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

9/20/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Refine & Scale “Sunny”, a Chatbot for Psychological Wellbeing

Project Description: How can we use AI to make it easier for people to stay connected and show appreciation for each other? In Spring 2019, we built Sunny, a Facebook Messenger chatbot to promote meaningful, positive connections within small groups of friends or family by facilitating positive messages. We tested Sunny with 3 groups of 4 people and received a lot of positive feedback. The interviews and data from our preliminary study suggest that Sunny could have a positive effect on people’s relationships and self-esteem.

We are looking for a UROP student to help revamp Sunny and get the chatbot ready to deploy in a larger study and to the population at large.

  • Ideate and make changes to the user experience of Sunny based on user feedback
  • Develop a join flow so that Sunny may be used by any group of Facebook users
  • Fix bugs in the Sunny system related to the database storage and retrieval of messages

Prerequisites: There is plenty of space for creativity in UX design, back-end development, and study design and evaluation techniques.  The ideal candidate has some experience in JavaScript web development and web databases (e.g. SQL). Bring your research interests, creativity, and questions that you want to explore - we’re excited to support your learning and development. Technical guidance from the project's development lead will be available.

Contact: Please email Jaya Narain (jnarain@mit.edu), Monique Davey (mondavey@mit.edu), and Tina Quach (quachtina96@gmail.com) if you are interested in this position.


9/20/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Lincoln Labs (LL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Keith Doyle

(U.S. Citizenship Required) The Structural & Thermal-Fluids Engineering Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory designs and builds structures for the protection and support of advanced airborne sensor and communication systems. These systems operate in a variety of challenging environments, ranging from extreme and variable temperatures to high shock and vibration loads during launch. In support of this mission, we are developing new particle-reinforced composites that can be processed by 3D printing

Job Description  Composite materials are superior to homogeneous materials when the strengths of two or more materials are superimposed. For example, stiff particles that are brittle can reinforce a tough material that is soft, resulting in a composite material that is both stiff and tough. A limitation of traditional particle-reinforced composites is that the arrangement of the particles is nearly random—because the two phases are simply mixed in bulk before the material is consolidated. 

Here, we will explore tuning of stiffness, strength, and ductility by using multi-material 3D printing to specify precisely the arrangement of reinforcement particles. Preliminary modeling shows that, for some matrix materials, mechanical properties can be enhanced substantially by regularly arranging particles. Therefore, we will 3D print tensile specimens with particles located on different 2D lattices and at several volume fractions. These specimens will be tested to large strains using a video camera and digital image correlation (i.e., non-contacting extensometry). Experimental results will be compared to model predictions, and additional modeling will be used to predict the properties of 3D composites with regular placement of particles.

Prerequisites:

  • • Strong interest in conducting experimental mechanics and materials research
  • • Classes in materials science and/or mechanics of materials
  • • Experience with MATLAB, Mathematica, Python, LaTeX, or other programming languages
  • • Familiarity with 3D printing methods and programming of 3D printers would be helpful but not necessary.

Apply: Please submit your resume and unofficial transcript to our website at www.ll.mit.edu/careers. In the ‘Search Open Opportunities’ field, please enter 26879.

Contact: ethan.parsons@ll.mit.edu


9/20/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Lincoln Labs (LL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Keith Doyle

(U.S. Citizenship Required)

The Structural & Thermal-Fluids Engineering Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory designs and builds structures for the protection and support of advanced airborne sensor and communication systems. These systems operate in a variety of challenging environments, ranging from extreme and variable temperatures to high shock and vibration loads during launch. In support of this mission, we are developing metal matrix composites that can be processed by 3D printing so that materials with high strength and stiffness can be used in components requiring complex shapes and short lead times.

Job Description: You will join a team working to invent stiff, strong, and lightweight aerospace metals for 3D printing by selective laser melting (SLM). The project entails fabrication of metal-ceramic powders, laser consolidation of these powders with SLM, and characterization of both powders and printed materials with microscopy, mechanical testing, and other methods. Although the thrust of the project is experimental, you will use modeling and theory to plan and interpret experiments. Programming of the 3D printer and processing of large datasets acquired during printing may also be involved.  

Prerequisites:

  • • Strong interest in conducting experimental materials research
  • • Classes in materials science and/or mechanics of materials
  • • Experience with MATLAB, Mathematica, Python, LaTeX, or other programming languages
  • • Familiarity with metallography, microscopy, mechanical testing, or other materials characterization would be helpful but not required

Lincoln Labs Transport: A free shuttle bus is provided so students may commute to Lincoln Laboratory from campus.  Please see https://www.ll.mit.edu/contact-us/visitor-information.

Employment Requirements: U.S. citizenship is required. Selected candidate will be subject to a pre-employment background investigation and must be able to obtain and maintain a Secret level DoD security clearance.

Apply: Please submit your resume and unofficial transcript to our website at www.ll.mit.edu/careers. In the ‘Search Open Opportunities’ field, please enter 26880.

Contact: ethan.parsons@ll.mit.edu


9/19/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kiyoshi Masui

Project Title: Building A Digital Radio Telescope

Project Description: Digital radio telescopes offer advantages compared to traditional dishes. Unlike traditional telescopes, where a dish is pointed at a particular patch of sky, telescope pointing in a digital radio telescope is done in post processing. This allows for an extremely wide field of view and the opportunity to do exciting astrophysics and cosmology.

Our group is looking for a friendly, curious, and motivated undergraduate to assist in building several server nodes which form the core of several such telescopes. The nodes assembled will be deployed at Green Bank Observatory, WV and Algonquin Radio Observatory, Ontario, Canada as part of the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment within the next year. The student will work closely with a second-year graduate student in physics.

Prerequisites: First-years and sophomores preferred! Course 6, 8 (physics, computer science) applicants particularly welcome to apply.

Required: Basic fluency in bash and familiarity with Linux-based operating systems, or experience building Linux-based desktop computers. A working knowledge of Fourier transforms and Fourier analysis is a big plus.

Recommended: Interest in physics and/or astrophysics is a plus, but not necessary.

Contact: Calvin Leung: calvinl@mit.edu


9/19/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Karilyn Crockett

Project Title: Hacking the Archive -- Fall edition

Project Description: This project will research and map community organizing and resistance movements across Greater Boston for the past 50 years as a tool for helping a set of community-based organizations plan their next 50 years of social action.

Prerequisites: Looking for self-starters who are passionate about neighborhood-level organizing for social justice across a variety of issue areas including education, housing, land development and economic equity.

Relevant URL: https://mytownstory.tumblr.com/post/186987363453/nadine-eichenlaub-mit-today-i-talked-to-ros

Contact: Karilyn Crockett: kcrock@mit.edu


9/19/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: Shared Mobility and Data Privacy

Project Description: The overarching goal of this project is to evaluate to which extent information location privacy could affect the performance of mobility sharing applications, in terms of both transportation efficiency and quality of service. We want to: (i) understand to what extent data privacy/security is a concern among users; (ii) implement and evaluate different data masking techniques; and (iii) understand the value of data in shared mobility. We are looking for two candidates who are interested in the study of privacy and security issues in the context of shared mobility. UROP duties may include searching for and identifying appropriate data sets from public sources; help finding, defining and evaluating different privacy-preserving methodologies within a mobility sharing service; and facilitating data analysis efforts. The ideal candidate is expected to be proficient in data analysis, and interested in literature review. Expected time commitment is 10 hours/week.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in data analysis. Familiarity with shared mobility systems and/or data privacy could be a plus. Intellectual curiosity and willingness to gain literature insights is important.

Contact: If interested, please send your resume and a short description of why you would be a strong candidate to Elena Renda at erenda@mit.edu and Jinhua Zhao at jinhua@mit.edu.


9/18/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Carlo Ratti

Project Title: A platform for analysis, visualization and citizen engagement around environmental data 

Project Overview The proposed project is part of the environmental monitoring research in context of City Scanner initiative that is being developed at MIT Senseable City Lab (http://senseable.mit.edu). 

The City Scanner initiative (http://senseable.mit.edu/cityscanner) aims at democratizing environmental data, bringing it to the doorstep of citizens. City Scanner leverages drive-by sensing, a novel approach to monitoring urban areas: intelligence stemming from a fleet of sensors-equipped vehicles is aggregated to provide advanced analytics for both local governments and citizens. By collecting, analyzing and visualizing hyperlocal environmental data sourced by fleets of vehicles equipped with custom-designed sensing nodes, we aim at studying a number of urban phenomena: for example, air quality, road quality, gas and energy leaks. Ultimately, we expect our platform aim to help delivering actionable insights for public good. 

The candidate will work with the City Scanner team to develop either back-end or front-end platform components for environmental data analytics. The task includes developing code for data aggregation, visualization and user interaction using the latest web technologies.  

Prerequisites We are looking for candidates with a background in GIS, data visualization and front-end development. Familiarity with cloud technologies (e.g. AWS), big data and statistics or environmental data analysis are of advantage.

Contact: Simone Mora: moras@mit.edu


9/18/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Carlo Ratti

Project Title: Development of next-gen drive-by sensors for environmental monitoring

Project Overview The proposed project is part of the environmental monitoring research in context of City Scanner initiative that is being developed at MIT Senseable City Lab (http://senseable.mit.edu). 

The City Scanner initiative (http://senseable.mit.edu/cityscanner) aims at democratizing environmental data, bringing it to the doorstep of citizens. City Scanner leverages drive-by sensing, a novel approach to monitoring urban areas: intelligence stemming from a fleet of sensors-equipped vehicles is aggregated to provide advanced analytics. The City Scanner platform is centered on Blackburn, a low-cost and solar-powered vehicular sensing node that can be attached with magnets to any vehicle. It collects and streams environmental data to our platform in real-time, where it is analyzed to detect pollution hotspots and trends at an unprecedented local scale. All data collected is then released via our map-based visualizations and dashboards that allows both public officials and citizens to explore environmental data both along time and space dimensions; enabling decision-making and fosters public engagement on environmental issues.

The candidate will work with the City Scanner team to develop the next version of the Blackburn sensing node. The task includes development of software modules for the operative system of Blackburn including routines for acquisition of sensor data, energy management and communication via cellular networks.

Prerequisites We are looking for candidates with a background in computer science and embedded programming in C/C++ language. Familiarity with hardware prototyping platforms like Arduino and Particle; experience using sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, gas monitors are of advantage.

Contact: Simone Mora: moras@mit.edu


9/18/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Erin Kelly

Project Title: Warehouse Work and Worker Well-being

Project Description: As part of a research project at MIT Sloan studying warehouse work and worker well-being, the student will contribute to coding interview transcripts, as well as reviewing and editing interview transcripts. This research will be part of a project that seeks to document ways to improve workers’ experience in warehouses, a setting rapidly being affected by e-commerce.

Prerequisites: Willingness/interest to learn software used in qualitative analysis. Strong attention to detail.

Relevant URL: https://equitablegrowth.org/grants/scheduling-strategies-for-warehouse-work/

Contact: Alex Kowalski: mkalex@mit.edu


9/18/19

Fall/IAP

Multiple Openings

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amar Gupta

Project #1: Implementing Digital Health and Telemedicine Systems in US and Abroad

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 learn how to influence and accelerate the pace of adoption of Telemedicine and other Digital Health in other organizations, US states, and countries. The goal of the effort is to build upon the research conducted by students during spring and summer, to enhance an evolving manuscript for submission to a journal during this semester, and to be a potential co-author of this paper. 

Prerequisites: Ability to devote at least 10 hours per week to this project. Students with background in Economics, CS, Law, Health Sciences, and/or Public Policy are especially encouraged to apply.

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

____________

Project #2: Digital Health and Telemedicine Systems: Cost Analysis, Safety Analysis, and Deployment

Project Description: This project is to build upon the research conducted by students during spring and summer, to enhance an evolving manuscript for submission to a journal during this semester, and to be a potential co-author of this paper. Detailed survey has already been conducted using data and inputs from multiple states in the US, as well as several of the key issues related to safety and quality of new AI-based algorithms and systems.   

Prerequisites: Ability to devote at least 10 hours per week to this project. Students with background in Economics, AI, Law, and/or Public Policy are especially encouraged to apply.

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

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Project #3: Front-end development of Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) platform to evaluate and enhance quality of Digital Health approaches

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. The UROP student would join a team of back-end developers and MDs with business expertise. 

Prerequisites:

  • Experience in front-end web development.
  • Ability to devote at least 10 hours per week to this project.

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

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Project #4: 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: Ability to devote at least 10 hours per week to this project.

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

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Project #5: 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:

  • Knowledge and familiarity with AI, machine learning, or authentication techniques.
  • Ability to devote at least 10 hours per week to this project.

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

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Project #6: 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 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. Please write to Dr. Gupta soon if you want to apply for pay or credit. Applications seeking funding must be received by UROP office by 5 pm on 9/19/2019.

Prerequisites: Ability to devote at least 10 hours per week to this project.

Relevant URL: thetech.com/2018/06/07/mit-telemedicine-telehealth-class

Contact: Amar Gupta: agupta@mit.edu.  Please write to Dr. Gupta soon if you want to apply for pay or credit. Applications seeking funding must be received by UROP office by 5 pm on 9/19/2019


9/17/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Ultra-low power machine learning and affective audio for psychology in-the-wild

Project Description: Project Us aims to help romantic couples to communicate better by supporting each partner on better reading the emotional state of the other. We address this challenge by exploring technologies that can provide insights about the emotional state of a person, and studying seamless and privacy-respectful mechanisms to use this information for supporting the learning process of the partner.

The UROP student will explore the use of state-of-the-art ultra-low-power neural networks platforms (aka machine learning on the edge e.g. Gap8 from Greenwaves) for identifying affective keywords and tones. This will be the base of a wearable device capable of identifying moments when a psychology intervention might be helpful for a user, while not requiring to stream the data to the cloud (great for privacy). The student will also explore how to improve the model on the device without streaming the raw data to the cloud.

If you are excited about machine learning, affective computing and psychology on-the-wild but do not fulfil all the prerequisites below, we still encourage you to apply! This project might be funded.

Prerequisites:

  • Required background: machine learning.
  • *Bonus: experience with audio processing and embedded systems.

Contact: Camilo Rojas: camilorq@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher A. Schuh

Project Title: Efficient sampling of minimum energy configurations for Grain Boundaries

Project Description: Grain boundaries (GBs) in metals influence a wide range of material properties such as strength, ductility, conductivity and corrosion resistance. However,  to date, there is a limited understanding of the GB structure-property relationship. The main challenge is that the GB crystallographic space is described by 5 degrees of freedom, making it intractable. Therefore, if we can efficiently sample this space and build an extensive database, we can uncover the role of GB structure on material properties, ultimately enabling us to design and optimize polycrystalline materials.

This project is at the intersection of materials science/computer science. You will learn to use atomistic simulation tools and workflows for high-throughput computation.

Prerequisites: Python programming skills (6.0001/6.0002 level). Background in Materials science.

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

Contact: Malik Wagih: mwagih@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: CityScope Interactive Developer

Project Description: The Media Lab, City Science Group [CSG] is exploring the potential tangible and intangible interfaces, and the insight computation and simulation can have on city management and urban planning processes. One of the research lines in the group is the development of the CityScope platform, an evidence-based or data-enabled, interactive simulation tool that allows stakeholders, such as community members, policymakers and urban technicians alike, to understand the impact different design solutions could have on urban performance. The platform is made up of three general components; a tangible interface [usually LEGO], an array of visualization displays [including projection mapping on the tangible interface], and a range of [computational] analysis and simulation modules that relate to different urban metrics. Through interactions, the platform allows for a comprehensive understanding of the impacts urban interventions may have on existing or proposed urban systems. To this end, the CityScope team is looking for a talented developer to join the project and help develop a new interactive platform. Our goal is to develop a new tangible interface that can dynamically change the urban planning process.

Position: During the UROP researcher position, the student will gain an understanding of developing, designing and programming interactive interfaces for the CityScope platform. At the group, we are developing an interface that requires to control several actuators in real-time — that always to change the urban landscape dynamically. We are focusing on exploring shape shaping displays applied to urban planning. A successful candidate will need to develop one or more fo the following task electronic and electrical design, real-time interactive design, protocol communication, implementation of geospatial data such as maps and GIS.

About The CityScience group:

https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/city-science/overview/

https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/cityscope/overview/

Required Skills:

  • Motivated, autonomous and results-driven.
  • Electrical engineering, Computer Science, Architecture, urban planning or design background is recommended yet not necessary.
  • Design, digital fabrication.
  • Experience with interactive interfaces.
  • Comfort with Python, C++ or Processing Programming Language.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/city-science/overview/

Contact: Markus  ElKatsha: markuse@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Wearable Piezoelectric Biomedical Devices for Ultrasound Imaging

Project Description: Ultrasound diagnosis and therapy are widely used in medical applications due to its harmlessness, low cost, and real-time dynamic imaging capabilities. However, the rigid transducer probes in current ultrasound 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 various ultrasound applications, which is miniaturized and stretchable to conformably cover the skin surface, and rapidly obtain signals from deep tissue. The device is built by transferring inorganic piezoelectric single crystals on silicone elastomeric substrate. The piezoelectric performance and pulse-echo response of the piezoelectric array will be characterized and compared on phantom skins and live animal models, in planar and bending/stretching configurations. The acquired signal will be transmitted to a backend commercial or lab-made system. The result is a soft ultrasound device that can be seamlessly integrated with the human body to achieve continuous high quality monitoring of human deep tissues/organs functions.

Prerequisites: We are looking for student who is self-motivated, methodical, careful and organized and diligent. Excellent teamwork, management and learning skills are required. Please do not hesitate to contact the group if you have any one of the following experiences:

  1. Biomedical ultrasound: Background in Biomedical Engineering, Acoustic Engineering, Electronics, Physics, or other related fields; Extensive experiences in: ultrasound imaging, ultrasound neuron stimulation, Doppler ultrasound for blood flow, high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), or other related applications;
  2. Hardware for ultrasound systems: Background in Electrical Engineering, Precision Instrument, Measurement and Control or other related fields; Extensive experiences in: radio frequency (RF) circuit design integration or front-end digital circuit design; analog signal interface and digital control; system integration design; impedance matching; multiplexer with LabVIEW control; multi-sensor data streaming and synchronization.
  3. Signal/image processing for ultrasound: Background in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Acoustic Engineering or other related fields; Extensive experiences in: signal/imaging processing algorithms for ultrasound/radar or other related fields; Proficient coding skills of C/C++, Python, MATLAB or other related languages. Experience with 3D design software, such as SolidWorks and AutoCAD is a plus.

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


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leslie Norford

Project Title: Mesoscale Energy Modeling for City Regions (MeEnMo)

Job Description 1: We are seeking a UROP to help build an electric car location and grid-integration model using both empirical and a-priori approaches. The core module will be written in Python, but data-wrangling from JSON, CSV, and other formats will be required using panda dataframes. The ideal student will be highly interested in conceptualizing a tractable approach to car location and grid-integration modeling for a region with hundreds of thousands of cars. Experience writing agent-based models is a plus. Working alongside faculty and research staff at the LCAU and building science department, the UROP will have the opportunity to define and create novel models, with the aim to publish research under their own name over the Winter IAP session.

Prereqs:

  • Strong Python skills
  • Working knowledge of Pandas/Numpy
  • Ability to abstract and simplify highly complex systems to fundamental components

_____________

Job Description 2: We are seeking a UROP to build an economic model for regional renewable energy including the following sub-modules. This UROP will work with other UROPs to add costing functions to each of the supply, demand, and storage modules for optimization of future regional grid planning. The models will be written in Python, but the ideal candidate will have an interest in researching and modeling the complex financial interactions between numerous grid-technologies including fixed battery storage, off-river hydro storage, intra-seasonal solar-to-fuel storage, solar-energy production, baseline energy production, etc. Working alongside faculty and research staff at the LCAU and building science department, the UROP will have the opportunity to define and create novel models, with the aim to publish research under their own name over the Winter IAP session.

Prereqs:

  • Strong Python skills
  • Working knowledge of Pandas/Numpy

_____________

Job Description 3: We are seeking a UROP to use machine-learning techniques to build a synthetic energy-demand model using historical sub-hourly weather data tied to utility-provided data for electricity demand during those same hours. The resulting model will allow researchers to rapidly generate synthetic data for prototypical and extreme years including temperature, cloud-cover, humidity, and resulting baseline electric load. This data will then be used in downstream modules to calculate solar generation and test optimal mixes of baseload ramping and energy storage technologies including grid connected electric vehicles, off-river hydro, flow-batteries, and electricity to fuel conversion, among others.

Prereqs:

  • Strong Python skills
  • Experience using ML techniques to build surrogate models

_____________

Job Description 4: We are seeking a UROP to help complete a novel machine learning technique for estimating roof-top surface areas based on building footprints. The student will build out existing training-sets for the ML algorithms and write algorithms to select optimal building candidates for roof-top panels based on multiple criteria. This is an ideal UROP position for first- and second-year architecture or engineering majors interested in sustainable design.

Prereqs:

  • Rhinoceros and Grasshopper (willingness to learn is also ok)
  • Working knowledge of Pandas/Numpy
  • Python (at minimum able to convert clear specifications/goals to code and debug/check)

Contact: Leslie Norford: lnorford@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Vivek Bald

Project Title: Bengali to English Translation for Documentary and Web Project

Project Description: Faculty member in Comparative Media Studies and the Open Documentary Lab is looking for a student to help translate a series of video interviews conducted with elders in two villages in Noakhali District, Bangladesh.

The interviews will be used as part of a documentary film currently in production for broadcast on PBS as well as a web-based oral-history website titled The Lost Histories Project. The film and web project are focused on 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).

The interviews to be translated explore the stories of a villager from Noakhali who joined the maritime trade in the 1920s and jumped ship in New York in the 1930s, and a woman from a nearby village whom he married later in life, in the 1960s, and brought to live with him in Harlem. The interviews provide insight into a larger history of early Bangladeshi migration to the U.S. that spanned the first two-thirds of the 20th century.

The UROP student will work with the project director to translate approximately seven hours of interview footage from Bangla to English, first providing rough simultaneous translations, then producing written translations and transcriptions of selected segments of footage.

Prerequisites: Fluency in Bengali. Familiarity with Noakhali Bengali preferred but not required.

Relevant URL: bengaliharlem.com

Contact: Vivek Bald: vbald@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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 descendants 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 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.

Contact: Vivek Bald: vbald@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Vivek Bald

Project Title: 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 descendants 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


9/17/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ceasar McDowell

Project Title: The Move: Graphic Designer/Design Researcher

About The Move: The Move is a movement that aims to provide a collaborative learning and exchange platform for researchers, leaders, academics, and politicians, as well as artists, community organizers, and ordinary citizens who are seeking to facilitate real civic engagement in our democracy. We produce weekly podcasts and blog content on our website, TheMove.mit.edu, to bring together the perspectives of people of all backgrounds who are seeking to facilitate real civic engagement in today’s democracies. We also participate in workshops, events, and conferences, where we share various tools that we research, prototype, and develop based on Professor Ceasar McDowell’s Civic Design Framework, in order to support community engagement practitioners of all backgrounds in their practice.

Position Description: The Move is in search of a graphic designer/design researcher who will help our staff develop new printed and web-based tools and visualizations for a larger audience to understand, interact with, and reflect on their practice with Professor McDowell’s Civic Design Framework. 

Specific responsibilities will include: Working with The Move staff to research and brainstorm both printed and web-based tools related to the Civic Design Framework. Developing and prototyping web-based tools on The Move’s Medium and MIT Open Learning platforms Designing, creating, and preparing printed materials and tools for workshops, conferences, and events attended/hosted by The Move. Providing general and technical support in the use and implementation of printed/web-based tools

Qualifications & Skills: A passion for community/civic engagement, public facilitation, art, and design; work/volunteer experience or personal practice in any of these areas a big plus. Advanced graphic design skills including the following competencies Excellent visual communication skills Fluency with Adobe CS - Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign a must, Premiere and AfterEffects a plus. Experience with layout design, typographic design, general print design.  Experience and knowledge coding web based interactive data visualization interfaces using D3, JavaScript, HTML, CSS.

To apply, please submit 1-3 work samples of relevant graphic/web design projects.

Relevant URL: theme.mit.edu, http://medium.com/themovemit

Contact: Julia Curbera: jcurbera@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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 the MIT Media Lab which researches social issues and produces conceptual artworks ranging from websites and apps to sculptures, large-scale installations and music performances.

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, urban design planning, 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 Marvin: cuscaden@media.mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Desiree Plata

Project Title: Fundamental study of CVD grown graphene with environmental performance considered

Project Description: This project entails the growth and characterization of graphene over a relatively large parameter space. A variety of graphene types will be related to growth conditions and material performance. Environmental performance will be quantified through emissions profiles and energy requirements. The UROP will participate in the growth of graphene using a custom CVD reactor and quantification of emissions composition. The overarching goals of this project are to relate material performance with graphene type over experimental conditions while addressing synthetic environmental performance.

Prerequisites: Independent students with previous lab experience are desired. Basic chemistry and/or organic chemistry a major plus; mechanical and/or electrical engineering experience is advantageous to working with customized furnace/ reactor system; carful and organized working habits are necessary due to complexity/ potential hazards associated with operation (students needn’t be deterred, as proper engineering controls exist). We seek students with available blocks of time (e.g., Friday whole day or half day). Note: experimental times are long but afford student with ample downtime during runs.

Contact: Desiree Plata: dplata@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Please supply the project title for this UROP

Project Description: We are looking for motivated UROPs at Camera Culture research group in MIT Media Lab. The projects would involve deep learning, optimization, statistics and some coding with either 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.

Prerequisites: Coding with either of PyTorch/TensorFlow/Keras/Matlab.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/camera-culture/overview/

Contact: Apply by sending your resume to Praneeth Vepakomma: vepakom@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Zen Chu

Project Title: Discerning temporal and geographical trends in healthcare and innovation data using data analytics

Project Description: MIT Hacking Medicine has run healthcare entrepreneurship events around the world over the past 6 years. These events include healthcare hackathons and design thinking workshops. Collectively, this is a significant repository of data that 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 and enthusiastic about applying them to this data set.

Prerequisites: Basic proficiency in data analysis. 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


9/17/19

Fall

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 the entrepreneurial 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


9/17/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Biology (Course 7

)MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Hemann

Project Title: Identifying mediators of resistance to CAR T-cell therapy in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Project Description: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth-leading cause of cancer mortality among both genders in the developed world and is predicted to become the second leading cause of cancer death by 2030. The mortality rates for this cancer closely parallel its incidence rates as it is very aggressive and usually diagnosed at advanced stages due to a lack of symptoms and early detection methods. Most patients are only diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when it has already spread to other vital organ sites of the body, at which point treatment options are limited and largely palliative. Immunotherapy utilizing and engineering the patient’s own immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells has shown great promise in recent years, especially in hematological malignancies. The adaptation of these therapies to solid tumors such as pancreatic cancer holds great promise. Of particular interest is the usage of engineered T cells carrying synthetic receptor molecules, termed chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), targeting antigens expressed on malignant cells. Understanding which factors in pancreatic cancer mediate resistance to CAR-T cell therapy, or sensitize to it, is key in designing effective CAR-T cell treatments for patients and is the focus of this research project.

Prerequisites: No particular research experience is required for joining this project. However, the applicants should be willing to stay at least for 1 year, preferably longer and should be motivated by the topic of research.

Contact: Julia Froese: jfroese@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Fox Harrell

Project Title: In Event of Moon Disaster

Project Description: MIT's Center for Advanced Virtuality is making a flagship digital art work about the ethics of misinformation and deepfake technology called ‘In Event of Moon Disaster’. The piece will be premiered at a prestigious European international film festival at the end of the year (more details can be given to applicants). It will also become an interactive web documentary (commissioned by Mozilla). The piece speculates on an alternative history on the moon landing, using a contingency speech written for the President at the time, Richard Nixon, in case the mission had gone wrong. As part of the project we will make a deepfake of Richard Nixon reading this speech from the Oval Office. This is a chance to work on a high-profile project with some of the leading directors in experimental storytelling. We are looking to build a small team to work on the installation and web-interactive. 

These roles are available:

  • Producer: dealing with the logistics of this project
  • Film Researcher: researching various film archives for this project and selecting key footage
  • Film Editor: editing together the multi-channel installation Interaction 
  • Designer: working with the Directors to envisage the interactive experience of the installation as well as conceiving the interactive design of the web interactive 
  • Web Developer: helping to build the web interactive Journalist: to write and edit the contextual material about misinformation, deepfakes and artificial intelligence

Ideal candidate must be self-motivated, detail-oriented and be able to manage and track multiple demands in a creative and fast-paced environment.

Contact: Francesca Panetta: fpanetta@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Volha Charnysh

Project Title: Project Title: Economic and Political Legacies of Forced Migration in Germany

Project Description: The expulsion of Germans from the former eastern territories of the German Reich transferred to Poland as well as from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic States amounted to one of the largest instances of forced migration in human history. In a span of just five years, 1944 to 1950, 12-14 million Germans were forced to move. How did the need to accommodate expellees affect social and economic outcomes of the receiving communities in Germany? Did population resettlement on such a massive scale influence local and national institutions for the provision of public goods and welfare? Do the lessons from post-WWII refugee crisis in Germany apply to contemporary immigration challenges?

Prof. Charnysh needs a research assistant fluent in German to help conduct research on these related research questions. Wellesley and MIT students are encouraged to apply.

The undergraduate researcher will:

  • Collect data and assist in assembling quantitative datasets
  • Compile literature reviews
  • Facilitate email communication with German academics, archives, and governmental agencies

Prerequisites:

  • German language skills (preference for native speakers)
  • Interest in social sciences (history, political science, economics, sociology)
  • Attention to detail
  • Organized and responsible
  • Strong communication and writing skills
  • GIS skills are a plus, but not required

Contact: Katherine Hoss: hoss@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Wojciech Matusik

Project Title: Computational Tools for 3D Printed Fiber Optics

Project Description: The computational fabrication group is looking for a UROP for the fall semester to work on helping developing computational tools for creating 3D printed fiber optic assemblies. We are interested in using 3D printed fiber optics to build interactive sensors and bespoke lighting. The selected UROP would help with implementing algorithms for designing and routing fiber optics through 3D geometries.

Prerequisites: Proficient with Matlab and Linear Algebra

Relevant URL: cfg.mit.edu, http://lightrouting.cs.princeton.edu/fibers.pdf

Contact: Mike Foshey: mfoshey@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Monitoring and vizualization tools for a study of depression

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab is looking for UROP students who join us to develop tools to monitor participants, and 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 extend the existing mobile app for collecting surveys and sensors measurements. You will also provide support for extending our visualization platform and for uploading participants’ data for visualization.

Prerequisites: The student must have interests and experience in mobile phone programming (both iOS and Android) and in web programming. Expertise in Python (and preferably with django), java script (and d3.js, n3.js or other interactive visualization platforms) is a plus. In addition, (s)he should have experience with Android Studio/Xcode and preferably with React Native.

Contact: Szymon Fedor: sfedor@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John F Kennedy

Project Title: Spirituality of Entrepreneurship

Project Description: This UROP would join me as I am doing research on the potential of writing a book and generating content that would contribute to my course in the Center for Real Estate on entrepreneurship in cities. The subject matter would be “the spirituality of entrepreneurship.”

The UROP would focus on literature research on the subject of spirituality. Once the literature search is done, we would do an assessment of that research as to its applicability to the subject. Next would be assess whether we would write this “book” based on research and experience of the writer. Finally, we would develop a questionnaire and interview people in the built environment field.

Contact: John F Kennedy: jkennedy@mit.edu


9/17/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Wanda Orlikowski

Project Title: Assessing the Structure, Content, and Tone of Online Reviews in Social Media Platforms

Project Description: In this research project, we are interested in assessing the structure, content, and tone of online reviews in social media platforms such as TripAdvisor. We are also interested in understanding how the nature of online reviews posted by social media users influence organizational responses (e.g., from the hotel managers and front-desk staff), and with what implications.

This study will involve collecting and analyzing large-volume online reviews from social media platforms and analyzing them.

If you are interested in:

  1. getting hands-on experience in analyzing high-volume and fine-granular social media data
  2. developing your data analysis skills
  3. participating in interesting and relevant social science research   then this research project would be a great learning opportunity.

Please email with a brief description of your interest in this project (and/or with a resume/CV). Also, please include your availability to meet and number of hours per week to work.

Prerequisites: Two positions:

Position 1: Candidates with strong programming skills in scripting languages (such as Python or Ruby or Perl). Experience with Microsoft Excel

Position 2: Candidates with good reading and interpretation skills.

Contact: Wanda Orlikowski: wanda@mit.edu


9/13/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Machine learning and affective audio for psychology in-the-wild

Project Description: Project Us aims to help romantic couples to communicate better by supporting each partner on better reading the emotional state of the other. We address this challenge by exploring technologies that can provide insights about the emotional state of a person, and studying seamless and privacy respectful mechanisms to use this information for supporting the learning process of the partner.

The UROP student will develop an app capable of collecting audio snippets, triggered by strong emotional responses of a user. The audio snippets are a rich source of context information to understand the situation that caused the emotional response. The student will then experiment to select relevant features in the data and machine learning techniques to identify situations that are likely to elicit strong emotional responses on the user. This app will support a user study later in the semester.

If you are excited about machine learning, affective computing and psychology on-the-wild but do not fulfil all the prerequisites below, we still encourage you to apply! This project will be funded.

Required background: machine learning and app development.

*Bonus: experience with audio processing

Contact: Camilo Rojas: camilorq@mit.edu


9/13/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rafi Segal

Project Title: Principles of Scaling Community Adaptation Planning

Project Description: Architecture Professor Rafi Segal and The Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is partnering to develop a set of principles for scaling adaptation planning for communities. This work is an integration of on-going research by Prof. Segal and the LCAU's fourth research theme on Equitable Resilience. Together, we aim to bring to the forefront questions of equity when designing for urban resilience: How can cities prepare now for a more equitable form of future resilience?

Past attempts at adaptation planning have shown community-led approaches to result in better outcomes for adapting communities. The challenge, however, is scaling a bottom-up approach across the many hundreds and thousands of communities that will need to develop and enact adaptation plans in the coming century. We are seeking eager UROP students to help begin researching and developing principles to aid in the wide adoption of community-led adaptation planning over the Fall and Spring semester. Subtopics and questions that will be answered include the following:

  • What triggers a community to begin adaptation planning? Can these triggers be scaled?
  • What principles and procedures of adaptation planning can be widely adopted, and which must be tailored on a case-by-case basis?
  • What lessons can be learned from non-adaptation examples such as successful political, institutional, and profit-based growth models?
  • What might prevent the wide-adoption/scaling of community-led adaptation planning?
  • What is the extent of the problem and can we estimate the cost of adaptation planning? Literally, how many households and communities might need to implement adaptation in a given year?
  • How does physical scale have a role in adaptation planning? What is the right scale for adaptation?
  • How might a network of communities provide scalar-benefits for one another?

Contact: David Birge: dpbirge@mit.edu


9/13/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Language Production

Project Description: We are launching a new project to study how humans produce language  in real time in a communicative setting. The simple act of speaking may typically seem effortless, but it is extraordinarily complex.  Speakers must plan the message they wish to convey, choose words and constructions that accurately encode that message, organize those words and constructions into linearly-sequenced utterances, keep track of what has been said, and execute each part of their speaking plans at the correct time. We are looking for motivated students who are interested in language to join the project  during the spring term.

As part of the UROP experience, you will learn about experimental techniques in psycholinguistics. You will be in charge of running a series of experiments for data collection. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to participate in analyzing the collected data or work on a related research topic on the intersection of linguistics, cognitive science, and natural language processing. Currently we are interviewing students who are interested in working for the Fall term and open to the possibility of continuing during the IAP period.

Prerequisites:

  • Responsible, independent, and highly attentive to detail.
  • Available to work 8-10 hours per week during the fall semester.
  • Native (or near native) speakers of Mandarin Chinese is a plus, as we will be running some experiments in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Background in programming is a plus, though not required.

Contact: Meilin Zhan: meilinz@mit.edu. Please include a CV/resume and a copy of your transcript (an unofficial report is fine) with your application.


9/12/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Eyetracking and Computational Modeling for Language Processing

Project Description: Interested in language, computation and experimental science? We have an exiting new project on the intersection of linguistics, cognitive science and machine learning, in which we use eyetracking technology to study how humans read and process language in real time. We are looking for a highly motivated student to join the project during the Fall and IAP. As part of the UROP, you will learn about experimental techniques in psycholinguistics and will be trained to operate a state-of-the-art eyetracker. You will be in charge of running a series of experiments for data collection. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to participate in designing experiments, preparing experimental materials and analyzing the collected data.

Prerequisites:

  • Highly motivated, responsible, independent, and attentive to detail.
  • Available to work 10+ hours per week during the semester and full time during IAP.

No prior experience is necessary, but the following are desirable:

  • Strong interest language, and ideally relevant prior/planned coursework.
  • Background in programming (in particular python and web programming).

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


9/12/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ankur Jain

Project Title: Measuring cell shape changes in neurological disease

Project Description: Our lab studies biological self-assembly. We use a variety of microscopy techniques, polymer science theories and biochemical tools to understand how cells are organized, and what happens when this organization fails, such as in human disease.

The goal of this project is to study cell shape changes in models of neurological disease. We have identified that mutations associated with Huntington disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) lead to deformations of the nucleus of the cell. The student will acquire microscopy data from disease models and develop quantitative metrics for morphological changes. No prior lab experience is required, but the student must have a strong work ethic and analytical skills. The student will learn tissue culture, sample preparation for fluorescence microscopy and quantitative image analysis.

Prerequisites: Please provide details on any prerequisites or skills required for this UROP

Contact: Beverly Dobson: bmdobson@wi.mit.edu


9/12/19

Fall

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Zach Hartwig

Project #1: Design of Experiments Tool for Efficient Exploration of Virtual and Physical Parameter Spaces

Project Description: The SPARC tokamak is now being designed to produce net fusion energy in the mid-2020’s. Simulation and physical experiments to support design of prototypes and the device design are typically resource intensive, driving sparse data sets. Efficient exploration of the parameter spaces in these studies can be done using Design of Experiments (DoE) principles of orthogonality and fractional factorial design. The UROP filling this position would leverage existing Python library for DoE and work with simulation and experimental experts on generating the appropriate inputs and output for the Tool and experiments.

Prerequisites: Background that would be useful includes undergraduate physics, engineering, and computer science courses. Experience with Python scripting and GUI construction.

_____________

Project #2: Robotics for D-T Fusion Device Operation

Project Description: The SPARC tokamak is now being designed to produce net fusion energy in the mid-2020’s. Once D-T (deuterium-tritium) operation begins, regular maintenance of areas inside and outside of the device will no longer be easily performed by humans due to radiation. The use of remotely controlled, semi-autonomous, and fully autonomous robots for this work has clear advantages. The UROP hired for this position to will perform a detailed survey of the robotics industry and report the start of the art capabilities in this area, any technological gaps, key companies, and cost.

Prerequisites: Undergraduate coursework in mechanical and/or robotics engineering. Understanding of the state-of-the-art in terms of robotics technology.

_____________

Project #3: Materials Database Construction for SPARC and Future Fusion Projects

Project Description: The SPARC tokamak is now being designed to produce net fusion energy in the mid-2020’s. Central to the successful design of the device is the proper material selection, property inputs, and characterization. Additionally, the fusion industry does not have a standard set of materials inputs for the design of fusion devices. The purpose of this project is to expand, standardize, and internally publish a materials property database for use by the SPARC team. The UROP researcher will work closely with structural, thermal, electrical, and magnetic property experts to generate the database which will include test data, standardized gold source properties, and analysis inputs.

Prerequisites: Background that would be useful includes undergraduate physics, engineering, and materials science courses on mechanics, heat transfer, and/or materials processing. Experience with processing data in Excel, MATLAB, Python or similar. Experience with database construction with SQL or equivalent is a plus, but not required.

Relevant URL: http://www.psfc.mit.edu/sparc/urops

Contact: Chris Lammi: chris@cfs.energy


9/12/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alessandro Bonatti

Project Title: Optimal Project Management

Project Description: We study the optimal provision incentives in long-term projects through the lens of a principal-agent model. A project is successful if and only if its “progress level” reaches an exogenously specified threshold. The progress level evolves stochastically, with a drift proportional to the amount funds invested in it. Required funding is provided by the principal and principal requires the agent’s expertise to run the project. The agent can privately divert funds for personal use. We show how the principal’s optimal contract can be obtained as the solution to an optimal stopping time problem.

The UROP student will be responsible for providing numerical solutions and simulations of the optimal policy.

The project can be taken for credit or pay and possibly extended into IAP and Spring 2020.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with differential equations, numerical solution methods and (ideally) partial differential equations. Basic programming skills are required (R, Python, Matlab…). Exposure to intermediate-level microeconomics helps but is not necessary.

Contact: Alessandro Bonatti: bonatti@mit.edu


9/12/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: William A. Tisdale

Project Title: Utilization of Lead Halide Perovskite Nanoplatelet-Polymer Composite for Light-Emitting Applications

Project Description: Quantum-confined lead halide perovskite nanocrystals have recently emerged as a highly promising class of materials for light-emitting applications. Our group has developed a technique for synthesizing colloidally stable two-dimensional perovskite nanoplatelets that exhibit deep-blue luminescence with high color purity, which is essential for the next-generation display devices. Our ultimate goal is to make an efficient light-emitting device utilizing those nanoplatelets, but there remain a few challenges including the non-uniformity of the deposited nanoplatelet film which deteriorates the device efficiency. To overcome this problem, we are considering embedding nanoplatelets in polymers to improve the film quality. Aim of this project is to make a high-quality nanoplatelet-polymer composite films which will ultimately be incorporated into the device structure as the emission layer. UROP student will get an opportunity to learn the basics of quantum chemistry and nanomaterial properties while also getting experiences on synthesizing colloidal perovskite nanoparticles, making nanoplatelet-polymer composite material, and depositing a thin uniform film of it. Student will be working together with a graduate student.

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of nanocrystal properties or optoelectronics is appreciated but not required.

Relevant URL: http://www-mtl.mit.edu/wpmu/tisdale/

Contact: SK (Seung Kyun) Ha: skha89@mit.edu


9/12/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nick Fang

Project Title: Modeling coloration of PET fiber loaded with carbon black particles

Project Description: The project aims to investigate the coloration mechanism of fine PET fibers loaded with carbon black (CB) pigment. The coloration of fibers depends on the reflection and absorption of visible light by the plastic and embedded CB pigments. We are interested to model the optical properties of fabrics and textiles made of fine PET-CB fibers with diameter from 5 to 15 micron. In particular, we would like to develop an analytical and/or computational model to predict the color of a PET fiber as a function of both the fiber’s structural dimension and materials’ optical properties. The project is in collaboration with Cabot Corporation. Fibers and preliminary experiment results from Cabot indicated strong correlation between the fiber’s structural dimension and color intensity.  The student working on this project will receive support from both Prof. Nick Fang’s group and the fiber team at Cabot Corporation.

Prerequisites:

  1. Basic knowledge of optical properties of solids and classical EM wave propagation.
  2. Experience with optical modeling and/or simulation with COMSOL, Lumerical FDTD are preferred but not required.

Relevant URL: https://web.mit.edu/nanophotonics/research.htmhttp://www.cabotcorp.com/solutions/products-plus/specialty-carbon-blacks

Contact: Xinhao Li: xinhaoli@mit.edu


9/12/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Yousef-Toumi

Project Title: Thin Film Polymer-based Fabrication

Project Description: Mechatronics Research Lab (MRL) is looking for UROP candidates with strong skills in polymers thin film fabrication and micro-fluidics. A UROP candidate will help in formation of thin film embedded in polymer matrix for a specific application. The goal is to fabricate ultra-thin films with uniform/nonuniform structures encapsulated in a solid or soft hosting polymer matrix. Printing processes will involve usage of nanoparticles such as carbon nanotubes, silver nanoparticles, graphene and quantum dots. A strong familiarity with printing processes such as spin coating and photo-lithography is mandatory. Advanced phase of the project will require additional set of skills in micro/nano-fluidics fabrication. Experience in imaging characterizations such as ink-jet printing, SEM & TEM will be preferable. This role involves regular communication meetings with project members and principle investigator on progress and risks. Research team will be composed of one postdoc, a PhD student and a technical representative from the sponsored company of the project.

Prerequisites: A strong familiarity with printing processes such as spin coating and photo-lithography is mandatory. Skills in ink-jet printing will be plus. Advanced phase of the project will require fabrication of microfluidics channels.

Contact: Ali Alshehri: ashehri@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Yasheng Huang

Project Title: Systemic Risk Management of Food Supply Chains in China

Project Description: This is a project that is part of a broader initiative to understand and manage risk associated with intentional adulteration of food supply chains (i.e., poultry, beef, pork, milk, seafood, and produce) in China and possibly other countries with a focus on economically motivated adulteration (EMA). The project aims at creating new systemic solutions to predict, monitor, and mitigate risks related to these supply chains, particularly EMA risks that present a major threat to the public health, and more generally, on the public trust in the integrity of the food system in China and other countries. The data and archival sources may come from government websites, government publications on regulations, court cases, media reports.

The project will involve searching for and collecting data from a wide array of online sources and electronic databases, performing content analysis, converting unstructured text data into a structured database, and performing basic analysis on the data. The UROPs will work in a supervised team and will perform background research on the Chinese food safety system (regulatory, supply chain, etc) and CFDA. Our aim is to map out potentially contaminated food suppliers using this data, creating a real-time social sensor of food safety in China.

Start as soon as possible. Commit to 10 – 20 hours per week. End date is negotiable. Please include resume when applying.

Prerequisites: Ability to read Chinese. Intermediate programming skills for web-crawling and databases are desired. The focus here will be on identifying Chinese websites and other sources of data and information so the ability to read and understand Chinese is necessary, general knowledge of and an interest in Chinese economy, politics and society and also the ability to write research reports and research summaries will be critical. Attention to details, the ability to finish tasks on time and initiative taking are extremely important.

Contact: Channa Yem: channay@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: Quantifying the Value of Location Data in Smart Mobility

Project Description: By providing mobility sharing applications with transportation and location information on their activities, users could reveal personal habits, preferences and behaviors. The overarching goal of this project is to evaluate to which extent information location privacy could affect the performance of mobility sharing applications, in terms of both transportation efficiency and Quality of Service, and to find out if a potential trade-off exists between data privacy and data utility. On one hand, we want to uncover to what extent data privacy is a concern among mobility sharing users. To this end, custom designed surveys and interviews will be targeted to specific community of users (to be identified). On the other hand, we want to tackle the so-far unaddressed issue of the data privacy vs. utility trade-off in the context of shared mobility, by evaluating different data masking techniques proposed in literature,  and develop a methodology to understand the value of information in shared mobility and the price of privacy control in terms of data utility. We are looking for at least one candidate. UROP duties may include searching for and identifying appropriate data sets from public sources; help developing and feeding customized surveys and interviews to (ad-hoc identified) communities of users; help finding, defining and evaluating different privacy-preserving methodologies to anonymize geographical information within a mobility sharing service; facilitating data analysis efforts and, where appropriate, conducting statistical analysis. The ideal candidate is expected to be proficient with data analysis, Java coding (or C/C++), and interested in interdisciplinary literature review. Survey development skills would be useful.

Expected time commitment is 10 hours/week.

Prerequisites: Coding (C/C++, Java)  and data analysis. Survey development and familiarity with the shared mobility systems and/or data privacy are considered a plus.

Contact: If interested, please send your resume and a short description of why you would be a strong candidate to M. Elena Renda at erenda@mit.edu and Jinhua Zhao at jinhua@mit.edu.Coding (C/C++, Java).


9/11/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Allanore

Project Title: Electrochemical Recycling of Electronic Waste

Project Description: As the demand for newer, slimmer, and faster electronics grow, so does our dependency on the precious metals within them. The limited availability of these materials in the Earth, as well as the ever-increasing waste output in the modern era, makes recycling precious metals a critical issue. Unfortunately, recycling precious metals from electronic waste requires numerous complicated and environmentally costly steps. One reason for this is the limited ability to dissolve very noble metals such as gold without resorting to harsh acids or toxic chlorides.

This project will investigate a novel solvent with the ultimate goal of designing a new, more environmentally conscious, precious metal refining process. By applying a voltage to this system at 1200C, it is possible to extract precious metals such as gold, silver, and copper using a process called electrorefining. The challenge comes at understanding how metal and solvent interact at high temperature- how do you observe something too hot and reactive to study directly? This UROP project will focus on answering just this question, while working on characterizing the high temperature solvent and its behavior with different metals.

This project is looking for an enthusiastic student looking for ownership over a project and curious about how materials interact with different elements in extreme environments, such as at high temperature under an applied voltage.

Prerequisites: The ideal student will have some background in materials science or chemical engineering, and be enthusiastic about designing and building experimental setups. Previous experience in a machining or chemistry lab is a plus, although not required.

Contact: Mary Elizabeth Wagner: mbwagner@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Devin Michelle Bunten

Project Title: Data Analysis for Gentrification and Displacement

Project Description: This project involves cleaning a new dataset, transforming it into a form suitable for analysis, and then applying it to address the question: does gentrification induce higher move-out rates among initial neighborhood residents?

The dataset is large: a record of family location for essentially all US families over the period 2006-2018. And its current format is not ideal for analysis. This project presents a real opportunity to contribute to the development of this research.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of R (or a willingness to learn R, combined with knowledge of a similar language like Stata or Python).

Contact: Kenyatta McLean: kmclean@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Mathematical modeling of glucose-responsive insulins

Project Description: Diabetes mellitus is a growing condition affecting upwards of 425 million people worldwide with a healthcare burden of 727 billion USD in 2017. The condition is marked by high blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, resulting from either impaired insulin production (Type 1) or insulin resistance (Type 2). Insulin, the 51 amino acid hormone secreted from pancreatic β-cells, remains a mainstay therapeutic for all diabetics.

Glucose-responsive insulins (GRIs) are a minimally invasive closed-loop insulin delivery system attracting growing interest from the diabetes community. While there have been many experimental efforts in the space, computational models are urgently needed to facilitate the design and translation of GRI. Our lab has developed a modeling framework which predicts the GRI efficacy in rodents and humans by combining chemical kinetics with physiological modeling. You will work together with the team in improving and further extending the model, which will be applied to various GRI designs and animals. You will gain significant experience with simulation/disease modeling and in conducting your own research project. A background or interest in mathematical modeling, pharmaceutical engineering, chemical engineering, or materials science is advantageous.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with MATLAB is required. Students with plan for multi-semester commitment preferred.

Relevant URL: srg.mit.edu

Contact: Jingfan Yang: jfyang@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Devin Michelle Bunten

Project Title: Historical Zoning Map Database

Project Description: Zoning laws are tools of exclusion responsible for racial and economic segregation, for high housing costs, for long commutes and traffic congestion, for poor transit ridership, and more. We know more about their differences across cities than we do their changes over time. This project aims to change this, by compiling a database of zoning (and related) regulations at the block (or even parcel) level, and then using this database to analyze both the causes and effects of changes to zoning regulations.

For this UROP, the RA will be tasked with digitizing historical zoning maps from major US cities—most likely New York and/or Los Angeles, but potentially other cities based on RA interest and map availability. Then, the RA will link these digitized maps to individual parcels, and (given time and interest) analyze their relationship with social factors.

Prerequisites: ARC GIS, QGIS, python + geopandas, or another GIS solution.

Contact: Kenyatta McLean: kmclean@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Physics (Course 8)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mehran Kardar

Project Title: Developing robust mathematical theories for understanding social systems

Project Description: This UROP position is an opportunity to conduct research at the intersection of physics and social science.  The UROP student will collaborate closely with a graduate student on one of the following two projects, developing theory or analyzing models/data according to the student's particular interests and skills.

Research Questions for Project 1: How do we generalize the concepts of entropy and complexity to describe systems at multiple levels of detail, and what are the properties relating these descriptions to one another?  How do these new descriptions relate to multi-scale descriptions of physical systems?

Research Questions for Project 2: What policies are optimal for the growth of developing economies?  What is the appropriate mathematical formalism to describe the multi-scale behavior of economies?

Prerequisites: 

  • For Project 1: either a strong mathematical background (i.e. a comfort working with proofs) or a background in theoretical physics.   An understanding of information theory is helpful but not necessary.  
  • For Project 2: some background and interest in economics (either theoretical or empirical)

Contact: Alexander Siegenfeld: asiegenf@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Martin Z. Bazant

Project Title: Successful development and prototyping of the first stable, safe and high-rate/energy metal halogen flow battery

Project Description: The use of alkali metals and halogens as the redox active electrodes in separated by an aqueous electrolyte allows for batteries with intrinsic safety, high energy densities and high power capability, because the electrolyte is non-volatile and non-flammable, and the chemistry has one of the highest theoretical energy densities known. In addition to their inexpensive nature of reactants, their fast reaction kinetics lead to high power densities and large open-circuit potentials, which obviates the need for precious-metal catalysts to activate the charge-transfer reaction. However, due to their the high reactivity and limited electrolyte compatibility of the electrodes, building the construction of a durable cell with long-term stability is challenging. Bai and Bazant (2016) demonstrated the operability of the first lithium-bromine/oxygen dual-mode flow battery with a high energy density of ~360 Wh/kg. The design challenge for such systems is the high resistance and corrosion susceptibility of the solid electrolyte that required to isolates the aqueous catholyte from the metal anode.

This project aims to use develop and explore a hydrophobic task specific ionic liquids to separate the aqueous catholyte and metal anode so that lower ionic resistance and better stability of the  electrochemical cell can be achieved. This class of ionic liquids form stable interfaces with metals (e.g. Li, Mg or Al) and halogens (e.g. Br2) and promote solvation and transport of halogen/metal ions, leading to safer battery operation under high power operations by eliminating chances prospects for of electrolyte mixing and degradation during operation. We will also investigate also the substitution of the solid electrolyte separator with a thin film ionogel for to ensure  enhanced cell structural integrity, minimal cross-membrane water flux, and high Li+ conductivity.

Prerequisites: Selected candidate will be engaged in lithium-bromine battery assembly and electrochemical testing. Knowledge of electrochemistry and basic transport phenomena is preferred. In-depth knowledge of materials or ionic liquids is not required, we have a collaborator to assist.

Contact: Supratim Das: supra17@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Petrasso

Project Title: Inertial Confinement Fusion neutron spectrometer response function simulations with Geant4

Project Description: The High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Division http://www-internal.psfc.mit.edu/research/hedp/ of the PSFC designs and implements, and performs theoretical calculations for, experiments at the OMEGA laser facility in Rochester, New York, and the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in Livermore, California. These experiments aim to study and explore the dynamics and properties of plasmas under extreme conditions of density (~1000 g/cc), pressure (~ 1000 gigabar), and field strength (~megagauss). These conditions encompass Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) as well as many astrophysical phenomena, including collisionless shocks, magnetic reconnection, and nuclear astrophysics. As part of the directly ICF-relevant effort, the group has installed the MRS neutron spectrometer at the NIF to measure the yield, ion temperature and confinement properties of ICF ignition experiments. This spectrometer measures neutron spectra from the primary cryogenically layered DT implosions on the NIF, such as described in Refs. [1,2,3].

MRS measurements from the NIF are interpreted using a detailed instrument response function simulated using the Geant4 toolkit (geant4.cern.ch). We are currently looking to improve our understanding of instrument response to allow more detailed analysis of finer features of the measured neutron spectra, as a step to understanding asymmetries and flows in the NIF implosions. These factors are crucial to understand and mitigate in order to achieve ignition on the NIF.

To accomplish this, we are looking for a student to:

  1. adapt the existing response function simulation code to the newest version of Geant4;
  2. move the code from a Windows to a Linux computing environment;
  3. add more physics capability to the code to further improve our understanding of MRS response.

Prerequisites: The right candidate for this project is a self-motivated student with prior experience in C++ and Linux. Geant4 experience would be an advantage, but for a student that does not yet know Geant4, this is an excellent opportunity to learn! Hours for this project will be negotiable, during Fall 2019 and with the possibility of continuing into future semesters.

[1] O. A. Hurricane et al., Nature 506, 343 (2014).

[2] O. A. Hurricane et al., Nature Physics 12, 800 (2016).

[3] S. LePape et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 120, 245003 (2018).

Contact: For questions and to apply, please email Maria Gatu Johnson, gatu@psfc.mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Petrasso

Project Title: Inertial Confinement Fusion simulation and modeling of implosions

Project Description: The High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Division http://www-internal.psfc.mit.edu/research/hedp/ of the PSFC designs and implements experiments to study the properties of plasmas under extreme conditions of density (~1000 g/cc), pressure (~ 1000 gigabar), and field strength (~megagauss). As part of this effort, the group has conducted hundreds of experiments at the OMEGA laser facility to study various aspects of the implosion process. These experiments all use an ‘exploding pusher’ type of implosion which is an implosion where a thin (~2 um) glass shell is ablated with lasers to drive a strong shock into room temperature gas (300 Kelvin). When the shock rebounds off the center of the implosion the gas is heated to ~100 million Kelvin thus accessing fusion relevant conditions. The thrust of our experiments are to diagnose and understand how the hot and dense region in the implosion forms and what physics governs its behavior. Currently, these experiments have been analyzed individually but never as an ensemble of hundreds of experiments. We are currently looking to improve our understanding of these implosions by conducting an ensemble of one and two dimensional (1D and 2D) simulations then comparing to the experimental trends.

To accomplish this, we are looking for a student to:

  1. run an existing 1D hydro code to model the experimental data;
  2. help refine and adapt a new 2D simulation tool to the experiments;
  3. model the existing set of experimental data and learn about different diagnostic techniques.

Prerequisites: The right candidate for this project is a self-motivated student with prior experience in Matlab and Linux. Coding experience would be an advantage, but for a student that does not yet have this skill, this is an excellent opportunity to learn! Hours for this project will be negotiable, during Fall 2019 and with the possibility of continuing into future semesters.

Contact: Patrick Adrian: pjadrian@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joe Paradiso

Project Title: FathomNet: annotated underwater video human computer interaction study

Project Description: More ocean data has been collected in the last two years than in all previous years combined, and we are on a path to continue to break that record. More than ever, we need to establish a solid foundation for processing this ceaseless stream of data. This is especially true for visual data, where ocean-going platforms are beginning to integrate multi-camera feeds for observation and navigation. Techniques to efficiently process and utilize visual datasets with machine learning exist and continue to be transformative, but have had limited success in the ocean world due to: (1) Lack of data set standardization; (2) Sparse annotation tools for the wider oceanographic community; and (3) Insufficient formatting of existing, expertly curated imagery for use by data scientists.

We are developing a web based public platform that makes use of existing (and future) expertly curated data. Through this platform, we want to establish a new baseline dataset, optimized to directly accelerate development of modern, intelligent, automated analysis of underwater visual data. The platform will ultimately enable scientists, explorers, policymakers, storytellers, and the public to know what’s in the ocean and where it is for effective and responsible marine stewardship. We are looking for a highly-motivated UROP with a strong interest in oceans and human computer interaction.The responsibilities include designing, implementing, and evaluating a citizen science/crowdsourcing annotation platform with a group of users. The platform has a fully featured REST API, which will allow the UROP to build tools to track and visualize the results of the designed user study as part of their efforts.    We are looking for a commitment of 8-12 hours per week. This is a great opportunity to gain experience in the development of human-centered systems for environment. 

Prerequisites:

  • Experience with Python and React Web Development Framework
  • Proficiency with Java, Javascript, Html/CSS, React, GitHub, and SQL
  • Recommended prerequisite coursework: 6.813/6.831, 6.148, 6.170, 6.006 or similar at other universities
  • Good to have: A web-based portfolio, familiarity with social computing systems research

Contact: Neil Gaikwad: gaikwad@mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Antonio Torralba

Project Title: What does a GAN learn reliably?

Project Description: State-of-the-art generative adversarial networks (GANs) synthesize remarkably realistic images - but what do they need to learn in order to do it?  In our lab we have found that, by learning to draw scenes, GANs also learn internal representations that disentangle emergent visual concepts such as trees, buildings, doors, and other objects.   However, GANs can suffer from mode-dropping, where they tend to model subsets of the target distribution; we have found that GANs seem to selectively skip synthesis some types of objects, such as vehicles, text, and people, that appear in challenging training sets.  In this project, you will investigate the question of what GANs learn reliably, and why.  You will train many randomly initialized GANs and see how they differ from each other, both in terms of external behavior and internal organization.   And you will improve methods for inverting the GANs so that you can directly compare the internal structure and latent space of one GAN to another.

Prerequisites: Some experience with training deep networks and solving optimization problems using the pytorch deep learning framework.

Relevant URL: https://gandissect.csail.mit.edu/http://ganseeing.csail.mit.edu/

Contact: David Bau: davidbau@csail.mit.edu


9/11/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Design, synthesis, and testing toward a 57-codon genome.

Project Description: Researcher’s main goal will be transferring GetK program from Python 2.7 to Python 3.7 while retaining full functionality. Further, the researcher will work with lab members to add additional functions to the program to support current needs of the group.

For additional description of the rE.coli-57 project and GetK program, please see the “Design, synthesis, and testing toward a 57-codon genome” paper linked in post.

Prerequisites: Python coding experience required.  No prior wet lab research experience required.

Relevant URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6301/819

Contact: Alexandra Rudolph: alexandra_rudolph@g.harvard.edu


9/11/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alberto Rodriguez

Project Title: [CS focused UROP] Improving robot perception through learning and touch

Project Description: The lack of tactile reasoning still remains one of the main limitations of dexterous robotic manipulation and a long-standing challenge in the robotics community. After decades of advances in sensing instrumentation and processing power, the basic question remains: How should robots make use of sensed contact information? To partially answer this question, we are exploring how tactile sensing can help to localize objects in hand and help to better manipulate them.

The goal of this UROP project is to contribute to our long-term goal to allow robots to very accurately localize and manipulate objects. The project will include implementing learning techniques such as convolutional neural networks to process raw sensory data, but also to interact with real robotic systems.

Required: 

  • python
  • general computer science background or confidence

Desirable:

  • ROS
  • Machine Learning: 6.036 or above
  • Keras
  • Pytorch
  • CAD modeling
  • Interested in entering a PhD program
  • Spending IAP at MIT

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/mcube/research/tactile_localization.html

Contact: Maria Bauza Villalonga: bauza@mit.edu


9/9/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jeffrey Robert Levine

Project Title: Urban Planning and Policy Implications of Legalized Adult Use Cannabis in the U.S. and Canada

Project Description: The United States is now well into its “second wave” of communities legalizing adult use (sometimes called “recreational”) cannabis. Unlike the initial legalization of cannabis use for medical purposes, there is no need to be evaluated for a condition that prescribes cannabis use for treatment. In addition, with the addition of states like Massachusetts, Maine, and California to the “early adopter” states such as Colorado, there is now a data set of several states from which to evaluate best practices. The legalization of adult use cannabis in Canada allows an even deeper, multinational data set for evaluation. This project involves comparative land use analysis of the impacts of the adult cannabis industry on municipal economic and community development. States that have legalized adult use can be broadly categorized as “loose” and “strict” states. In “loose” states, there are fewer rules and limitations on the state level, and communities are generally given the ability to allow or restrict adult use land uses, but are not given much ability to gain revenue or community benefits therefrom. In “strict” states, local host communities are able to collect tax revenue, as well as other community benefits, from cannabis related uses. With the assistance of a UROP student, we will be developing a data set of how adult use cannabis affects land uses. Looking at each state with adult use – and Canada as well - we would choose sample cities and interview select stakeholders, as well as evaluate local zoning and licensing requirements. We would evaluate the relative benefits and costs of various types of cannabis-related uses, such as manufacturing, retail sales, small-scale dispensaries, and social clubs. We would use this data set to distill effective policies based on differing policy goals, such as equity; public safety; community development opportunities; tax revenue maximization; and land use benefits.

This UROP opportunity entails working with the PI to:

  • Compile baseline state-of-the-practice data into interactive format with geocoding capability;
  • Conduct research on best practices and link those practices with existing application in the field;
  • Conduct interviews with stakeholders regarding implementation in various localities;
  • Develop metrics to measure effectiveness of legalization practices in various localities;
  • General research and data analysis assignments related to this work.

Additional opportunities exist as funding may be identified. Student will be credited for contributing to this research effort.

Prerequisites: Selected candidate will have good organizational and writing skills and a keen interest in how land use, equity, and policy development interact. Background in public policy, urban planning, and/or program evaluation is desired.

The selected student will have good organizational and interpersonal skills, an interest and experience in urban studies, , and analytical skills to assemble and manage a data set.

Contact: Jeff Levine, AICP: jrlevine@mit.edu


9/9/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: New Algorithm Design in Mobility Sharing Market

Project Description: The overarching goal of this project is to design and implement a new algorithm which could improve the efficiency of ride sharing market, currently including Uber, Lyft, Via, Fasten, etc., by a new mechanism design. We will use the existing massive trip datasets, e.g., in New York City, to simulate the market, test our algorithm, and to understand how the new algorithm will impact different players’ interests in the market. The work involves data processing, algorithm development, and code implementation. If the student is interested, he/she is also welcomed to join the discussion of the mathematical modeling of the algorithm.

We are looking for one candidate who is interested in the algorithm design/code implementation of transportation applications. For the project, the ideal candidate is expected be proficient with data analysis and has experience to convert pseudo-codes into programs using one major programming language like C/C++, Python, or Java. Expected time commitment is 10 hours/week.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in one major programming language; experience with pseudo-codes.

Contact: If interested, please send your resume and a short description of why you would be a strong candidate to Hongmou Zhang at hongmou@mit.edu and Jinhua Zhao at jinhua@mit.edu.


9/9/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nicholas Roy

Project Title: AI Software Development for the Bridge

Project Description: The Bridge is developing the software services and infrastructure that allow artificial intelligence to accelerate research and education across MIT. Help us reduce the barriers between the AI tools developed in CS and non-CS communities who could tremendously benefit from applications of those tools. We have a number of UROP positions open for a variety of skill sets and interests.

We encourage you to send us an email if you’d like to work on any (or all!) of the following:

  1. Using machine learning to solve specific problems in various domains, for instance:
    • Reinforcement learning for nuclear core design optimization
    • Image segmentation for outlining dendrites in 3D images of mouse brains
    • Automated metadata tagging for arbitrary digital artifacts
  2. Designing and implementing data discovery, collection, and processing pipelines
  3. Creating educational resources to help non-CS users deploy and adapt machine learning tools and techniques

Prerequisites: Ideal candidates will have programming experience in Python, experience with machine learning software development and engineering practices, and familiarity with at least one ML library (Keras, TensorFlow, PyTorch, scikit-learn, etc.). Experience with git-based version control and a major cloud provider (GCP, IBM, AWS, etc.) will also be helpful. Graduates of 6.036 and 6.009 are especially encouraged to apply.

Contact: Katherine Gallagher: kvg0@mit.edu


9/9/19

Fall

Department/Lab/Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)

Faculty Supervisor: Chris Zegras

Project Title: Mind the BRT Perception Gap: Conducting, coding, and analyzing an on-line Randomized Controlled Trial experiment in the Greater Boston Area on people’s perceptions of Bus Rapid Transit infrastructure.  

UROP job description: Want to learn how to design, code, collect, and analyze data in Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) experiments in a real-world setting? We are looking for one or two UROPs to join our research team. UROPs will help with three core research functions: 1) coding an automated image RCT experiment, 2) Monitoring and collecting data from study participants, 3) Performing statistical analysis and providing visualization of results.  We are using the platform http://urban-experiment.com that has the core of the RCT experimental setting and data collection already programmed. The UROP will also have the opportunity to help with other aspects of the research project as needed.

Research Study Description: We will be running a 1-month study involving 1000 Boston inhabitants in Fall 2019. The research project consists of conducting a random-control-trial experiment where half participants rate images of urban public spaces either before (Control) or after (Treatment) the incorporation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) infrastructure on a cell-phone, tablet, laptop or desktop (depending on the device used to access the webpage). We will also collect socioeconomic and travel behavior questions. With this data, we will analyze if the incorporation of particular BRT standards, features and amenities positively change the citizens' perception of public space -safety, stress, pleasantness, and willingness to pay for BRT infrastructure. We will also perform a heterogeneity analysis. Here we will see how these street perceptions changes with socioeconomic characteristics (e.g., by gender or age) and travel patterns (e.g., car ownership or pedestrians v/s car riders).   

Research purpose:  As the world rapidly urbanizes and car ownership increases, cities suffer seemingly ever-worsening congestion. Policymakers are increasingly concerned with providing cost-efficient transport infrastructures to meet travelers’ needs. BRT has emerged as a low-cost, time-efficient solution applicable to both the developed and developing world. Despite these benefits, BRT projects commonly face significant community opposition. The study will provide insights into what types of designs evoke positive BRT perceptions among community members, and thus can potentially increase community support for BRT-based interventions.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of techniques for statistical inference is required. Programming experience in Python or R is a plus. Candidate must be comfortable engaging with communities and fostering participation through social media. The UROP should be interested in learning independently. Having enthusiasm for public transportation and social equity is a plus. 10-15 hours per week.

Contact: Dr. Pablo Navarrete, pablonav@mit.edu, 857-756-5601


9/9/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alex Pentland

Project Title: UROP Opportunity in Distributed Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

Project Description: The Human Dynamics group at MIT is working on problems in decentralized reinforcement learning. We're looking for a motivated UROP to collaborate on algorithmic research in this area.

The project broadly involves creating efficient algorithms for decentralized multi-agent reinforcement learning. Tasks will include ideation, implementation and experimentation in Python on large-scale experimental environments, as well as providing performance guarantees. The UROP participant will be working closely with me, and is expected to have some experience with sequential decision-making (multi-armed bandits, Markov decision processes) and deep reinforcement learning.

The UROP is currently scheduled to run through IAP (and perhaps Spring), so apply only if you can commit long-term. Funding is available however credit is preferred.

Prerequisites: An advanced (G/H) machine learning class (any of 6.437, 6.438, 9.520), exposure to probability and statistics, and experience in Python GPU programming. Requirements may be relaxed if the candidate has strong alternate credentials.

Contact: Abhi Dubey: dubeya@mit.edu


9/9/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Autonomous Vehicle Miniature City

Project Description: The Distributed Robotics Lab at MIT CSAIL is contributing to the development of self-driving cars within the Toyota-CSAIL joint research center. Our work addresses the full scope of challenges in the development of this new and exciting technology, involving theoretical and applied work on decision making, perception, and control.

To dream big, we are starting small. We are building an autonomous miniature city using a fleet of 1/10th-scale MIT RACECARS and seeking motivated, creative, and curious individuals willing to learn new skills and work on a team.  As a UROP, you will help design, build, and test the miniature city. We are seeking UROPs for all parts of the system, including: on-board localization, SLAM, sensor integration, path planning, collision avoidance, rules of the road, and parallel autonomy. UROPs will test a fleet of a dozen racecars within the miniature city to prototype new autonomy algorithms.

Prerequisites:

  • Programming experience (Python or C++)
  • Familiarity or willingness to learn ROS
  • Interest in perception and control of autonomous vehicles
  • Comfortable working with hardware
  • Students from all departments encouraged to apply

Contact: Alyssa Pierson: apierson@mit.edu.  If interested, please apply with your CV, transcript, and, if available, references to public repositories containing code samples. Work hours can be organized flexibly and are expected to be on average at least 10h week.


9/9/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ellen Roche

Project Title: Dynamic soft drug loaded reservoir

Project Description: Project at the interface of medicine/biology/engineering Design, of an implantable, soft robotic devices that can modulate the immune response and allow for precise therapy delivery. Novel interdisciplinary project will include biomaterial design, silicone moulding, drug loading andrelease. Chance to experience device design from early stage concept to pre-clinical testing.

Prerequisites: Looking for an enthusiastic student that is interested in pursuing a PhD. Middle to longer term availability is preferred.

Relevant URL:

Contact: William Whyte: wwhyte@mit.edu 


9/9/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Phillip Sharp

Project Title: Cell-to-cell variation in development and cancer

Project Description: How do cells with the same genetic code start to behave differently?  In embryonic development, one cell has to give rise to all the different cells of the adult body.  Our lab is interested in the idea that precursor stem cells take advantage of what we term "intrinsic heterogeneity", or processes that naturally give rise to differences between genetically identical cells. We believe this is a natural consequence of how gene regulatory networks are organized and we seek to define the principles and key mediators of this organization.  This takes the form of wetlab experimentation in cell and molecular biology as well as biocomputation analyzing both data generated in the lab and other available single cell datasets, all seeking to understand how variation arises within populations of cells.

We are looking for a passionate and hard-working student who majors or plans to major in course 7, 6-7 or 20.   You will have a chance to generate data through wet-lab experiments (cell culture, genomics, single cell experiments) and analyze data using bioinformatic methods we teach you.  The expectation in the lab is that all students including UROPs work on their own independent projects.

Prerequisites: There are no strict pre-requisites to contribute to research in the laboratory.  However, a background in any one of the following areas could be very helpful (experience in high school at the AP or IB level or their equivalent is adequate):  cell and molecular biology, statistics, laboratory techniques such as PCR and cell culture, coding (Python, unix, R).  Enthusiasm, work ethic, and desire for independence are the most important pre-requisites!

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

Contact: Salil Garg: salilg@mit.edu


9/9/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alan Berger

Project Title: Greenbelts: Measuring the efficacy of land use policy for environmental performance

Project Description: The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is conducting research on greenbelts and edge conditions around global cities to better understand the ways in which 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 designation of large surrounding landscapes, or “greenbelts”, as protected for conservation. Some greenbelts aimed at the total cessation of outward development, while others used the special legal designation to selectively control growth of cities into surrounding forested and agricultural areas. Regardless of the purpose, and despite their broad use in cities as diverse as London, Boulder CO, Melbourne, Seoul, and Frankfurt, a comprehensive study of greenbelt performance over time has not been conducted. This project will be the first to do so. This 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.

To analyze how land-cover and land-uses within greenbelts have changed over time, the LCAU will use computer vision and machine learning techniques applied to high-resolution 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 urbanization trajectories including development, greenspace, lost carbon capture potential, lost food production potential, etc. The results will also be filtered using techniques such as cellular-automata to test ways of aggregating areas of development to generalize and typologize erosion patches. This work will in turn ground “theories 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.

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. Experience with Adobe Creative Suite is a plus.

Contact: Mario Giampieri: marioag@mit.edu


9/9/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Scott Manalis

Project Title: A Microfludic Sonar for measuring the Stiffness of biological matter

Project Description: The long-term goal of this project is to develop a new microfluidic method for measuring the stiffness of biological matter ranging from cells to viruses. The project overall consists of three parts: 1) an experimental part for executing the measurements 2) the theoretical part for deriving the metrology theory for interpreting the measurements 3) the biological part for prepping biological samples for measurements.

Preference will be given to UROP Candidates aiming for a long term internship (1+ year), with the goal of pursuing research in graduate school. Student will work closely with a postdoctoral researcher.The UROP milestones as part of this project consist of i) build up familiarity with microfluidic instrumentation and data analysis (6-months) ii) connect experimental results to metrology theory to interpret preliminary results (12-months)  iii) combine experiments and theory to make measurement of biological samples (18+ months).

A UROP candidate should expect to be exposed to the following skillsets: experimental instrumentation, lab electronics, programming, simulations, technical writing.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of basic fluid mechanics and programming. Some hands-on experience is welcome.

Relevant URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41592-019-0326-x

Contact: Yorgos Katsikis: geokats@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kurt Fendt

Project Title: Multimedia Annotation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Project Description: Annotation is an engaging practice to better understand documents from multiple perspectives. We are seeking two student developers/designers to develop version 2 of the widely used, open source multimedia annotation tool “Annotation Studio”, developed at MIT, along with a new component called “Idea Space” that pushes the practice of annotation into innovative forms of essay writing.

Students will work on both Annotation Studio and Idea Space for a more seamless integration of both web applications and further develop the functionality of both projects. Students will work closely with the PI and a graduate research assistant.

Students will develop both technical and conceptual skills in database programming, web application development, UX and UI design, and gain deeper insights into how technology can transform the century-old practice of writing in the margins into a social experience of humanistic inquiry.

Prerequisites:

  • JavaScript, CSS
  • Database knowledge
  • Optional: Ruby on Rails

Relevant URL:

Contact: Kurt Fendt: fendt@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Novelty-induced plasticity

Project Description: Research in neuroscience indicates that novelty may be capable of inducing synaptic plasticity conducive to learning. Thus, could taking a break to watch a novel Youtube video while you study improve your comprehension?  This project explores that question by systematically studying ‘novelty insertion’ with 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 responses to novelty when novel stimuli is inserted into a traditional lecture. This study will not only help us better understand novelty, but may also illuminate a promising approach that enhances the effectiveness of traditional education.

The UROP will aid in the recruitment of participants and contribute to electrophysiological data collection and analysis using MATLAB or Python, using sophisticated signal processing methods. The student will also 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.

Contact: Anna Musser: amusser@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jared Curhan

Project Title: Facial Expressions and the Psychology of Negotiation

Project Description: Seeking support for research on the role of facial expressions and other phenomena related to the psychology of negotiation. We have multiple data sets gathered from facial recognition software and from negotiation activities.  Responsibilities may include but are not limited to annotating negotiation videos, qualitative data analysis, working with data sets in Excel, literature reviews, and/or running experiments in MIT's Behavioral Research Lab.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate would have skills, coursework, and/or prior experience in some or all of the following areas: psychology, math, economics, negotiation, coding languages (such as Python), AI, NLP, machine learning, running behavioral experiements with human subjects, and the study of emotions or facial expressions.  Experience working with large datasets, time series data, machine learning libraries (scikit-learn, keras, tensorflow), and AWS is also a plus but not required.  Please also note that this position will require frequent on-campus meetings, remote meetings, and e-mail correspondence so responsiveness is a must.

To Apply: Interested students should e-mail Helen Yap at helenyap@mit.edu  Your e-mail should include a copy of your resume and a cover letter indicating your background, interests, year in school, major, and any relevant past experience.  Also, please indicate whether you would prefer course credit or pay in Fall 2019.  Finally, please provide a list of ALL courses you have taken at MIT (course number and name, organized by year) and the final grade you received in each course.  (A copy of your official transcript may be requested at a later date.)  

Please submit the requested documents and information by the end-of-day Wednesday, September 11, 2019.


9/5/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amos Winter

Project Title: Economic feasibility analysis of low-energy drip irrigation systems

Project Description: Our lab is focusing on reducing the energy use and cost of water-efficient drip irrigation systems for smallholder farmers around the world. We have developed an integrated system model and optimization scheme in MATLAB that designs a drip irrigation system for minimum lifetime cost or maximum farmer profit, considering inputs of location, local weather, farm size, and hydraulic layout. We are looking to apply this optimization model to analyze the economic feasibility of using grid-connected or solar-powered drip systems in different regions around the world. The goal is to determine what factors make solar-powered drip systems a profitable option for smallholder farmers and/or identify areas of improvement needed to make the systems more economically viable.

The UROP would be expected to work on any or all of the following, with specific tasks adjusted to the UROP's personal interests or abilities:

  • Collecting worldwide or regional data on weather, typical farm sizes, predominant crops grown, and crop selling prices
  • Cleaning and formatting these and other data sources for use as inputs to the model
  • Setting up an automated workflow to run model iterations for different locations
  • Processing, plotting, and mapping model results
  • Discovering interesting insights, trends, and sensitivities from the results

This work will be done in collaboration with one or more graduate students, and we expect it to form the basis of a journal paper.

Prerequisites: Looking for a UROP in MechE or EECS who is comfortable with coding in MATLAB or other languages (and could pick up MATLAB quickly). Previous experience with data processing, working with large datasets and/or data visualization would be very helpful. Experience with mapping software is a plus but not required.

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

Contact: Julia Sokol: sokol@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Larry Vale

Project Title: Comparing Cases of Successful and Equitable Resilience

Project Description: The Resilience Cities Housing Initiative and The Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) is partnering to develop case-studies of resilience planning at the community scale. This work will support efforts of Professor Larry Vale and Dr. Zachary Lamb to develop a book on resilient cities, as well as be used as an integral part of the LCAU's fourth research theme on Equitable Resilience. Together, the RCHI and LCAU aim to bring to the forefront questions of equity when designing and planning for urban resilience: How can cities prepare now to respond to climate change and other emerging threats in ways that will advance social equity rather than exacerbate existing inequality? Where are there promising examples to learn from?

Grounding the concept of Equitable Resilience with a rigorous and actionable set of principles is a critical first step in achieving fair outcomes for local and global communities. Towards that end, we are looking for motivated students to help gather, summarize, and compare existing cases of successful climate change adaptation. Special attention will be given to examples of community-led adaptation, community-scale relocation, and both top-down and bottom-up adaptation planning for historically disenfranchised or under-resourced groups. This work will dovetail with parallel research at the LCAU considering how these successful cases can be scaled to apply broadly to multiple regions and ensure all communities that need adaptation planning are able to both plan and execute equitable resilience strategies. Students who work on case-study research with us will be exposed to a wide range of activities at the LCAU around the topic of equitable resilience.

Student work will be attributed in all forms of dissemination including but not limited to web publications, peer-review journals, and book publications.

This position is ideally suited to rising Third- and Fourth-year majors in the humanities or social sciences, especially history (21), political science (17), or urban studies (11) (esp. prior 11.001 students), and who are pursuing interests in climate change adaptation. Students with a keen interest in learning how to perform comparative case-study reviews to uncover fundamental principles of best-practices are also encouraged to apply.

Prerequisites:

  • clear and succinct writer (writing samples may be requested after pre-screening)
  • able to digest information and summarize key findings within a rubric/matrix of research questions
  • diligent and focused, able to work independently and manage time towards meeting mutually set deadlines
  • experience doing literature review and case-study analysis is helpful but not required

Contact: Zachary Lamb: zlamb@mit.edu. To apply, send:

  • Cover letter outlining interest in the UROP
  • Resume / CV

9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: Context coordination in the interpretation of complex definintes

Project Description: We study how humans integrate visual contextual information and linguistic knowledge during language comprehension. Specifically, in this project we investigate what principles constrain the referential domains used by people during the interpretation of complex definite descriptions (e.g., the rabbit in the hat). As part of the UROP, you will learn about experimental techniques, design, and data visualization and analysis. You will be in charge of developing experimental materials, coding and collecting data for a series of online psycholinguistic experiments.

Prerequisites:

  • Availability to work 10+ hours a week
  • Interest in language research
  • Prior experience with R, python, javascript, html, data analysis, or psycholinguistic experiments are a plus
  • Responsible, reliable while independent, and highly attentive to detail.

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

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


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Robotic Platform for Flow Synthesis – Characterizing Fluid Flow and Mixing

Project Description: The Jensen Lab has developed a robotically reconfigurable flow chemistry platform for automated chemical synthesis. To better understand the performance of the platform’s modular chemical reactors, fluid flow and mixing within the reactors need to be fully characterized.

In this project, you will have the opportunity to explore the field of continuous flow chemistry. As part of an interdisciplinary team of chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, chemists, and a robot, you will apply ChemE concepts such as transport processes and reactor design to characterize the residence time distribution and study the mixing performance of the reactor modules. You will develop useful skills in lab automation, hardware programming, and spectroscopy. While you will initially work under the direction of the team, capable students may expand this into an opportunity to explore other aspects of the robotic chemical synthesis platform.

Prerequisites:

  • Basic knowledge of chemistry
  • Familiarity with Matlab
  • Preferred, but not required: coursework in fluid mechanics, transport processes, and reaction engineering; experience with Python and LabVIEW

Relevant URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6453/eaax1566

Contact: Anirudh Nambiar: nambiara@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard D. Braatz

Project Title: Mechanistic Modeling of Viral Vector Production

Project Description: New gene therapies promise cures for diseases previously untreatable. However, manufacturing of the viral particles used to deliver thee therapies has not kept pace with the demand. By creating mathematical models of the vector production process, we can improve the manufacture of these game-changing therapies.

In the project, you will assist in the construction of mathematical models of viral production by helping to locate key data to base the model on. You will gain significant experience in parsing scientific literature, understanding biological kinetics, and converting data into actionable models. A background in biology or biological engineering is advantageous. Enter a brief description of your UROP project

Prerequisites: Familiarity with scientific publication databases (EG Pubmed, Web of Science) is appreciated but not required.

Contact: Sha Sha: sha17@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard D. Braatz

Project Title: Mechanistic Modeling of Viral Vector Production

Project Description: New gene therapies promise cures for diseases previously untreatable. However, manufacturing of the viral particles used to deliver these therapies has not kept pace with the demand. By creating mathematical models of the vector production process, we can improve the manufacture of these game-changing therapies.

In the project, you will assist in the performance of laboratory experiments supplying key data to construct and validate these models. You will gain significant experience in both general laboratory techniques, (e.g. ELISA, qPCR, and Western Blotting) as well as in specialized techniques of viral vector production. You will also assist in the upkeep of the laboratory. A background in biology or biological engineering is advantageous.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with laboratory operations (pipetting, cell culture, etc.) is appreciated but not required.

Contact: Sha Sha: sha17@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Evan Lieberman

Project Title: Understanding Ethnic Conflict and Gang Violence in Africa and the United States

Project Description: The Lieberman Research Group (LRG) seeks multiple UROPs to join our team for Fall 2019. The group, based in MIT’s political science department, is headed by Dr. Evan Lieberman, the Total Chair on Contemporary Africa. Any undergraduates interested in quantitative social science research, Africa, ethnic conflict, or gang violence are encouraged to apply. UROPs will have the opportunity to work on two projects:

  1. Online Ethnic Animus: This project involves analysis of millions of comments from African news sites as well as Twitter data. The project aims to understand what factors trigger ethnic animus with a particular focus on electoral politics. In addition to other tasks, the UROP’s role includes using natural language processing to identify animus and scraping online comments and article content.
  2. Citizen-Police Cooperation: This project entails analyzing data from surveys of residents in Lagos, Nigeria and Baltimore, MD, looking at the intersection of the police, gangs, and the community. The project aims to increase understanding of how citizens make decisions to cooperate or not cooperate with the police in communities with a gang presence. In addition to other tasks, the UROP’s role will involve GIS analysis of 911 and crime data.

As part of the UROP you will be working with Dr. Lieberman and Andrew Miller, a PhD candidate in the political science department. More on Dr. Lieberman’s work can be found here: https://evanlieberman.org. More on Andrew’s work can be found here: https://andrewcmiller.org.

Prerequisites: Interested applicants should email Andrew with (1) your resume, (2) a one paragraph statement on why you are interested in the position, and (3) dates/times of your availability this Fall. Preference will be given to those with the most availability. Applicants should plan to apply for direct funding through MIT.

Contact: Andrew Miller: millera@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall-Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann Graybiel

Project Title: Brain activity during decision-making in a mouse model of a neurodegenerative disease

Project Description: Help us do experiments to solve the mysteries of the brain! In this project, you will see cells lighting up in the brains of mice and help us investigate the functions of different cell types in the striatum, a neural hub of evaluation and decision-making. You will assist us in performing experiments recording brain activity in mice using calcium imaging with a head-mounted miniature microscope that allows mice to move freely and make choices in T-maze decision-making tasks such as cost-benefit conflict, cost-cost, and benefit-benefit tasks.

We will give preference to students who can work in the lab at a consistent time for blocks of 2 hours at least 5 days per week, or alternatively, two consistent blocks of at least 5 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. Evenings are available.

Students with strong programming and math skills may assist in data analysis, and students with good fine motor skills may assist in mouse neurosurgeries. We focus on the striatum, which is a key part of the basal ganglia, receiving input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in evaluation, selection, motivation, and decision making, not only at the level of movements but also at the level of goals, strategies, thoughts, emotions, and sensory interpretations. It is implicated in movement disorders like Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, aspects of schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Prerequisites: No prior experience is required, but you must be highly motivated, conscientious, and detail oriented. We will give preference to students who can commit to working for a year or more for at least 12 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and 20 to 40 hours per week during the summer and IAP.

Contact: Leif Gibb: lgibb@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stuart Madnick

Project Title: Interdisciplinary Management Research to Enhance Cyber Security Resiliency

Project Description: Cybersecurity has a critical role in today’s digital society, yet managers and leaders are often at a loss when it comes to keeping their organizations secure. Without effective strategies and plans to manage risks in cybersecurity, managers can jeopardize their entire organization. Making the right decisions in cybersecurity requires more than just making decisions about the latest technology. Research has shown that the majority of cyber breaches occur because of accidental or malicious human error.  Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (CAMS) fills a critical need for leaders and managers of cybersecurity by focusing on managerial, strategic, and organizational issues. We seek undergraduate researchers interested in creating the latest and greatest ideas in cybersecurity.

We have several opportunities for interested UROP students. Some active projects are listed here but we have other projects for motivated students. Contact us if you are interested in knowing more.

1) Cyber security culture project. This project asks how leaders shape the beliefs, values, and attitudes of their organizations to align with overall cybersecurity goals. More specifically, during the Fall, we will work together with our members to look into companies that supply cybersecurity-related products. The UROP student will work together with our research team to collect and analyze survey data, assist with interviews, and draft a report of findings based on the empirical study. Excellent writing skills and previous experience with survey based studies are preferred.

2) Organizational cybersecurity risk and policy. This project asks how cybersecurity risks propagate and how organizations respond to cyber incidents. More specifically, during the Fall, we will look into the supply chain and corporate social responsibility perspective. The UROP student will work together with our research team to collect, analyze, and draft a report based on the empirical findings. Excellent writing skills, previous experience with quantitative analysis, and programing skill using python are preferred.

3) Cybersecurity compliance. This project asks how organizations comply with the increasing cybersecurity regulations. More specifically, as this project is a global collaboration, the UROP student is expected to support the coordination within the research team, including tracking project progress, interviewing organizations, and drafting reports. Excellent communication skills and previous experience with project management are preferred.

Qualifications: We need students who are self-starters and who will take the initiative to accomplish projects. Required skills include: attention to details, critical thinking, excellent reading comprehension, writing skills, and communication skills. A familiarity with cybersecurity is a helpful but not required—you will learn on the job. We are particularly interested in working with motivated and organized students who are committed to doing research. Continuing to work with us during IAP and Spring will be welcome.

Prerequisites: Excellent writing and communication skills as well as previous experience with survey based studies are preferred.

Relevant URL: You will be working with Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (cams.mit.edu)

Contact: Please email Dr. Keman Huang (keman@mit.edu) with 1) your CV, 2) a short writing sample (can be something you’ve written for another class or project and 3) a brief description of your interest in the one, and only one, project mentioned above. Feel free to ask questions.


9/5/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Human-Machine Interaction in Social & Public Environments

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 Human-Machine Interaction (HMI) in the context of social and public environments (e.g. with pedestrians and cyclists) with the goal of promoting trust, road safety and social cohesion.

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 Winter/Summer (paid) and into a master thesis or senior-year, super-UROP project through 6.UAR.

Interested candidates should submit a project reference  (Github or project link) and be interviewed.

Required Skill:

  • Python

Desired Experience:

  • ROS
  • Embedded Systems

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

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (WI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Young

Project Title: Interpreting genetic predisposition to disease

Project Description: The Corradin lab is looking for motivated students interested in applying computational skills to biological questions. This project is offered for Fall term with opportunity for continuation. UROP student will perform high-throughput, integrative analyses of big data and analysis of NexGen sequencing data to assess the molecular and phenotypic consequence of genetic variation.

Determining genetic variants that predispose to common disease provides essential insights into the pathogenesis of human disorders. Rather than impact protein-coding genes, the majority of disease risk loci co-localize with functional regulatory elements, such as transcriptional enhancers. Transcriptional enhancer elements are noncoding regions of the genome that play a critical role in regulating gene expression programs. As such, perturbation of enhancer function can alter quantitative, spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression. Identifying the functional consequence of such noncoding variation remains a significant challenge and thus limits the translation of disease-association to clinically actionable findings. The Corradin lab studies a variety of human diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer and substance abuse disorders.

Prerequisites: Candidates with a strong background in programming and an interest in biology and/or genetics are encouraged to apply. Candidates must have familiarity with Python, Unix/Bash, R, and/or Perl.

Relevant URL: http://wi.mit.edu/people/fellows/corradin

Contact: If interested, please send CV/resume and detail your computational experience, relevant course work, and how many hours you would like to commit to lab work. SEND TO Olivia Corradin: corradin@wi.mit.edu.


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Miho Mazereeuw

Project Title: Civic Sensing for Realtime Disaster informatics

Project Description: The Urban Risk Lab is an interdisciplinary research group that researches and develops technologies to embed disaster risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities. As a UROP, you will assist in the ongoing development of the RiskMap project.

Currently operating in three countries - Japan, India, and the United States – RiskMap is a real-time disaster coordination platform for connecting residents and government and sharing time-critical information.

As a UROP, you will work closely with PI and researchers in the lab to develop the next phase of Urban Risk Map in Japan, Thailand, and India to:

  • Develop methods to use chatbot based communication for evacuation and shelter management. 
  • Assist with development of backend infrastructure Riskmap platform for real-time disaster reporting. 
  • Assist in the development of chatbot based evacuation management during disasters.

Prerequisites: JavaScript / TypeScript with Angular based web-development experience, familiarity with AWS preferred (but not.

Relevant URL: risk.mit.edu

Contact: Miho Mazereeuw: mmaz@mit.edu


9/5/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Miho Mazereeuw

Project Title: Geo-data support toolkit for post disaster housing

Project Description: The Urban Risk Lab is an interdisciplinary research group that develops technologies to embed disaster risk reduction and preparedness into the design of cities. As a UROP, you will assist in the ongoing research project to develop a “Disaster Housing Planning Toolkit,” an interactive web interface that helps local governments plan for disasters and build housing resilience. By addressing safe housing practices before a disaster strikes, this toolkit will help ensure cities are better prepared for and more resilient to hazards, including floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes.

As a UROP, you will work closely with PI and researchers in the lab to develop a web-based map module that allows cities to visualize local hazards and vulnerabilities via national datasets. This module will form the basis for generating local disaster housing plans.

Prerequisites: Experience of design and developing web application in Angular, Node JS and Mapbox GL JS, Experience of working with spatial data in QGIS/ArcMap. Familiarity with AWS is a plus.

Relevant URL: risk.mit.edu

Contact: Miho Mazereeuw: mmaz@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP/Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences / Biological Engineering

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann Graybiel

Project Title:  Micro-invasive neurochemical interfaces for probing biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease and mood disorders

Project Description: Our lab recently developed the smallest implantable probes for monitoring rapid neurochemical activity. The dysregulation of dopamine neurochemicals is critically implicated in a number of brain disorders including Parkinson’s disease, severe anxiety, and major depressive disorders. Advancements in the way we monitor these signals and an understanding of how these brain chemicals regulate our behaviors are necessary to discover disease mechanisms and improve treatments for these debilitating conditions. Our work on miniaturizing and optimizing the long-term performance of these implantable devices is also critical for reducing barriers to clinical translation and realizing use in human patients.  

The undergraduate will be involved in advancing our neurochemical probing technology. Arrayed probes will be designed to monitor dopamine changes from widely distributed brain sites. Fabrication processes will need to be optimized to increase the functional reproducibility and yield of devices. The undergraduate will perform surgeries to implant and test fabricated devices and to investigate dopamine signaling across many different brain sites and behavioral states.   

This is a highly interdisciplinary project combining engineering, microfabrication, and neuroscience. The student is expected to learn basic principles and gain experience in microfabrication procedures, neurochemistry, electrical engineering, circuit design, and neurosurgery. Students may also be involved with programming, computational analysis, and circuit design, depending on their experience, background, and interests. 

We are looking for passionate and highly motivated undergraduates who can commit at least 10 hours a week with a commitment of at least 2 semesters to the project. Paid full-time summer (8-10 week program) opportunities are also available to interested students. 

Contact: Helen Schwerdt (schwerdt@mit.edu)


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joe Paradiso

Project Title: Electronic textile integration and applications

Project Description: The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it. -Mark Weiser

The Responsive Environments group are currently exploring textile manufacturing techniques to design smart fabrics for wearables, everyday objects, and the environments.  We combine different types of functional and common yarns to develop a multi-layer novel sensing fabric that can be shaped into irregular forms. We will demonstrate various applications of our smart fabrics in the area of health sensing, activity recognition, and physical interaction.

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of this project, depending on the background, skills, and interests, the UROP student will be expected to perform one/several of the followings:

  • Integrate common and functional threads and fabrics to interface circuits
  • Develop wireless communication system and analyze sensor data
  • Design and model textile and clothing patterns

Prerequisites: Are creative, driven, and passionate. 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: Please send your interest and resume about this project to Irmandy Wicaksono: irmandy@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Strano

Project Title: Probing fluids under extreme confinement

Project Description: The exotic behavior of fluids in nanometer-sized pores is little understood, despite its relevance for applications such as nanofiltration, desalination, or gas separation. To gain new fundamental insights, we design and perform experiments on individual solid state nanopores: carbon nanotubes. Their supreme quality, finely spaced diameter range, and direct accessibility makes them an ideal testbed for studying fluid transport and phase transitions within their interior.

You will gain significant hands-on experience with device fabrication/characterization and in conducting your own research project. A background or interest in physics, chemistry, or materials science is advantageous.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with optics/electronics is appreciated but not required.

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

Contact: Matthias Kuehne: mkuehne@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Machine Learning for Artificial Noses

Project Description: Our lab develops mobile technology and algorithms for health diagnostics.  We have a new collaboration with Andreas Mershin at the Center for Bits and Atoms to develop some specific algorithms for data from artificial noses.  A brief intro to olfaction and the nose technology from Dr. Mershin's lab can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Gqro4WPCI This particular project involves doing both unsupervised and supervised learning of datasets in the form of 2D images.  We prefer to use neural nets and deep learning but are open to using Bayesian inference methods as well.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students with coursework and experience with algorithms and machine learning, particularly Python w/Scikit-learn and/or TensorFlow.  Prior research experience a plus.  We are looking for students who are interested and able to work independently, with weekly team meetings.  The UROP is available for pay or credit and the project can also be used to satisfy the UAP requirement.

Relevant URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-Gqro4WPCI

Contact: Interested students should e-mail Rich Fletcher fletcher@media.mit.edu directly and indicate to which project you are applying. 


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Machine Learning for Health Diagnostics and Prediction

Project Description: Our lab currently has several large health studies being conducted in India and we are looking for student to help with developing machine learning algorithms and also specialized algorithms for feature extraction and digital biomarkers.  The current studies include: (1) pulmonary diagnostics (pnumonia, tuberculosis, asthma, COPD, ILD) using a variety of data (lung sounds, coughs, thermal imaging, peak flow meter, questionnaires); (2) Diabetes and cardiometabolic disease screening and assessment using images of the eye as well as thermal imaging and photoplethysmography; and (3) cardiovascular disease risk prediction using pulse waveform analysis; (4) mental health diagnostics using mobile phone data.

Prerequisites: We are currently seeking a UROP student to help develop machine learning algorithms in Python or MATLAB to predict specific diseases or health conditions.  Our group works with a variety of methods and models, including logisitic regression, SVM, Neural Nets, and Bayesian Networks. Interested students should have experience (6.036, 6.034, etc.) using either MATLAB or Python with Scikit-Learn libraries.  Our group has a GPU machine available for development and a very nice mobile app platform and server architecture that allows us to run machine learning algorithms in real-time in the field.  Data sets include a wide variety of data: images, questionnaire, and sounds.  No biomedical experience is required but we seek students who are motivated to work on interesting problems and work independently to develop custom solutions.   UROP students are automatically invited to be co-authors on any publication or conference paper that is produced from their research, and we also offer occasional opportunities to travel to field sites in India and other countries, if desired.

At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working for the Fall semester and open to the possibility of continuing beyond the fall semester. Pay or credit is available, or UAP project consideration.

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

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


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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 a mobile-phone based video game as a tool to help people monitor and assess their mental health. We are designing games that test specific neuro-cognitive 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 UMass Medical School department of Psychiatry.

Prerequisites: 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 current game prototypes have been developed using the Unity platform. Experience with Unity and/or game development would be a big plus. Background in mobile app development is would also be helpful. At this time, we are interviewing students for Fall 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: http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org/portfolio/

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


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Advanced Android Development for Health Diagnostics

Project Description: Our group develops a variety of mobile technologies to diagnose disease and detects abnormalities.  

Sample applications include:

  1. Cardiovascular disease diagnostics -- CVD is the leading cause of death worldwide.  We use the phone camera and other custom sensors to assess cardiovascular health
  2. Diabetes -- this chronic disease is becoming increasingly common all over the world, including developing countries. We are exploring some early detection methods that can be implemented on a mobile phone to enable early intervention.
  3. Assessment of Malnutrition -- Malnutrition interventions are impeded by a lack of accurate measurements.  we use computer vision algorithms to automate anthropometric measurements for babies and toddlers. A sample of our projects can be seen on our group web site. Using a combination of mobile phone app with clever sensing techniques, machine vision, machine learning algorithms, and little or no external hardware, it is possible to make important contributions to preventative health and public health services both in the US and developing countries. Our group has many strong clinical partners in the Boston area as well as with top hospitals in India and latin america for field testing our technologies and bringing innovations to the field. The tools we are creating shall be used to provide decision support and feedback for health workers in the field.

Prerequisites: Since this field is very  interdisciplinary, we welcome students with all levels of skills and interest areas. We are particularly interested in students with one or more of the following skills: Computer Vision, signal processing, and machine learning. Software will be implemented on Android phones and tablets using the JAVA SDK, and in some cases, using the native CNDK as well.  We are looking for students with a programming background in Android and/or C++.  No biomedical background is necessary, but of course general interest in health or creating technology that helps people is useful. The student should be able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress.  At this time we are interviewing students who are interested in working this Fall term and will hopefully continue through the IAP and beyond. Pay or credit is available or UAP project consideration. Opportunities to travel to developing countries (e.g. India) are possible.

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

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


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Crowd-sourced data collection on snow surface quality

Project Description: The City Science research group at the MIT Media Lab is building a system that uses sensors embedded in snow skis or snowboards to gather information about snow conditions at mountain resorts. This project encompasses everything from electronic instrumentation, to data acquisition, data analysis, and ultimately to end-user interfaces. The goal is to build a crowd-sourced database of ultra-localized snow conditions that can help mountain operations staff better understand the variables that impact snow preparation.

We are seeking a Fall/IAP UROP student to contribute substantively to this effort through one of the following projects:

  1. Retrofit existing ski hardware with piezoelectric, strain-gauge, thermocouple, or other sensors that may capture meaningful variations at the interface between ski and snow. Develop integrated circuitry for acquiring data and storing this data on the device.
  2. Develop a wireless data transmission system that allows a ski to automatically offload collected data when it passes in range of an access point located at the base of a ski lift. Aggregate the data into a central repository that will allow users to perform analysis and visualization tasks.
  3. Design and implement an end-user interface (mobile, embedded, large-scale, or other) that aggregates data from instrumented skis, and presents this information back to skiers and resort operators in such a way that might influence their future behavior.
  4. Develop a compelling narrative that illustrates the benefits and limitations of a digital recommendation system based on crowd-sourced data (such as this). This narrative may be communicated through the medium of your choice, and should comment on the nature of digital information in contrast to that which can be experienced subjectively.

Prerequisites:

  • Prior experience relevant to one of the project areas listed above
  • Prior experience in snow sports is helpful but not required

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/city-science/overview/

Contact: Luis Alberto Alonso Pastor: alonsolp@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: Application of Machine Learning in Transportation

Project Description: The overarching goal of this project is to create a new benchmark result for the transportation research community by using machine learning methods. We explore the following two directions. The first direction is about the prediction of travel behaviors by using supervised learning methods. The work involves data collection, data cleaning, literature review, and model design. We will clean several public travel surveys so that they can be used for the prediction practice, review past studies that used machine learning models for predicting car consumption, travel mode choice, and activity patterns, and design a list of supervised learning methods for a large-scale comparison.

The second direction is broadly about studying new and emerging mobility modes (Scooters, Autonomous Vehicles) using machine learning and reinforcement learning. The work involves data processing, cleaning, code refactoring/documentation, and model design. The data source will mostly be the public NYC taxi and subway tap-in/out data.

We are looking for two candidates who are interested in the intersection of machine learning methods and transportation applications. For the first project, the ideal candidate should have taken the introduction to machine learning class (6.036) and be proficient with basic data analysis skills by using Python. For the second project, proficiency in Python and familiarity with SQL and Docker is desired. Expected time commitment is 10 hours/week.

Prerequisites:

  • Proficiency in Python
  • Familiarity with SQL and Docker

Contact: If interested, please send your resume and a short description of why you would be a strong candidate to Shenhao Wang at shenhao@mit.edu, Peyman Noursalehi peymano@mit.edu, and Jinhua Zhao at jinhua@mit.edu.


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Floor that Feels: Software Development for Body Motion Recognition from Force Vector Signals

Project Description: Interaction designers at the Media Lab are intensively working on creating a "Floor that Feels" - a floor with embedded force sensors beneath the surface towards unobtrusive sensing of human behaviors. We already have a functional prototype, so at this stage, we need to improve the signal processing and activity recognition part. Your contribution will be to develop a software that consists of machine learning architecture and time-series signal processing. Highly appreciated if you have skill/knowledge/experience in the related fields. Through collaboration, you will improve skills in practical application development in Python / C++ and realtime signal processing, applying your hardcore knowledge in physics and CS, which will underpin the highest-level user experience.

Desirable if you have at least two of the following:

  1. Coding Experience (Python / C++ / oF etc.)
  2. Signal Processing for Time Series Signals (Matlab / Python)
  3. Basic Knowledge of Machine Learning, specifically of CNN & LSTM
  4. Experience in FEM

Contact: Takatoshi YOSHIDA: taka_y@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

Multiple Openings

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tomaso Poggio

Project Title: Deep Learning: Computer Vision, GAN and Biological-Plausibility

Project #1: 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. Try variants of our model (already implemented in PyTorch) on a wide range of computer vision tasks.
  2. Implement our models with Tensorflow.
  3. (Advanced) Accelerate our models with customized NVIDIA CUDA code

_________

Project 2: Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN). We study a few projects related to Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), including inverting representations and style generation.

_________

Project #3: Biologically-Plausible training of neural networks without back propagation.

Some references: Xiao W, Chen H, Liao Q, et al. Biologically-plausible learning algorithms can scale to large datasets. arXiv preprint arXiv:1811.03567, 2018. Liao Q, Leibo J Z, Poggio T. How important is weight symmetry in backpropagation? Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence. 2016.

_________

Project #4: 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: Good at Python or Matlab

Contact: Qianli Liao: LQL@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kate Mytty

Project Title: Regenerative Neighborhood Model: Researching & Developing a Community Land Trust Strategy for the South Side of Chicago

Project Description: MIT Create, part of the MIT designX family within the School of Architecture and Planning, is collaborating with an organization in Chicago to develop a model of community ownership of a live/work/play area in the South Side of Chicago. Community Land Trusts are a popular form of creating equitable urban development. There is continuous opportunity to evolve the Community Land Trust Model.

During this semester, we will research and develop:

  • Examples of Community Land Trusts throughout the country, and especially in Boston, as comparable cases to learn from.
  • Opportunities/limitations around financing and ownership for housing, contextualized within the South Side of Chicago.
  • Vehicles to collaborate with the community on the development of a Community Land Trust.

This may lead into an IAP opportunity to more deeply explore this and a trip to Chicago during the semester.

Prerequisites: Interest & curiosity about cities and equity.

Contact: Kate Mytty: kmytty@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Image recognition of plant stomata obtained by a smartphone-based microscope

Project Description: The stoma is the central mediator between a plant and its environment. Many plant processes like growth, drought, and the diurnal cycle impact plant stomata function. Number of stomata, their state, sizes, and distances between them change depending on physiological conditions a plant is experiencing. However, sparse, real-time data currently exists on the stomatal response over physiologically-relevant time periods. This points to the difficulty of performing continuous persistent measurements. To tackle this challenge, we have recently developed a portable microscope based on a smartphone camera. An interested student will be working on image recognition software in order to automatize the process of counting stomata, extracting further information on their orientation and spacing. As obtained data will potentially uncover new correlations between stomata states taken by your smartphone and plants’ hidden physiological conditions. As a student on this project, you will be exposed to a very diverse and interdisciplinary research project and lab. You will have the opportunity to learn many different areas including nanomaterials, plant biology, hardware development and image processing methods.

Prerequisites: Students with plan for a multi-semester research commitment with interest in plant biology, bioengineering, image and signal processing, app development. Students with previous experience in coding is required. Applications will be considered until 9/15/17.

Relevant URL: srg.mit.edu

Contact: Volodymyr Koman: koman@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alan Berger

Project Title: American Suburbs

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 current  research project at the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) 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 city growth between American cities and amongst 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 classification and mapping of the location of suburbs in American metropolitan areas.

UROP’s will:

  • Perform spatial statistics based on demographics, transportation mode, and housing characteristics to identify distinct types of urban and suburban regions
  • Validate results, under faculty 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.

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 experienced in working with spatial data in ARCMap or QGIS.
  • Familiarity with US Census data and American cities would be an asset.
  • Proficiency in Python programming environment would be an asset.

Contact: Mario Giampieri: marioag@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

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 (Gibson assembly)
  • Plasmid design ( using Benchling or Snapgene)

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

Contact: Carlos Barajas: carlobar@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ellen Roche

Project Title: Soft Robotic Strategies to Mimic Physiological Vessel Characteristics and Medical Devices

Project Description: Seeking student with mechanical engineering background to develop an artificial vessel or device with tunable mechanical characteristics. Soft material design principles allow us to realize complex robotic motions while providing flexible structures to safely interface with humans. The variation of compliance is an important building block of the human body with effects on hemodynamics and implanted devices.Soft robotic fabrication techniques will be explored to develop physiological bench top models and devices for diseased vessels. In this process composite soft structures are designed to further explore a platform technology that allows to tune device mechanics in situ.

The project is closely linked to clinical interest and provides opportunity to explore the interface of medical devices and human physiology.

Prerequisites:

  • Interest in design iteration and manufacturing
  • Commitment to the schedule we agree to together
  • Most hands on skills will be trained in the lab and middle to longer term availability is preferred

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

Contact: Markus Horvath: mhorvath@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Stewart III

Project Title: Assessing cyber-security preparations of American elections

Project Description: This UROP is related to a larger project to assess the level of cyber-preparedness among the states and local governments for the administration of elections.  This is the beginning phase of research.  The tasks to be performed by UROP researchers include searching the web for signs that state and local election authorities have adopted best practices to secure their public-facing Internet resources against malicious attacks. This project is ideal for someone interested in American politics and the role of technology in elections.

Prerequisites: No special technical skills are necessary, although awareness of American politics is a definite plus.

Contact: Charles Stewart: cstewart@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Stewart

Project Title: Racial polarization in legislative elections

Project Description: This project attempts to understand the degree of racial polarization in American legislative elections.  An important variable in this analysis is the race of candidates for state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.  This UROP was focus on gathering data about the race of legislative candidates, primarily using data from web searchers and other sources.

Prerequisites: No special technical skills are needed.  Being knowledgeable about American politics would be a big plus.

Contact: Charles Stewart III: cstewart@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hadley Sikes

Project Title: Engineering Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Infectious Diseases

Project Description: Rapid, accessible, and accurate diagnostic tests can reduce mortality rates and increase awareness around the world, especially in developing countries. In our lab, a non-immunoglobulin hyperthermophilic protein is being investigated as a replacement for antibodies in current rapid diagnostic tests and other assays. Using this protein, we are developing binding proteins against specific antigens for diagnostic applications, such as for Zika virus and malaria. This specific project will involve conducting paper-based assays with engineered proteins to assess their performance on different paper substrates. This project will also involve molecular biology and protein engineering techniques, such as cloning new genes into plasmids, expressing and purifying proteins from E. coli, and running protein analytical tests such as SDS-PAGE and BCA assays.

Prerequisites: We are looking for highly motivated UROP(s) with a background in chemical engineering, biological engineering, or related field. The student should be comfortable working independently after being properly trained. Relevant coursework and prior lab experience is preferred, especially prior experience using molecular biology techniques. A commitment of 10 hours/week (ideally in 3-5 hour blocks) is required, and preference is given to those who can commit to at least 2 semesters.

Relevant URL: hsikeslab.mit.edu

Contact: Ki-Joo Sung: sungkj@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph A. Paradiso

Project Title: Project Captivate

Project Description: Interested in measuring people’s engagement? Look no further! We are designing a pair of eye glasses that measures how engaged a user is with their current experience. The system has a suite of sensors located throughout the glasses that senses physiological signals and external stimuli. The system also has several light sources to alert the user and to adapt to the environment. There is a radio on-board that allows the system to mesh, allowing for scalable applications (i.e. large crowds).

We have spent part of the summer in Shenzhen, China, working with manufacturers on designing and producing these pairs of glasses. We intend on producing a large set of glasses over the course of this semester and are looking for a UROP to assist with the embedded programming. Specific tasks would be to experiment with the network stack and meshing protocols, write drivers and evaluate the sensors in our system, and assist in user testing of our system. If you are excited about embedded systems and measuring user’s engagement to various task but do not fulfill all the prerequisites below, we still encourage you to apply!

Prerequisites: (Not all need to apply)

  • Proficient in C, C++, and Python
  • Experience programming microcontrollers (e.g. MSP430, STM32)
  • Expertise in Embedded development tool chains and debugging
  • Basic understanding of wired and wireless communication protocols (e.g. I2C, SPI, Zigbee, Bluetooth, etc.)
  • Bonus: have experience designing circuits and can understand electrical schematics
  • Bonus: Experience with real-time operating systems (e.g. FreeRTOS)

Contact: Patrick Chwalek: chwalek@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Rand

Project Title: Giving Profiles – Nudging to Give More

Project Description: Giving Profiles is a social media platform that collects and presents individuals’ verified charitable donations and volunteer hours. Individuals’ profiles credibly represent their values.  Their newsfeed provides updates on friends’ and organizations’ activity.  A recommendation engine suggests new organizations based on individuals’ characteristics and past giving behavior.  Integrations with other social media increase recognition, and careful privacy protection promote trust. The platform is built from the ground up to ‘nudge’ individuals towards giving more, and giving more deliberately and effectively. One of the platform’s features is the ability to read receipts from charitable organizations that are forwarded to it via email.  We have built a basic version of this functionality which successfully reads about two-thirds of receipts that it receives.  We are looking for a UROP to take the lead on improving its reliability--increasing its accuracy, and also developing an algorithm that “learns” from user entries so that it continues to improve with time.

Prerequisites: An ideal candidate would have the following skills: Programming in Python, Ruby-on-rails, HTML, Javascript, and familiarity with machine learning/natural language processing.  Enthusiasm for and experience with public service, especially philanthropy, is a plus.required for this UROP

Relevant URL: mation on this project

Contact: Erez Yoeli: eyoeli@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Rand

Project Title: Motivating Yelp Users to Contribute More--and Better--Yelp Reviews

Project Description: Consumer-generated reviews are critical to the business models of companies such as Yelp, Netflix, or Amazon, and have even transformed the physical economy.  However, motivating consumers to write more--and better--reviews remains a major challenge for most businesses; indeed, most websites report that the modal consumer never writes a review. We consider consumer reviews as an example of a public good contribution, since writing a review takes time and effort, and largely benefits other users of a platform.  We therefore propose to motivate them as one might motivate any other public good: by increasing the reputational benefits to contributing.  To demonstrate our approach, we are developing a simple web application that scrapes individuals’ existing Yelp reviews using readily available natural language processing tools, and builds profiles that both show off individuals’ values and expertise.  The profiles also compare individuals’ to others, and are easy to share over social media.

Prerequisites: An ideal candidate would have the following skills: Programming in Python, Designing & Developing Web Applications, and familiarity with machine learning/natural language processing.  Familiarity with, and enthusiasm for, Yelp is a plus. this UROP

Contact: Erez Yoeli: eyoeli@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Myron Spector, Ph.D.

Project Title: A cell-seeded gel for retinal regeneration: Treatment for blindness

Project Description: An injectable gelatin-based hydrogel is being developed as a vehicle for the delivery of retinal stem cells to treat blindness.  The work is being performed in vitro and in rat models.  This project involves the chemical and physical characterization of the gels, and the evaluation of the response of retinal progenitor and photoreceptor cells to the gels.  The work in this collaborative project is being conducted at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, in Boston near the MGH campus.

Prerequisites: To be discussed.

Contact: Myron Spector: mspector@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: V. Michael Bove

Project Title: Bio-inspired Structural Color Surfaces (Using Simulation-Based Optimization)

Project Description: While most colors we see in the world stem from pigments, many of the bright colors we see in nature (in creatures such as bugs, fish, and birds) stem from structure. Structural color produces compelling and vibrant visual displays that can be used for displays, textiles, or paints. These impressive effects result from interference and diffraction of light incident upon multilayer nanostructures, in which color is broadly tuned based on surface structure and geometry. The wings of the Morpho butterfly are a well-studied example of a biological system exhibiting structural coloration.

We are working to develop inverse design algorithms to generate color through structure. This iterative design process can be used to mimic the optical function of Morpho butterfly wings by optimizing towards a target output in a physically realizable manner. These structures can then be fabricated and tested to compare experimental and simulated behavior. Candidate student will work closely with a graduate student with a background in materials science and fabrication.

Ideally, this project will culminate in a publication and numerous presentations. This is a learning opportunity, so if you are interested in learning more about materials science, nanofabrication, optics or photonics, please apply! We are looking for about 5-10 hrs a week commitment and are flexible with scheduling. This UROP may be taken for pay, credit, or volunteer.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have strong programming and analytical skills and a willingness to learn in an interdisciplinary environment. Prior experience with optimization, software architecture, and prior research/UROP experience (third or fourth year students) strongly preferred.  A background in computer science, physics, mathematics, engineering, materials science, optics and photonics, or a related field is desired.

Contact: Bianca Datta: bdatta@mit.edu


9/4/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ed Boyden

Project Title: Mapping the Brain's Connectomics with Expansion Microscopy

Project Description: "Brainbow" was developed over a decade ago at Harvard to map the neuronal connections within the brain or whole organisms, like Zebrafish. In the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, we combine the brainbow technique with Expansion Microscopy (ExM) to obtain nanoscale resolution of the brain's connectome. The UROP student will help design, validate, and optimize the brainbow technique to be more compatible with ExM. The resulting tool will be applied to mouse brains and potentially Zebrafish and C. elegans.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with molecular biology techniques is preferred but not required. Must be motivated to learn skills outside of their background and work both in a team and independently. Problem solving skills, good judgment, critical thinking skills, attention to detail, and time management skills are essential. Looking for 1-2 year commitment.

Relevant URL: http://syntheticneurobiology.org/PDFs/16.07.tillberg.FULL.pdf

Contact: Shannon Johnson: slj@mit.edu


8/29/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jing Li

Project Title: Economic impacts of broadband internet access

Project Description: Recognizing the importance of closing the digital divide between urban and rural areas in the U.S. for equity as well as sustained economic growth, the federal government has spent billions of dollars to subsidize broadband internet access. We will evaluate the economic impacts broadband access in rural areas of the U.S. The UROP student will gather background information and data on broadband subsidies, data on economic outcomes such as unemployment and small-business activity, and then organize and analyze the data.

Prerequisites: Prior experience in or willingness to learn ArcGIS and Stata. General computer and programming maturity will be helpful. Prior coursework in an applied micro-economics course will be helpful.

Relevant URL:

Contact: Jing Li: lijing@mit.edu


8/29/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jing Li

Project Title: The Market for Electric Vehicle Charging

Project Description: Sales of electric vehicles are steadily increasing, yet the profitability and viability of the market for electric vehicle charging is not well-understood. Whether the electric vehicle market can be self-sustaining without subsidies will depend in part on whether the charging business can be profitable. The UROP student will gather, organize, and analyze data on the electric vehicle charging market.

Prerequisites: Prior experience in or willingness to learn web scraping, Stata, and Python. General computer and programming maturity will be helpful. Prior coursework in an applied micro-economics course will be helpful.

Contact: Jing Li: lijing@mit.edu


8/29/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ghoniem

Project Title: CO2 Conversion in a Supersonic Plasma Reactor

Project Description: How can we turn carbon dioxide from a pollutant into a valuable resource? At the Reacting Gas Dynamics (RGD) Lab, we are working on a project to use plasma discharges to reform waste streams of CO2 into valuable industrial chemicals. If successful, this Department of Energy-funded work may improve the economic viability of carbon capture technologies.

In order to breakdown CO2, this project will use a non-thermal plasma introduced into a supersonic stream of CO2 in a Mach 2 flow reactor which is currently under construction at the RGD Lab. Students involved in this project will have the opportunity to see how new experiments to evaluate clean energy technologies are designed, constructed and operated. This work will also involve significant exposure to compressible aerodynamics and topics related to ionized gasses.

As this project is in the early stages, there are several opportunities for student participation depending on student interests ranging from set up of optical diagnostics for compressible flows, analytical chemistry, assisting with data collection and diagnostics set up for experiments, assisting with experimental set ups and protocols, mechanical design for new components and techno-economic analysis of energy technologies.

Prerequisites: Students for this UROP should have a background in compressible flows, analytical chemistry, reacting gas processes and/or energy technologies.

Relevant URL: https://web.mit.edu/rgd/www/research.html

Contact: If interested please send your CV to Felipe Gomez del Campo: fgdelc@mit.edu


8/29/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: Education Arcade's pSims (Participatory Simulations) games

Project Description: Interested in games?  Want to work in web and app development? Apply to work on pSims (Participatory Simulations) at the Scheller Teacher Education Program/The Education Arcade!  Over many years and many iterations of technologies (from Palm Pilots to iPhones) The Education Arcade has been working on whole class, systems-based simulation games played on mobile devices.  Imagine a classroom game that challenges you and other players to avoid getting sick from a mysterious virus that is spreading. OR imagine a game for students to try maintaining the balance of a fragile, digital ecosystem without hurting its human inhabitants.  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 classroom-friendly mobile devices (phones and tablets).  We are looking for UROPs to help finalize the design of three games and implement them using scalable web technologies (React).

The system is currently using React (js) and Firebase, and some work has started on a React Native client.  This fall we plan to (a) redesign the teacher-facing dashboards, (b) pilot a beta version of the Virus Game with teachers, and (c) continue the design and development of two ecology games.

Prerequisites: We are looking for students with a strong programming background.  Experience with JavaScript/HTML/CSS, React Redux/ReactNative and NoSQL databases is helpful.  Interests/expertise in front end design and game design are also big strengths.

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
  • 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

8/29/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Housman

Project Title: Genetic modifiers of Huntington’s disease

Project Description: David Housman helped pioneer the discovery of the genetic marker for Huntington’s disease (HD). The Housman lab now studies how the rest of the human genome controls the age at which a patient with the Huntingtin mutation becomes symptomatic for the disease. We have identified other genetic markers that modify HD age of onset by using extensive resources of patient samples and clinical data collected over decades from the world’s largest HD family in Venezuela. We are now characterizing dysfunction of the proteins encoded by these genetic variants in HD patient samples and mice models in addition to their effects on HD pathology such as potential rescue of behavioral and cognitive deficits in mice. Further, we aim to discover the role of modifier variants in the pathology of the disease by genetic manipulation in mice models and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells differentiated into neurons. Understanding how these genetic variants alter the course of the disease will distinguish the molecular pathways that are most capable of modulating Huntington’s onset. By going from genetic to molecular insights, we hope to target these modifier pathways to develop protective therapies capable of slowing HD pathology. The objective of this UROP will be to assist in all aspects in identifying and characterizing genetic modifiers of HD. This work will be closely guided by a post-doc and technician in addition to offering opportunity for a more independent project upon demonstration of research prowess. There is also opportunity for computational bioinformatics work with large genetic and next-generation sequencing datasets on a high performance computing cluster.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with molecular biology techniques is preferred but not required. For optional computing work, programming experience and familiarity with Linux is but not required. Commitment beyond one term is required (at least through IAP or ideally for the year).

Contact: Please contact Christopher Ng at cwng@mit.edu with your CV and availability, and please feel free to ask any questions.


8/29/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Steil

Project Title: Applying Principles of Justice To Climate Change Adaptation

Project Description: The Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism’s (LCAU) fourth theme–Equitable Resilience–brings to the forefront questions of equity when designing for urban resilience: How can cities prepare now for a more equitable form of future resilience? It aims to use the concern regarding climate mitigation and adaptation to address urban inequities related to climate change.

Grounding the concept of Equitable Resilience within an actionable set of principles is a critical first step in achieving fair outcomes for communities. Towards that end, we are looking for motivated students to help summarize and apply existing theories of justice and fairness to a case-study example. Potential theories/thinkers include but are not limited to the following: Kant, Hume, Rawls, Nozick, Scanlon, Sen, Nussbaum, Young, Fraser, Mills, Appiah, Utilitarianism, Restorative Justice, Procedural Justice. Subtopics and questions to be answered using the case-study include whether and how we can make broadly accepted claims towards action on behalf of strangers, what role historic injustices play in our reasoning for resilience planning today, and how might principles of justice be enacted through policy and legislation?

Student will have opportunity for attribution in all forms of dissemination.

This position is ideally suited to rising third and fourth-year majors in history (21), philosophy (24), political science (17), or urban studies (11) pursuing issues of justice for their final project/thesis. Students who have completed any of the following are especially encouraged to apply: 11.148/11.368 Environmental Justice: Law and Policy; 24.04 Justice; 24.07 Ethics of Climate Change; or 24.231 Ethics; or similar.

Prerequisites:

  • prior course work in philosophy, political theory, or environmental justice with an emphasis on moral reasoning/ethics/justice argumentation
  • demonstrated ability (through writing samples) to apply generalized concepts and theories to specific cases (applied ethics)
  • sincere interest in investigating the impacts of climate change on disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and highly vulnerable communities
  • min commitment of 10-15 hrs/week (ideally looking for Fall, IAP, and potentially Spring commitments)

Contact: David Birge: dpbirge@mit.edu


8/29/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rafi Segal

Project Title: Digital Platforms for Collective Neighborhoods

Project Description: COLLECTIVES refers to the groups and partnerships that seek an architectural-urban project for shared activities and community building. Constituted by a voluntary group of people who organize around shared values and mutual understandings, they collectively seek to improve their way of life, shaping their community, creating a social support system, practicing common ideals and principles, affording better living conditions for their means, and facilitating opportunities to establish friendships.

As part of a multi-year, ongoing applied research project on collectives, we seek an interested and motivated student to help design and prototype digital platforms (apps, websites) to support the management and operation of a collective. This support could include the management of shared resources (digital, physical, spatial), aiding communication and relationship building, sharing information for decision making, and operating institutions and businesses, among others.

Project is associated with a publication and exhibit expected for Spring 2020. Student may have opportunity to join workshops abroad.

Prerequisites:

  • interest in both analyzing existing digital platforms and developing new ones
  • interest in collectives, co-housing, or community-based design-research and problem-solving
  • experience with or willingness to learn UI/UX prototyping software (Sketch, Adobe XD, etc.) (ability to code full-stack apps/web platforms is also welcome)
  • self-motivated and independent worker
  • ideally looking for commitment for Fall, IAP, and Spring Semester

Student will work alongside a diverse team of designers, researchers, students, and outside collaborators.

Relevant URL: http://rafisegal.com/collectives-2/

Contact: David Birge: dpbirge@mit.edu


8/29/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rafi Segal

Project Title: Economic Models of Collective Living

Project Description: COLLECTIVES refers to the groups and partnerships that seek an architectural-urban project for shared activities and community building. Constituted by a voluntary group of people who organize around shared values and mutual understandings, this kind of collective seeks to improve the way they live—shaping their community, creating a social support system, practicing common ideals and principles, affording better living conditions for their means, and facilitating opportunities to establish friendships.

As part of a multi-year, ongoing applied research project on collectives, we week a motivated student to help build an integrated financial model of a collective neighborhood or town (500+ households). We will use the model to test and compare the long-term impacts of various mixes of spatial design and space sharing strategies, technology adoption, business operations, and other collective actions on the member's economic well-being. Individual financial models may include land, housing, public space, transportation, food, businesses, among others.

Project is associated to a publication and exhibit expected for Spring 2020. Student may have the opportunity to join workshops abroad.

Prerequisites:

  • interest in both analyzing and modeling collective economic models (integrated, complex systems)
  • general interest in collectives, co-housing, or community-based
  • design-research and problem-solving
  • a good abstract thinker who can effectively integrate a diverse set of existing financial and mathematical models with custom models
  • experience with financial and real-estate development proformas/models is a plus
  • prior experience with Rhino/Grasshopper is a plus but not required (for all you architecture/engineer undergrads)
  • self-motivated and independent worker
  • ideally looking for commitment for Fall, IAP, and Spring Semester

Student will work alongside a diverse team of designers, researchers, students, and outside collaborators.

Relevant URL: http://rafisegal.com/collectives-2/

Contact: David Birge: dpbirge@mit.edu


8/28/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: An online platform for evaluating AI models of language

Project Description: What do AI models of language learn about grammar and syntax? An exciting new approach involves analyzing the behavior of neural-network language models using techniques from experimental psychology, treating the models as “psycholinguistic subjects” to determine what linguistic generalizations they learn. However, as this line of research grows, it becomes increasingly difficult to compare and replicate results. This is why we are building SyntaxGym: an online platform that automates the evaluation of language models, making the field more standardized, reproducible, and accessible to a wide variety of researchers. We are seeking a student with full-stack web development experience and proficiency in Python to help us develop and scale the website. This project will give you experience with full-stack web development and opportunities to learn more about artificial intelligence and natural language processing. Participation for a minimum of 10 hours per week is desired.

Prerequisites: Experience in full-stack web development, preferably in Python (e.g. Django, Flask) and proficiency with Linux. Students with demonstrated interest in artificial intelligence and natural language processing preferred.

Relevant URL: 

Contact: Jennifer Hu, Jon Gauthier: contact@syntaxgym.org


8/28/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Project Prakash - Interactive Games for Improving Spatial Perception of Children with Late Sight Onset Through Self Motion

Project Description: The overall goal of Project Prakash is to provide treatment to curably blind children and study their subsequent visual development. Project Prakash uniquely allows us to investigate this developmental progression from the earliest stages, and to follow some children in a school setting where they receive education and training for integrating their improved vision with other senses. In this project, we will focus on interventions for improving spatial perception of our students, which is one of their main challenges post sight restoration. Specifically, the UROP will involve development of interactive games using motion tracking and complex auditory feedback that can be used to assess the developmental progression of recovering visuo-spatial skills after sight onset, and to train those skills.

The UROP student will contribute to planning and coding the interactive games, interfacing with an Orbbec Astra Pro motion-tracker using mostly Unity, C-sharp, and possibly Matlab and sound-editing. The student will work closely with a post-doc in the lab and with Prof. Sinha. If the student chooses to stay on for the second phase, this will include collection of data with the subjects in the school (in which the student will be involved remotely) and require communicating closely with the India-based research team to ensure proper data collection. Involvement with data analysis optional. Additionally, the student will have substantial opportunity to work independently and to navigate the role according to desired level of involvement. This position is available for pay or credit.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have strong programing and analytical skills and an interest in game development and/or clinical rehabilitation interventions. Experience with object oriented programing, Unity and / or sound editing an advantage. Advantage for being able to continue into the winter semester with a 4-12 hour commitment. A background in computer science, physics, Mathematics, engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, or related field is desired.

Relevant URL:http://shop.orbbec3d.com/Astra-Pro_p_35.html

Contact: Shlomit Ben-Ami: shlomit@mit.edu


8/28/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jinhua Zhao

Project Title: The Value Proposition of Autonomous Mobility-on-Demand (AMOD)

Project Description: Autonomous vehicle technology promises to revolutionize how we move. Reduced congestion, cleaner air and, most notably, better road safety are all envisioned to be part of an autonomous mobility ecosystem. Leveraging these benefits however, demands affordability relative to existing travel mode choices. However, recent work looking at the cost of traditional taxis, AMOD, and private vehicle ownership and use on a per-mile basis in San Francisco suggests that the margins for AMOD services may not be that different from traditional taxis if significant safety oversight is needed via teleoperation services the utilization of these fleets would have to be very high in order to compete with the cost of owning and using a private vehicle. We are expanding this study to improve understanding of the economics of travel choice in other urban markets where private car ownership or use is restricted by policies and how the value proposition posed by autonomous vehicle technology compares to these choices. To that end, we are looking for a motivated, enthusiastic UROP with particular interest in economics and interdisciplinary sciences, to support our efforts.

The UROP will start with data already collected for Beijing, China and Singapore. The UROP will spot-check this data to become familiar with the cost models being developed and then expand data collection to an additional urban market: London, U.K. UROP duties may include searching for and identifying appropriate data sets from public sources, constructing financial models, facilitating data analysis efforts and, where appropriate, conducting statistical analysis. Additional duties may include development of a simple program with user interface to look at how costs of different travel modes compare on a per-mile basis when changing key input parameters. Opportunities exist for co-authoring papers.

Prerequisites: Coding (in Matlab, python) and GUI development is considered a plus as is familiarity with the global transportation ecosystem. Of particular importance is intellectual curiosity and willingness to gain familiarity with interdisciplinary literature.

Relevant URL: https://hbr.org/2019/01/the-cost-of-self-driving-cars-will-be-the-biggest-barrier-to-their-adoption

Contact: Joanna Moody: jcmoody@mit.edu


8/28/19

Fall/Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Edward Boyden

Project Title: Brain Technologies:  Develop cutting-edge methods for mapping molecular composition of the brain

Project Description: The Synthetic Neurobiology Group develops cutting-edge methods for mapping the wiring and molecular composition of the brain.  The UROP will  lead their own project starting this fall to develop and apply proteins for sensing and recognizing small molecules, alone and in combination for the multimodal mapping of large numbers of biomolecules throughout diverse cells and tissues in healthy and disease states.  UROP will help design, validate, and optimize protein engineering protocols, and help apply the resulting tools to normal and diseased brain tissue, and a diversity of other tissue types such as cancers. The  scientist will also help analyze the data.

Project will be associated to a publication expected to come out in 1-2 years, significant involvement will lead to authorship and letter of recommendation.

Prerequisites:

  • 1-2 years previous lab experience
  • Required expertise with molecular cloning design and processing (eg PCR, gels, DNA purification), transfection.
  • Experience can include yeast/phage display, flow cytometry
  • Highly independent, curious, and  motivated individuals
  • Willingness to learn skills outside of background
  • Looking for 1-2 year commitment

Interpersonal skills, analytical/problem solving/critical thinking skills and good judgment are essential. Attention to detail, superb organizational, documentation, communication, and time management skills required. Seeking independent and self-motivated individual who is also able to work as part of a tightly-knit team. Demonstrated interest in biotechnology and biological tools research is preferred.

Contact: Alexi Choueiri: choueiri@mit.edu


8/28/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sebastian Lourido

Project Title: The biochemistry of apicomplexan parasites

Project Description: Apicomplexan parasites are early-branching eukaryotes and the causative agents of human diseases including malaria and toxoplasmosis. We use systems biology approaches to uncover the divergent molecular biology of the model apicomplexan, Toxoplasma gondii. Parasites harm their hosts through repeated cycles of invasion, replication, and lysis. A triumvirate of three signaling pathways—calcium, cyclic AMP, and cyclic GMP—regulates transitions between the different stages of the lytic cycle. Although these signaling networks are ubiquitous among eukaryotes, apicomplexans appear to have co-opted or evolved parasite specific functions for key signaling molecules.

We have performed screens to identify parasite proteins that change their behavior in response to calcium, cyclic AMP, and cyclic GMP. We are following up on signaling proteins at the axis of these signaling pathways using genetic and cell biological approaches. In parallel, we are looking for a motivated student to explore these pathways at a biochemical level, determining parasite enzyme activities and regulatory relationships.

Prerequisites: We seek to provide a motivating and valuable experience for undergraduates interested in pursuing research for years to come. We are looking for students who have taken at least 7.01x (or equivalent) with a small amount of wet lab experience (a lab course would suffice) but, more importantly, a desire to learn transferable skills (in cloning, protein expression, and enzymatic assays) and how to think independently. Students with a long-term interest in the project (>1 year) can receive training in parasite and mammalian tissue culture, opening the doors to genetic and cell biological experiments.

Contact: Alice Herneisen: alice@wi.mit.edu


8/27/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Edgerton Center

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Verploegen

Project Title: Modeling of Heat and Mass Transfer of Evaporative Cooling Devices for Improved Vegetable Storage in Low-Income Rural Communities

Project Description: We are looking for a student to help develop a heat and mass transfer model of low-cost evaporative cooling devices for improving vegetable storage in Africa and India. When affordable and effective post-harvest storage solutions are not available or affordable, people living in off-grid rural communities will often experience vegetable spoilage, loss of income, lack of access to nutritious foods, and large amounts of time spent purchasing vegetables. Evaporative cooling devices have the potential to provide a low-cost, local available, and effective solution for improving vegetable shelf life

The goal of the model is to identify how specific design variations impact the performance of the evaporative cooling devices and enable organizations that produce and promote these technologies to optimize designs for maximum performance and minimum cost. The combined heat and mass transfer model will be refined and validated with both experimental data that has been previously collected in Mali and experiments that will be conducted on campus during the semester.

The project will have potential follow-on travel opportunities in (Uganda, Kenya, or India) to test viable prototypes in the field, as well as to continue on the project for multiple semesters.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have an interest in practical solutions to global poverty challenges. A background in thermodynamics and heat transfer, and experience using Matlab is required. Experience with heat transfer modeling is preferred.

Relevant URL: https://d-lab.mit.edu/research/food/evaporative-cooling-vegetable-preservation/performance-and-design-research

Contact: Interested candidates should email Eric Verploegen ericv@mit.edu with a brief explanation of why they are interested in this project and describe any relevant previous experience.


8/27/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Lab (MAS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project description: While today's pervasive digital devices put the world’s information at our fingertips, they do not help us with some of the cognitive skills that are arguably more important to leading a successful and fulfilling life, such as attention, memory, motivation, creativity, mindful behavior, and emotion regulation. Building upon insights from psychology and neuroscience, the Fluid Interfaces group creates systems and interfaces for cognitive enhancement. Our designs enhance cognitive ability by teaching users to exploit and develop the untapped powers of their minds and by seamlessly supplementing users' natural cognitive abilities. The solutions we design are compact and wearable to support real-life studies and interventions, rather than for use in laboratory settings. Our work is highly interdisciplinary and combines insights and methods from human computer interaction, body sensor technologies, machine learning, brain computer interfaces, psychology, and neuroscience to create new opportunities for studying and intervening in human psychology in-the-wild. 

One of the projects we aim to find two students for this fall term to help us with is AttentivU. AttentivU addresses a problem of attention and engagement: it is increasingly hard for adults and children alike to be attentive given the increasing amounts of information and distractions surrounding us, thus we developed a device, in a socially acceptable form factor of a pair of glasses, that a person can put on in moments when he/she wants/needs to be attentive. 

The AttentivU glasses use brain activity (electroencephalography - EEG) as well as eye movements (electrooculography - EOG) sensors to measure engagement of a person in real-time and provide either audio or haptic feedback to the user when their engagement is low, thereby nudging them to become engaged again. 

We have tested the first generation prototype of the device in workplace and classroom settings with over 100 subjects. We have performed experiments with people studying or working by themselves, viewing online lectures as well as listening to classroom lectures. We have now finished the first tests of the glasses (second prototype) with more than 30 subjects who were performing driving task in the simulator and falling asleep while driving. 

We envision a future in which people can decide when they want to be more attentive and can in those moments put on their AttentivU glasses to help them be focused. To help us investigate the usability of the project in different scenarios (driving and learning) and with different populations (adults and children), we are looking for two students during this fall term to mainly improve the design of the current device as well as potentially investigate other form-factors. 

Participation of a minimum of 10 hours per week during the school year is preferable, but there is flexibility. This UROP may be taken for pay (direct funding), credit, or volunteer. 

Prerequisites: Experience with CAD or other 3D modeling software, fabrication experience (machine tools, laser-cutter), hardware assembly, EE/firmware experience.

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

Contact: Nataliya Kosmyna, nkosmyna@media.mit.edu


8/27/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Emilio J. Castilla

Project Title: Building Successful Careers and Organizations - UROP for Course Credit

Project Description: Professor Castilla studies how social and organizational processes influence key employment outcomes over time. He tackles his research questions by examining different empirical settings with longitudinal datasets, both at the individual and company levels. His focus is on the recruitment, hiring, development, and job mobility of employees within and across organizations and locations, as well as on the impact of teamwork and social relations on performance and innovation. 

Prerequisites: Professor Castilla is currently looking for MIT students to help with certain research projects related to hiring and advancing individuals inside organizations.  UROP for Course Credit. Research assistant job responsibilities may include (depending on student skills): collecting/coding data (using programs such as Qualtrics), programming, assisting in the creation/management of large databases (using e.g. Excel and Access); running statistical analyses of datasets (using e.g., SPSS and/or STATA, social network software, and GIS). Applicant should be well-organized, capable of working independently, and willing to take initiative.

Contact: If interested, please send résumé with your contact information and interests to Emilio J Castilla ecastilla@mit.edu (with Subject Title: Research Assistant). In your email, please specify how much and what kind of research experience you have. Also tell us which programs you are familiar with for collecting, coding, and analyzing data, if any. For more information, go to: https://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/directory/emilio-j-castilla.


8/26/19

Fall

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 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, project related research methods can be taught to those without previous social science research experience.

Relevant URL: 

Contact: Lindsey Williams: lcwillia@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jose Gomez-Marquez

Lab: 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 Fall 2019 are listed below. Join us in Cambridge, Spain and Space! 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.

______________

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). 

This position will also be part of our Space Pharmacy team. 

______________

Project #3: Healthcare robotics and biosensor 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, sensors and electronics. Working with our chemistry, biology and mechanical teams you will design new ways to enable our systems to generate intelligent responsive behavior for critical patient care.  Final output will use robots for affordable health applications that will be tested in our fields sites in Spain, Chile and Honduras. This position will also be part of our Space Pharmacy team. 

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 and/or sensor electronics useful.  

______________

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.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate has experience in software architecture and some ML. Previous electronics experience (Arduino, etc) helpful. 

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


8/26/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Desimone

Project Title: Analysis of neuronal activity and connectivity in macaque monkeys during working memory and attention

Project Description: We are looking for 4 students to work in projects to analyze of a large data set of multiple-neuron activity recorded simultaneously from five brain areas of interest in macaque monkeys performing a high-level cognitive task designed to investigate the mechanisms of working memory and attention. The students’ tasks include the analysis of activity patterns in single neurons and neuronal populations and the connectivity between neurons within and between areas, and their relationship to the attention and working memory components of the monkey's cognitive task.

Prerequisites:

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

Relevant URL: https://desimonelab.org/team/diego-mendoza-halliday/

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


8/26/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: CityScope Data Scientist

Project Description: The Media Lab City Science Group (CSG) is exploring the potential of tangible and intangible interfaces, and the insight that computation and simulation can bring to city management and urban planning processes. One of the research lines in the group is the development of the CityScope platform, a data-enabled interactive simulation tool that allows stakehoders, such as community members, policy makers, and urban planners, to understand the impact that different design solutions could have on urban performance. The platform is made up of three general components; a tangible interface (usually made of LEGO), an array of visualization displays (including projection mapping on the tangible interface), and a range of computational analysis and simulation modules that generate different urban metrics. Through interactions, the platfrom allows for a comprehensive understanding of the impact that urban interventions may have on existing or proposed urban systems. To this end, the CityScope team is looking for a talented developer to join the project and work on a module for collecting and serving publicly available street level, country-wide data (census data, land use information, businesses, etc.).

The challenge we are looking to overcome is that public data is archived and accessed differently across the fifty-states. Our goal is to develop a module that can extract and serve information relevant to urban planning. This module is being developed in accordance with the CityScope protocol to allow muliuple analysis tools to interface with the master data-base.

Position: During the UROP / graduate researcher position, the student will gain an understanding of technologies and analyisis methodologies that support the CityScope platfrom.

The key challenge will be to use business data provided by the lab to generate an API that serves as a proof of concept for a scalable tool that quickly generates key indicators of urban life. See the CityScope Volpe project as a reference. Key topics include data cleaning, data formatting, and the deployment of an API that calculates indicators from the data following the group’s previous research. The bulk of the work will entail developing an API for business and census data. A successful candidate will be asked to sign an NDA and will potentially travel to work remotely with global CSG collaborators.

Required Skills:

  • Motivated, autonomous and results driven.
  • Architecture, urban planning, or design background is recommended yet not necessary.
  • Data Mining Skills including experience with geographic data (GIS systems), use of Flask (although not required), and python for data science.
  • Experience with relational databases is also advised (e.g. SQLite).

Relevant URL:

Contact: Luis Alonso: alonsolp@media.mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Georgia Perakis

Project Title: Big Data and Online Platforms Analytics – Work with a Large Retailer in Latin America

Project Description: How competition and pricing strategies affect consumer behavior in online platforms? This project will combine two pieces: (1) Analyzing big datasets to model consumer behavior in competitive markets. (2) Running field experiments. We will use tools from machine learning, analytics, A/B testing, experimentation. This is a great opportunity to work in a fun and challenging research environment.

Responsibilities: 

  1. You will be a full member of the research team, and the team will meet weekly.
  2. In the meetings we work on modeling, algorithms, discussing results, and setting up next steps.
  3. The main responsibilities will be coding algorithms (with our guidance) and analyzing data.

Qualifications:

  1. Experience with Python and/or R is required
  2. Some experience with optimization is required
  3. Availability to start early September

Contact: Please send applications to Professor Georgia Perakis (georgiap@mit.edu), Diego Aparicio PhD student (dapa@mit.edu), Tamar Cohen PhD student (tcohen@mit.edu). Please email resume + a 2-sentence statement of why you are interested and a good fit for this project.


8/26/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sloan School of Management

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Georgia Perakis

Project Title: Work with Zara - Big Data Analytics and Operation Optimization



Project Description: We are working with Zara to fundamentally impact how retailers think about demand estimation for high fashion.

This project will combine three pieces:

  1. Analyze big datasets to model consumer behavior, and to implement cutting edge, machine learning tools.
  2. Learn how to utilize machine learning tools to develop optimization methods with a focus on creating an impact on Zara operations.
  3. Finally, the project will drive towards a pilot with a continent-wide scope that has the possibility of changing international operations. 

Responsibilities:

  1. You will be a full member of the research team, and the team will meet weekly.
  2. In the meetings we work on modeling, algorithms, discussing results, and setting up next steps.
  3. The primary responsibilities will be coding algorithms (with our guidance) and analyzing data.

Qualifications:

  • Experience with Python or Matlab is required
  • Some experience with optimization is required
  • Availability to start early September

Contact: Please send applications to Professor Georgia Perakis (georgiap@mit.edu), Tamar Cohen-Hillel Ph.D. student (tcohen@mit.edu), Yiannis Spantidakis Ph.D. student (yspant@mit.edu) and Leann Thayaparan Ph.D. student (lpgt@mit.edu). Please email resume + a 2-sentence statement of why you are interested and a good fit for this project.


8/26/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Barbastathis

Project Title: Automatic classification of macular degeneration images

Project description: It is possible that macular degeneration should not be classified and treated as a singular condition, but rather as one of several possible different conditions each requiring different treatment. We have access to a database of images from patients' retinas and trying to train an unsupervised learning algorithm to discover if qualitative features in the images can lead to an automatic classification according to these sub-classes. This may be thought of as a clustering problem, but more sophisticated treatment is most likely necessary to deal with inconsistencies in image acquisition across the data set and other related problems. 

Project expectations; some manual work on the images to identify inconsistencies and either correct them or use the results to guide algorithm development; for more advanced students who already have experience in machine learning, implementation and investigation of image preprocessing (e.g. automated correction of rotation, field-of-view adjustment, etc.) and auto-encoding or clustering algorithms.

Required background: familiarity with Python and/or Matlab. Background in machine learning is helpful but not required. 

Credit or pay: both possible.

Contact: Kwabena Arthur: kkarthur@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Robotic Platform for Flow Synthesis

Project Description: The focus of the project will be centered around the development of a robotic system that is able to carry out continuous flow chemistry. The reconfigurable continuous flow chemistry platform incorporates design concepts from microfluidics, robotics, and precision machine design into an integrated modular system for continuous end-to-end production of molecules. As a UROP, you will work directly with a team of mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, and chemists in designing and prototyping various submodules within the robotic system. You will get to experience the full breadth of the mechanical design process including ideation, computer-aided design, rapid prototyping, machining, and testing while being guided by mentors with academic and industry experience. While you will initially work under the direction of the team, capable students may expand this into an opportunity to individually explore new design concepts and modules.

Prerequisites:

  • Familiarity with Solidworks
  • Basic mechanical design knowledge
  • Preferred, but not required: experience with electrical/electromechanical design (PCB design, electrical assembly and troubleshooting), proficiency in python, knowledge of networking (serial communication, IP/TCP, data transfer)

Relevant URL: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6453/eaax1566

Contact: Tim Kulesza: kulesza@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher Knittel

Project Title: Research analysis on economic publication data

Project Description: The project aims to analyze economic publications data to see if there is any evidence of discrimination. The potential UROP would help process the data, work on the data analysis, and web scrapping algorithm.

Prerequisites: The student would ideally have some experience with a general purpose programming language such as R or Python, though this is not necessary to start off.

Contact: Tony Tran: tones@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Karen Gleason

Project Title: Energy device fabrication based on conducting polymers synthesis by oxidative chemical vapor deposition (oCVD)

Project Description: We will develop Conducting Polymer (CP)  hin film by CVD method for energy device applications by the focus on photovoltaic and electrochemical energy storage devices. The nanostructure of CPs will be modified based on the device application, while using different oxidants.

Prerequisites: No required prerequisites. Experience with chemical vapor deposition and material’s micro-structure modification are positive points.

G-Lab at MIT: http://web.mit.edu/gleason-lab/re information on this project

Contact: Meysam Heydari Gharahcheshmeh: Mheydari@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: A-Maze: Using NLP for better psycholinguistic methods

Project Description: Behavioral measures of incremental language comprehension difficulty form a crucial part of the empirical basis of psycholinguistics. In this project, we have been improving a method for measuring word-by-word reaction times (longer reading times indicate words that are harder to integrate into the context). This task, called Maze, has participants read a sentence word by word where for each word the participant sees two words and has to select the one the fits the sentence in order to continue. Our innovation is A-maze where use NLP language models to generate alternative (non-correct) words that are high surprisal (low-probability) in context. The usual Maze task (G-Maze) involves researchers hand-selecting the alternative words. Tests of A-maze, G-maze, and self-paced reading (a more common incremental processing method), indicated that both Maze tasks were much more sensitive than self-paced reading.

However, there are still some issues with the alternatives our process generates, and we want to run more comparisons between our method and other methods on a wider variety of materials. We are seeking a UROP to help with both of these. The UROP would involve improving our alternative selection algorithm to reduce the number of plausible continuations it generates. The UROP would also involve setting up experimental Maze materials, collecting data, and conducting data analysis.

UROP responsibilities:

  • Designing better criteria/process for selecting alternatives
  • Writing and editing Python code
  • Reformatting experimental materials and data from other studies (in R or Python)
  • Data analysis and visualization (in R)

Prerequisites:

  • Availability to work 10+ hours a week
  • Programming skill in Python
  • Interest in language research
  • Prior experience with R, data analysis, or psycholinguistic experiments are a plus
  • Coursework in psycholinguistics, computational cognitive science, or NLP recommended

Contact: Veronica Boyce: vboyce@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: In Song Kim

Project Title: Machine Learning and Data Science to Study Money in Politics

Project Description: We study money-in-politics in the U.S. Our large scale public database, available through https://www.lobbyview.org/, allows researchers and the public to effectively learn how lobbying affects political outcomes. Our interdisciplinary team utilizes various state-of-the-art machine learning and data science methods to analyze high-dimensional social science data.

Our UROPs will apply their programming skills to characterize consistent patterns that emerge from the lobbying data. Specifically, he/she will contribute directly to the LobbyView project by 1) analyzing existing data of lobbying and campaign donation, and 2) developing python software to improve the quality of the project in general and the existing database in particular. The resulting software and outputs will be hosted via https://www.lobbyview.org/.

UROPs will work approximately 10 hours per week for the Fall 2019. Interested applicants should send a short statement of interest indicating preferred start date, along with a resume/CV to Rémi Cura .

Prerequisites: The candidate is expected to have a good knowledge of python and development in general (python 3.X, git, github pull request, tickets). Knowledge of SQL(CTE, aggregate, windows function) / database world (PostgreSQL 11) is a big plus. Knowing Natural Language Processing would also help.

Relevant URL: https://www.lobbyview.org/

Contact: Remi Cura: remicura@mit.edu


8/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Yousef-Toumi

Project Title: Fault Diagnostics Sensors

Project Description: Mechatronics Research Lab (MRL) is looking for UROP candidates with strong skills in a) Machine Learning & data analytics and b) IoT-based instrumentation.

Machine learning candidates will help us analyze and classify information hidden in vast amounts of data collected from multiple sensors. The primary focus will be in applying deep learning techniques, doing statistical analysis, and building prognostic systems. The candidate will have the liberty to develop what is seen the best regarding the creation and analysis of the neural network models. We expect well explained results and metrics to enable the research team to solve the problem and provide product intelligence. A strong familiarity with programming in Python and usage of TensorFlow deep learning tools is mandatory.

Also, the project requires another set of skills in the instrumentation side where an IoT communication interface need to be developed between users and hardware sensing components. Candidates must have a good experience in Python and microcontrollers programming.

UROP candidates are expected to gain various technical knowledge & skills in different domains such as mechanical engineering and electrical sensors with projection on real industrial applications. This role involves regular communication meetings with project members and principle investigator on progress and risks. Research team will be composed of one postdoc, a PhD student and a technical representative from the sponsored company of the project.

Prerequisites: 

  • For Machine Learning: A strong familiarity with programming in Python and usage of TensorFlow deep learning tools is mandatory. 
  • For IoT instrumentation: Microcontrollers programming skills and Python.

Contact: Ali Alshehri: ashehri@mit.edu


8/22/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Hugh Herr

Project Title: Biomechanical modeling of the lower limbs of amputees using image data

Project Description: At the Biomechatronics group of the MIT Media Lab, we develop a methodology for computationally designing and 3D printing prosthetic sockets for lower limb amputees. The socket comprises the mechanical interface between the soft tissue of the residual limb and the external prosthesis. In order to design these sockets, we collect MRI data and images using a custom multi-camera scanner. These data are then processed and analyzed in order to be used in the computational design framework. 

The UROP student is expected to perform the following:

  1. Segment MRI data and reconstruct 3D bone shapes using MATLAB (instruction will be given).
  2. Process optical images using a custom Digital Image Correlation software (instruction will be given).
  3. Evaluate the results and communicate them with the rest of the group.

Prerequisites:

  1. Prior experience with MATLAB.
  2. Working on a personal Windows PC (not Mac OS).
  3. Commit to at least 10 hrs/week on average.
  4. Intention to stay during Fall+IAP+Spring is a plus.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/variable-impedance-prosthetic-vipr-socket-design/

Contact: Dana Solav: danask@mit.edu


8/22/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kripa Varanasi

Project Title: Nutrient crystallization on Nano-engineered Surfaces

Project Description: The Varanasi lab works on problems at the interface between materials, thermo-fluids, and manufacturing. In this project, we are studying how the formation of nutrient crystals is altered in response to the presence of nano-engineered surfaces, with the goal of creating particles that can recover important fertilizer nutrients from waste streams. By doing this, we can eliminate waste while generating new sources of fertilizers.

In this project, you will measure crystallization kinetics, measure properties of crystals, and use microscopy to image crystals. If you have has sufficient interest, you can also be taught to use Scanning Electron Microscopy, X-ray Diffraction, and/or Nanofabrication in the cleanroom. For the first month, you will work closely with the graduate student supervisor to learn procedures, but will hopefully become independent afterward. The expected time commitment is ~10-15/hours per week in lab spread over 2-3 days.

Please send a brief paragraph describing why you are interested in this project, what you hope to get out of it, and your general availability during the semester (what days/times you have open and how many hours you expect to be able to work). We will respond to emails during the first week of September to set meeting times to discuss the project further and answer any questions.

Prerequisites: General chemistry, including lab segment. Ideal candidates would be interested/able to continue the project independently after learning the procedures and would be interested in contributing to any potential publications.

Contact: Samantha McBride: smcbride@mit.edu


8/22/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies (Course 21W)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Edward Schiappa

Project Title: The Challenge of Defining “Sex” and “Gender”:  The Transgender Exigency

Project Description: This project explores current controversies over definitions of sex and gender in the context of what I call the transgender exigency. I envision the project having three parts. Part One includes a narrative of how increasing visibility and interest in transgender issues and politics have contributed to a definitional rupture with regard to “sex” and “gender.”  Part Two will provide an analysis of specific definitional controversies involving transgender issues. Part Three will attempt to put forward a series of specific policy recommendations with regard to the question of how to define sex and gender with particular attention to what I have described as the transgender exigency.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with with feminism and gender studies is advisable.

Contact: Edward Schiappa: schiappa@mit.edu


8/22/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tami Lieberman

Project Title: Computational tool development for identifying bacterial mutations happening in humans

Project Description: Manipulating the microbiome with rational probiotics may one day be a major modality for the treatment of disease and maintenance of health. However, microbial-based therapies remain difficult to design and we cannot predict which strains will stably colonize an individual. The Lieberman Lab tracks the mutations bacteria accumulate within individual people to understand mechanism, to understand the rules determining  bacterial colonization in human microbiomes.

The Lieberman Lab is looking to recruit one or more UROPs to design and develop efficient and reproducible computational pipelines (in python) for analysis of bacterial evolution from whole-genome data. Multiple related projects exist and can be catered to individual's experience.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with computational complexity and algorithm design

Relevant URL: http://lieberman.science

Contact: Tami Lieberman: tami@mit.edu


8/22/19

Fall 2019

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Wim M. van Rees

Project Title: Computational investigation on the effects of curvature in flapping foils

Project Description:  The vast majority of fish and birds rely on the use of flapping foils for their locomotion. A closer observation at their fins shows a combination of heave and pitch movements with a dynamic adjustment of the cross-section curvature, which is not yet fully understood. The investigation of the impact of this active shape control mechanism in the flow patterns and net forces constitutes the main goal of this project. A parametric study covering numerical simulations of 2D foil shapes with a broad range of curvatures will be conducted using our in-house Navier-Stokes equations solver. The solver is written in modern C++ and exploits multi-resolution grids and shared-memory parallelism. A follow-up project would use evolutionary optimization algorithms in order to determine the parameters and geometry for maximum performance, and investigate the three-dimensional flow structures using our 3D Navier-Stokes solver.

Who should apply?: If you are excited about computational fluid dynamics and the interface between computational science, mathematics, and engineering, then this project will provide an opportunity to do hands-on research in this field.

Prerequisites: Need to have a basic understanding of fluid dynamics. Familiarity with basic numerical methods (finite differences, time-stepping, elliptic solvers) and C++ is appreciated.

Contact: David Fernández-Gutiérrez: davidfg@mit.edu.  If you are interested, please apply or email with your resume/CV. There is one UROP position for Fall 2019. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).


8/20/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Michael Triantafyllou, Director, MIT Sea Grant and Henry L. and Grace Doherty Professor in Ocean Science and Engineering

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 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, project related research methods can be taught to those without previous social science research experience.

Relevant URL:

Contact: Lindsey Williams: lcwillia@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jonathan Polimeni

Project Title: Optimal processing of high-resolution functional Magnetic Resonance Images

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 resolution over the last decade with the hope to improve the ability of this technique to accurately measure neuronal function. A substantial aspect of fMRI is post-acquisition image processing of the data. This involves multiple steps, such as subject motion correction, registrations, filtering and inhomogeneity corrections. The order and combination of these steps changes the “effective” resolution and can make or break our ability to fully harness the information in high-resolution data. This project aims to investigate these image processing steps and their effect on fMRI data quality with the goal of determining an optimal pipeline.

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

Prerequisites: Comfortable with LINUX/UNIX and Matlab.

Relevant URL: https://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/lab/mr-pig

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


8/20/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Catherine Turco

Project Title: Urban Change: The History and Evolution of Harvard Square's Business Landscape

Project Description: This project uses the history and evolution of Harvard Square as a microcosm for exploring changes in urban commercial markets over time. In recent years and as in many urban micro-markets, a new set of large commercial real estate investors and developers have entered the Harvard Square market becoming landlords to many of the neighborhood’s shops and restaurants. At the same time, online commerce and associated changes in consumer behavior seem to be posing existential threats to brick and mortar retail businesses around the country. Along with these winds of change has come fear of the death of Harvard Square’s small, independent businesses--and, with their death, fear of the loss of what has made the Square unique and special to so many people over the years. However, people have actually been bemoaning the loss of Harvard Square’s unique character since the early 20th century with the rise of the first chain stores; and continual change is a part of any urban landscape. This project seeks to analyze what really has been changing in the business mix of Harvard Square over time and how that relates to the nature of economic change in general and transformations in the broader US economy.

The UROP for this project will be working with Professor Jason Greenberg of NYU and Professor Catherine Turco of MIT. Prior experience scraping, cleaning, and merging unstructured data as well as extensive experience with statistical software (e.g., Matlab, R, SAS, Stata) is required. Familiarity with NLP is a desirable plus.

The ideal candidate will have exceptional attention to detail and communication skills. This project is a great opportunity to develop quantitative research and technical skills for those interested in urban planning, sociology, economics, or public policy, with aspirations of either pursuing advanced degrees (e.g., MA, MS, MPP, PhD) or working in public policy, real estate, finance, or tech.

Prerequisites: Prior experience scraping, cleaning, and merging unstructured data as well as extensive experience with statistical software (e.g., Matlab, R, SAS, Stata). Familiarity with NLP is a desirable plus. 

Project is for Credit

Contact: Please send a copy of your resume, and the name and email of an endorser who can speak about your research capabilities, to Catherine Turco cturco@mit.edu and Jason Greenberg jgreenbe@stern.nyu.edu.


8/20/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ariel White

Project Title: Research on Voting and Voting Rights

Project Description: Professor White is seeking help with background research on a variety of projects on voting, voting rights, incarceration, and racial justice. Research tasks could include things like looking up state legislators' identities (for a project on whether minority voter participation and political representation have changed since the Supreme Court threw out parts of the Voting Rights Act), reading and classifying newspaper articles about protests for a project about how police treat Black Lives Matter protesters, or filing public records requests for police or court records. This position is suited for an undergraduate student with 5-10 hours available per week and an interest in current events.

Relevant URL: https://polisci.mit.edu/people/ariel-white

Contact: Anna Weissman: annaw1@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rania Ghosn

Project Title: Geoengineer the Planet?

Project Description: Geoengineering is the “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s natural systems to counteract climate change.” Such designed intervention with the climate system has long been viewed as a Plan B to slow global warming. But with carbon emissions soaring, and policy negotiations stalling, research initiatives to study geoengineering technologies are gaining traction. What are some geoengineering schemes and technologies that are now being discussed? This research documents research on geoengineering (technologies, actors, institutions, experimentations) over the past century and produces a visual catalog of such projects. It makes visible such proposals and asks how design can help us speculate with the deep temporalities, large scales, elemental forcefulness of the earth?

Prerequisites:

  • interest in environmental history and/or history of technology;
  • coursework in MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; or working knowledge of earth systems;
  • interest in visualization, design, and communication of climate change
  • availability 10hrs/week

Contact: Rania Ghosn: rghosn@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hal Abelson

Project Title: Activities in AI and machine learning for K-12 students

Project Description: MIT App Inventor is a free, intuitive, visual programming environment for building fully functional apps for smartphones and tablets. Using graphical drag-and-drop blocks helps make the design and development process easy enough that even novice users can have a simple first app up and running on their smartphone in minutes. There are currently 1 million people a month building apps with our server at MIT CSAIL.  Since its launch in 2015, MIT App Inventor has hosted more than 25 million users who among them have created 32 million apps

With a project of such impact and scope, there is a wide variety of projects you can get involved in, ranging from back end-work on a 24⤫7 global Web service with millions of users, to programming language design and implementation,  to creating new curriculum, to work with K-12 students and teachers.  See the App Inventor Web site at appinventor.mit.edu

One major focus this fall will be extending the App Inventor platform to incorporate machine learning and neural networks on smartphones, and designing K-12 curriculum that let students use the capabilities for carrying out original projects.    Development will be done in JavaScript using Google's ternsorflow.js platform.

For more information see:

Prerequisites:

  • Interest in educational computing with knowledge of App Inventor preferred.
  • Familiarity with Javascript.
  • Prior exposure to machine learning.

Relevant URL: appinventor.mit.edu for general information

Contact: Hal Abelson: hal@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Reich

Project Title: Design Researcher in K12 Equity Teaching Practices

Project Description: Enter a brief description of your UROP projThe Office of Open Learning (OL)-Teaching Systems Lab (TSL) seeks to hire a UROP to assist with designing and prototyping online practice spaces for teachers to rehearse for and reflect on equity teaching practices. Equity is a core component of many teacher preparation programs, in Computer Science and beyond. TSL is developing a set of online “practice spaces”, inspired by games and simulations, that let teachers rehearse for and reflect on equity teaching practices, like asset framing and color awareness. These learning experiences have been co-designed in partnership with teacher education programs, and we intend to expand these partnerships and extend this work. The practice spaces center on the day-to-day, improvisational interactions between teachers and students - especially for student populations that have been historically, systematically, structurally, and violently excluded from equal opportunities and resources in education. etc.

Prerequisites: Responsibilities include: prototyping and designing games, simulations, and other learning experiences for teachers, designing blended learning curriculum focused on developing equitable practices. Product design, graphic design, and organizational skills are a strong plus. Must be a team player and have excellent interpersonal and communication skills; the ability to do creative work, and a commitment to equity and diversity, and/or experience identifying and recognizing inequities in education.

Contact: Jessica Rondon: jrondon@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Piccolo Kitchen

Project Description: The City Science Group (Changing Places) at The Media Lab is seeking a UROP for the Fall of 2019. This is for an enrolled undergraduate with demonstrated skills/experience in Robotics, electronics development and industrial engineering. Experience in architecture, global health or social science is a plus. This student will conduct prototype development research and run user study on modular robotic architecture systems such as a transformable kitchen unit and develop one component of the following:

  • Surface based heating/cooling cook top interface
  • Autonomous table
  • Foldable modular panels
  • Sensing movement and recording spatial utilization
  • Expandable/flexible plumbing and mechanical attachments

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/piccolo-kitchen/overview/

Contact: Suleiman Alhadidi: alhadidi@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Front-End Development for Urban Mobility 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 in not just new mobility services, but also the design of streets and infrastructures.  To help accelerate the experiment and adoption of new solutions, we are building tools for simulating and visualizing urban mobility-related conditions and changes.

This role will play a key support to researchers at City Science on maintaining and further developing the simulator's browser-based interface for visualizing simulations and work in conjunction with the developer of its Python back-end system.

Successful UROPs will have the opportunity to further develop the project during Winter/Sumer (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.

Required Skill:

  • Javascript

Desired Experience:

  • OpenStreetMap
  • Data Structures & Algorithms
  • d3.js
  • Python

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

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Back-end Development for Urban Mobility 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 in not just new mobility services, but also the design of streets and infrastructures.  To help accelerate the experiment and adoption of new solutions, we are building tools for simulating and visulizing urban mobility-related conditions and changes.

This role will play a key support to researchers at City Science on maintaining and further developing the simulator's back-end system and work in conjunction with its front-end developer.

Successful UROPs will have the opportunity to further develop the project during Winter/Sumer (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.

Required Skills & Knowledge:

  • Python
  • Data Structure & Algorithms

Desired Experience:

  • OpenStreetMap

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

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


8/20/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Martin Hackl

Project Title: Language Processing Research

Project Description: We investigate the nature of human language by studying adult language processing. 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) experimental design, (ii) stimulus creation, (iii) interaction with experimental software platforms (coding and/or dealing with data). It might also involve (iv) assisting with or proctoring in-person behavioral experiments. The ideal UROP will be enthusiastic about engaging with behavioral research, 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 linguistics, and acquiring hands-on experience with behavioral research. 

Prerequisites: There are no pre-requisites for this UROP assignment. Having taken 24.900 is preferred but not required.

Relevant URL: http://linguistics.mit.edu/experimental-syntax-semantics-lab/

Contact: Leo Rosenstein: leaena@mit.edu.  Please contact us with a resume or CV. Wellesley Students are welcome and encouraged to apply


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Pratik Shah

Project Title: Machine learning algorithms for data visualization and medical research

Project Description: Deidentified numerical measurements, images, and videos from clinical datasets from human subjects are available to develop new data visualization and machine learning tools. Your will be trained to create additional visualizations that allow us to understand the data along its multiple dimensions and to identify areas for machine learning analyses. This includes creating a landing page for these visualizations and this project in general. You will also implement novel machine learning algorithms to classify this and other publicly available datasets for real-world use. Co authorship on publications and opportunity to apply machine learning to develop deployable health solutions.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with data visualization, web programming, computer vision, computer science and machine learning methods. Knowledge/coursework in statistics is preferred. Include a brief cover letter, resume, a list of related coursework, and other relevant material (projects, portfolio, etc.)

Preferred technical skills or willingness to learn these: 

  • Loading and processing large data from files in text format (e.g., csv, json, xml, etc.) using programming tools (e.g., Python Pandas, R, etc.). 
  • Computational graph and auto-differentiation tools (e.g., Pytorch, Tensorflow, Theano, etc.) for deep learning models. 
  • Visualization tools (e.g. Matplotlib, Tableau, Jupyter Notebook, etc.). 
  • Parallel processing tools (e.g. Python Multiprocessing, MPI, etc.).
  • Basic statistical tools (e.g. linear regression, null hypothesis tastings, model comparison, etc.)

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/health-0-0/overview/

Contact: Hyung-Jin Yoon: hyungjin@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Pratik Shah

Project Title: Deep Neural Network (DNN)-emergent architectures for biomedical and clinical trial datasets for improving human health.

Project Description: Develop novel machine learning methods that learn from clinical trials with drugs, wearables, vaccines, and electronic medical data from patients. Use existing machine learning techniques and models (AlexNet, ImageNet, MNIST etc) for processing multi modal datasets. Co-authorship on publications and opportunity to apply and learn machine learning to develop medical solutions.

Prerequisites: 

  • Interest in computer science and medicine research. 
  • Coursework or experience in machine learning methodologies such as regression/classification, unsupervised/supervised/semi-supervised learning, ensemble methods, and deep learning, data visualization. 
  • Coding in Python, Java, or C++, preferably within a team environment (version control, issue tracking, code review).
  • Coursework or experience in predictive analytics/statistical and mathematical modeling/data mining algorithms.
  • Coursework or experience working with data collected from wearable sensors or smartphone, data pre-processing (e.g., filter design) and feature engineering is a plus but not required.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/health-0-0/overview/

Contact: Akram Bayat: abayat@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joe A. Paradiso

Project Title: Building a mobile assessment app for collecting and studying heart rate variability in different physical environments

Project Description: The physical environment we choose to be in can greatly influence our experience and behavior, more importantly, it could have an effect on our cognitive performance, and well-being.  We are seeking a UROP to help (1)  improve a mobile assessment app for gathering and recording data from survey and wearable sensor. And (2) conduct the experiment, perform signal processing, and data analysis from the collected data.

Prerequisites:

  • Solid experience with development of mobile applications.
  • Signal processing of biosignals (PPG analysis)
  • Familiarity working with embedded systems.

Preferred but not required:

  • Data analysis experience in Python.
  • Familiarity with Jupyter Notebook.

Contact: Elena Chong: elenack@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall/IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Laura Schulz

Project Title: Lookit: Baby Physics

Project Description: We are looking for committed, detail-oriented students to assist with a longitudinal study investigating infants' understanding of physical principles. Using the online research platform Lookit.mit.edu, we have and are continuing to collect hundreds of hours of video data on what kinds of physical events attract infants' attention. We are seeking a UROP to help with participant recruitment, data preprocessing, and analysis.

*UROP Responsibilities may include*:

  • Prepare video data for analysis by coding infant behavior during each study session
  • Recruit families in-person (at museums, parks, etc) and social media
  • Write Python / R code to automatically create individualized reports for parents who have completed the study

Prerequisites:

  • Availability to work 10+ hours a week for credit or direct funding.
  • Previous experience programming or conducting outreach with the public is helpful
  • Attention to detail, heaps of enthusiasm, and a curious mind!

Relevant URL: https://lookit.mit.edu/studies/cfddb63f-12e9-4e62-abd1-47534d6c4dd2/

Contact: Junyi Chu: junyichu@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Laura Schulz

Project Title: How Children Evaluate Conjectures

Project Description: Consider the last time you asked a question to get some information (e.g. to a friend, teacher, or passer-by). Sometimes, people provide you with good answers and explanations. Other times, answers might sound implausible, or even be entirely irrelevant to your original question. How do we detect and discriminate good, meaningful answers from inappropriate or irrelevant ones? In this story-telling study we ask whether children are sensitive to what counts as a good explanation when confronted with novel questions. We are seeking a UROP to help with data collection, preprocessing, and analysis.

*UROP Responsibilities may include*:

  • Recruit and test 4-7-year-old children at museums using a storybook paradigm
  • Prepare video data for analysis by coding child behavior during each study session

Prerequisites:

  • Availability to work 10+ hours a week for credit or direct funding.
  • Available at least 1 day / week from 9am-2pm or from 1pm-6pm
  • Comfortable working with children (ages 3-7; babysitting counts!)

Contact: Junyi Chu: junyichu@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Learning Autonomy

Project Description: The Distributed Robotics Lab at MIT CSAIL is contributing to the development of self-driving cars within the Toyota-CSAIL joint research center. Our work addresses the full scope of challenges in the development of this new and exciting technology, involving theoretical and applied work on decision making, perception, and control.

Deep learning has been successfully applied to different aspects of the autonomous driving task such as lane and vehicle detection as well as full end-to-end control. We are interested in developing novel algorithms for deep learning-based planning and control, deep reinforcement learning, quantifying and representing network uncertainty, and prediction of the state of the environment. The work of the UROP will involve implementation and development of neural network architectures and their evaluation with regard to one or several of these challenges on one of our platforms involving full-scale autonomous vehicles, autonomous wheelchairs, and miniature race cars.

Prerequisites:

  • Python programming experience (having written at least 10k lines of Python code).
  • Experience with at least one state-of-the-art Deep Learning framework (e.g., Tensorflow, PyTorch, Caffe)
  • Experience with deep learning architectures for Sequence and Image modeling (LSTMs, CNNs).
  • Experience in robotics,  having worked with real-world datasets for autonomous driving (e.g. KITTI or Oxford Robocar Dataset), or knowledge of some of the following technologies / frameworks is a big plus: C++, ROS, OpenCV, PCL, Docker.
  • Students outside of EECS are also encouraged to apply. Furthermore, we welcome applications from students who do not satisfy some of the above requirements but have extensive programming experience instead (having written over 100k lines of code spanning multiple programming languages and APIs on different operating systems).

If you are interested, please apply with your CV, grade transcript, and, if available, references to public repositories containing code samples. Work hours can be organized flexibly and are expected to be on average above 10h/week or full-time for IAP UROPs.

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski: igor@gilitschenski.org


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title:  Perception for Autonomous Vehicles

Project Description: The Distributed Robotics Lab at MIT CSAIL is contributing to the development of self-driving cars within the Toyota-CSAIL joint research center. Our work addresses the full scope of challenges in the development of this new and exciting technology, involving theoretical and applied work on decision making, perception, and control.

Within this project, we are looking for a UROP interested in computer vision and, more broadly, perception for self-driving vehicles. Developing a robust perception system is key to maintaining situational awareness in highly dynamic environments which may undergo strong appearance and structural changes.  The work will involve the integration of existing Perception pipelines (e.g. for Object Detection or Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) and developing new tools for data processing and visualization.

Prerequisites:

  • Python programming experience (having written at least 10k lines of Python code).
  • Knowledge of Computer Vision covering the material of the courses 6.801/6.866 and ideally 6.819/6.869.
  • Experience with OpenCV and desirably PCL.
  • Experience in robotics,  having worked with real-world datasets for autonomous driving (e.g. KITTI or Oxford Robocar Dataset), or knowledge of some of the following technologies / frameworks is a big plus: C++, ROS, Tensorflow.
  • Students outside of EECS are also encouraged to apply. Furthermore, we welcome applications from students who do not satisfy some of the above requirements and have extensive programming experience instead (having written over 100k lines of code spanning multiple programming languages and APIs on different operating systems).

If you are interested, please apply with your CV, grade transcript, and, if available, references to public repositories containing code samples. Work hours can be organized flexibly and are expected to be on average above 10h/week or full-time for Summer UROPs.

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski: igor@gilitschenski.org


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Autonomous Driving Systems

Project Description: The Distributed Robotics Lab at MIT CSAIL is contributing to the development of self-driving cars within the Toyota-CSAIL joint research center. Our work addresses the full scope of challenges in the development of this new and exciting technology, involving theoretical and applied work on decision making, perception, and control.

In order to evaluate and validate our algorithms for different aspects of autonomous driving, we are operating several robotic platforms and simulation environments. Our platforms involve two Toyota Prius, two autonomous wheelchairs, and a set of miniature racing cars. The work of the UROP will involve supporting us in the development and maintenance of the software infrastructure for real-world robotic experiments. It may also involve building and modifying hardware setups and integration of novel sensors and software components.

Prerequisites:

  • Python and C++ programming experience (having written at least 10k lines of code in each language).
  • Knowledge of ROS and hands-on robotics experience.
  • Experience in using Linux (including bash, Makefiles, CMake, gcc, gdb).
  • Knowledge of modern software development methodology as presented in the software construction course or through internships (working with git, style guides, unit tests, code reviews)
  • Knowledge of some of the following technologies/frameworks is a big plus: OpenCV, PCL, Tensorflow, PyTorch, Gazebo, Jenkins, Docker, Google Test.
  • Ability to work highly independently.
  • Students outside of EECS are also encouraged to apply.

Please also consider applying if you have exceptional algorithmic skills (demonstrated through successful participation in competitions such as IOI or ICPC) and/or an extensive programming experience (having written over 100k lines of code spanning multiple programming languages and APIs on different operating systems).

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski: igor@gilitschenski.org


8/15/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Gabrieli

Project Title: How belief changes perception: Computational modeling of human reinforcement learning

Project Description: In this project, we are looking to study the effect of beliefs on perception using a reinforcement learning design (specifically, two-armed bandit task).  Beliefs have been shown to change the way humans weigh evidence, process Information and ultimately make decisions. This project aims to uncover how this phenomenon plays out in daily life. The UROP in this project will be responsible for testing existing computational methods and potentially developing new ones, and for estimating and simulating behavioral data. 

Prerequisites:

  • Independent and motivated individuals
  • Approximately 8 hours a week
  • Familiar with computational modeling of human behavior

Contact: Interested students are encouraged to contact Dr. Liron Rozenkrantz: liron.rozenkrantz@gmail.com with a description of their interest and fit to the project, as well as their CV.


8/15/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Eyetracking for Language Processing

Project Description: We have an exiting new project on the intersection of linguistics, cognitive science and machine learning, in which we use eyetracking technology to study how humans read and process language in real time. We are looking for highly motivated students to join the project during the Fall and IAP. As part of the UROP, you will learn about experimental techniques in psycholinguistics and will be trained to operate a state-of-the-art eyetracker. You will be in charge of running a series of experiments for data collection. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to participate in designing experiments, preparing experimental materials and analyzing the collected data.

Prerequisites:

  • Highly responsible, independent, and attentive to detail.
  • Available to work 10 hours per week during the semester and full time during IAP.

No prior experience is necessary, but the following are desirable:

  • Strong interest language, and ideally relevant prior/planned coursework.
  • Background in programming (in particular python and web programming).

Please include a CV and a copy of your transcript with your application.

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


8/15/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Armstrong

Project Title: Techno-economic analysis of the costs of advanced energy storage systems

Project Description: Does the topic of energy storage fascinate you? Have you ever wondered about some of the business cases for advanced energy storage systems, mespecially in the context of a low-carbon energy future? If yes, we have some exciting ongoing projects that you could work on. One of them is listed below.

Techno-economic analysis of the costs of advanced energy storage systems: Energy Storage Technology Assessment Tool Development (Fall 2019)

The project is on the development of a web-based energy storage technology cost/benefit assessment tool. Our research will examine the techno-economic tradeoffs between existing and emerging energy storage technologies. The initial framework as well as an online version of the tool has already been developed. The selected candidate will work on further developing the tool. In particular, and during the UROP period, we’ll seek to improve the existing website while investigating hydrogen-based systems. This is a great opportunity to learn about advanced energy storage technologies and how to evaluate their costs and benefits. We are looking for someone with a background in chemical engineering, programming and ideally have web development experience. Detailed requirements listed below.

Requirements:

  • Some fundamental understanding of electrochemical energy storage systems
  • Programming:
    • Fluency with Python
    • Modeling experience (preferred not required)
  • Web Development:
    • Experience with Django
    • Fluency in PhP
    • Experience in web programming and database development

For more information:

Apurba Sakti

Research Scientist, MIT Energy Initiative

sakti@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Troy Littleton

Project Title: Investigating cell-type specific mechanisms of synaptic signaling in a simple genetic model system during development & aging

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 a multidisciplinary combination of Drosophila genetics, molecular biology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, electrophysiology (whole-cell patch-clamp and sharp electrode physiology), super-resolution microscopy, single-cell RNAseq, biochemistry, and behavior assays.  We are looking for biology /BCS student/course 6/other engineering students to assist our efforts to carry out molecular biology, genetic screens, imaging and bioinformatics analysis. We will provide support and training in genetics, molecular biology, microscopy, and behavioral assays, if necessary. We offer a friendly environment for your training and learning. We are interested in addressing the following: 

  • Project 1 - Investigating the molecular mechanisms of cell-type synaptic signaling in drosophila models of aging, 
  • Project 2 - Bioinformatics analysis of RNA-seq gene expression profiles to study cell-type specific synaptic signaling mechanisms
  • Project 3 - Tracking the crawling behavior of larval Drosophila maggots and adult flies in various genetic backgrounds to study synaptic signaling.

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 programming (R or MATLAB or python is strongly preferred).

Relevant URL: https://littletonlab.mit.edu/home

Contact: Suresh Kumar Jetti: sureshj@mit.edu


8/15/19

Fall

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 Book 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 that engages citygoers in being more present, aware and mindful.

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, urban design/planning, 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


8/14/2019

Fall 2019

Department/Lab/Center: School of Engineering

Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Krystyn Van Vliet



Project Title: Cell Therapy Training



Project Description: Help create the first online course on how cell therapies are made. The FDA approved the first CAR-T cell therapy product, KymriahTM in August, 2017. The approval of CAR-T therapy marks the beginning of a new generation of products demonstrating significant efficacy in oncology applications. These products are a growing proportion of the therapeutic pipeline and there is a very clear and urgent need for educational materials in the cell therapy space. The goal of this project is to develop an educational curriculum and lecture materials to provide an understanding of how cell therapies are made. The course will be a combination of online content on the fundamentals of cell therapy manufacturing and a companion hands-on training component. The first three Learning Units will provide an overview of the field of cell therapy, an introduction to the basics of cell biology and immunology, and an overview of the regulatory requirements for cell therapies and what they mean to actual manufacturing practice. These units provide the context and background information needed for manufacturing a cellular product and illustrate the key differences between cell therapy and traditional protein and monoclonal antibody manufacturing. The remaining Learning Units will cover cell therapy manufacturing practices and analytics. Then there will be four hands-on modules that will cover the key manufacturing processes in cell therapy manufacturing.

Responsibilities: The UROP will be involved in all phases of creating the online material, including curriculum and evaluation design, researching subject matter, storyboarding video segments, and beta testing.



Prerequisites: Coursework in Biology and an interest in online learning.

Duration and Commitment: Start as soon as possible. Commit to 10 – 20 hours per week. End date is negotiable.

Wage: $13/hour or via credit



Contact: Please contact Flora J Keumurian florak@mit.edu  


8/13/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Qualitative Design Research Analysis of CoDesign with Older Adults

Project Description: Older adults are stereotypically excluded from technology design. Our work focuses on empowering older adults to be a part of technology design, specifically social robots, through participatory design and codesign. This year, we are engaged in a codesign study including several mixed-methods including interviews and art-based sessions. We are seeking a UROP to help with qualitative analysis of the interviews and art-based sessions. We encourage students who are highly independent and motivated to apply.

Prerequisites:

  • Highly independent and motivated individuals
  • Approximately 10 hours a week
  • Junior/Senior (preferred)
  • Interested in learning about qualitative research analysis techniques

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/designing-social-robots-for-older-adults/overview/

Contact: Anastasia Ostrowski: akostrow@media.mit.edu


8/13/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal



Project Title: Design Research Data Analysis

Project Description: Our work focuses on empowering people to be a part of technology design, specifically social robots, through participatory design and co-design, and understanding how certain design features influence engagement and perception of these technologies. A variety of methodologies are used to accomplish this work including surveys and art-based activities. We are seeking a UROP to implement, create, analyze surveys around voice agent personality and to analyze results from an art-based activity session with older adults. We encourage students who are highly independent and motivated to apply (even if they don't meet all prerequisites listed).

Prerequisites:

  • Highly independent and motivated individuals
  • Approximately 10 hours a week
  • Junior/Senior (preferred)
  • Data analysis experience (preferred)
  • Basic statistics knowledge (preferred)
  • Python programming knowledge (for data analysis)
  • Jupyter notebook experience (optional)

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/shaping-engagement/overview/

Contact: Anastasia Ostrowski: akostrow@media.mit.edu


8/13/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joshua Tenenbaum & Laura Schulz

Project Title: The Moral Judgment of Young Children

Project Description: Our research uses theories derived from moral philosophy to try to understand how young children understand the moral world and make decisions about what is right and wrong.  RAs will be expected to work 8-12 hours/week.  Responsibilities will mostly involve running studies with preschool-aged children, preparing and setting up testing materials, data entry, and helping to pilot new experimental protocols. 

Prerequisites: Previous experience working with young children.

Relevant URL: https://sites.google.com/site/sydneymlevine/research

Contact: To apply, please send your CV and a cover letter describing your interest in the position to Sydney Levine smlevine@mit.edu.  Feel free to be in touch if you have questions about the position.


8/13/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Gabrieli

Project Title: Neurocognitive Basis of Response to Instruction in Children with Dyslexia

Project Description: Using a combination of neuroimaging and behavioral measures, the project investigates the neurocognitive of reading comprehension and response to reading instruction in children with dyslexia in second to fourth grades, the earliest point at which dyslexia can be reliably identified. We are seeking a UROP to help with data collection, preprocessing, and analysis of neuroimaging and behavioral data. Because we work with a school-aged population, assisting on evenings and weekends is required.

Prerequisites:

  • Able to assist scans and behavioral sessions on weekends throughout the fall
  • Availability to work 6-10 hours a week
  • Comfortable working with children (grades 2-4)

Please Contact: Please contact Dr. Ola Ozernov-Palchik and Jimmy Capella (oozernov@mit.edu, jcapella.mit@gmail.com) with a brief description about why you are interested in this project and how much time you plan on dedicating.


8/7/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kerri Cahoy

Project Title: Star Tracker FPGA Programing Project

Project Description: UROP opportunity for a student with familiarity with the Xilinx SDK, specifically the Zynq 7000 family of FPGAs (we're using the 7010).  The project is implementation of the novel TETRA star tracker on the FPGA. See https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3655&context=smallsat

and https://github.com/brownj4/Tetra/blob/master/tetra.py for more information. The FPGA code that needs to be implemented is just the streaming centroiding code, which is at this link (https://github.com/brownj4/FAST/tree/master/FPGA). The electronics are already complete and confirmed to be working and the camera/FPGA interface is done (we can take test pictures).  The project work involves implementing a space-constrained version of the python code on the FPGA.  Will need to use the 7010's built in memory blocks to save gates.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with the Xilinx SDK, FPGA programming, interest in space exploration.

Relevant URL:

Contact: Julian Brown: brownj4@mit.edu


8/7/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Machine Learning for Extreme Imaging

Project Description: We are exploring the use of machine learning for extreme imaging such as seeing around corners and seeing through scattering media (i.e., fog). The responsibility of this position includes training neural networks and building physical experiment setups to demonstrate machine learning in practice. We are looking for students with experiences in machine learning and computer vision.

Prerequisites: Machine Learning

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/camera-culture/overview/

Contact: Tomohiro Maeda: tomotomo@mit.edu


8/7/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Strano

Project Title: Carbon Fixing Materials

Project Description: Our group is developing a new class of biomimetic materials which are capable of using CO2 from the atmosphere and energy from sunlight to grown, strengthen, and reinforce. To realize such materials, we are investigating photocatalytic CO2 reduction as well as chemical routes to utilize the reduction products. During this project, you will gain extensive experience in the synthesis, characterization, screening, and product quantification of both inorganic and nanostructured photocatalysts.

Prerequisites: Any previous undergraduate level lab work is appreciated but not required: especially experience in UV-Visible spectroscopy.

Contact: Daniel Lundberg: Danieljl@mit.edu


8/7/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Clare Balboni

Project Title: Firm/Transport Data for Environmental risk and trade in Pakistan Project

Project Description: I am looking for a student to help process firm data and transport data for a project on environmental risk and trade in Pakistan.

Prerequisites: The student would ideally have some experience in Stata or Python, though this is not essential.

Contact: Ruth Levitsky: levitsky@mit.edu


7/30/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ed Boyden, Guoping Feng

Project Title: Neural Circuit Reconstruction for Better Modeling of the Human Brain

Project Description: We are developing an atlas of the marmoset brain, a relatively new model organism in neuroscience. Marmosets are important because they may enable better understanding of the human brain, since there are many aspects of higher brain function that cannot be adequately modeled in the most common species studied in neuroscience, namely mice. Our two research groups are engaged in a project to make an atlas for the marmoset brain, to enable neuroscientists to study this new model organism. UROPs will help with image processing, neural tracing, morphological neural reconstruction, and analysis of neuron shapes.

Prerequisites: The student must have an interest, and preferably experience, in image processing and brain science. No prior experience in machine learning is required.

Contact: Tay Shin: tayshin@mit.edu


7/30/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: F. Daniel Hidalgo

Project Title: Making Governments More Transparent: Using Big Data and Experiments to Change Government Behavior

Project Description: How transparent are local governments in the US? What kinds of pressures are most likely to induce local governments to improve their level of transparency? To answer these questions, I have developed a methodology using machine learning to measure the degree of government transparency in local government websites in the US.  This data has revealed wide variation in the degree to which local governments make it easy to observe their internal operations through budgets, meeting minutes, etc.  To understand the best way to reduce these disparities in transparency, I am engaging in a set of randomized trials where this information is given to either the governments themselves or to local media organizations.

Students in this UROP will help me improve the machine learning methodology and conduct the experiments. This will involve collecting and checking data, contacting governments  and local media sites, and conducting background research.

Prerequisites: Some prior experience working with data is beneficial, but not absolutely necessary.

Relevant URL: https://mitgovlab.org/updates/mapping-local-government-transparency-in-the-us/

Contact: Eliza Riley: e_riley@mit.edu


7/30/19

Fall/IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Edward Boyden

Project Title: Brain Technologies:  Develop cutting-edge methods for mapping molecular composition of the brain

Project Description: The Synthetic Neurobiology Group develops cutting-edge methods for mapping the wiring and molecular composition of the brain.  The UROP will  lead their own project starting this fall to develop and apply proteins for sensing and recognizing small molecules, alone and in combination for the multimodal mapping of large numbers of biomolecules throughout diverse cells and tissues in healthy and disease states.  UROP will help design, validate, and optimize protein engineering protocols, and help apply the resulting tools to normal and diseased brain tissue, and a diversity of other tissue types such as cancers. The  scientist will also help analyze the data.

Project will be associated to a publication expected to come out in 1-2 years, significant involvement will lead to authorship and letter of recommendation.

Preferred set of skills and experience:

  • 1-2 years previous lab experience
  • Required expertise with molecular cloning design and processing (eg PCR, gels, DNA purification), transfection.
  • Experience can include yeast/phage display, flow cytometry
  • Highly independent, curious, and  motivated individuals
  • Willingness to learn skills outside of background
  • Looking for 1-2 year commitment

Interpersonal skills, analytical/problem solving/critical thinking skills and good judgment are essential. Attention to detail, superb organizational, documentation, communication, and time management skills required. Seeking independent and self-motivated individual who is also able to work as part of a tightly-knit team. Demonstrated interest in biotechnology and biological tools research is preferred.

Contact: Alexi Choueiri: choueiri@mit.edu


7/30/19

Fall

UROP Department, Lab or Center: DMSE (Course 3)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rafael Jaramillo

Project title: Tape-casting chalcogenide thick films for infrared optical coatings and other applications

Project Description: We seek an MIT undergraduate to lead a research effort on tape casting sulfide thick films. The project will involve slurry materials selection and optimization, pre-deposition materials processing, film tape casting, post-deposition processing including sintering, and optical characterization of the resulting films. The project is of immediate interest of infrared optical systems, and may be more broadly relevant due to the novelty of the approach and the wide variety of materials and composites that could be processed.

The project could start immediately.

Requirements: The student should be comfortable with hands-on experimental work, including wet inorganic chemistry and materials handling, and thermal processing. The student should have experience with materials characterization with emphasis on X-ray diffraction and optical spectroscopy (e.g. spectrophotometry, FTIR). The student will take over leadership of this project from an outgoing summer intern. In addition to carrying out the research tasks, the student will be responsible for communicating result to the full research group on a regular basis.

Lab URL: jaramillo.mit.edu

Contact: Rafael Jaramillo: rjaramil@mit.edu


7/26/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Reich

Project Title: Designing and Researching Digital Learning Experiences for Teachers

Project Description: Our multidisciplinary laboratory--the MIT Teaching Systems Lab (TSL)-- is comprised of engineers, learning designers, learning scientists, and social science researchers. We are looking for students with an interest in teaching, design-based research, data science, and learning analytics. The project focuses on designing and researching digital learning experiences for teachers such as online courses, simulations, and interactive games. 

Possible student tasks include:

  1. Developing basic web applications to simulate in-the-moment teaching decision
  2. Analyzing data from digital learning experiences
  3. Creating analytics dashboards for instructional designers
  4. Contributing to scholarly publications and conference presentations

Students will work closely with TSL researchers familiar with the detailed goals of the project and will gain hands-on experience in educational research.

Prerequisites: Previous experience working in educational settings and/or experience with social science research. Familiarity with R is preferred.

Contact: Joshua Littenberg-Tobias: jltobias@mit.edu


7/24/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Cuthbert

Project Title: Reading Redux and More in Digital Humanities

Project Description: Working alongside Sandy Alexandre, Associate Professor in Literature, on her project “The Reading Redux”, UROPs will build a webapp that will analyze re-reading results and answer questions like, "What is the value in re-reading?", "How exactly do readers read differently upon re-reading a text?" and "Can we measure how a text’s significance to a reader changes over time?". While building these tools, UROPs will also be testing them and gathering relevant first-round data that will be applied to further research on this topic.

UROPs will also have the opportunity to work with Postdoctoral Associates in Digital Humanities on smaller, one-off projects building computational tools yet to be determined.

Prerequisites:

  • Coding Skills Required
  • Python and Javascript preferred
  • Interest and enthusiasm for the humanities encouraged!

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

Contact: Nicole Fountain: nicolelf@mit.edu


7/24/19

Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: P. Christopher Zegras

Project Title: Urban Agglomeration and Firm’s Location Decisions

Project Description: Why are there so many law firms and investment banks in Manhattan? Why are there so many tech start-ups in Silicon Valley? And are these clusters fundamentally any different from the auto manufacturing cluster in Detroit that was responsible for the city’s rise as well as subsequent decline?

In this project we seek a quantitative understanding of the factors that influence the location decisions of different (types of) firms. In particular, we want your help with:

  • Hypothesizing about and systematically categorizing the sources of firm agglomeration effects (knowledge spill-overs, labour pooling, competition, etc.)
  • Thinking of ways to describe these quantitatively;
  • Determining an appropriate modelling framework and structure for testing the above-mentioned hypotheses;
  • Coding a firm location choice model and estimating its parameters; and
  • Imagining future potential developments (e.g. vis-à-vis automation, reduction of transportation costs, etc.) and devising scenarios to explore these.

Prerequisites:

  • Interest in (learning about) the economics of urban agglomeration and choice modelling
  • Comfortable with statistical analysis
  • Experience with programming (Python)

Please submit your resume along with a statement of interest (<200 words) describing what you hope to learn/take away from this UROP.

Contact: He He: thehe@mit.edu


7/24/19

Fall/IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ron Weiss

Project Title: Robust genetic circuits in mammalian cells for "smart therapeutics"

Project Description: One goal of synthetic biology is "smart therapeutics", where a programmed cell can integrate environmental signals to decide on the correct response. This research project focuses on designing, building, and testing highly robust mammalian genetic circuits to enable these therapeutics, with the goal of showing long-term circuit function in vivo. As a UROP, you would work on circuit design, DNA assembly, flow cytometry, and eventually in vivo studies (if you'd like).

I am looking for an excited, committed UROP. My mentorship style is quite hands-on, with an emphasis on developing your knowledge, scientific intuition, and communication skills.

Prerequisites: Students from any year are welcome! A strong foundation in biology is required.

Preferred but not required: experience with PCR, DNA assembly, and cell culture; experience reading scientific literature

What's most important to me is that you're excited about the research direction and process.

Contact: Noreen Wauford: noreen@mit.edu


7/17/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (WI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sebastian Lourido

Project Title: Web tool development for mechanistic insights into RNA biology

Project Description: The Rouskin Lab at the Whitehead institute (www.rouskinlab.com) is looking to hire a  student preferably from the Computer Science department, or with substantial computation experience, over the summer of 2019 . The lab focuses on elucidation of RNA structure and its impact on biological processes and disease. This position represents an exciting opportunity to learn about our novel method to uncover alternative RNA structures using an Expectation-Maximization clustering algorithm. We are looking for a student to help integrate our code into a Web framework.

Prerequisites: Strong experience with the Python programming language, Web development with Django and version control using Git are desirable.

Contact: Silvi Rouskin: srouskin@wi.mit.edu


7/16/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Wearable Lab on Body : Bio-Digital Devices for Health and Wellbeing

Project Description: The MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group designs seamless interfaces for human augmentation. Building upon research from neuroscience, biotechnology, and machine learning, the Fluid Interfaces group designs systems that help us exploit the untapped powers of human body to supplement our natural abilities to support attention, memory, emotion regulation, creativity, learning, decision making and more. The group designs wearable and immersive systems that enhance people's cognitive abilities to enable them to maximize their potential. We are seeking motivational UROP(s) who are interested in working on a novel bio-digital wearable and ubiquitous device for realtime/continuous digital sensing and monitoring of biomarkers. Our aim for the project is to develop a system that is capable of:

  1. longitudinal/continuous monitoring of body biological data
  2. Plug and play system that can work with multiple biomarkers
  3. Easily adaptable bio-digital platform

You will be responsible for designing and testing the hardware arrangement. You will gain experience of working in an antidisciplinary setting: learn to integrate your work in field different from yours. This position is for Fall/IAP/Spring with potential for a longer term commitment.

Prerequisites: The project is open to students majoring in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, and other relevant fields. The UROP must have solid experience in mechanical design and fabrication. Also experience in electronics, embedded programming or experience of working with wearables,  biological science wet lab is preferable but not necessary.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/wearable-lab-on-body/overview/

Contact: Pat Pataranutaporn: patpat@media.mit.edu


7/16/19

Fall

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 Book 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 that engages citygoers in being more present, aware and mindful.

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, urban design/planning, 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


7/1/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Process and visualize call center employees longitudinal data

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab is looking for UROP students who join us to develop tools to organize, analyze and visualize data from a study of employees’ wellbeing. The longitudinal measurements will be collected using mobile phones and wearable sensors. We will conduct a long-term ambulatory study of call centre workers with the goal of finding behavioral, physiological and social correlates of their performance and wellness. 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, Anaconda and longitudinal data processing is a plus.

Contact: If you are interested, please send an email to Szymon Fedor at sfedor@media.mit.edu with the following information:

  • Subject line: “UROP – first name, last name – years in college"
  • Content: Please write a short description (<200 words) that explains why you are interested and summarizes your relevant experience.  
  • Attachment: CV/resume

7/1/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Preprocess Measurements and Monitor Data Quality

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab is looking for UROP students who join us to develop tools to preprocess and organize the 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 preprocess, monitor its quality and analyze the collected data.

Prerequisites: The student must have interests and preferably experience in data preprocessing and analysis. Expertise in Python (e.g. Anaconda) and physiological signal processing is a plus.

Contact: If you are interested, please send an email to Szymon Fedor at sfedor@media.mit.edu with the following information:

  • Subject line: “UROP – first name, last name – years in college"
  • Content: Please write a short description (<200 words) that explains why you are interested and summarizes your relevant experience.  
  • Attachment: CV/resume

7/1/19

Fall/IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Process and Vizualize Sleep Measurements

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab is looking for UROP students who join us to provide support with the analysis of the sleep measurements collected during clinical trials using wearable EEG 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 sleep data and to visualize the results. The student must have interests and experience in data analysis and visualization. Expertise in Python and sleep signal analysis is a plus.

Contact: If you are interested, please send an email to Szymon Fedor at sfedor@media.mit.edu with the following information:

  • Subject line: “UROP – first name, last name – years in college"
  • Content: Please write a short description (<200 words) that explains why you are interested and summarizes your relevant experience.  
  • Attachment: CV/resume