoa.org/

Contact: Gabriel Loke: gabloke@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Economics (Course 14)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Townsend

Project Title: Understanding the effects of weather fluctuations and climate change on farmers’ behavior

Project Description: Crops throughout the world are affected by weather shocks. These already substantial impacts will intensify as climate change exacerbates the extent of weather fluctuations. Yet, the interactions of crop development, farmer’s cultivation decisions, and weather are not straightforward. An effective private or policy response requires understanding of the mechanics of these interactions.

This UROP focuses on the analysis of detailed weather data as relevant to crop’s development and farmer’s choices. Main work responsibilities include cleaning and organizing the data; carrying out statistical, regression, and graphical data analysis; examining the data for temporal and spatial trends; writing up the findings in a report. This project is a great opportunity to explore work in applied economics, and to improve data analysis and coding skills. If the work during this spring progresses well, and the student wishes to become more involved in the overall project, this appointment can continue through summer.

Expected hours are 10-15 per week. The candidate should be committed to the project and interested in working with detailed data. The nature of work with large datasets necessitates a responsible and organized approach, and attention to details.

Prerequisites:

  • Proficiency in Stata
  • At least one completed course in statistics or econometrics
  • Knowledge of Python or R, or willingness to learn quickly, is a plus

Contact: To apply, please email Kamilya Tazhibayeva (kamilya@mit.edu) your current resume and a short cover letter explaining your interest in the project.


1/31/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Engineering an E.Coli with an Orthogonal Genetic code

Project Description: This is a good opportunity if you are interested in synthetic biology projects, with potential for altering one of the oldest languages (billion year) in the world ----the language of the triplet genetic codon that dictates how proteins are made by all living cells. The long-term goal of the project is to build a living cell with an Orthogonal genetic code and at which point, the cell may be considered to be half-artificial life.

Proteins with facile and augmented chemical properties can be generated by genetic incorporation of non-standard amino acids (nsAA) -- beyond the exicon of the 20 standard amino acids.  The nsAAs can be used to enhance catalytic activity of  enzymes, and enable specific protein-protein, protein-ligand interactions. The Church lab at Harvard Med School has generated a special E.coli strain (C321) which enables one unique nsAA to be efficiently incorporated. However incorporation of multiple, distinct, consecutive nsAAs is still a challenge.

In so far as the objectives of the spring/summer project,  you will have the opportunities to work with me (a postdoc in the Church Lab at HMS) on several aspects of the above problem that could excite you : i.e generating Ribosome variants, engineering E.coli strains, developing fluorescent reporters, developing selection markers and engineering tRNA synthetases.  We will also be doing some protein biochemistry, expression and purification.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have experience in primer designing, molecular cloning and basic biochemistry methods.  Data visualization, project management and data organization skills will be an added advantage.

Relevant URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=church+gm

Contact: Please email a copy of your CV and your research interests before Feb 25, 2019 to Kamesh_Narasimhan@hms.harvard.edu.


1/31/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Laura Schulz

Project Title: Building a web platform for infant & child research

Project Description: The Lookit project is a new approach to research in developmental psychology: rather than bring families to the lab to participate in studies about cognitive development, we’ve developed a website Lookit (https://lookit.mit.edu) where parents and children can participate from home at any time. Video of the child’s responses is recorded via webcam and sent to the lab for later analysis. We are currently scaling this tool to allow researchers from any institution to post their own studies. Lookit’s mission is to lower barriers to conducting and participating in rigorous, reproducible developmental research. Join us in addressing the reproducibility crisis by allowing scientists to collect larger sample sizes, making developmental science more representative of real families, and bringing new questions into reach by allowing studies to happen in the home environment.

We are looking for a UROP to work on this platform as we work to enhance both researcher and participant experiences. The project is open-source; code, documentation, and issues we plan to address are available via https://github.com/lookit/. During the course of your work, you’ll gain valuable experience with modern web technologies and learn industry standards from our lead software engineer.

Time commitment: 8-12 hours/week; students interested in continuing in future terms or over the summer preferred.

Compensation: credit or pay (direct funding available)

Prerequisites:

  • Strong programming background (in any language) and a commitment to writing and testing clear, well-documented code
  • Experience in at least one of Python or Javascript
  • Comfort using git
  • Strong communication skills
  • Interest in child development, cognitive science, and/or reproducibility
  • Experience with deployment and continuous integration tools,
  • containerization (Docker/Kubernetes), WebRTC protocol, web accessibility, or human subjects research a plus but not required

Relevant URL: https://lookit.mit.edu, https://github.com/lookit/

How to apply: Interested candidates please send a code sample and contact information for one reference (teacher, previous work supervisor, etc.) to Rico Rodriguez (rrodrigu@mit.edu).


1/31/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Social Machine Interaction (SMI) for Light-Weight Autonomous Vehicles

Project Description: The City Science research group at the Media Lab is developing a shared-use, on-demand autonomous tricycle for moving people and goods in cities. This new category of hybrid, robotic vehicle opens up a new avenue of research in Social Machine Interaction, or what we define as Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) in the context of machine interacting with pedestrians and cyclists in public spaces with the goal of promoting trust, road safety and social cohesion.  To achieve that, the development process of the interface and its A.I. system will take into consideration not just human, but also local social norms and policy goals.

This role will play a key supporting to researchers at City Science on prototyping and experimenting a new interface framework using diverse input and output methods such as audio, light, vision (human and computer), air, touch, etc.

Successful UROPs will have the opportunity to travel with the research team abroad for pilots and the option to further develop the project during Summer (paid) and into a senior-year, super-UROP project through 6.UAR.

Prerequisites:

  • Python
  • Experience in prototyping embedded systems

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/mod/overview/

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Alan Berger

Project Title: Greenbelts

Project Description: The Norman B.  Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is conducting research on greenbelts and edge conditions around global cities to better understand how these planning devices have or have not resulted in their desired outcomes. Greenbelts originated during the early 20th century in Britain in an attempt to stop urban sprawl through the protection and conservation of large surrounding landscapes, or “greenbelts”. Many greenbelts aimed at the total cessation of outward development, while others used them to selectively control the growth of cities to protect the ecosystem services provided by forested and agricultural areas. The capacity of greenbelts to capture and offset carbon emissions from cities has become increasingly important. Regardless of the reasoning, and despite their use in cities as diverse as London, Boulder CO, Melbourne, Seoul, and Frankfurt, no contemporary global comparison of greenbelt erosion and performance has been undertaken. This project will be the first to do so and is the first step in developing actionable guidelines for cities to improve the functioning of existing greenbelts and develop more effective rules for newly designated areas.

Work Description: To analyze how land-cover and land-uses within greenbelts have changed over time, the LCAU research team will use computer vision (CV) and machine learning (ML) techniques applied to satellite data to train and automate the categorization of land-cover within greenbelts, some as large as 5,000 square kilometers. Human-based tracing is highly subjective, error-prone, and time-consuming, so this is an ideal application of AI. The results of the initial land-cover assessments will be used to calculate a number of dynamic urbanization metrics including development, greenspace, lost carbon capture potential, lost food production potential, etc. The results will also be augmented using techniques such as cellular-automata to test ways of aggregating areas of development to discover typologies of erosion. These typologies will in turn ground a larger “theory of erosion” in greenbelts both within and across cities. Multiple publications will be produced from this work which UROP’s will be fairly attributed within.

Candidates will utilize various APIs to acquire satellite imagery from multiple sources; open-source geospatial libraries to pre-process spatial data; and image classification tools to train and identify land cover types in the resulting imagery. Resulting categorical data will be post-processed to calculate greenbelt performance metrics.

Prerequisites: The LCAU is looking for 2 to 3 UROPS (likely in their sophomore or junior year) to work alongside researchers at the center to develop and apply these techniques. As such, UROP’s should have basic experience with machine learning and/or computer vision techniques for images generally, including training models. Python is a must.

Contact: Please email David Birge (dpbirge@mit.edu) directly to express interest. Please attach a CV or description of prior work in ML/CV work with images.


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew Lippman

Project Title: Cultural Inclusion via Physical Artifacts

Project Description: Despite their mass influence, especially on digital platforms, underrepresented groups often are unseen or unheard. Whether it be through voter turnout, boosting social media, etc.—there tends to be higher levels of engagement/participation with topics and issues that culturally resonate with these groups. Social media platforms have been instrumental in mobilizing and motivating people, but can physical artifacts ignite the flame just the same?

Our research aims to engage communities of color in activities they normally may feel excluded from by utilizing cultural artifacts. We expect to build a social media aggregator that will amplify the impact sneaker culture may have in fostering civic participation. We will also host a panel event discussing the importance of culture, technology, and social impact.

Prerequisites:

  • No prior research experience is necessary.
  • Front and back-end web development is required.
  • Experience in design is a plus.

Contact: Britney Johnson: britneyj@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Wearable/Stretchable Piezoelectric Biomedical Devices for Ultrasound Imaging

Project Description: Ultrasound imaging is widely used in medical diagnosis due to its harmlessness, low cost, and real-time dynamic imaging capabilities. However, the rigid transducer probes in current ultrasound imaging systems require manual scanning over the skin surface in a sequential manner, which is time consuming and may cause discomfort to people. The main goal of this research is to develop a soft biomedical device based on piezoelectric arrays for ultrasound imaging, which is miniaturized and stretchable to conformably cover the skin surface, and rapidly obtain high quality images of human’s tissue.

We microfabricate the devices in our own cleanroom (YellowBox) at the Media Lab. In this project, the student will collaborate closely with the Faculty Supervisor and Research Scientist to (1) characterize the piezoelectric properties of single crystal, (2) fabricate the flexible ultrasound device, (3) generate pulse-echo signals and work on delay-and-sum algorithm, and (4) build up Wave Propagation Simulation by COMSOL. Meanwhile, the UROP will be taught how to operate the testing equipment such as impedance analyser oscilloscope, pulse-echo receiver, National Instrument system, laser doppler vibrometer, etc. Other trainings will be conducted including reviewing literatures, processing recorded data,  and writing academic report.

Prerequisites: We are looking for one UROP who is self-motivated, methodical, careful and organized and diligent. Student who has skills on MATLAB/COMSOL for simulation and hardware system design are highly preferred.

Contact: Lin Zhang: linzh@media.mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Y. Karen Zheng

Project Title: Data-Driven Design for e-Agricultural Markets to Improve Market Efficiency and Farmer Welfare

Project Description: Want to improve livelihoods of farmers in India through your work? Our goal in this research is to employ a data-driven approach combining machine learning, mathematical modeling, and field experiments to optimize the design of India’s online agricultural platforms. It is reported that Indian farmers earn as little as 30% of the value of their products, compared to 50% in the United States. India’s regulated markets and the resulting market structure have led to poor outcomes for farmers because of barriers to entry, information asymmetry and non-transparent price setting processes. In order to tackle such inefficiencies, the government and various private entities have launched online agri-platforms that aim to connect markets all over the country. We seek a UROP to assist us in an empirical study that quantifies the effect of this new platform on market outcomes.

Tasks for UROP:

  1. Collect and process data, and conduct preliminary analysis involving machine learning techniques to draw valuable insights from the data.
  2. Create scripts for scraping data if needed.

Prerequisites:

  1. Familiar with programming, particularly web scraping, and creating structured datasets/database.
  2. Experience in machine learning tools.
  3. Minimum 10 hours per week.
  4. For credit or for pay ($12/hour).

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/CS2b7J

Contact: Please email Somya Singhvi ssinghvi@mit.edu with your resume + a 2-sentence statement of why you are interested in and a good fit for this project.


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ian Condry

Project Title: Researching the evolving music economy landscape and identifying future opportunities

Project Description: Professor Ian Condry is teaming up with two long-time colleagues from the private sector (one a successful digital economy entrepreneur, the other a former senior partner at the management consultancy McKinsey)  to lead research into the rapidly evolving music economy and landscape, with particular focus on live music and related events.  How are musicians, music labels, venues, fans and digital economy players such as Spotify, Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, etc. adapting to the tectonic shifts unfolding in the music sector?  What are the potential challenges facing musicians and their fans, and what possibilities exist for countering them, as well as for uncovering new growth opportunities to create, build and expand communities?  How are music lovers using new technologies and services (online, mobile, etc.)  to discover, enjoy and share music and music-related events?  How are traditional incumbents and new entrants thinking about the future of the music business?  The goal is to develop a solid and well-grounded set of insights/perspectives on the future of the music industry and identify potential growth opportunities.

Prerequisites: No formal expertise or skills are required, other than an interest in the research topic - i.e., the music sector, broadly defined.  We plan to run this UROP as a tutorial, with weekly meetings and guidance, utilizing the project management model widely used by management consultancies, to develop insights that will culminate in a set of progress reviews with Professor Condry.  We will work jointly with each student to formulate a research area of interest to them.  Opportunity to get hands-on coaching from seasoned executives on a variety of skills, including market research, problem-solving/analysis, written and oral presentations, project management  and developing real-world recommendations.

Contact: Ian Condry: condry@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ann Graybiel

Project Title: Develop behavioral testing for evaluating gene therapy in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease

Project Description: We are working toward unraveling the brain mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease, particularly Huntington's disease. This is an ideal project for a student interested in learning to study brain circuits of the striatum for advancing basic understanding of brain function in learning and decision-making, but also in the context of disease. You will help us to design behavioral experiments for evaluating disease progression, and then test a gene therapeutic approach in Huntington’s disease model mice. You will learn to analyze behavioral data and data from brain histological images for anatomical correlates. This project combines application of molecular genetic tools in neuroscience, mouse behavior, brain anatomy and behavioral genetic approaches. The student will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule. The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have experience with molecular cloning; prior experience with rodent work at MIT is a plus. Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who could work at least 12 hours per week and would potentially be interested in working with us for longer than a year. In the Graybiel lab, our goal is to understand the functions of neurons in the striatum and other brain areas in simple behavioral tasks performed by rats and mice, typically involving learning. The striatum is a key part of the basal ganglia that receives input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in procedural learning, habit formation, action selection, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Prerequisites: Not a necessity, but especially seeking students who have done MIT CAC animal certification and prior work with animals. Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who can work at least 12 hours per week. UROP projects are for credit; with increasing experience or in special cases, we will consider UROPs for pay.

Contact: Emily Hueske (ehanna@mit.edu) and Alexander Friedman, PhD (afried@mit.edu)


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity (LMP)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Design and characterization of a six-axis extrusion additive manufacturing robotic workcell

Project Description: We are setting up a six-axis robotic workcell for studying high-throughput and non-planar extrusion additive manufacturing (AM). The student will be in charge of completing hardware and software configuration of the workcell, including:

  • Design and implementation of software workflow for generating AM toolpaths
  • Setup of workcell hardware including such as extruders, heaters
  • Implementation of LabView VI to synchronize the above during printing 

After completion of the above, the student will characterize the printing performance (fidelity, throughput, etc.) of the system for various thermoplastic and composite feedstocks. Possible additional work will involve collaboration with other graduate student researchers on implementing non-planar AM toolpaths. There is a possibility of continuing work in subsequent semesters for strong candidates.

Prerequisites: Open to all relevant engineering majors. Strong programming skills (LabView, MATLAB, C/C++), including ability to work with unfamiliar languages (i.e. ABB RAPID). Familiarity with extrusion additive manufacturing, CAD/CAM programs, simple electronics a plus.

Contact: Adam Stevens: agstev@mit.edu


1/31/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew Whittle (CEE), Paola Rizzoli (EAPS). Mary Anne Ocampo (DUSP)

Project Title: Resilience of Venice, the Venetian Lagoon and Islands

Project Description: The urban design, architectural works, and artistic treasures of Venice are incomparable. However, the toll of rising sea levels, frequent flooding and infrastructure degradation together with pressures of mass tourism have led to a precipitous decline in its resident population. The future of the city is intimately tied to the health of the surrounding lagoon and islands.  This project comprises a two-week Summer research workshop (June 17-28) organized and taught jointly by faculty from MIT and Università IUAV di Venezia.  The workshop is hosted on Pellestrina island (home of a workers’ village and the staging ground for the MOSE flood protection system).  The workshop addresses the need for an interdisciplinary approach to urban resilience that encompasses the environmental, economic, and social forces at different physical scales.  The workshop agenda will include a program of invited lectures, site visits, and collaborative research projects.  Results of the collaborative research projects will be presented at MIT in the Fall semester 2019.

Prerequisites: The workshop is open to all MIT undergraduates. We are seeking to build teams with diverse technical skills needed for inter-disciplinary research. No prior language proficiency is expected.  However, MIT participants are encouraged to do an intensive online course in basic Italian prior to the workshop.

Relevant URL: https://eapsweb.mit.edu/news/2017/saving-venice-mit-style, https://cee.mit.edu/addressing-rising-sea-levels-venice-mose-project/

Contact: Andrew Whittle: ajwhittl@mit.edu


1/31/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: - Academic Departments -

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Desing and Build Robust Biomolecular Circuits

Project Description: The field of synthetic biology allows researchers to engineer life. We can program cells to create bio-fuels from renewable energy sources, detect toxins, battle disease and bring us closer towards making space exploration cost-effective. However, like any other maturing field, there are several challenges that must be addressed before unlocking its full potential.

A key issue facing synthetic biology is characterizing how natural cellular resources (which power our bio-molecular circuits) are shared within the cell. When these resources become limiting the performance of our circuit  is harmed. In this project we attempt to build biomolecular controllers to mitigate the negative affects of resource sharing using fundamental principles in control theory.

Role: Biomolecular circuit design, assembly and testing.

Prerequisites:

  • Basic bio lab experienced (7.02)
  • Cloning experience
  • Plasmid design ( using Benchling or Snapgene)
  • Basic knowledge of ordinary differential equations useful butnot required
  • Some Matlab (not required, but useful)

Relevant URL: http://scripts.mit.edu/~ddv/index.php

Contact: If you are interested in this project, please contact Carlos Barajas (carlobar@mit.edu) with your resume and any questions.


1/28/2019

Term UROP is offered: Spring, Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: Enhancing Effectiveness and Quality of Healthcare via eICU, AI, and allied mechanisms

Project Description: This project involves leveraging work of previous students, expanding on it, and doing incremental qualitative and quantitative analysis of data as needed. The goal of the UROP effort is to contribute to a paper in a journal and be a co-author of it. The long-term objective is "Healthcare for All: Better, Quicker, and Less Expensive" and to have a worldwide impact similar to that achieved by earlier members of the group.

Prerequisites (if any): Students from MIT and Wellesley are invited to apply. Please indicate the number of hours per week that you want to devote to this endeavor along with your short bio and preference for credit/pay.

Relevant URLs (if applicable): thetech.com/2018/06/07/mit-telemedicine-telehealth-class

Contact Name: Amar Gupta

Contact Email: agupta@mit.edu


1/28/2019

Term UROP is offered: Spring, Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: AI enhanced PRO platform to evaluate and enhance quality of Digital Health approaches and algorithms

Project Description: Designing, developing, and implementing a prototype system that incorporates innovative IT-based approaches for ensuring quality of AI-based and other Digital-based approaches and algorithms for healthcare , possibly by building upon the foundation of the Jeanne Clery Act and incorporating evolving IT approaches for concurrent authentication and anonymity. The theme is to use Patient Based Outcomes (PROs) to look at evolving Digital-Health based approaches and algorithms, especially ones that are not subject to approval by governmental or other authorities.

Prerequisites (if any): Knowledge and familiarity with AI, machine learning, or authentication techniques.

Relevant URLs (if applicable): learning-modules.mit.edu/materials/index.html?uuid=/course/6/sp18/6.884#materials

Contact Name: Amar Gupta

Contact Email: agupta@mit.edu


1/28/2019

Term UROP is offered: Spring, Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: Enhancing healthcare IT interoperability across organization and domain boundaries.

Project Description: Despite efforts in the US and in other countries, the problem of transmitting and use of healthcare data across clinics, hospitals, and organizations continues to escalate partly because of new developments in Digital Health. The growing number of medical devices, healthcare algorithms, and the increasing use of telemedicine concepts present a new urgency to the need for surmounting organizational and political boundaries that impede the flow of time-sensitive healthcare data and information.

Prerequisites (if any): Students from MIT and Wellesley are invited to apply. Please indicate the number of hours per week that you want to devote to this endeavor.

Relevant URLs (if applicable): news.mit.edu/2018/removing-health-care-barriers-and-boundaries-amar-gupta-telemedicine-0522

Contact Name: Amar Gupta

Contact Email: agupta@mit.edu


1/28/2019

Term UROP is offered: Spring, Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: New telemedicine systems in US: Deployment and Analysis

Project Description: This project involves analysis of data from different telemedicine endeavors in the US and in other countries, and to suggest pragmatic strategies for new larger-scale deployment strategies. The goal of the UROP effort is to contribute to a paper in a journal and be a co-author of it. The long-term objective is "Healthcare for All: Better, Quicker, and Less Expensive" and to have a worldwide impact similar to that achieved by earlier members of the group.

Prerequisites (if any): Students from MIT and Wellesley are invited to apply. Please indicate the number of hours per week that you want to devote to this endeavor along with your short bio.

Relevant URLs (if applicable): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPTpVFoksgY 

Contact Name: Amar Gupta

Contact Email: agupta@mit.edu


1/28/2019

Term UROP is offered: Spring, Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project Title: Fostering new telemedicine laws and regulations that transcend state and national boundaries

Project Description: The new nationwide policy on telemedicine of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) became effective in mid-2018 and incorporates the opinion and recommendations made by the supervisor of this project 7 years earlier. You now have an opportunity to influence and accelerate the pace of adoption of similar policies in other organizations, US states, and countries. VA spent over $ 1 billion a year just on transportation of veterans to and from hospitals; this amount can now be used increasingly for other purposes. The goal of the UROP effort is to contribute to a paper in a journal and be a co-author of it. The long-term objective is "Healthcare for All: Better, Quicker, and Less Expensive" and to have a worldwide impact similar to that achieved by earlier members of the group.

Prerequisites (if any): Students from MIT, Harvard, and Wellesley are invited to apply. Please indicate the number of hours per week that you want to devote to this endeavor along with your short bio.

Relevant URLs (if applicable): news.mit.edu/2018/removing-health-care-barriers-and-boundaries-amar-gupta-telemedicine-0522

Contact Name: Amar Gupta

Contact Email: agupta@mit.edu


1/23/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Desimone

Project Title: Analysis of macaque multi-neuronal activity dynamics during working memory and attention 

Project Description: The student will be engaged in the analysis of a large data set of multiple-neuron activity recorded simultaneously from five brain areas of macaque monkeys performing a high-level cognitive task designed to investigate the mechanisms of working memory and attention. The student's tasks will include the implementation of an automatic spike sorting algorithm, an analysis of cross-session temporal dynamics of spiking data and generating activity profiles of neurons in relationship to attention and working memory components of the monkey's cognitive task.

Prerequisites:

  • Course 9.01: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • Basic knowledge of Matlab programming

Contact: Diego Mendoza-Halliday: mendoz@mit.edu


1/23/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Context-triggered prospective memory aids

Project Description: We are working on a mobile applications that allows users to create context-triggered auditory reminders for prospective memory support. The user records an audio note and links it to a moment. Moments are composed of a combination of three contextual features: place, people, and time. When the system recognizes the moment, it triggers the auditory note through a cartilage conduction device, providing relevant information without blocking the ear-canal.

Prerequisites: Software Engineering. Swift. iOS app architecture.  

Relevant frameworks:

  • AVFoundation
  • Speech
  • CoreLocation
  • CoreBluetooth (useful, not necessary)
  • CoreML (useful, not necessary)

Contact: Tomás Vega: tomasero@mit.edu


1/23/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biology (Course 7)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kristin Knouse

Project Title: Dissecting and engineering reversible cell cycle states

Project Description: The Knouse Lab at the Whitehead Institute is seeking undergraduate students to join our team! We harness the incredible genetic tractability and regenerative capacity of the mouse liver to investigate the reversible cell cycle state known as quiescence and reveal novel approaches for regenerative medicine. We are currently interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the reversibility of the quiescent state and how this state is distinct from terminal differentiation—why a hepatocyte has the ability to divide again while a cardiomyocyte or neuron cannot. Our lab employs a variety of cell biology, genomics, and bioengineering approaches directly within the mouse. Students would initially be teamed up with other lab members to learn and assist with techniques such as mouse colony maintenance, mouse surgeries, tissue processing, and cell isolation with the ultimate goal of having their own independent projects. For more information on our lab, please visit knouselab.org.

Students should have experience with or willingness to work with mice. Prior research experience in cell, molecular, or organismal biology is preferred but not required. Preference will be given to students who are willing to work in the lab for multiple semesters and full-time through the summer.

Prerequisites: Students should have experience with or willingness to work with mice. Prior research experience in cell, molecular, or organismal biology is preferred but not required. Preference will be given to students who are willing to work in the lab for multiple semesters an full-time through the summer.

Relevant URL: knouselab.org

Contact: If interested, please e-mail Kristin Knouse at knouse@wi.mit.edu with a summary of research experience and a resume or CV.


1/23/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Electro-adhesion of 2D materials for robotic dexterous gripping

Project Description: We are developing electro-adhesive finger-tips to allow robots to handle delicate objects. Our current research focuses on the fabrication and characterization of the surfaces, at the micro- and nanoscales, to tailor the mechanical properties necessary for the control of adhesion.  The UROP will assist in the development of a platform for the assembly of microparticles onto small cantilever beams, which are used in the characterization of the surfaces by a technique known as atomic force microscopy (AFM). Specifically, the UROP will:

  • Design and fabricate a mechanism that allows AFM cantilevers to be easily mounted and unmounted onto under optical microscope.
  • Attach micro-spheres to AFM cantilevers using the designed mechanism with the aid of a micro-manipulator.

After completion of the above, the UROP will take part in the characterization of the novel adhesive materials, and will have the opportunity to contribute to a journal publication.

Prerequisites: Strong mechanical design skills including proficient use of CAD software and machine shop tools. Patience and care in completing delicate tasks with small components.

Relevant URL: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

Contact: Changhong Cao: chcao@mit.edu


1/23/19

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

Project Title: Cryptocurrency Mining: a sustainable approach

Project Description: A major criticism of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is their massive waste of energy used in performing the mining that secures the transactions. This mining involves solving a simple but statistically difficult problem. A better alternative would be to use this processing might for more sustainable uses. This project will involve researching various ways of using the might of mining computation in a way that benefits humanity, and powers this new paradigm in the internet's story.

Prerequisites: General blockchain knowledge, experience in JavaScript/Node.js desired.

Contact: Sam Raymond (sjr@mit.edu)


1/23/19

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

Project Title: New Applications of Ai in Numerical Simulation: Matrix Inversion

Project Description: Deep learning and other machine learning techniques have begun making real world impacts on everyday life, from translation in real-time to facial recognition. Much of the interest in neural networks lies in the convolutional neural layers. These layers allow the network to "read" an image. Currently, researchers are looking into alternative use cases for these layers. This project will focus on using these layers on matrix inversion. Matrix inversion is a crucial component to thousands of technologies used every day. This process has been studied by mathematicians for decades and the algorithms have become extremely elegant and complex to reduce the time taken to perform these inversions.

Prerequisites: Experience in MATLAB and/or Python desired.

Contact: Sam Raymond (sjr@mit.edu)


1/23/19

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

Project Title: Fast Physics: Combining AI and Numerical Simulations for faster mechanics

Project Description: Deep learning and other machine learning techniques have begun making real world impacts on everyday life, from personal assistants to driverless cars. A new application of this area of Artificial Intelligence is in predicting the physics of a system as time unfolds. This project will focus on building a framework that uses synthetic data to train a neural network engine capable of understanding the laws of physics to speed up numerical simulations.

Prerequisites: Experience in TensorFlow and/or MATLABs Neural Network Framework desired.

Contact: Sam Raymond (sjr@mit.edu)


1/23/19

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

Project Title: Additive Manufacturing – a simulation approach to understanding this complex process

Project Description: Creating new structures using the advances in additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, is allowing designers and engineers to build objects that were once thought impossible. A key tool of any designer is a simulator that can predict the critical stresses present in the structure under loading so that the safety can be ascertained. This project will look into further developing a 3D simulation engine to incorporate 3D printing processes to better understand the physics that occurs in the printing process.

Prerequisites: Experience in Python and/or C++ desired.

Contact: Sam Raymond (sjr@mit.edu)


1/23/19

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

Project Title: Movie SFX simulations based on a real-world physics engine

Project Description: 3D simulations of real-world physics are becoming more and more common in modern triple A titles and blockbuster films. Creating these simulation engines means solving the complex equations of physics that the systems obey. Once a simulator has been created it needs to be tested in different physical use cases so that its results can be validated and the simulator's limits pushed. This project involves using a simulation engine developed at MIT to recreate various physical problems, such as tidal waves and asteroid impacts, so that the simulator can be pushed to its numerical limits.

Prerequisites: Experience in Python and/or C++ is desired.

Contact: Sam Raymond (sjr@mit.edu)


1/23/19

Term: IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Langer

Project Title: App programming for medication information

Project Description: We are currently developing a new App to help patients and clinicians choose the right medications. The App should enable users to input medication names as well as harness image text recognition from pictures of medication packages to identify medications. The App will then automatically retrieve additional information about the medication. The project will involve programming the App for iOS and Android, testing different image recognition algorithms, implement data storage and processing, as well as data mining of public databases storing information on medications. Work will be conducted in the Langer Lab in the Koch Building for the Fall 2018.

Please send you resume/CV to Dr. Giovanni Traverso, cgt20@mit.edu, and Dr. Daniel Reker, reker@mit.edu

Prerequisites:

  • Previous experience with programming iOS and Android Apps.
  • Previous experience with image text recognition.
  • Motivated to work in a team and great communication skills.
  • At least 12 hours per week dedicated to the project work. IAP and Spring 2019.

Contact: Daniel Reker (reker@mit.edu)


1/18/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Interfacing Miniaturized Electromechanical Sensor for Monitoring Tissue Moduli

Project Description: We are developing a micro sensor for monitoring tissue stiffness with wearable/implantable applications. This UROP position is focused on developing the interfacing electronics, and potentially taking part in fabricating the prototypes in a cleanroom environment. The student will be working closely with the mentor in the followings:

  1. Building interfacing circuit/characterization equipment set-up (writing interfacing programs etc.)
  2. Building prototype devices for proof-of-concept experiment
  3. Literature review and documentation of experimental results

Prerequisites:

  1. Experience in analog/digital circuit development
  2. Experience in signal integrity (simulation or hands-on) and low level signal conditioning is a plus
  3. Responsiveness and dedication

Relevant URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/nmat4289

Contact: Zijun Wei: zijunw@mit.edu


1/18/19

Spring

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tomaso Poggio

Project Title: Deep Learning: Biological Plausibility, Computer Vision and Infrastructure

Project 1: Backpropagation (BP) has been long criticized to be somewhat not biologically-plausible. However, there are variants of BP that are more implementable by the brain and at the same time perform comparably to BP. In recent experiments, we have promising results scaling them to more real-world tasks.

Students are encouraged to either:

  1. Try new variants of this class of algorithms on new tasks.
  2. Propose and try other biologically-plausible learning algorithms for training neural networks.

Project 2: Although humans intuitively understand/interpret the world in terms of discrete objects. State-of-the-art machine vision systems do not have a good representation of visual objects. In a series of recent work, we try to incorporate the knowledge of object into deep learning networks and proposed a class of models we call "object-oriented" deep networks. https://cbmm.mit.edu/publications/object-oriented-deep-learning, https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/113002

Students are encouraged to either:

  1. Implement "object-oriented" deep networks with PyTorch Tensorflow and test its performance on wider range of computer vision tasks
  2. Try new variants of this class of models.
  3. (Advanced) Accelerate "object-oriented" deep networks with customized NVIDIA CUDA code

Project 3: Deep Learning Framework/Infrastructure. We are developing a new deep learning framework that offers a greater level of flexibility and modularity for research. Students who are interested in coding/understanding neural networks from scratch can benefit from helping developing a deep learning framework.  We also need a web developer for developing the website for this framework.

Prerequisites: Python, Matlab, C++ or C.

Relevant URL: https://cbmm.mit.edu/about/job-opportunities/mit-urop-masters-students-undergrads-join-cbmm-engineering-intelligence-team

Contact: Qianli Liao: LQL@mit.edu

 


1/18/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ernest Fraenkel

Project Title: Biologically Interpretable Autoencoders and Neural Networks

Project Description: The project focuses on the implementation and development of biologically interpretable neural networks and autoencoders.

Prerequisites: No prior research experience is necessary. Strong familiarity with Python and some experience with TensorFlow/Keras for neural networks is required.

Contact: Maxwell Gold: mpgold@mit.edu


1/18/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David R. Keith

Project Title: Machine learning models of household electric vehicle adoption

Project Description: Understanding what motivates consumers to adoption electric vehicles is critical if the transition to sustainable mobility is to be achieved. Analyzing an unusually large and detailed dataset, containing household-level vehicle registration data for millions of households in the United States, this project will use machine learning to develop predictive models of household electric vehicle adoption.

Prerequisites: Prior experience in the development of machine learning models.

Contact: David Keith: dkeith@mit.edu


1/18/19

IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Comparative Media Studies (21 CMS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Vivek Bald

Project Title: Multi-tiered Log-on/Permissions System for Interactive Website (Lost Histories Project)

Project Description: Faculty member in Comparative Media Studies and the Open Documentary Lab is looking for a student to help conceive and build out a multi-tiered log-on/credentials system for a web-based community history project.

The Lost Histories Project is focused on recovering the stories of Muslim steamship workers from present-day Bangladesh who jumped ship in the U.S. between 1910-1950, and settled and married within African American and Puerto Rican communities in New York, Detroit, and elsewhere. (More info: bengaliharlem.com). We seek to create a digital space where the descendents of this community, now in their 60s and 70s, can upload audio, video, images, and text to tell their families’ stories, and to interact with one another and the larger public.

The broad research question that animates this work is: how can we use the visual, informational, and interactive affordances specific to the web to create spaces where people from underrepresented communities can tell their own stories, and through this process, build their own crowd-sourced, collectively-produced multi-vocal histories.

The UROP student will work with the project director to conceive and build out a structure of roles and permissions that will foster the participation of groups of people within a family: i.e.: one family member who will have an admin role in which they can upload new material (audio, video text) to create new "stories" on the site; other family members who might have a participant role in which they have permission to add content (stories, annotations, commentary) to existing stories; and others who are members of other families within the same community who may have permissions to participate in more delimited ways. In other words, we need to figure out a log-on system that differentiates between different levels of participants in this project – admins, contributors, commenters, etc. – and assigns different sets of permissions with regard to submitting, editing, and approving uploaded content.

An initial UI/UX design and db structure for this project have been completed, with a functional web-based front-end already built out, but we are still iterating and adding functionality. Current build uses React to power the front end and webpack as a build environment. Backend server is node.js; MongoDB is used for storing metadata, Amazon S3 is used for storing media, and we are currently relying on Heroku for hosting both experimental/staging and stable versions of the web app as it is built out.

We are looking for someone, ideally, who has prior skills and experience across the stack described above.

______________

Project #2: Web-based Application to Tag Photos with Audio Recordings (Lost Histories Project)

Project Description: Faculty member in Comparative Media Studies and the Open Documentary Lab is looking for a student to help conceive, build, and iterate an application for a web-based community history project that will allow users to tag photos with audio recordings.

The Lost Histories Project is focused on recovering the stories of Muslim steamship workers from present-day Bangladesh who jumped ship in the U.S. between 1910-1950, and settled and married within African American and Puerto Rican communities in New York, Detroit, and elsewhere. (More info: bengaliharlem.com). We seek to create a digital space where the descendents of this community, now in their 60s and 70s, can upload audio, video, images, and text to tell their families’ stories, and to interact with one another and the larger public.

The broad research question that animates this work is: how can we use the visual, informational, and interactive affordances specific to the web to create spaces where people from underrepresented communities can tell their own stories, and through this process, build their own crowd-sourced, collectively-produced multi-vocal histories.

The UROP student will work with the project director to conceive and build out a web application that will allow users who have logged on with appropriate credentials to click specific photographs on the site and annotate them: either by entering text or by accessing the microphone on their computer, phone, or tablet to record and upload commentary/stories related to the photo.

An initial UI/UX design and db structure for this project have been completed, with a functional web-based front-end already built out, but we are still iterating and adding functionality. Current build uses React to power the front end and webpack as a build environment. Backend server is node.js; MongoDB is used for storing metadata, Amazon S3 is used for storing media, and we are currently relying on Heroku for hosting both experimental/staging and stable versions of the web app as it is built out.

We are looking for someone, ideally, who has prior skills and experience across the stack described above.

Contact: Vivek Bald: vbald@mit.edu


1/17/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Designing Systems to Combat Invasive Plant Species in West Africa

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space. Space technology contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals via communication, earth observation, positioning, microgravity research, spinoffs and basic research. Space Enabled uses six methods: art, design, social science, complex systems, satellite engineering and data science. This project applies all six methods in collaboration with a company based in Benin called Green Keeper Africa that harvests the invasive water hyacinth and uses it to manufacture products that clean oil-based waste. Green Keeper Africa faces a challenge to monitor the location of the water hyacinth; they propose to create an Observing System to track the plant. Space Enabled and Green Keeper Africa are collaborating on a multi-faceted research project that will harness all six of the Space Enabled research methods. The project uses design thinking to identify the objectives for an information system. The social science portion examines the historical, economic and cultural context. The complex system modeling activity builds a computer-based simulation of the community and environment. The engineering component explores approaches to produce new data about the water hyacinth. The data science work builds a prototype system with actionable information about the water hyacinth. Students will join the activities outlined above, depending on their interests and background. The option to renew for summer may be available.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students with a technical background in biology; urban studies; social science (history, anthropology, sociology, economics); civil, environmental, mechanical and/or aerospace engineering; or computer science/data science. In addition to this technical background, we seek students with an interest in sustainable development. Prior experience with satellite remote sensing data analysis or Geographic Information Systems is preferred.

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


1/17/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph A. Paradiso

Project Title: Aerospace-Grade Electronic Textiles

Project Description: The outermost skin of a space-based structure is designed using materials known to protect against the harsh elements of space. Simultaneously, the skin provides a unique opportunity to characterize the environment proximate to a spacecraft and to perform real-time damage detection. Thus, we are developing an aerospace-grade fabric that simultaneously senses and protects, emulating the dual protective and sensory capabilities of biological skin. Aerospace-grade sensory skins will serve a key role in next generation haptic feedback systems for spacesuits, as well as next generation thermal blankets for distributed detection of high velocity debris impact.

Prerequisites: I am interested in working with 1-2 advanced undergraduates (juniors/seniors, or a very dedicated sophomore). Various sub-projects exist that we can define based on your skills and interests. Primarily looking for people with background in aerospace engineering, materials science, electrical engineering, and/or physics. If you work well with someone, you are welcome to apply as a pair. If you have interest in weaving/knitting or textile design as an art form, I'd also be interested in discussing opportunities with you.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/SpaceSkin/overview/

Contact: Juliana Cherston: cherston@mit.edu


1/17/19

Spring/Summer

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project #1: AI that asks Curious Question about You

Project Description: Using AI to ask curious questions to quickly annotate thousands of images and videos Annotating data is a time-consuming and often technically difficult process. However, to create personal AIs, one needs to annotate their own data. Our idea is to create a voice assistant that comes up with the minimum number of maximally informative questions to annotate a large dataset. Read this story for more details: https://goo.gl/b9STRt

What you will learn:

  1. Using state of the art Deep Learning for extracting knowledge from raw data
  2. Understanding Deep Reinforcement Learning and Artificial Curiosity
  3. Understanding Graph Embedding and Link Prediction using Deep Learning
  4. Building a curious chatbot!

Prerequisites:

Theory:

  1. Linear Algebra
  2. Natural Language Processing
  3. Machine Learning

Practice:

  1. Python + Numpy + Matplotlib
  2. PyTorch or TensorFlow

Other:

  1. Diligence and dedication to work with a team of MIT and Harvard graduate students.
  2. Passion for inventing new technologies and change the world.

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/b9STRt

_____________

Project #2: Augmenting Human Memory through AI and HCI

Project Description: Use Artificial Intelligence to create new interfaces We are building a new interface that uses thousands of personal images, videos and other forms of data to create a personal knowledge graph. The graph is then fed to an end-to-end neural question answering system that is capable of answering personal questions using the data. We hope that such a system can operate as a prosthetic episodic memory system for patients with memory problems.

What you will learn:

  1. Building iOS apps that use modern machine learning
  2. Using state of the art Deep Learning for extracting knowledge from raw data
  3. Understanding and building futuristic Data-driven User Interfaces
  4. Presenting and writing original ideas for publication in world-class venues.

Prerequisites:

Theory:

  1. Linear Algebra
  2. Image Processing
  3. Machine Learning

Practice:

  1. iOS app development
  2. Python + Numpy + Matplotlib
  3. PyTorch or TensorFlow

Other:

  1. Diligence and dedication to work with a team of MIT and Harvard graduate students.
  2. Passion for inventing new technologies and change the world.

_____________

Project #3: Deep Neurofeedback

Project Description: Video Generation from Brain Waves In this project, we are using the power of modern Deep Learning for extracting data from the human brain and turning it into a stream of video. See this recent paper as a prior work done in this direction: http://crcv.ucf.edu/papers/camera_ready_acmmm_BNI08.pdf 

Our system consists of an EEG headset, a recurrent encoder network to encode the EEG signals into feedback latent-space and a decoder/generator network that maps the latent space signals into a sequence of images and audio.

What you will learn:

  1. Recording and analyzing brain activity using the state of the art EEG sensors
  2. Implementing modern deep neural networks such as Generative Adversarial Networks, Variational Autoencoders, Seq2Seq models etc.
  3. Presenting and writing original ideas for publication in world-class venues.

Prerequisites:

Theory:

  1. Linear Algebra
  2. Image Processing
  3. Machine Learning

Practice:

  1. Python + Numpy + Matplotlib
  2. PyTorch or TensorFlow

Other:

  1. Diligence and dedication to work with a team of MIT and Harvard graduate students.
  2. Passion for inventing new technologies and change the world.

Relevant URL: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QuVcSV0nmfENOdIFavsAFzt-4goOvSxbRYBC7K0ZLtM/edit?usp=sharing

Contact: Neo (Mostafa) Mohsenvand: mmv@mit.edu


1/17/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Pindyck

Project Title: Climate Change Policy -- Abatement vs. Adaptation

Project Description: I am looking for one or two students to help with research related to climate change policy, and environmental policy more generally. My focus is on the relative costs and benefits of two policy instruments:  adaptation to climate change (and to other kinds of environmental damages), versus abatement of GHG emissions (or other pollutants) in order to avoid climate change (and other environmental damages).  Some of this work will involve an extensive literature review in support of a policy-oriented paper I am developing.  In addition, I am working on a theoretical model that explores how various forms of uncertainty can affect the adaptation-abatement trade-off; numerical solutions of the model are done using MATLAB.

The work will be done during the spring semester, and could continue into the summer.

Prerequisites: Candidates should also have a good background in economics, be able to work independently, and for the modeling work, have experience with MATLAB.  

Contact: If you are interested, please send a resume and transcript to: Professor Robert Pindyck, Sloan School of Management, Room E62-522, rpindyck@mit.edu.


1/17/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mariana Aracaya

Project Title: Urban Metrics

Project Description: The overall aim of this project is to construct urban form metrics using a combination of remote sensing and geospatial techniques. In particular, this project examines the persistence of urban form through the study of the first housing initiative in the United States. This initiative planned more than one hundred new neighborhoods in twenty-four states. Surprisingly, we know very little about the location of these developments and how their built form has had a lasting impact on the social dynamics of their inhabitants.

This project is offering motivated students interested in computation and social sciences an opportunity to explore new approaches to measure the built environment. The goal of this study is to use CAD software to digitize neighborhood plans, to geocode them using GIS software, and to process satellite images and vectored plans to construct a series of built form metrics. The final deliverable will be a dataset containing the spatial metrics for each digitized neighborhood.

Prerequisites: The team is looking for someone that is excited about applying geospatial methods to study the built environment, and who is comfortable with statistics (though not required). More importantly, we welcome MIT students excited about testing different approaches, challenging ideas, and getting into the data.

Contact: Arianna Salazar Miranda: ariana@mit.edu


1/11/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Intelligent textile suit for multi-modal spatiotemporal health sensing

Project Description: There is a paradigm shift in the way we provide healthcare, from curing to preventing to constant care, and from hospital-centered to patient-oriented health. We aspire medical technology that is not only accessible, accurate, and comfortable, but can also be functional anywhere and anytime to improve our health and wellbeing.

The Conformable Decoders group are currently developing a personalized intelligent garment through digital knitting technologies for large-scale physiological sensing and activity monitoring. We have come up with a technique that combines thin flexible-stretchable electronic devices including interconnect lines and commercial integrated circuits with elastomeric substrates that can be woven into knitted textiles using a commercial manufacturing process. Similar to a compression garment, the nature of this knitted textile will allow more intimate contact between electronics and the skin

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this project, depending on the background, skills, and interests, the UROP student(s) will be expected to perform one/several of the followings:

  • Populate and connect sensor nodes with interconnects and integrate them into fabrics
  • Develop wireless communication interface and analyze sensor data
  • Design and model textile and clothing patterns

Prerequisites: Are independent, dedicated, imaginative, and creative. Possess great organizational and communication skills. Are interested and experienced in one or more of the followings: wearables, sensor interface, wireless communication, PCB design, textile and apparel design, illustration, and/or programming.

Contact: To take a part in this exciting project, please send your resume and interest about this project to Irmandy Wicaksono: irmandy@mit.edu


1/11/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Troy Littleton

Project Title: Investigating cell-type specific mechanisms of synaptic communication in the simple animal models of autism

Project Description: The Littleton lab seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms of synaptic signaling during normal brain function and in disease models using Drosophila as the model system. To address this, we use Drosophila genetics, molecular biology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, electrophysiology, super-resolution microscopy, single-cell RNAseq, biochemistry, and behavior assays.  We are looking for biology /BCS student/course 6 students to assist our efforts to carry out molecular biology, genetic screens, developing analytical tools to analyze imaging data and behavioral assays. We will provide support and training in genetics, molecular biology, microscopy, and behavioral assays. We offer a friendly environment for your training and learning. 

We are interested in addressing the following: 

  • (project 1) Investigating the molecular mechanisms of synaptic signaling in animal models of autism, 
  • (project 2) Tracking the crawling behavior of larval Drosophila (maggots) in disease models of autism, 
  • (project 3) Developing analytical tools to analyze synaptic calcium imaging data.

Prerequisites: Great curiosity and enthusiasm to pursue multidisciplinary research. For project 1, some background in molecular biology and/or genetics might be preferred. For project 2 and 3, some background in MATLAB or python is strongly preferred.

Relevant URL: https://littletonlab.mit.edu/home

Contact: Suresh Kumar Jetti: sureshj@mit.edu


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John E. Fernandez

Project Title: ESI UROP Program - Climate, Cities, & Consumption

Project Description: The MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) sponsors and manages research positions available to undergraduates interested in a wide variety of environmental topics. These research experiences are organized by the ESI in collaboration with all five schools at MIT and dozens of professors and many research labs across the Institute. Any undergraduate in any major, including undeclared, are eligible to apply for a UROP through the ESI. The mission of the ESI includes activities that support the substantial scientific, engineering, policy, and design capacity of MIT to create solutions to today’s environmental challenges. ESI UROPs are a key element of this mission.

Research opportunities are available in each of the following three domain areas:

  • Climate science and Earth systems
  • Cities and infrastructure
  • Sustainable production and consumption

Detailed descriptions of each of these areas is available on the ESI web site; https://environmentalsolutions.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ESIAgenda_rev.-10-2018.pdf

Active ESI program research opportunities: Currently, the following programs are accepting interest from prospective UROP candidates. All of these topics are regularly updated and may change as projects are completed and new opportunities arise. You may specify one or more areas of interest in your initial contact with the ESI (see below for the Application process).

  1. Plastics and the Environment (Sustainable Production and Consumption) The ESI has launched a large-scale effort to contribute to the multi-faceted challenge of plastic in the environment. The project is comprised of work in three areas; 1) Material design for environmentally benign plastics; 2) Sensing microplastics in the environment and; 3) Modeling the primary sources and dispersion of microplastics. UROP supervisor: various professors and ESI staff
  2. Mining and the Environment (Sustainable Production and Consumption) The ESI has launched a program focused on reducing the environmental impact of mining across the world. The program is in the initial stage reviewing the scientific and engineering literature and articulating a research agenda for a major mining conglomerate. UROP supervisor: various professors and ESI staff
  3. Nature and Climate Change (Climate science and Earth systems) The ESI is working on topics in biodiversity, the reduction of deforestation, community engagement in protecting fragile ecosystems, and other elements of the relationship between nature and the climate. One of ESI’s primary partners, Conservation International, has hosted students as guests in field stations in the development of technologies that aid conservation efforts. Emerging projects within ESI’s portfolio include a project to address river pollution in Indonesia and a project to reduce deforestation in Colombia. UROP supervisor: Prof. Fernández and other MIT professors and researchers
  4. Cities and Climate Change (Cities and Infrastructure) The ESI offers opportunities through several cities including New York City, Beijing, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Ben Guerir (Morocco) and others in a variety of topics ranging from measures of resilience and sustainability to mitigating carbon emissions and adaptation to climate change. UROP supervisor: Prof. Fernández and other MIT professors and researchers
  5. Climate Change in the US (Climate science and Earth systems) The ESI engages communities across the US in understanding and considering the consequences of a changing climate. Goals of the work include increasing the salience of climate change for people in their daily lives across a wide range of socioeconomic, political, and cultural perspectives. UROP supervisor: Laur Hesse Fischer (ESI) and others

Application process: The ESI will directly host UROP candidates in any of the research opportunities listed above. The ESI will also assist students in connecting with professors and researchers across the Institute working in issues that align with ESI priorities and serve to advance work in key domain areas and programs.

Please take the following steps in applying to an ESI UROP:

  1. Send an email to Prof. John E. Fernández, fernande@mit.edu, stating your general interest and your preferred program research opportunity. Please list more than one and as many as three preferences for better placement in an appropriate research opportunity.
  2. Fill out the major sections of the UROP application and send a draft to Prof. Fernández (contact information below). Major sections of the UROP application include:
    • Project Overview
    • Personal Role and Responsibility
    • Goals
    • Personal Statement
  3. The ESI will confirm a UROP supervisor and approve final UROP application.
  4. Candidate will then upload a final UROP application to the UROP web site at: http://uaap.mit.edu/research-exploration/urop/options/urop-find-projects-apply

All applicants should also follow the procedure outlined on the UROP web site which aligns with the process outlined above. Please direct all questions to Prof. Fernández.

Prerequisites: No prerequisites

Relevant URL: https://environmentalsolutions.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/ESIAgenda_rev.-10-2018.pdf

Contact: John E. Fernandez: fernande@mit.edu


1/10/19

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab

Faculty Supervisor: Alex `Sandy’ Pentland

Project Title: Experimental investigation of Collective Intelligence

Project Description: Collective intelligence is believed to underlay the remarkable success of human society. The formation of accurate shared beliefs is one of the key components of human collective intelligence. How are accurate shared beliefs formed in groups of fallible individuals? An exciting area to investigate is the use of online experimentation for answering questions about both: 1) the individual decision mechanisms people use; and 2) the properties and dynamics of those mechanisms in the aggregate. We are interested in developing an online experiment to examine the effects of network topology, social influence, repeated interactions, and reputation, on the emergence of collective intelligence.

What you will do: implement real-time and interactive Human+Bot online experiments .. mostly front-end work!

Skills you SHOULD have already: React.js/Javascript/HTML/CSS

Skills you will learn/hone: experimental design, data analysis, theories of collective intelligence.

Pluses: HCI experience, amazon mechanical turk, meteor.js

Contact: Send Abdullah Almaatouq <amaatouq@mit.edu> a short description of your background and your resume.


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Stuart Madnick

Project Title: Research on Cybersecurity Risk Quantification Methodologies

Project Description: Project will involve, collecting and analyzing data on cyber risk and working with models for assessing risk. Some data sets exist, others will be created through various data collection means including discussions with C-level executives.  Early work will also include literature review and summary of existing approaches. Additional work will be done analyzing risk models and making improvements on approaches to assessing risk and choosing tasks to reduce risk in organization. Thesis level work is also available.

These projects can enhance your abilities in perform literature search, qualitative research, and data analysis skills. Additional understanding of cyber risk metrics and risk management in organizations. Selected candidate(s) are expected to join the projects immediately.

Prerequisites: Required skills include attention to details, as well as excellent reading, writing, and communication skills. Familiarity with risk-based analysis and cybersecurity is a plus but not required. We are particularly interested in working with motivated and organized students who are committed to doing research.

Relevant URL: You will be working with Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (https://cams.mit.edu)

Contact: Michael Siegel: msiegel@mit.edu


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Claudia Steinwender

Project Title: All Aboard: Trade, Port Development and its Aggregate Impact on Cities

Project Description: Our world is as globalized as never before in history: An enormous amount of goods is shipped around the globe every day.  One important factor that has enabled this degree of globalization is the container revolution, because this has reduced the cost of handling goods at ports dramatically. Containerization has also changed the global landscape of ports, however: After WW2, the "capitals of the world" like New York and London used to be the world's most important ports. Nowadays, secondary cities that specialize in port services like Rotterdam or Shanghai have become the largest maritime trading hubs.

In this project we develop a theoretical model of cities and ports that trade with each other to study how the specialization of cities into providing port services has affected the economic development of cities around the world. This model is a structural general equilibrium model of economic geography, and we are looking for a RA proficient in Matlab to help us solve the non-linear system of equations that constitute the equilibrium of the model. You will work closely with faculty at Sloan, Columbia, and CREI.

Prerequisites: The candidate needs to have excellent skills in Matlab, especially with solving systems of non-linear equations. In the application, please provide a detailed description of your Matlab experience, which projects you have been working on, and which functions and toolboxes you are familiar with.

Contact: Claudia Steinwender: csteinwe@mit.edu


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leslie Norford

Project Title: Mesoscale Energy Modeling for City Regions (MeEnMo): surrogate building energy models  and image segmentation for solar energy

Project Description: The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Building Technology Program in the Department of Architecture are collaborating to develop a mesoscale city-region energy simulation platform that integrates energy demand, supply and storage. The platform will also allow simulation of future climate scenarios. To achieve integration across multiple domains and between multiple data sources and to provide relevant climate simulations will require a flexible data-structure and robust data-processing algorithms to sort, classify, and/or generate surrogate models from a wide range of data sources.

We seek a UROP student during IAP and/or the spring term to utilize machine learning techniques to develop two models: 1) a surrogate model for energy demands under various climatic conditions and daily patterns, and 2) a universally applicable image segmentation model to help estimate roof-top and open-space solar potential. The surrogate model will allow for rapid calculation of energy demand from multiple building types in several density arrangements and under various levels of technology adoption. The image segmentation model will take in high resolution satellite data and use computer vision techniques to first identify various features (buildings, land-uses, etc.), and second, and more critically, to classify and measure open-space and roof surface areas and orientations.

The UROP will develop and test multiple machine learning techniques to find the most accurate models, including but not limited to linear classifiers, support vector machines, and decision trees. This position is perfect for students with experience in machine learning who want to apply their knowledge to issues of sustainable development.

Prerequisites for surrogate model:

  • Strong Python skills with evidence of independent problem solving and algorithm development.
  • Experience using energy simulation models (EnergyPlus) including either UMI or Honeybee/Ladybug.
  • Experience using data-science/machine learning with the ability to independently pursue/test multiple techniques

Prerequisites for image segmentation model:

  • Strong Python skills with evidence of independent problem solving and algorithm development.
  • Experience using computer vision / machine learning techniques to analyze and classify imagery (e.g. OpenCV, SciKit Learn)

Contact: Leslie Norford: lnorford@mit.edu


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Architecture (Course 4)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leslie Norford

Project Title: Mesoscale Energy Modeling for City Regions (MeEnMo): weather classification

Project Description: The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Building Technology Program in the Department of Architecture are collaborating to develop a mesoscale city-region energy simulation platform that integrates energy demand, supply and storage. The platform will also allow simulation of future climate scenarios. To achieve integration across multiple domains and between multiple data sources and to provide relevant climate simulations will require a flexible data-structure and robust data-processing algorithms to sort, classify, and/or generate surrogate models from a wide range of data sources.

We seek a UROP student during IAP and/or the spring term to classify and discretize weather data into a representative sub-set of day-types utilizing k-means clustering techniques. This will allow the synthetic generation and testing of extreme and probabilistic future climatic conditions. This UROP will also help investigate the day-type data structure using existing Python libraries (Pandas, Numpy, etc.).

Prerequisites: Strong Python skills with evidence of independent problem solving and algorithm development.

Contact: Leslie Norford: lnorford@mit.edu


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Earl Marmar

Project Title: Design and Development of User Interface for Data Management Project

Project Description: Modern science generates large complicated heterogeneous collections of data. In order to effectively exploit these data, researchers must be able to find relevant data, and enough of its associated metadata to understand it and put it into context. This problem exists across a wide range of research domains and is ripe for a general solution.

Existing ventures address these issues using ad-hoc purpose-built tools. These tools explicitly represent the data relationships by embedding them in their data storage mechanisms and in their applications. While producing useful tools, these approaches tend to be difficult to extend and data relationships are not necessarily traversable symmetrically.

We are building a general system for navigational metadata. The relationships between data and between annotations and data are stored as first class objects in the system. They can be viewed as instances drawn from a small set of graph types. General purpose programs can be written which allow users explore these graphs and gain insights into their data. This process of data navigation, successive inclusion and filtering of objects, provides powerful paradigm for data exploration.

The student will work on a project dealing with annotation and data relationships in science applications. Information on the project is available at https://ndm.mit.edu/.

Skills needed: javascript, VUEjs, basic GIT source code management, docker. The ideal candidate is a good javascript front end developer capable to work on a VUEjs based SPA.

Relevant URL: https://ndm.mit.edu/

Contact: Joshua Stillerman: jas@psfc.mit.edu


1/10/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alexander Rothkopf

Project Title: Geospatial Data Visualization of Disasters and Emergency Response Network Design Options

Project Description: CTL's Humanitarian Supply Chain Lab collaborates with national and international emergency response organizations to evaluate and improve their response capabilities and reduce negative impact of sudden onset disasters on the population. In this UROP project the candidate supports CTL researchers in developing and automating tools to visualize disaster portfolio data and emergency response network configurations. The results of this work will directly be used in collaborations with our partners to improve their emergency response networks.

Prerequisites: The successful candidate has prior experience in data management and data manipulation in python and can work with geospatial data in python or tableau.  S/he is interested in accessible visualization to a broader audience.

Contact: Alexander Rothkopf: rothkopf@mit.edu


1/10/19

Term: Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher Knittel

Project Title: Uncovering the discrepancies in estimates of compliance costs with fuel economy standards between the 2016 TAR and the 2018 NPRM

Project Description: Following the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) set fuel standards to achieve a fleet-wide fuel economy of 35 mpg by 2016, and a projected 27 to 55 miles per gallon between 2012 and 2025. As part of the 2017-2025 standards issued by the agencies in 2012, the EPA and NHTSA were required to conduct a midterm review of the fuel economy improvements affecting model years 2022-2025. The 2016 technical assessment report (TAR) concluded that these 2022-2025 standards were technologically feasible, and that benefits far exceeded costs.

Recently, the Trump Administration in a 2018 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) finds that the costs of these Obama-era standards now exceed benefits, and proposes to freeze them at model year 2020 levels through 2025.

In relation to the 2016 TAR, while the 2018 NPRM reports overall lower benefits, the major substantial change comes from the estimation of the costs of compliance with the standards. Specifically, compliance costs with the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard are 2.8 times higher in the 2018 proposal than the 2016 NHTSA analysis (and, in turn, even in the 2016, NHTSA projected compliance costs 2.6 times higher than the simulation models used by the EPA). And compliance costs with the GHG emissions standard are 7.5 times higher in the 2018 proposal, an increase from $35 billion in the 2016 TAR to $253 billion in the 2018 NPRM.

The purpose of this project is to uncover the discrepancies that drive the differences in estimates of compliance costs with fuel economy standards between 2016 TAR and the 2018 NPRM.

Full description of the project proposal can be found here: http://ceepr.mit.edu/files/UROP/2018-11-6-Knittel-UROP-fuel-economy-standards.pdf

Interested students should send their resumes and a writing sample, if available, to ceepr@mit.edu.

Prerequisites : We are looking for UROP students seeking credit or a stipend (paid position), with a strong preference for students who would like to commit to at least 2 semesters of work, or more (starting date is flexible). Ideal candidates would be responsible, motivated and detail-oriented and would be able to spend at least 8-10 hours a week on the project.  The project may also involve writing reports for the topic above and other projects that may fit. Basic programming skills, especially in R and Matlab  are required.

Relevant URL: http://ceepr.mit.edu/research/projects/UROP

Contact: Tony Tran (ceepr@mit.edu)


1/7/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Leiserson

Project Title: Scalable graph learning for anti-money laundering

Project Description: We've seen deep learning do *remarkable* things on Euclidean data - audio, images, video. Not so much yet on graph data, until very recently. Graph data is structurally different; it's all about relationships between data. Think social networks, gene expression networks, knowledge graphs, you name it - graphs are all around us. In finance we can think about trading, hedging, and asset management, supply chain finance and optimization, lending and securitization. Each of these can use graphs to capture relationships and interactions between different types of entities, often with a time series component, and often in a dynamic setting. The problem is, deep learning on graph data is extremely difficult computationally due to the combinatorial complexity and nonlinearity inherent to graphs of any meaningful size and density. And it's precisely the information hidden in that complexity that makes graph data so interesting and important. Recently we've seen a rapid and exciting acceleration of work on graph convolutional networks, or GCN's, with special attention to the question of scaling. With GCNs, we begin with certain attributes to describe the nodes and edges, and we use convolutions over the graph to pull out the hidden properties and patterns. This is called node embedding and the objective is to achieve a better vector representation of each entity. In laymens’ terms, you can think of each node asking the age-old question, “Who am I?”  It’s really an existential question with infinite complexity, but we need a vector of finite length. So we have to bound the model or it’s going to take a prohibitively long time, and find a way do so without sacrificing accuracy. This is the challenge of scalability. Earlier this year at ICLR, Jie Chen and Tengfei Ma presented a new method called FastGCN. This work was a big step forward on scalability. FastGCN was able to beat previous speed benchmarks by two orders of magnitude. It does so by using a variant method for importance sampling and by performing integral transformations in node embedding to account for node inter-dependency. Building on FastGCN, we're now exploring how we can further advance graph deep learning, and finance presents some interesting use cases; for example, the problem of anti-money laundering.

Organized crime inflicts human suffering on a genocidal scale: the Mexican drug cartels have murdered 150,000 people since 2006; upwards of 700,000 people per year are ``exported'' in a human trafficking industry enslaving an estimated 40 million people. These nefarious industries rely on sophisticated money laundering schemes to operate. Despite tremendous resources dedicated to anti-money laundering (AML) only a tiny fraction of illicit activity is prevented. The research community can help.

We will explore baseline models as well as advanced graph-based models, which use more discriminative features resulting from the graph structure for identifying outliers. Objectives include: 1) Understand the characteristics of financial graphs (in what aspects are they different from graphs in other domains?); 2) Establish the baseline performance of commonly used machine learning tools for financial fraud detection; 3) Explore feature generation approaches (graph deep learning-based) to improving over the baselines.

Follow the link in Relevant URLs to the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab for further application questions.

Prerequisites: Python, experience with TensorFlow and/or PyTorch, graph theory and analytics, data science (sourcing, wrangling, and analysis of data; this is a real world project - you won't be given a perfect data set)

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

Contact: Mark Weber: mrweber@mit.edu


1/7/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Luca Daniel

Project Title: Adversarial robustness in deep learning: design and interpretability

Project Description: This project will aim to have a deep understanding on the mechanism of adversarial attacks to fool deep neural networks under imperceptible perturbations. Specifically, our goals include a) generalizing adversarial attacks from time-independent domain to time-varying domain (e.g. from image classification to video classification), b) analyzing how the adversarial effect evolves over network layers, and c) designing effective defense methods for adversarial attacks in the time-varying domain.

UROP will help RSM in attack/defense algorithm design, software implementation and performance evaluation. The final deliverable will be software tool and publication.

Follow link in Relevant URLs to the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab for further application questions.

Prerequisites: Deep learning knowledge and programming skills

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

Contact: Sijia Liu: sijia.liu@ibm.com


1/7/19

IAP/Spring

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Peter Shor

Project #1: Mathematics of AI and Machine Learning

Project Description: Mathematical aspect of machine learning and AI. This is a  research oriented project to (semi)rigorously establish empirically observed features in AI and ML. Ideally the work will eventually lead to a publication (but is not a requirement). There can be software that is developed for the investigation. There are many empirical observations in AI and Machine Learning that need quantification and mathematical formulation for their domain (in)applicability to be carved out. We will start filling this gap.

Prerequisites: Linear Algebra. Coding (Matlab or Python or C). Some probability theory. Being able to read papers in the field.

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

___________

Project #2: Quantum AI: How can quantum enable AI? Short depth quantum

Project Description: Quantum AI: How can quantum enable AI? Short depth quantum.  This is a research oriented project to investigate the power of short-depth quantum circuits with a focus on quantum AI. Ideally the work will eventually lead to a publication. What can AI do for Quantum? What can Quantum do for AI? The latter has been more elusive so far. There are quantum algorithms that speed up linear algebraic subroutines such as solving linear systems. We will research the space between quantum and standard AI to quantum enable AI algorithms to run faster or process larger data. There will be a special emphasis on the utility of near term quantum computers such as the ones IBM currently has. These are short-depth quantum circuits.

Prerequisites: Linear Algebra. Coding (Matlab or Python or C). Being able to read quantum computing papers.

Relevant URLs: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

Contact: Ramis Movassagh: ramis@us.ibm.com


1/7/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dava Newman

Project Title: A software platform to explain local to global impacts of climate change

Project Description: When we learn about climate change, we learn about global climate change. How average sea levels are expected to rise, storms become more extreme, temperatures become even warmer. But often what we care most about are the impacts of climate change on our  own communities – what will summer in my neighborhood feel like? Will I be affected by extreme droughts or flooding? This project seeks to build/leverage a software platform that can answer these kinds of questions, interpolating results from global models to allow curious citizens to understand how the consequences of global climate change will impact their local community.

This project has two main components: (1) organizing the available data into a labeled, organized database and (2) designing a user interface to enable intuitive access to this data. Our team has already identified a number of global datasets on historical and projected climate data from US and European government agencies, but has yet to organize these disparate sources into a form that enables users to search all of them and access location-specific results. Once organized into a useful resource, there are a few options to effectively convey the information. You could visualize the local results and display them in an app or webpage, create a conversational agent using Amazon Alexa or Google Home, or leverage other platforms (i.e., Resource Watch) to engage users with how climate change impacts their local area.

You will be responsible for software development in this project with mentoring from a graduate student researcher. To support your work, you’ll have access to the design and engineering expertise of Prof. Dava Newman, graduate student researchers from a number of departments, and industry partners in our larger research group. This is an opportunity to see a project through many stages of development and could lead to further collaborations as our research team deploys the final product and tests its effectiveness at spurring action on Earth’s Systems: oceans and climate change implementing space data.

Required skills: programming experience (python preferred), familiarity with large online databases, interest in UI/UX design, (AI, NLP DeepLearning, or API experience, a plus)

Contact: Julia Milton: jmilton@mit.edu


1/7/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Peter Szolovits



Project Title: Neural Question Generation

Project Description: Automatically generating questions (and answers) for machine comprehension to support several information extraction problems in unstructured patient records. Design a notion of "question-worthy" parts of the patient note and incorporate it into a hierarchical neural model. Investigate if generation can span passages in a note or go across notes. Evaluate approach on freely i2b2 and MIMIC datasets and see if it can augment the existing emrQA dataset (http://aclweb.org/anthology/D18-1258) The UROP will 1) Usable baseline models for question generation from text, and 2) 1+some innovation w.r.t multi-passage or multi-document answering resulting in a paper. New research that will facilitate a future academic paper as well as training a more robust model for QA on patient records.

Please follow link in Relevant URLs for additional MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab application questions.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with basics of NLP (especially question answering), ability to code in python with either tensorflow or pytorch, general curiosity to learn new things and try them.

Relevant URLs: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

Contact: Preethi Raghavan: praghav@us.ibm.com


1/7/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tamara Broderick

Project Title: Quantifying predictive uncertainty through Bayesian deep learning

Project Description: As a powerful tool for modeling complex functions, neural networks have revolutionized many application domains.  However, standard deep models are also poorly calibrated: they do not provide reliable estimates of confidence in predictions and are often overly confident when making incorrect predictions.  Reliable confidence estimates are important for a variety of situations, including identifying situations when a model should not be trusted as well as making risk-sensitive decisions when uncertainties are high.



Bayesian neural networks (BNNs), which explicitly track the uncertainty in the neural network parameters, promise to provide more reliable confidence estimates. Unfortunately, as the number of model parameters in a neural network is huge, inferring accurate BNN posteriors is challenging. Techniques that approximate the BNN posterior often produce poor uncertainty estimates. While there are recent results which suggest BNNs in certain regimes behave like more intuitive stochastic processes (in particular, Gaussian processes), it is unclear if any of the plethora of recently proposed techniques for approximately learning BNNs actually achieve this idealized behavior. The objective of this project is to understand and empirically evaluate whether and under what circumstances modern BNN inference techniques recover the Gaussian process limit.



The UROP will compare algorithms commonly used for learning BNNs and comparing to a variety of alternative machine learning algorithms -- e.g. Gaussian process models, linear models, modern interpretable list models, etc.  This project would involve both implementing and when available reusing (including techniques developed by us) BNN inference algorithms as well as metrics for evaluating the quality of uncertainties produced by the learned models.  Particular data sets of interest include electronic health records and medical data. The UROP will work closely with our researchers to analyze the regimes under which the algorithms work and fail. The final deliverable will be in the form of python code. Additional extensions (if desired) could include designing new approximate inference algorithms for BNNs that rectify shortcomings of existing approaches.

Follow link in Relevant URLs for additional MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab application questions.

Prerequisites: Python programming, experience with either TensorFlow or PyTorch. Have taken 6.867 or equivalent introductory machine learning coursework.  Some familiarity with approximate inference techniques will be useful, but not strictly necessary; there will be opportunities to pick up these skills as part of the UROP experience.

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

Contact: If you are interested in working on this project, contact Soumya Ghosh: ghoshso@us.ibm.com. Note that we will require some preliminary tasks before we can formally accept a UROP on the project (see immediately below). Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the tasks.

  • Describe your relevant machine learning background (e.g. coursework, internships, etc) by email
  • Either use a standard package (glmnet or R, etc) or code a method for LASSO
  • Run LASSO on a data set of your choice
  • Report the results and why they are interesting (in text by email and/or in person)

1/7/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Quest for Intelligence (QI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Patrick Jaillet

Project Title: Collective Bayesian Optimization for Decentralized Multi-Task Learning

Project Description: In many industrial settings, practical problems of interest often need to be solved concurrently by different, independent problem-solving systems and many of these problems are usually grounded in related domains, which at least share strong domain-specific similarities. In such scenarios, taking advantages of related problem-solving knowledge acquired by others to improve one's problem-solving efficacy is essential to achieve the first step towards human-like intelligence: collaborative and communicable AI systems that automatically learn from shared experience and generalizing the learned knowledge to solve related tasks more efficiently. In traditional machine learning literature, this idea has been extensively investigated in the context of transfer learning or domain adaptation where one takes advantage of available and abundant data from related domains to improve the predictive accuracy in a target task. This body of literature is, however, restricted to the domain of predictive analytics and centralized learning where data are centralized in a single machine and predictive model's architectures are revealed publicly, which ascertains the feasibility of knowledge transfer.

However, in many practical settings, centralizing data and publicizing model architectures are not desirable due to privacy concerns. In fact, even having a centralized machine only to handle communication across local machines is also not preferable as it would expose a single choke point for operational failure and place severe computational bottlenecks on the central machine's storage, communication and computation capacities. Furthermore, in the specific context of black-box optimization, which forms the core of most ML systems (e.g., hyper-parameter tuning in predictive analytic systems and/or optimal action planning in prescriptive analytic systems etc.), problem-specific data are rarely available prior to the onset of the optimization process and not surprisingly, most existing optimizing approaches (ranging from traditional to black-box paradigms) have neglected this re-usability aspect of past experience. In other words, problem-solving systems in such settings do not communicate and do not improve their efficacy with experience. In this regard, it is worth mentioning that in many practical applications, involving time sensitive actions and/or high cost of evaluations, ignoring the knowledge gained from related optimization experiences can lead to deleterious computational overheads in the re-exploration of similar parameter spaces.

With the above, any successful problem-solving systems is expected to operate independently and collaboratively via peer-to-peer communication. In essence, such systems need to be capable of consolidating, streaming and circulating their individual observational experiences between optimization tasks and among themselves. Therefore, the main objective of this proposal is to develop novel computational capabilities featuring efficient collective knowledge (expressed in the form of learned models of recurring optimization patterns) assimilation across different systems (that can communicate in peer-to-peer fashion) for improved efficacy in problem-solving. Specifically, this research focuses on a class of decentralized, communicable black-box optimization algorithms which are designed to optimize multiple non-differentiable learning objectives concurrently and collaboratively via communication.

The result of this research project is expected to impact a wide range of industrial applications that align with the specific goal of enhancing productivity in problem-solving and autonomous decision-making through human-like knowledge transfer across problems, which forms the backbone of many AI-empowered decision support systems.

A general-purpose collective black-box optimization framework, together with associated software prototypes, realizing the aforementioned notion of knowledge transfer in the context of decentralized multi-task learning. In particular, novel algorithms will be developed to extract, represent, communicate and assimilate (shared) data generated during the course of optimization efficiently and accurately. The work done in this project (preferably over the combined IAP and Spring terms) will also be oriented towards submissions to premier AI/ML conferences.

What the UROP will do: The UROP will be working along our team of several research staff members (RSMs) specialized in AI/ML, with ample opportunities for learning and guidance. 

Specific workload includes (but not limited to):

  • Exploring the existing, relevant literature to the research topic (with guidance from the RSMs) -- the goal is to help the UROP familiarize him/her to the literature and essentially, understand the developed framework
  • Participating in weekly discussion with our team of researchers and (if desired) help extending our developed approaches and/or developing new approaches
  • Implementing our developed framework of Collective Bayesian Optimization and setting up empirical studies to demonstrate its efficiency
  • Packaging the work done into a submission to a AI/ML conference (e.g., AAAI/ICML/NIPS)

Prerequisites:

  • Programming: Python, C++ and experience with TensorFlow and Keras
  • Background: non-parametric statistics, optimization and basic knowledge in probabilistic machine learning.

Relevant URL: https://goo.gl/forms/MeDtpAAPVxqerOVy1

Contact: Nghia Hoang: nghiaht@ibm.com


1/4/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Humanitarian/Scientific initiative for treating curable blindness and studying visual development

Project Description: We are looking for UROP/s that can help us in our dual goal humanitarian/scientific initiative to provide treatment to curably blind children and study their subsequent visual development using a range of behavioral, imaging and computational methods. In particular, we have been studying the development of object and face perception as well as the development of drawing skills following recovery from prolonged congenital blindness.  We currently have data that needs to be sorted, annotated and analyzed.

A self motivated and interested UROP will also have opportunities to become involved in defining new research questions, designing and preparing new experiments, and joining in on many other exciting aspects of this project.

In this study, we focus on basic face recognition and drawing abilities, particularly in the hours and days following treatment for congenital blindness from cataracts.  We have video data recorded from the first hours and days immediately upon sight onset, as well as longitudinal data on standardized tests of face and expression identification (both behavioral and eye-tracking).  The student will be asked to sort through this data, which will include watching and annotating videos, performing data sorting and analysis with excel, and then will be supported with performing data analysis using varying techniques.  As needed, students will also be expected to perform literature search and help me with conceptualizing new and appropriate ways of analyzing the behavioral and eye-tracking data.  The students will be supported and mentored directly by me (a staff research scientist), but are expected to independently manage their time and meet deadlines.  This position may be available for direct pay or credit.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate/s will have a strong interest in visual development and behavioral studies, and should be interested in contributing to both the scientific and humanitarian aspects of our project.

Significant advantage for background in experimental psychology and/or cognitive science.  Creativity and patience is a must!  Research requires first and foremost the ability to remain motivated and problem solve despite ambiguities, and that is particularly true with out project.

We are looking for someone who is self motivated (though I will always be around to guide and help) and ideally with at least a potential interest in returning to or continuing work with the lab.  Many of our UROP's stay on for multiple semesters to follow their projects through, and we love that!

Knowledge of hindi and ability to translate is a plus but not a must.  We also have a project that involved fMRI data analysis - if you are interested in this and in particularly have any fMRI analysis experience, we want to meet you!  Finally, basic programming and stats skills, or willingness to self-teach, are a huge plus.

Please note - ability to invest at least 6-9 hours a week is a must.  Please make sure that you are indeed comfortable with this and are not over-reaching with your schedule.

Relevant URL: www.projectprakash.org

Contact: Sharon Gilad-Gutnick: sharongu@mit.edu


1/4/19

Spring

Multiple Opening 

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A John Hart

Project #1: Optimization of Printed Sensors for On Site Soil Nutrient Analysis

Project Description: We are developing an on site soil nutrient analysis and management system to provide small holding farmers with actionable soil health information.  The soil nutrient analysis system will enable the accurate measurement of pH, nitrate, phosphate, and potassium - providing critical information for the farmer to efficiently utilize fertilizer inputs and maximize crop yields. We are seeking a student to investigate the impact of different parameters on the performance of our sensors, optimizing the designs for a pilot test in India.  The project will involve fabricating sensors and characterizing performance using electrochemical, profilometry, and microscopy techniques.

Prerequisites: The project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn new experimental techniques are most valued.  Interest or experience in fabrication, electrochemistry, and/or design for resource constrained environments is great.

___________

Project #2: Development of Electrochemical Reader for On Site Soil Nutrient Analysis

Project Description: We are developing an on site soil nutrient analysis and management system to provide small holding farmers with actionable soil health information.  The soil nutrient analysis system will enable the accurate measurement of pH, nitrate, phosphate, and potassium - providing critical information for the farmer to efficiently utilize fertilizer inputs and maximize crop yields. We are seeking a student to help with the development of a point of use electrochemical reader, designing the system for a pilot test in India.  The project will involve the continued development and refinement of a microcontroller-based system for making open circuit potential measurements, and integrating the system into a user friendly, portable device.

Prerequisites: The project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Interest and experience in electronics hardware fabrication, pcb design, arduino programming, and/or design for resource constrained environments is great.

Contact: If you are interested, please email Michael Arnold (mjarnold@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).


1/2/19

IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood



Project Title: Paraffin Wax Centrifuge Experiment

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space.  Space technology contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals via communication, Earth observation, positioning, microgravity research, spinoffs and basic research.  Space Enabled uses six methods to apply space technology to development, including art, design, social science, complex systems modeling, satellite engineering and data science.

The research group is conducting experimental work considering novel ways of forming non-toxic rocket propellants, in particular paraffin wax (common candle wax).  The student would develop and refine an experimental procedure for melting paraffin wax and forming it into annular rocket fuel grain geometries.  The student would also be programming an Arduino to control an oil-based centrifuge experiment.

Prerequisites: Demonstrated knowledge of experimental processes with a particular focus on safety related to physical experiments/mechanical hardware.  Preference for students with Arduino experience and mechanical/aerospace/electrical engineering backgrounds.

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


1/2/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Exploring the Dynamics of Learning and Decision-Making to Apply Space Technology in Support of Sustainable Development

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space. Space Enabled uses six research methods to apply space technology to sustainable development: design, art, social science, complex systems modeling, satellite engineering and data science. In this project, Space Enabled emphasizes the use of design thinking and social science to understand the experiences of participants in projects that apply space technology in support of sustainable development. Specifically, the project uses methods from anthropology, sociology, history and economics to explore social aspects of technology projects. Several case study technology projects are examined in Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Benin and Tunisia; in each case study an organization applies space technology to respond to a local need in a new way. All the case studies examine projects that use space technology because this is an increasingly feasible opportunity for countries in every region of the world. The case studies ask questions such as: 1) What sociotechnical imaginaries does the community hold about the impact of space technology on their community? 2) What learning processes are used to learn new technology? In this project, students will analyze data for existing case studies and help prepare to collect data for future case studies. Students will also participate in literature review on the topics of cultural impacts of technological learning and the influence of technology on decision making.

Prerequisites: We seek students with a combined interest in social science and science or technology. We prefer students with knowledge in any of the following fields: sociology, anthropology, economics, political science, organizational theory, history, urban studies and planning, international studies, science and technology studies. Students that have experience coding qualitative interview data and performing academic literature reviews are preferred. In addition, we seek students interested in the topic of sustainable development.

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


1/2/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: V. Michael Bove

Project Title: Looking Sideways creative online exploration tool

Project Description: During IAP and Spring semester in the Media Lab’s Object-Based Media group, we’ll be continuing to develop computational design tools that embrace ambiguity and serendipity, vital for technologies used early in the creative process.  We’ll be refining the Looking Sideways inspiration exploration tool (http://sideways.media.mit.edu/), an online browsing tool that seeks to provoke unexpected inspiration and guide pathways to new ideas through providing users with a selection of semi-randomly chosen, loosely related, diverse sources from art, design, history and literature for every search query.  We’ll be carrying out user studies and integrating that feedback into modifications of the tools, e.g. refining the UI and building new features.  There is also opportunity to work on the design(human)design tool (http://reframe.media.mit.edu/), and help integrate these tools into a projection mapping table so that they can be viewed in a more immersive environment.

Prerequisites:

  • Strong JavaScript skills (ideally with knowledge of D3 visualization library)
  • Front end web development

Contact: Philippa Mothersill: pip@mit.edu


1/2/19

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Alan Berger

Project Title: The American Suburbs Project

Project Description: How suburban is America? What percent of American’s live in low-density, car dependent suburbs versus dense, walkable communities? And how many reside in rural areas yet still commute into the city center for work? Surprisingly these questions have not be adequately answered at the neighborhood level. A new research project at the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism aims to clearly answer these questions and share the results through an online platform. The American Suburbs Project will study and define the scope of America’s suburban population over the last decade using a widely published method previously applied to Canada and Australia. The results will therefore allow researchers to understand differences in metropolitan growth between American cities, as well as comparatively across all three countries. The outcomes of this study have broad implications for housing, transportation, and land-use policies, as well as the transition to more sustainable and resilient cities.

The UROP(s) will assist in the translation of an existing Excel-based manual workflow into a scalable and parameterized computational workflow.

UROP will:

  • Download and pre-process US census and landcover datasets
  • Perform spatial statistics based on demographics, transportation mode, and housing characteristics, to identify distinct types of urban and suburban regions
  • Validate results, under supervision, using Google Earth and other third-party datasets
  • Prepare the results for broad communication in the form of static and interactive web maps and a peer-reviewed article.

Learning + Opportunity: We welcome applicants from all courses interested in the project. Students in course 11.6 or course 4 or 11 with an emphasis on spatial analysis are especially encouraged to apply. This is a great opportunity to improve spatial analysis skills under the guidance of research associates at the LCAU and in the context of a real-world research project.

Prerequisites: The candidate should be proficient in either Python or R programming environments (Python preferred). Experience working with spatial data, GIS data, and US Census data is preferred, as is familiarity with Javascript for front-end web development.

Contact: Pru Robinson: pru@mit.edu