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

5/24/19

Summer 2019

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Julie Shah

Project Title:  Hybrid Models for Generating Interpretable Explanations

Project Description:  Despite significant advances of deep learning, current approaches do not yet provide formal guarantees or interpretability required for system diagnosis and verification. There is growing interest in the development of hybrid models that can combine the computational power of machine learning with the interpretable language and reasoning capabilities offered by formal logic and search.

In this project, you will contribute towards the design of a hybrid model that can efficiently mine temporal logic specifications from system traces. First, you will seek to understand the relationship between various syntactic properties of logic formulas (e.g., forward-looking vs. past-looking) and how they affect user interpretability. This will be conducted via user studies. Second, you will develop an active learning algorithm that adapts to user feedback and learn to produce more user-preferred explanations over time. Lastly, you will contribute towards scientific writing and co-author a top-tier AI/ML conference paper with a PhD student. 

Requirements:

  • Proficiency in Python (must be able to maintain a clean, well-organized repository!) 
  • Experience with Machine Learning
  • Self-driven, enthusiastic, and an organized individual
  • High commitment and availability during the Summer term

Contact: Joseph Kim (joseph_kim@csail.mit.edu). In your email, please include a resume (or a CV) and a few sentences describing why you are interested in the project.


5/24/19

Summer/Fall

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Modern Software Engineering for the Deployment of Machine Learning Models in Chemistry

Project Description: If you like writing and organizing Python code and want to get experience with modern software engineering best practices, this is the project for you. We’ve developed a web application that deploys various machine learning models used for the prediction of synthetic pathways in organic chemistry, and are in the process of preparing it for an open-source release. We’re looking for several talented Python programmers to help restructure and document a decently sized code base to make it more maintainable moving forward. Experience with Python packages like Django, Tensorflow, Keras, Celery, RDKit or with JavaScript frameworks like Vue, React, or Angular is an added bonus. You’ll get experience with microservice architectures, docker containers, mysql and nosql databases, distributed asynchronous task queues, and of course machine learning models and their deployment in web applications. Pay is negotiable and can be based on experience.

Prerequisites: Python programming fluency

Relevant URL: askcos.mit.edu, mlpds.mit.edu

Contact: Mike Fortunato: mef231@mit.edu


5/24/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amos Winter



Project Title: Novel dripper designs for low-cost, low-energy drip irrigation systems

Project Description: We are looking for a summer UROP who is excited about developing water- and energy-efficient drip irrigation technology for smallholder farmers! This UROP would focus on developing and testing novel dripper designs or dripper components (e.g., new materials for flexible membranes) in the lab.

Tasks can be tailored to specific interests and skills, but can include any of the following:

  • prototyping scaled-up versions of drip emitters to validate sub-components of the fluid-structure interaction model
  • building an experimental setup to visualize water flow through scaled-up drippers
  • building and operating a fully-automated dripper testing setup in lab (using a pressure regulator, sensors, and Python code)
  • conducting a patent review of existing dripper designs

You will be working with several graduate students who are examining this problem from different angles, so there is opportunity to get involved in other aspects of the project, depending on interest -- e.g., data processing and analysis, geographical mapping tools, etc.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with machine tools; prior formal training (in a class or a maker workshop) is preferred. Prototyping will require use of a CNC mill, and likely other tools such as a laser cutter, 3D printer, and waterjet. (Training on certain tools can be offered.) Prior experience with sensors and programming in MATLAB or Python would be useful.  For a paid UROP, we can help you apply for MITEI funding by May 24: https://energy.mit.edu/education/undergraduate/urop/#apply Otherwise, volunteer or for-credit UROPs welcome.

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

Contact: Julia Sokol: sokol@mit.edu


5/24/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: - Academic Departments -

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Extracellular Vesicle Diagnostics

Project Description: This project involves the investigation of extracellular vesicles (also called exosomes), both in terms of their basic biology, and their applications to the diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease. The team working on this project is multidisciplinary and employs a large range of techniques including: stem cell culture and differentiation, high throughput sequencing (RNA-Seq), computational analysis, protein biochemistry, and new techniques for ultrasensitive protein detection.

Students are expected to work at least 15 hours per week, on average, during the semester, and full time during the summer. The length of the project is flexible. Although there is no obligation, we are interested in having students potentially continue on in our lab as Research Assistants after graduation for a year or two as a way to gain more research experience and make a larger contribution to the project.

Prerequisites: Previous research experience in molecular biology experience required. Experience with mammalian cell culture, RNA work, or protein biochemistry helpful but not required. Programming experience and computational skills analyzing high throughput sequencing data would also be helpful but are not required.

Relevant URL: https://wyss.harvard.edu/david-walt-and-george-church-receive-grant-from-chan-zuckerberg-initiative-to-enable-better-diagnosis-a

Contact: Dima Ter-Ovanesyan: dter@wyss.harvard.edu


5/24/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Fadel Adib

Project Title: Robotic Grasping for IoT and Smart Manufacturing

Project Description: In this project, you will have the opportunity to work on UR5e robotic arm, from setting-up to developing the code base, as well as implementing and testing various algorithms. Also, you will get to know about software defined radios with an emphasis on IoT applications.

This project builds on our recent work TurboTrack, which enables tracking and localization of objects using wireless signals with unprecedented speed and accuracy. Check the following link for more details: http://news.mit.edu/2019/robots-track-moving-objects-unprecedented-precision-0219

The goal of this project is to leverage TurboTrack and a vision system to train a semantic grasping robotic system.

The responsibilities of this position will include: (1) developing code base for UR5e robot arm, (2) developing deep learning architectures for robotic tasks, (3) testing system performance.

Prerequisites:

  • Proficient in Python, C++, and/or MATLAB. Background/proficiency in all three is a plus
  • Background in Algorithms and Machine Learning
  • Background in Signals and Systems is a plus but not necessary
  • Background in Reinforcement Learning is a plus but not necessary
  • Background in Control/Robotics is a plus but not necessary

Contact: Jason Leng: jleng@mit.edu


5/24/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Yoel Fink

Project Title: Piezoelectric Fibers for Fabric Microphones and Speakers

Project Description: Electronic devices used to be rigid, planar and cumbersome. Decades of research have led to the emergence of miniaturized, soft, flexible and stretchable electronics. Our group exploits thermal drawing of a macroscopic preform where different materials or pre-fabricated devices are arranged at a prescribed position, yielding kilometers of electronic fibers with sophisticated architecture and complex functionalities in a highly simple and scalable way. In this project, we are developing advanced functional fibers that can both hear sound from conversational speeches, and emit audible sound. These fibers will ultimately be integrated into fabrics (clothes) forming a smart system that can hear, speak and communicate.

Notably, we aim to study one key component of the fiber which is a composite electrode that bridges the gap between the piezoelectric domain and the external circuit. Specifically, this composite electrode should be conductive enough and has an intimate contact with the piezoelectric domain. The goal is to fabricate such important electrodes. The urops will learn more about composite fabrication, thermal drawing, and acoustic as well as mechanical characterization.

Prerequisites: This project is open to students who are interested in materials processing, performance characterization and hands on experiments in the lab. Open to all departments.

Relevant URL: http://www.rle.mit.edu/pbg/

Contact: Wei: weiyan@mit.edu


5/24/19

Summer 2019

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: D. Fox Harrell

Project Title: Building an Interactive Digital Exhibit on the History of Hip-Hop

Project Description: We are building a novel system to support educating the public about the history of hip hop music and culture using digital media in a museum setting. You will help to design, develop, and implement several dynamic narrative experiences which support this endeavor within a small research team consisting of doctoral students, research scientists, faculty, and external experts in hip hop, history, and museum exhibitions.

The student will focus primarily on (1) digitally communicating concepts to effectively interpret hip hop research and collections, (2) collaborating with curators and designers on re-imagining museum experiences with immersive media.

In doing so, we ask you to bring your own creativity to the table to solve some unique creative design challenges. We aim to develop this experience to be unveiled at a pop-up exhibition in August 2019 for the new Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate has a digital media and arts background, with experience in animation, music, and/or video editing. Interest in and passion for hip hop culture is encouraged, but not required. Relevant background to have:

  • Ability to author scripts and working closely with multimedia producers
  • Video production & editing
  • Interest in researching educational, scientific and technological content for exhibits

Ideal candidate must be self-motivated, detail-oriented, and be able to manage and track multiple demands in a creative and fast-paced environment. Technical proficiency in 3D animation, audio & video editing, and/or web development are pluses. Candidates will assist with exhibit prototyping and evaluation.

Contact: virtuality@mit.edu


5/17/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Machine Learning and Computer Vision and Deep Learning for Place Attributes

Project Description: The City Science group of the MediaLab is looking for UROPs to join us and to become part of the ExpertArch project. The goal of ExpertArch is to create an automatic computer vision system that is specialized in describing spaces from an architectonic perspective.

About the project: Automatically understanding the space depicted in an image is a key aspect for developing Computer Vision algorithms that completely understand scenes. In the past years the automatic recognition of place categories has improved significantly. Behind the state-of-the-art methods for place recognition there are two main keys: (1) the Places Dataset (see Places project page), a large database of images labeled according to the place category, and (2) the use of Deep Convolutional Neural Networks. This online demo allows users to test a state-of-the-art systems for place categorization in any image and see how these models are remarkably accurate in many occasions. However, despite the recent progress of automatic place categorization, machines are still far away of understanding the space as humans can do.

In this project we focus in the problem of understanding the space from an architectonic perspective. There are multiple taxonomies in architecture to characterize the space. For example, the space can be characterized in terms of colors, materials, lighting, shape, architectural style, architectural elements, among many others. Automatic techniques for recognizing these technical categories in images could be used for different applications that require understanding artistic components of the space.

Scope and expected outcomes:

This project has three main parts:

  1. Define the final taxonomy: there are different available taxonomies. We need to select, from each taxonomy, those categories that can be recognized visually. For example, a category for characterizing the space from an architectonic perspective might be related to acoustic properties. If the acoustic properties can not be visually recognized, from a single image, we will need to discard the category. The goal of this part of the project is to select the final list of categories that will constitute our taxonomy. 
  2. Collect images: Deep Learning models are trained from large datasets of annotated images. To train our models we will need to collect image examples of the categories selected. For that we will query images from search engines like google and we will filter them manually. Depending on the number of images and the number of categories we would need to use crowd-sourcing platforms, like Amazon Mechanical Turk. 
  3. Train and test different Deep Learning models for recognizing the different categories of the final taxonomy. We will explore different types of architectures and different ways of visualizing the decisions made by the models.

Once the models are trained we will work in creating an online demo, similar to the demo for place recognition, that shows how the models perform in new images.

Requirements:

  • Proficiency in Python (preferably incl. common scientific libraries)
  • Experience with Machine Learning
  • Experience with Computer Vision and Deep Learning (Convolutional Neural Networks)
  • High commitment and availability during Summer term

Perks:

  • You will work on a specific real-world problem on Computer Vision
  • You will work in an enthusiastic and supportive team
  • You will get to know the legendary MediaLab

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

Contact: Luis Alonso: alonsolp@mit.edu


5/17/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew B. Lippman

Project Title: CivicLink: Viral Groupware for Community Organizing

Project Description: We envision CivicLink as a self-hosted platform for groups to facilitate discussions and coordinate events, and as an infrastructure for building distributed networks that connect individuals and organizations around common issues. In other words, we are building a peer-to-peer content sharing and recommendation system with content management tools geared toward community organizers. Also, every participant is a full node. A group organizer operating a server to share content with thousands of members and a group member browsing content on their phone are both running the same CivicLink stack (JavaScript).

We are looking for UROPs to work on the following areas:

  • A recommender system that can run on any node to suggest connections between its peers
  • A browser-based user interface that can serve a variety of uses depending on a user's role in the network, including moderation
  • A p2p networking stack flexible enough to run both on-demand in a browser and persistently on a server

Relevant experience may include:

  • Machine learning, especially for recommendations (e.g. collaborative filtering)
  • Computer networking, especially decentralized systems
  • JavaScript programming. Familiarity with ES6 modules and webpack (or similar technologies) preferred
  • Back-end development with Node.js
  • Front-end development with frameworks like Vue, React, etc.
  • User interface and/or product design. Some experience with HTML and CSS preferred

Contact: Sam Posner: smpsnr@mit.edu


5/17/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Asada, H. Harry

Project Title: Robotic Advanced Manufacturing Hardware Specialist

Project Description: Each year over 200,000 people enter various apprenticeship programs in the United States. While the total number is large, most of them are for construction industries, e.g. plumbing, carpentry, and electric works. In contrast, the manufacturing automation and robotics segment is scant, and virtually no apprentice program is currently available in many states and regions. The needs for advanced manufacturing and robotics are increasing, and the significant talent shortage and skill gaps hamper the growth of manufacturing industries.

To solve this problem, Dr. Harry Asada and the d'Arbeloff lab recently received over $2 million dollars to develop a fully automated apprenticeship program called TeachBot to empower workers in manufacturing in the US with the skills necessary to work collaboratively with robots in modern manufacturing environments. The project is currently ready for prototype deployment and testing with our industry sponsors, and we are seeking a talented, passionate, and eager-to-learn UROP to travel with us to advanced manufacturing facilities across Massachusetts to deploy the TeachBot prototype and collect data from human test subjects. Our ideal UROP would have a good intuition for mechanical hardware assembly; strong interpersonal skills; a desire to work with their hands; and be excited about STEM education and revolutionizing advanced manufacturing.

Benefits include mentoring from premier robotics researchers; networking with industry leaders in advanced manufacturing including the Advanced Robotics and Manufacturing Institute and the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council; and a desk in a nice office with a third story view.

Relevant URL: http://meche.mit.edu/news-media/professor-harry-asada-awarded-2-million-grant-develop-robotic-educational-tool-%E2%80%9Cteach-bot

Prerequisites: Ubuntu Simple hardware tools like drills and wrenches

Contact: Nick Selby: nselby@mit.edu


5/17/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ekene Ijeoma

Project Title: Poetic Justice

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

Some of our first projects include:

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


5/17/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Reilly

Project Title: Graphical User Interface and Visualizations for Energy-Economic Model

Project Description: The MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change combines scientific research with policy analysis to study the interactions among human and Earth systems to explore future climate, energy, food, water, air pollution and other interwoven challenges. Our main modeling tool is the Integrated Global System Modeling (IGSM) Framework, which combines an earth system model with a global energy-economic model. We are in search on a UROP to create a graphical user interface (UI) for our energy-economic model that will help others access, visualize, understand and dig deeper into our model results. It will allow people to explore different policy scenarios, such as those related to the Paris Agreement. We believe such a UI will be a valuable communication tool for important insights about energy, the economy and policies. In addition, the student will help develop tools for researchers to use to visualize model results in a streamlined, efficient way. This project is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to gain experience building UIs and improve their coding skills, while also learning about the kind of research we do.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience with designing user interfaces, or willingness to learn
  • Prior coding experience (familiarity with R is a plus)
  • Background in computer science or data science helpful, but not required
  • Hours are flexible, with up to 40 hours per week

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

Contact: Jennifer Morris: holak@mit.edu


5/17/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

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

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

We have two UROP positions open for summer. Please put the title of the position you’re applying for in the subject line of your email.

Front End Developer: You’ll be creating custom Scratch extensions and web frameworks to support machine learning projects. A good fit for this position will have substantial experience with web app development in JavaScript (bonus if you’ve worked with Scratch 3.0 and/or Blockly).

Machine Learning Engineer: You’ll be building machine learning pipelines for educational projects, from data cleaning and prepping through model training and analysis. A good fit for this position will be comfortable with PyTorch and/or TensorFlow, and have working knowledge of machine learning techniques and best practices. Prior experience with cloud platforms (GCP, AWS, etc.) would be helpful as well.

If you’re interested in a career in software engineering, this is a great opportunity to get experience in a professional development environment. There’s some flexibility on project topics, so if you’re interested in a particular area of machine learning (GANs? RL?), please mention that in your email as well.

Prerequisites: All applicants should have experience with git-based version control.

Contact: Katherine Gallagher: kvg0@mit.edu


5/17/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tod Machover

Project Title: Research on Vocal Disorders and Music

Project Description: Did you know that people who stutter almost never stutter when they sing? Here at MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group, we are using audio analysis tools in Python and MATLAB, musical modulation tools including PureData and Max, and machine learning techniques to leverage this interesting fact and determine what sorts of vocal modulations are most effective at remediating stutter.

Stuttering is a vocal communication disorder which affects approximately 1% of the adult population worldwide, and those who have it know how difficult it can make regular social interaction. Using modulated vocal feedback (playing one’s own voice back to them with some modification), we seek to decrease the prevalence of stutter in those who struggle with it. We have seen promising results in clinical trials and we want to experiment further with new techniques.

As a UROP in Opera of the Future, you will be part of a trailblazing research movement to help people who stutter. You would be:

  • working on algorithms for stutter detection using machine learning techniques, audio modulation algorithms, and/or data analysis for our trials;
  • helping us design and run human studies with people who. experience stuttering;
  • building relevant wearable devices;
  • other projects that suit your skills and interests.

We plan on submitting a paper for this work after the summer andyou can be a co-author! You will have a personal desk space.

Prerequisites:

  • Basic programming knowledge in Python;
  • Willingness  to learn new software;
  • Interest in music and assistive technology;
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills ;
  • Some knowledge of audio recording/analysis software such as Reaper and Praat would be helpful but not required.

Relevant URL: rebeccakleinberger.com

Contact: Rébecca Kleinberger: rebklein@mit.edu


5/14/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nancy Kanwisher

Project Title: Leveraging deep convolutional neural networks to understand the human brain

Project Description: Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) show impressive similarity with visual processing in the brain. In this project, we will investigate the connections between the human brain and CNNs further by training CNNs on different tasks, comparing them to human behavior and/or brain activity and gaining insights into the features represented by CNNs on different levels of processing. We are seeking a motivated undergraduate to help us with this exciting endeavor.

Prerequisites:

  • First prerequisite is that the student be really interested in the project.
  • A good command of python and pytorch is desired.
  • Basic knowledge of human cognitive neuroscience is a plus.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/bcs/nklab/

Contact: Katharina Dobs: kdobs@mit.edu


5/13/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Laura Schulz



Project Title: Lookit: Baby Physics

Project Description: The Early Childhood and Cognition Lab is recruiting summer research assistants to work on studies of exploration and learning. We use a variety of methods, from looking time studies with infants and behavioral measures with preschoolers, to surveys and eye-tracking experiments with adults.

The primary project "Lookit: Baby Physics" is a longitudinal study investigating infant understanding of physics. Students will aid with participant recruitment, preparing video data for analysis, and creating individualized reports for parents. This requires 15+ hours per week.

Students may also tackle an additional research project with the guidance of a graduate student or, with exceptional motivation, explore novel research questions. We currently study topics including the development of language, causality, problem solving, and social reasoning abilities. Students interested in a second project should expect to commit 8+ additional hours per week.

Minimum time commitments:

  • 8+ weeks (May - August) with potential to continue in the Fall
  • 10+ hrs/week to work with infant video data (MIT campus)
  • 3+ hrs/week working with families at the Boston Children's Museum
  • 2+ hrs/week attending meetings, such as weekly reading group or programming workshop (R)

Prerequisites:

  • Commit to 15+ hrs/week, flexible scheduling
  • Great interpersonal skills and patience, and ability to engage young children (2-6 years old)
  • Previous experience coding in Python or R is a plus
  • Attention to detail, heaps of enthusiasm, and a curious mind

Please submit an application through the attached URL.

Relevant URL: https://forms.gle/UVHu45EkBUWbTXw66

Contact: Junyi Chu: junyichu@mit.edu


5/13/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amy Glasmeier

Project Title: Geography of the Global Economy: Energy Systems in Transition

Project Description: Help design and publish an undergraduate course book on the Geography of the Global Economy. Using a program called Story Map, we will finish an online textbook for the Energy Studies Minor.  The information is already collected; the project is seeking someone who likes to write and to build and design learning tools. The student work closes with the professor and graduate students. Based on the experiences of countries around the world, but with an emphasis on China, Russia, and the U.S., the basics of energy from history, to measurement, to location, to politics and policy will be your summer fun. You will learn to use graphics, mapping, and statistical tools; render maps, formulate tables, and design charts. Critical bodies of knowledge will include cartography and statistics. Imagine taking a tour around the globe this summer and learning about the world energy system. You will have a desk in building 9, with plenty of room and good company.

Prerequisites: Curiosity, desire to travel, love to read maps, interested in diverse places, likes to read, make pictures and images.

Contact: Amy Glasmeier: amyglas@mit.edu


5/10/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alex 'Sandy' Pentland

Project Title: Deep learning: Domain Adaptation for Real-World Data

Project Description: In recent years, we have become very good at training deep neural networks to learn an accurate mapping from inputs to outputs, whether they are images of tumors to detect cancer, speech for voice assistants, or text for classifying sentiment. There is, however, one major limitation: to train these models we need massive amounts of accurately labeled training data. And since deep learning models are notoriously bad at generalizing to new domains, we need more and more labels for each new task or domain we want to apply our algorithms in. The real world is messy and contains an infinite number of novel scenarios so we need your help!

The ability to transfer knowledge from one domain where you have labeled data to a new domain where you have no labels is known as domain adaptation (or, more generally, as transfer learning). This is an active area of research and a number of solutions have been proposed. However, when you apply these new methods to real-world datasets, we find a number of issues that motivated us to come up with our own method that doesn’t have these issues. The first results from our new method are very promising but we want to develop our method further and apply it to different tasks and domains to really show its value.

In this UROP, you will be contributing to this state-of-the-art deep learning method and to our research paper. We are planning to submit this paper sometime after the summer to one of the top machine learning conferences and we hope that we can include you as a co-author! You will be working closely with a Computer Science PhD student at the Media Lab. You will have your own desk space during the summer and will be part of Sandy Pentland's research group. Applicants should have at least basic machine learning experience and preferably also some more advanced experience with neural networks.

Prerequisites:

  • Machine learning coursework or knowledge
  • Experience with python ML stack (eg PyTorch, TensorFlow, Keras, or scikit-learn)
  • Bags of enthusiasm
  • Capacity to work full time during the summer.

Plus: Deep learning experience with PyTorch is a plus

Contact: Michiel Bakker: bakker@mit.edu.  Interested UROPs should send their resumes and preferably a small paragraph with their relevant experience. We are looking for one full-time summer UROP but highly motivated part-time UROPs will also be considered.

Looking forward to a fun and productive summer :)!

Feel free to drop me an email or stop by (E15-384B) if you have any questions.


5/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amy Glasmeier

Project Title: Identifying and combating the causes and consequences of system and technology failures of critical infrastructure

Project Description: This summer we will develop search tools that enable us to develop a comprehensive database of the causes and consequences of system and technology failures of critical infrastructure. This will take into account human and technology-related shortcomings as well as the growing concern about cybersecurity and espionage. We have begun to develop the framework for analyzing the full range of materials available, and we have a crude search tool that has the opportunity to be genuinely revolutionary. Our UROP will be integrally involved in the development of the first comprehensive assessment of cascading failure among various networks. We also plan to take several field trips to energy generation-related sites to apply our theoretical understandings in analyzing contemporary examples of failures such as the over-pressurization of the 41 miles of gas lines in Western Massachusetts. Our goal is to generate deep and validated understandings about the types of errors that can cause severe system disruptions and for which we can propose possible responses and possible technical solutions.

Prerequisites: Interested in large scale, interlinked, critical infrastructure systems.

Contact: Amy Glasmeier: amyglas@mit.edu


5/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amy Glasmeier

Project Title: Help Design the Future by Working With the MIT Living Wage Tool

Project Description: The Living Wage Calculator, hosted by MIT is looking for energetic students to write stories, define communities, and identify companies paying living wages in America. MIT hosts the nationally recognized Living Wage Calculator (established 2003) used every day by tens of thousands of communities, citizens, and companies to determine their local cost of living. Using the tool communities, companies and individuals have successfully raised the wages for Americans. We have been approached to help super charge the tool by organizing its user communities to demonstrate where serious progress is evident in reducing income inequality by paying living wages. Visualizations, in-depth data analysis, and clever engagements with user communities are the goals of this summer’s work in anticipation of a fall roll-out that fundamentally changes the tool’s capacity to inform Americans of their economic circumstances. We are preparing to offer free data and analysis tools to our user communities. Students will be giving free rein to design tools and propose platforms to enhance engagement in support of the tool’s mission.

Prerequisites: Writers, artists, computer programmers, tool builders, data sleuths, aspiring political leaders and contemplative athletes are welcome.

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

Contact: Amy Glasmeier: amyglas@mit.edu


5/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Afreen Siddiqi

Project Title: Evolvable Architectures for Autonomous Driving Systems

Project Description: In autonomous driving (AD) systems in vehicles, the physical components (hardware and software) are rapidly undergoing technological development. Furthermore, future market demands and trends are unknown for autonomous vehicles. These uncertainties make the design and optimization problem for architecture of AD systems extremely challenging. The overall focus of this project is to determine optimal platforms that can easily evolve over time while meeting requirements of cost, safety and other performance measures. This project is being conducted in close collaboration with Hitachi Automotive Systems. The undergraduate student or students selected to work on this project will create software modules that will be used for guiding architecture selection of future AD systems. Furthermore, they will join bi-weekly teleconferences and interact with AD engineers at Hitachi.

The key tasks involved in the project include:

  1. Implement a cost model for autonomous driving systems. The model will estimate research and development costs and manufacturing and production costs. Additionally, the model will estimate costs incurred for changing AD architectures. The key equations and data have already been compiled and the equations now need to be implemented as a software module (in python or Matlab) and interfaced with other modules of an analytical framework.
  2. Conduct simulation runs off a time-expanded decision network to identify optimal evolvable architectures.
  3. Assist in compiling a technical report of the simulation analysis.

This is a paid UROP project with competitive hourly rates based on student experience.

Hours: 15+ hours per week, flexible scheduling.

Prerequisites: programming skills in Python and or Matlab required.

Contact: Afreen Siddiqi: siddiqi@mit.edu


5/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: James Glass

Project Title: Interpreting deep learning models for speech and language

Project Description: The Spoken Language Systems group at CSAIL is looking for UROP students to help with several projects in speech and language processing using neural networks. The projects focus on analyzing, interpreting, and improving end-to-end deep learning models for speech and language processing. In particular, we have been working on finding linguistic information in language models, machine translation, and speech recognition, using supervised and unsupervised learning methods. We are looking for students to develop and implement algorithms for analyzing new models and datasets. This is a great opportunity to improve your machine learning skills and learn about state-of-the-art models for speech and language processing.

Prerequisites: This position requires excellent programming skills in Python and machine learning experience, which can be satisfied by 6.036 or 6.867. Experience with language and/or speech processing (for example via 6.863/6.864/6.345) is a strong plus.

Relevant URL: https://www.csail.mit.edu/research/understanding-language-representations-deep-learning-models

Contact: Yonatan Belinkov: belinkov@mit.edu


5/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs F. Jensen

Project Title: Accelerating Reaction Optimization Using Machine Learning

Project Description: Efficient reaction optimization is of crucial importance in accelerating pharmaceutical process development. Most reaction optimization problems are solved by modeling the reaction as a black box, with surrogate models built from correlating the input and output data. One drawback of this approach is that every reaction is treated as a new black box with resampling needed for optimization. However, since chemicals have some inherent similarity and reactions of particular classes proceed by consistent mechanisms, it is possible to leverage prior optimization results from similar reactions when beginning a new optimization task. It is desirable to make use of existing information to minimize the experimental burden when exploring a new reaction within a well-studied chemical space.

The goal of the project is to use machine learning to create models that can be used as informative starting points for optimizing new reactions, and to enable faster reaction optimization overall. We will be focusing on Suzuki coupling reactions, with the goal of quickly determining which combination of catalyst, solvent, and base delivers the highest reaction yield. Machine learning models will be trained on experimental data for yield prediction and tested on new reactions to select the optimal conditions, which will be compared with experiments. The student’s role will be data processing, applying/retraining machine learning models for yield prediction, and possibly assisting with the execution of related experiments.

Prerequisites: The project involves Python programming, so at least a moderate level of Python familiarity is required. Experience with logistic regression/neural network models is a plus.

Contact: Hanyu Gao: hanyugao@mit.edu


5/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Hsu

Project Title: The influence of political spending on utility regulators

Project Description: This project studies the influence of political spending on regulators on public utility commissions, and whether political spending affects their setting of rates and allowed expenditures.

Two-thirds of energy utilities in the United States are investor owned utilities (IOUs). IOUs do not face competition in their service territories because of the theory of natural monopoly, and therefore are largely regulated by state-level public utility commissions (PUCs) whose job it is to set rates of return or service that are “fair, reasonable, and just” and to judge which expenditures can be charged to consumers.

Commissioners are usually appointed to PUCs by state level executives and legislatures. However, in the wake of the Citizens’ United ruling (2010) at the U.S. Supreme Court, many political groups including IOUs, energy conglomerates, and environmental groups have sharply increased their political spending, in the form of campaign contributions, charitable giving, and issue advocacy to political candidates and parties.

This research seeks to understand if political spending has any measurable effect on the activities of PUCs, in terms of rate setting or judgements that have a direct economic effect on the utility itself.

Work will consist of: creating a database of state- and local-level political spending to candidates, parties, and charitable organizations; comments by charitable organizations; commissioner appointments by political officeholders and parties; rulings on rate cases and allowed expenditures by utilities; and state-level ballot initiatives related to energy and environment.

We will also be working with campaign finance and energy advocates, reading about campaign finance and energy issues, and writing up the results.

Students will learn, extend, or use the following skills: gathering and working with multiple sources of data; data analysis; and understanding of how the energy industry is regulated

Prerequisites: Students with any interest in energy, environment, economics, political science, policy or government issues are welcome. Familiarity with spreadsheets.

Contact: David Hsu: ydh@mit.edu


5/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Hsu

Project Title: How can we meet New York City’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions of buildings?

Project Description: The City of New York has for the past fifteen years been an environmental leader among U.S. and global cities. The City of New York first committed in 2017 to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2050. One of the largest sources of energy use and carbon emissions in the city are related to building energy use and on-site combustion for heating and cooling, and so has become the main policy priority for the city to reduce its carbon emissions. As part of the city’s overall climate mobilization policies, in April 2019, the city passed strict carbon emissions limits on buildings in the city over 25,000 square feet to be met by 2029 and 2039.

This research seeks to understand key issues to help the city meet its goals. Key questions: How many buildings currently meet the city’s carbon emission limits? How much work and spending is required to meet the city’s carbon emission limits? What effect will this work and spending have on the city’s green jobs workforce? What policies will best assist in the growth of the city’s workforce towards these goals?

Research work will consist of: analyzing data from the City of New York on energy use and energy efficiency opportunities in buildings; working with professor and collaborators in New York City on statistical data analysis; and writing up some of the key issues above.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with open data, R, spreadsheets, and data analysis are all desirable but not necessary. Students with any interest in energy, environment, economics, political science, policy or government issues are welcome.

Contact: David Hsu: ydh@mit.edu


5/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Changing Places _ Transformable Kitchen

Project Description: The City Science Group (Changing Places) at The Media Lab is seeking a UROP for the summer or Fall of 2019. This is for an undergraduate enrolled at MIT with demonstrated skills/experience in Robotics, electronics development and industrial engineering. Experience in architecture, environmental psychology 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
  • Fold-able 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


5/8/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leon Glicksman

Project Title: Thermal Comfort through Low-Energy Means

Project Description: Prof. Leon Glicksman seeks one undergraduate student to assist in an ongoing research project related to thermal comfort in homes in resource-constrained areas of India & Nepal. Using MIT-based scale testing within a climate-controlled facility, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and energy simulation techniques, the project will investigate different building assemblies on the basis of ease of implementation, cost, and performance. Overseen by a current graduate student, the UROP student will aid in the construction of physical mock-ups and in the subsequent data collection and processing. Multiple iterations of the mock-ups are likely. The project will also touch on the active components of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning to control the climate facility. Throughout the summer, the student will learn the functions of the various components and the operation via a building management system.

Prerequisites: The student will be expected to have an elementary knowledge of building components and heat flow as well as a working knowledge of basic hand tools and associated personal safety. The student is expected to have demonstrated a willingness to see projects to completion and to work independently on subsets of the overall project. Understanding of measurement and instrumentation techniques for air flow and temperature is preferred but not required.

Local (Boston-metro) travel is possible for the purposes of equipment and material collection, as well as off-site testing.

Relevant URL: https://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/thermally-autonomous-low-income-housing/

Contact John Kongoletos: jkongole@mit.edu


5/7/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Benjamin Olken

Project Title: Computer Vision Traffic Sensing

Project Description: Interested in a cutting-edge application of computer vision algorithms with social impact? Do you want to hone your ML skills while studying an important urban problem?

Project: This project will process real-time video feeds from thousands of cameras across Jakarta, one of the most traffic congested cities in the world. The goal is to construct a detailed dataset of vehicle counts and types. These data will feed into a study of the public transport network and its impact on traffic congestion and travel modes.

Challenge: The computer vision challenge is to train accurate, scalable deep neural network classifiers that can be applied in near-real time on hundreds of cameras.

You: We seek an exceptional full-time UROP during the summer to make an important contribution to this project. You will work closely with researchers and faculty at MIT and Harvard to develop and launch this data collection effort.

The ideal candidate:

  • Computer science major or extensive related course and project experience
  • Project experience with computer vision algorithms
  • Proficiency with python, git
  • Keen attention to detail and perseverance

Relevant URL: https://sites.google.com/site/gabrielkreindler/work-with-me/computer-vision-traffic-sensing-urop

Contact: Gabriel Kreindler: gkreindler@fas.harvard.edu


5/7/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

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

Project Description: The City Science research group at the Media Lab is developing a shared-use, on-demand autonomous tricycle for moving people and goods in cities. This new category of hybrid, robotic vehicles opens up a new avenue of research not just in new mobility services, but also in the design of streets and infrastructure.  To help accelerate the adoption of such new solutions, we are also building tools for public sectors to visualize urban mobility-related conditions and simulate change. This role will play a key support to researchers at City Science on maintaining and further developing new browser-based tools for mobility visualization and simulation. Successful UROPs will have the opportunity to further develop the project during Summer (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.

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

Required Skill:

  • Javascript

Desired Experience:

  • Node.js
  • Web database (e.g. MongoDB, Google Firebase, AWS etc.)
  • OpenStreetMap
  • Agent-based simulation

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

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


5/7/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Human Machine Interaction (HMI) Development for Autonomous Robots

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

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

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

Required Skill:

  • Python

Desired Experience:

  • ROS
  • Embedded Systems

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

Contact: Phil Tinn: ptinn@mit.edu


5/7/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Broad Institute (BR)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nir Hacohen

Project Title: Genetic screens in T lymphocytes to study cancer immunology

Project Description: The Hacohen lab has identified many genetic associations with both resistance and sensitivity to immunotherapy in cancer patients. We are now studying these genes in mouse models to better understand the mechanisms by which nominated genetic pathways operate to influence tumor immunity. We plan to use pooled CRISPR screens both in vitro and with in vivo mouse tumor models to identify both the genes and noncoding regions most important for regulating tumor-specific T lymphocytes.

Prerequisites: Experience working in a biology lab is preferred, however no specific skills are required other than a strong interest to contribute to our research efforts.

Contact: Marc Schwartz: smarc@broadinstitute.org


5/7/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Simulation for Imaging Through Scattering

Project Description: In the Camera Culture group, we are developing a simulation to model photon propagation in a scattering media (such as skin tissue and fog) to image through scattering. We are looking for an undergraduate student who can help us develop features that are useful to understand how photons behave in the scattering media. The responsibility of UROP is to develop and optimize new features on the simulation platform. Please include your most recent resume/CV and the project title in your application.

Prerequisites: Experience in Python

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

Contact: Tomohiro Maeda: tomotomo@mit.edu


5/7/19

Spring

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.

This research 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 technical support and input from both Prof. Nick Fang’s group and the research team at Cabot Corporation.

Prerequisites:

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

Relevant URLs:

Contact: Xinhao Li: xinhaoli@mit.edu


5/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Vivek Farias

Project Title: Fair lending to small farmers

Project Description: In this project, we want to build a fair credit scoring mechanism that can be used for financing small farmers. Small farmers constitute the majority of farmers in developing countries. These farmers rely heavily on loans from formal/informal sources for growing crops. A credit scoring mechanism which appropriately captures their willingness to pay and does not penalize them for factors beyond their control like weather conditions, crop prices is desired. These accurate risk estimates can then be used to design loans which satisfy the farmers’ needs at an interest rate matching their credit-worthiness. We will use rigorous quantitative techniques based on machine learning to build this credit scoring mechanism.

For this project, we are partnering with a large public sector bank in India which has a strong presence in the agricultural lending sector.

Responsibilities: We are looking for a UROP who would work on the dataset obtained from our industry partner,  collect data from alternative sources and help in building the credit scoring mechanism.

Prerequisites:

  • Fluency in Python is required.
  • Familiarity with basic machine learning tools is preferred.
  • Web scraping skills are preferred but not required.

Contact: Deeksha Sinha: deeksha@mit.edu


5/3/19

Summer

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. 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. If computing work is desired, programming experience and familiarity with Linux preferred. Commitment beyond one term is required (at least through IAP or ideally for the year).

Contact: Christopher Ng: cwng@mit.edu

 


5/3/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniel Irving Bernstein

Project Title: Low-rank matrix completion for experimental design in cognitive neuroscience

Project Description: In cognitive neuroscience, one often wishes to determine the effects of various stimuli on the brain. To this end, one may design an experiment wherein all study participants are exposed to a handful of stimuli while their brain activity is measured. Brain imaging is costly, so such studies are typically limited to no more than 5 participants and 10 stimuli. One can attempt to reduce costs, and thus run larger studies, by showing each participant only a subset of the stimuli, then extrapolating the results in a principled way. This project aims to develop mathematical tools for determining which participants should be shown which stimuli to maximize efficacy of the study.

Prerequisites: Good understanding of linear algebra, good programming skills. Some knowledge of graph theory would be helpful, but is not necessary.

Contact: Daniel Irving Bernstein: dibernst@mit.edu


5/1/19

Summer/Fall

Multiple Openings

UROP Department, Lab or Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert C Armstrong

Project Title: UROP Projects On Techno-economics of 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, especially in the context of a low-carbon energy future? If yes, we have some exciting ongoing projects that you could work on.

Project #1: Investigation of the techno-economics of hybrid systems using gas-turbines and advanced energy storage systems (Summer 2019)

We’re investigating the techno-economics of hybrid systems that employ gas-turbines together with advanced energy storage devices such as batteries. As renewables become a more prevalent source our energy in our society, our electrical grid will need to adapt accordingly to account for the variable nature of resources such as wind and solar PV. As the system transitions, conventional generators such as gas turbines often have to ramp up and down rapidly to address this variability and to make sure that the load is met. Such rapid ramps come at a cost to these systems in the form of efficiency losses and higher operational and maintenance costs. Can energy storage systems such as batteries, thermal storage or other chemical storage options play a role here by alleviating the need for these ramps and allowing the gas turbine to operate at more economical levels or are these storage options too expensive to provide such a service? Also, while storage may improve gas turbine operation, how does this integration affect the system as a whole? We’re using operational data from gas turbines to answer questions of these sort, which have significant real-world implications as we devise ways to address climate change more efficiently. We invite you to come be a part of our team.

Requirements:

  • Programming:
    • Fluency with Python
    • Modeling experience (preferred not required)
    • familiarity with processing modeling platforms like Aspen Plus or HYSYS (preferred not required)
  • Web Development (preferred not required):
    • Experience with Django
    • Fluency in PhP
    • Experience in web programming and database development

Project #2: Techno-economic analysis of the costs of advanced energy storage systems: Energy Storage Technology Assessment Tool (ESTAT) Development (Summer and/or 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 investigate hydrogen-based systems and flow batteries. 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 (preferred not required):
    • Experience with Django
    • Fluency in PhP
    • Experience in web programming and database development

Contact: Apurba Sakti,Research Scientist, MIT Energy Initiative, sakti@mit.edu


5/1/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ernest Fraenkel

Project Title: Machine Learning for Metabolite Identification

Project Description: Mass spectrometry (MS) is an important tool for analyzing and quantifying complex biological mixtures. Mass spectrometry of metabolites lags behind proteomics MS due to difficulty in assigning an unambiguous chemical annotation to the more complex mass spectra generated by metabolites. It is believed that a great deal of interesting signal in metabolomics experiments goes unnoticed as a result.

We're looking for a student to research, implement and comparatively evaluate machine-learning algorithms from the literature for identification of metabolite molecules from mass spectrometry data.

Prerequisites: Coursework in machine learning and statistics. Familiarity with theory of mass spectrometry or willingness to learn. Python fluency. Knowledge of Bayesian inference and R fluency a plus.

Relevant URL: fraenkel.mit.edu

Contact: Michael Murphy: murphy17@mit.edu


4/30/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew Whittle

Project Title: Geospatial Resilience Analysis of Urban Transit Networks

Project Description: Sea level rise and anthropogenic climate change pose a steadily increasing risk to coastal cities and the engineered systems therein. In this project, we will utilize Javascript and D3 to create a resilience assessment tool for Greater Boston’s rapid transit system (colloquially known as the “T”). This project will involve the processing and visualization of geospatial data in order to understand and quantify the impacts of projected flood risks on the rapid transit network. Longitudinal analyses of system resilience will also be performed, in which a Monte Carlo simulation will be used to better characterize the stochastic nature of the problem. Approximately 10 hours of work per week will be expected.

Prerequisites: The student should be comfortable programming in Javascript, although strong familiarity with the language is preferred. Additionally, experience with D3 and/or ArcGIS API is strongly preferred.

Contact: Mike Martello: martello@mit.edu


4/30/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: W. Craig Carter

Project Title: MITcoin App Development for MindHandHeart

Project Description: The MindHandHeart Initiative is looking for an enthusiastic undergraduate student for a summer position to create a “ MITcoin" app. MITcoin is a new currency generated through random acts of kindness and donated to charity at the end of each year.

The student will be responsible for creating a mobile app for students to access their MITcoin account (currently available online at MITcoin.mit.edu) and exchange coins with each other, as well as helping coordinate and plan for the campus-wide roll-out of the app this fall. The ideal student will be interested in both the coding and app design aspect of the project, while being eager to help further the charitable aim of the project (e.g. developing a roll-out and publicity plan, meeting and coordinating with relevant offices at MIT).

Option to continue through the fall, if the student wishes.

Prerequisites: Should be familiar with Javascript and CSS as well as React Native, C++, Java, or another app design language compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Relevant URL: mitcoin.mit.edu

Contact: Mary Elizabeth Wagner: mbwagner@mit.edu


4/30/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

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

Project Description: Ultrasound imaging is widely used in medical diagnosis due to its harmlessness, low cost, and real-time dynamic imaging capabilities. However, the rigid transducer probes in current ultrasound imaging systems require manual scanning over the skin surface in a sequential manner, which is time consuming and may cause discomfort to people. The main goal of this research is to develop a soft biomedical device based on piezoelectric arrays for ultrasound imaging, which is miniaturized and stretchable to conformably cover the skin surface, and rapidly obtain high quality images of human’s tissue. 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 imaging device that can be seamlessly integrated with the human body to achieve continuous high quality monitoring of human deep tissues/organs functions. We microfabricate the devices in our own cleanroom (YellowBox) at the Media Lab. In this project, the student will collaborate closely with the Faculty Supervisor and Research Scientist to (1) characterize the piezoelectric properties of single crystal, (2) fabricate the flexible ultrasound device, (3) generate pulse-echo signals and work on delay-and-sum algorithm, and (3) build up Wave Propagation Simulation by COMSOL. Meanwhile, the UROP will be taught how to operate the testing equipment such as impedance analyser oscilloscope, pulse-echo receiver, National Instrument system, laser doppler vibrometer, etc. Other trainings will be conducted including reviewing literatures, processing recorded data,  and writing academic report.

Prerequisites: We are looking for one UROP who is self-motivated, methodical, careful and organized and diligent. Students from Electric Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, who has skills on hardware system design and MATLAB for simulation and are highly preferred.

Contact: Lin: linzh@media.mit.edu


4/25/19

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Clark K. Colton

Project Title: Purification of Cannabinoids for Medical Use

Project Description: More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified in marijuana (Cannabis sativa), most thought to have medical benefit.  Most have never been tested because they are not available in pure form.  A new method using supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) with CO2 has shown promise.  In this project, you will make use of a sophisticated, fully automated system to study the separation capability of SFC with a variety of cannabinoids found in the plant.  The results of this project may lead to a new method for isolating purified medicines from marijuana.

This position is for credit and/or pay and is available for all or a portion of summer 2019.

Prerequisites: Chemistry or Chemical Engineering Laboratory

Contact: Professor Clark K. Colton: ckcolton@mit.edu


4/25/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: James Kirtley

Project Title: Extreme Battery Operation and System Balancing for Lifetime Preservation

Project Description: Energy buffers, or batteries, are used a wide range of applications from rural electrification to military weapons systems.  A key question for every application is how to maximize total battery utility. This project focuses on studying the lifetime impact of extreme battery operation and designing a hardware solution to mitigate battery cell imbalance issues.

The primary goal of this UROP is to perform various battery cycling experiments to understand how different cycle characteristics affect degradation.  In parallel, the UROP will have the opportunity to design a balancing system to address unbalanced charging and discharging issues in a multi-cell lithium-ion system.

The student will gain experience in benchtop lab equipment control, battery cycling tradeoffs, PCB design, system modeling, and AI concepts for battery applications.  The student would also have the opportunity to collaborate with battery experts to gain insights on battery operation and lifetime elongation. The expertise gained from this project would be invaluable in both academic and industry positions.

This position will have an expected commitment of 40 hours per week and will last the duration of the Summer semester.

Prerequisites: 6.002, 6.003, basic programming and simulation (Matlab, LTspice, or Plecs)

Contact: Rakesh Kumar: rkumar3@mit.edu


4/24/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Advanced Bacterial Genome Editing Tools

Project Description: Recombineering is a method for incorporating changes quickly and specifically into the genome of E. coli. We have found a method for both improving the efficiency of this method in E. coli and for allowing it to work in non-E. coli bacteria. We are testing the limits of our ability to genetically modify various bacteria, using next-generation sequencing and flow-cytometry readouts. A student that is motivated to understand, develop, and utilize cutting edge genetic engineering tools is sought.

Prerequisites: Dedication and interest are the primary attributes of a successful candidate.

Contact: Timothy Wannier: timothy_wannier@hms.harvard.edu


4/23/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Speech Analysis as a Health Tracking Tool

Project Description: UROP position for Summer 2019: Using voice quality and other phonetic and prosodic dimensions of the speech signal to track the effectiveness of health treatments. We are forming a team to study voice quality variation with respect to the prosody of spoken utterances, as it changes during treatment for heart-disease-related edema.  In this project you will learn to label the spoken prosody (phrasing and accent) of recorded speech, learn to label the acoustic-phonetic dimensions of voice quality, and/or use analysis algorithms to determine how episodes of voice quality variation episodes (creaky voice, breathiness) align with prosodic phrasing and prominence, and how this alignment changes during clinical treatment.

Prerequisites: Useful background includes courses in linguistics (especially phonetics), signal processing, and/or familiarity with MATLAB and Python.

Position is 50% time (20 hours per week) for 10-12 weeks June-August, and pays $15 per hour.

Contact: Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, Speech Communication Group, RLE: sshuf@mit.edu


4/23/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Research Laboratory for Electronics (RLE)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Speech errors as evidence for speech production planning models

Project Description: Summer UROP in Psycholinguistics: Speech errors (like rath meview for math review, she told him for he told her, and in case we experience unexperienced turbulence for in case we experience unexpected turbulence) reveal a lot about the cognitive process of planning a spoken utterance, such as what kinds of planning units are represented (individual speech sounds and morphemes, but not individual syllables), what the planning framework looks like (prosody plays a role), and what steps are involved in the planning process (serial ordering followed by sound spellout).  This project involves mining a large database of speech errors collected over the years, to test hypotheses about the speech planning process, as well as adding to that corpus by harvesting errors from existing speech databases. The position is for 20 hours per week, and pays $13 per hour.

Prerequisites: Desirable background includes courses in linguistics (especially phonology or phonetics), courses in cognitive science and some experience with databases.

Contact: Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, RLE Speech Communication Group: sshuf@mit.edu


4/23/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: V. Michael Bove

Project Title: LUI: A new HCI for voice and gestures on Large Displays and Augmented Reality

Project Description: LUI is a scalable, multimodal web-interface that uses a custom framework of nondiscrete, free-handed gestures and voice to control modular applications with a single stereo-camera (Leap Motion) and voice assistant (Google Home). The gestures and voice input are mapped to ReactJS web elements to provide a highly-responsive and accessible user experience.

This interface can be deployed on an AR or VR system, heads-up displays for autonomous vehicles, and everyday large displays. We are looking for passionate individuals who are excited about creating new engaging apps and utilizing voice and gestures in unique ways. We also have access to a Magic Leap to test in AR environments. See below link on current demo.

Prerequisites:

  • UI/UX design for web (required)
  • HTML/JS/CSS Web Development (required)
  • prefer ReactJS experience
  • prefer Leap Motion/GoogleHome/Magic Leap experience

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/large-user-interface-with-gesture-and-voice-feedback/overview/

Contact: Vik Parthiban: vparth@mit.edu


4/23/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rebecca Saxe

Project Title: Individual differences in emotional intelligence

Project Description: How does one person infer another's emotional experience? The intuitive answer—by watching her facial expressions—is often surprisingly incorrect. We use computational models to understand how humans reason over emotionally-relevant information and make inferences about other people's minds.

This UROP project focuses on what makes some people better able to use others' expressions to infer what recently happened to them. This will involve designing mechanical Turk experiments, collecting in-person data from human participants, and analyzing people’s responses. Familiarity with web interface design and the Scipy ecosystem are particularly useful, as is having taken a course in probability. We expect a strong time commitment over the summer but the project can begin earlier and extend into the Fall.

Prerequisites: No strict prerequisites but the ability to produce interactive multimedia websites (Javascript, CSS, HTML), familiarity with python-based data analysis (Scipy, Pandas, matplotlib, etc.), and exposure to probability are all useful.

Relevant URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmCOdGHEq-s

Contact: Dae Houlihan: daeda@mit.edu


4/19/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann Graybiel

Project Title: Use Matlab to model and analyze neural recording signals and decision-making behavior in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease

Project Description: Help us solve the mysteries of the brain using your Matlab, programming and modeling skills! This is an ideal project for students interested in putting their computer programming and data science skills to use for the helping to unravel the brain mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease, particularly Huntington's disease. You will help us to develop modeling using machine learning approaches, algorithms for big data analyses working using OpenMind high performance computing cluster, and data visualizations from neural photometry recording data and decision-making behavioral task data. You may also help to develop and refine new features for a custom behavioral training system for mice. We interface this system with imaging and recording systems to allow recording of the striatum of mice during different behavioral tasks. This project combines programming, data visualization, and novel approaches to data analysis, with possible addition of electronics. The student will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule. The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have MATLAB programming skills. In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of neurons in the striatum and other brain areas in simple behavioral tasks performed by rats and mice, typically involving learning. The striatum is a key part of the basal ganglia that receives input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in procedural learning, habit formation, action selection, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Prerequisites: The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have MATLAB programming skills. Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who could work over the whole summer for credit, either full-time or part-time. UROP projects are for credit; with increasing experience or in special cases, we will consider UROPs for pay.

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


4/19/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alexander Rothkopf

Project Title: Vaccine Supply Chain Network Optimization in Ethiopia

Project Description: Our project partner in a large African country seeks help to optimize the country's vaccine supply chain. They consider closing some warehouses and conducting monthly direct deliveries to improve vaccine availability in local health clinics to increase the number of vaccinated children.

In this project you will work closely with us and the implementing partner on the ground to develop an optimization model that will advise the decision makers which warehouses to close and how to ship directly to the health facilities.

Our partner is eager to develop this model. The project would start immediately (April 2019) and will end 6-8 weeks later with practically implementable recommendations for our implementing partner.

What you will learn:

  • develop a model for supply chain network design
  • implement a linear program in Python and develop analyses and recommendations
  • understand key drivers of vaccine supply chains in an African country
  • directly impact decision making in a country to ensure children are vaccinated

Prerequisites:

  • You must be familiar with python and handling large amounts of data.
  • You must be available from mid April to mid June to work on this project.
  • You should also know about linear programming.
  • Previous experience in network design and GurobiPy is a plus, but not necessary.

Contact: Alexander Rothkopf: rothkopf@mit.edu


4/19/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Anuradha Annaswamy

Project Title: Long Term Learning in Adaptive Flight Control

Project Description: Aerial vehicles feature a set of complex and uncertain dynamics. The structure of the dynamics as well as uncertainties in the system must be accounted for in the design of stable adaptive control algorithms. Adaptive control has typically considered estimating uncertainty in real time, without long-term memory. This project will explore long-term learning approaches in adaptive flight control where unknowns are learned and stored for future use. Tools from machine learning as well as stability analysis will be leveraged. The algorithms developed by this project will be integrated with existing output feedback adaptive controllers and result in an enhanced adaptive flight control system.

Prerequisites: Previous experience in MATLAB/Simulink and knowledge of notions in control/dynamical systems is required. Experience in machine learning is a plus but not a requirement.

Contact: Joseph Gaudio: jegaudio@mit.edu


4/19/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Les Norford

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

Project Description: The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism and the Building Technology Program in the Department of Architecture are collaborating to develop an open-source mesoscale city-region energy simulation platform. The platform will integrate and balance energy demand changes (both efficiency and growth) from households and businesses with an increasing supply of renewables with the necessary storage from electric vehicles, grid scale batteries, and off-river hydro. The model will, when completed, allow large urban and suburban regions to optimize their transition to a low-carbon economy by finding robust, flexible, and cost-efficient strategies that best leverage a region’s entire set of land, building, and infrastructural capacities.

We seek are seeking a Summer UROP (8-10 weeks) to continue work started this Spring. The UROP will work with a regional partner in Australia to collect, process, and input data into a prior developed and validated regional-scale energy model. The UROP will then help to define, run, and analyze net benefits for various renewable transition pathway.

Towards improving accuracy of input data, the UROP will also help further develop algorithms that efficiently measure solar capacity on rooftops and open space and that predict energy demand shifts from future technology adoptions (building retrofits, electrification of transport, etc.)

Hours per week can be negotiated depending on availability. We prefer 20-30 but 10 can be accommodated. Must be in Boston/NY area over summer.

The ideal candidate is a rising third or fourth year with interest in sustainability, modeling, and urbanism generally. Perfect for those going into 11-6 as well, regardless of year.

Prerequisites:

  • Python (must be comfortable reading/writing code independently)
  • Experience or interest in learning energy simulation models
  • Comfort with statistical methods and simple machine-learning techniques

Contact: Les Norford: lnorford@mit.edu


4/19/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Markus J. Buehler

Project Title: 3D Printing on Mars: Engineering Martian Regolith for Future Dwellings

Project Description: Our group is investigating the feasibility of using natural and synthetic organic binders to 3D-print structures composed of simulated Martian regolith. We are looking to use materials derived from the indigenous Martian landscape such as water-ice, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and extractble minerals. This work is focused on NASA’s challenges and may identify elements and mining methods that can enhance the structural integrity of novel dwellings.

The team working on this project consists of graduate students, postdocs and research scientists and Institute affiliates as well as a small group of prospective MIT undergraduate applicants who will work on this project through the summer. The goal is to develop and test organic binders as well as draft functional specifications for binders that may be biologically derived, such as de novo engineered proteins.

We are looking for a UROP who has an interest in civil and environmental engineering, architecture, materials science, geoscience, and construction techniques and who also is interested in working with the next generation of MIT students in a laboratory and maker-space environment.

Prerequisites: Basic familiarity with the engineering design process; willing to be trained in MIT ‘s lab safety and research protocols; some experience in wet chemistry; and an interest geoscience and construction materials research

Contact: Markus J. Buehler: mbuehler@mit.edu


1/18/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Migration of the personal social robot across different robotic embodiments for a defined goal

Project Description: At Personal Robots group, we are building a system that allows an agent from a personal robot to migrate from its current embodiment to different robots for a defined goal. It provides a method to contextually share the information across different robots, direct the execution of the task of robots towards the goal and preserve the identity.

You will have the opportunity to work with robots such as Jibo: https://www.jibo.com, PEV: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/pev/overview/ and Kuri: http://heykuri.com/explore-kuri/

Prerequisites: In an initial phase of the project, we are specifically looking for a UROP position with deep expertise in deep learning (reinforcement learning) and ROS.

Contact: Ravi Tejwani: tejwanir@mit.edu


4/17/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Yoel Fink

Project Title: All-in-Fiber Computer

Project Description: Computers are trending towards form factors that are highly portable, small, personalized and even flexible. Here, we design and fabricate computing fibers with logic chips that sense, process, store, and provide useful feedback to users, hence creating a highly intelligent fabric wearable. We are seeking UROPs to assist us in the fiber fabrication, post-fiber electrical and structural characterization, fiber demonstration set-up, and to explore the different applications of these computing fibers especially into the biomedical space, robotics and human augmentation. The UROPs can expect to learn more about material studies on thermal drawing and electrical connections, fiber fabrication techniques, digital circuits, computing and sensors.

Prerequisites: The project is open to students majoring in material engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and other relevant fields. It will be great if the UROPs have experience in design and prototyping and have strong interest in hands-on experiments.

The UROP can be for credit or funding.

Relevant URL: http://www.rle.mit.edu/pbg/

Contact: Gabriel Loke: gabloke@mit.edu


4/17/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Markus J. Buehler

Project Title: Intersections of materiomics and sound: Designing new materials through music

Project Description: Our group is working on the interrelations of material and sound and its different manifestations. In recent work we have developed sonification approaches of biological material systems such as spider webs and various types of proteins. The algorithms enable us to translate geometric, genetic and physical properties of materials and structures (e.g. vibrations) into audible signals, and use them as a means to construct musical compositions either in an interactive of autonomous algorithmic manner. Via reversible translations these models allow us to translate materials to sound and sound into materials, enabling design to be conducted in distinct spaces.

We are looking for a UROP student with interests in both materials science/engineering (or a related field of physical sciences) and music theory and/or composition to explore new directions of research to discover fundamental principles of sonification and use of sonification in creating new musical expressions across different hierarchical scales in time and length. The project will involve a component of AI/machine learning and/or virtual reality.

We will provide relevant training to students and there is flexibility to adapt the project to meet a student’s interests. The most important trait we are looking for is passion and the desire to explore out-of-the-box high impact ideas for work at the cutting edge of engineering and art.

  • The work is cutting edge materials science research and can be very impactful. It will likely set foundations of a new direction of materials design principles.
  • The work will also impact the arts community and can lead to the design of new musical instruments (see, e.g. our earlier work on transforming a spider web into a “thousand-string harp”: http://news.mit.edu/2019/spider-web-music-inspiring-harmony-art-and-science-0108
  • Potential conference and journal publication, code development opportunities, possible development of interactive apps

Skill sets gained: New insights into materials science/engineering and design, multiscale material modeling, digital sound processing (likely using Max/MSP), music theory and applications, sonification and audio synthesis, translational science, machine learning/AI and data mining.

Prerequisites:

  • The student should have some coding background (e.g. in python or similar)
  • Experiences in materials engineering and interest in the arts, especially music and sound, is advantageous
  • The project may extend into the fall semester.

Contact: Markus J. Buehler: mbuehler@mit.edu


4/16/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joichi Ito

Project Title: Community Bio

Project Description: Come join the Media Laboratory’s Community Bio Initiative, led by Dr. David Sun Kong! As living technologies proliferate, how do we ensure that communities, diverse socioeconomically, culturally, and creatively, are able to not only experience its benefits, but are also active participants and agents of change?

Through this Initiative, we: (i) organize communities, including a growing network of ‘community biology’ labs as a new form of collective intelligence for the life sciences; (ii) work with partners at MIT Sloan School and Harvard Business School to develop frameworks for community and crowd-based innovation; and (iii) develop open-source, accessible tools for biotechnology.

We seek three to five UROP students to join our Summer team. 

Projects include:

Technology

  • Research robust, low-cost solutions versions of cutting edge bio-technologies;
  • Develop co-culture microbial systems;
  • Design and fabricate an open-source “Lab-in-a-Box,” a portable biotechnology laboratory;
  • Research electroporation of microbes in salty environments.
  • Design and fabricate an open-source, low-cost Plasmid Insertion and Extraction machine.

Collective Intelligence & Crowd-Based Innovation

  • Apply collective intelligence frameworks to communities and corporations in the life sciences in collaboration with the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence;
  • Develop and launch community contests & challenges for technology innovation. in collaboration with the Laboratory for Science and Innovation at Harvard (LISH)

Community Organizing:

  • Advance ‘Metafluidics,’ an open repository of fluidics and bio-hardware with a community of 1.5k+ users;
  • Organize the third annual Global Community Biology Summit, a gathering of community and independent bio labs around the world held at the Media Lab, Fall 2019.

Prerequisites:

  • a desire to utilize biotechnology and the life sciences as a means to create a more just, equitable society;
  • curiosity, enthusiasm, and a passion for learning;
  • Juniors are preferred for electronic board design and hardware prototyping;
  • Juniors/sophomores are preferred for wetlab work;

Experience & Skills (preferred but optional):

  • basic prototyping wet lab experience, including molecular and micro-biology techniques;
  • electronic board design and hardware;
  • microfluidic design and fabrication;
  • experience with fabrication technologies and hardware development, with biology applications a plus;
  • proficiency with wordpress and/or other web development platforms and tools;
  • social science experience related to collective intelligence or community/crowd-based innovation;
  • community organizing experience;
  • user experience design;

Contact: David Sun Kong, Ph.D.: dkong@mit.edu


4/16/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Moshe Ben-Akiva

Project Title: Integrated freight data collection using mobile sensing, wireless communication and machine learning algorithms

Project Description: In transportation modeling and simulation, disaggregate behavioral data is the key asset to unveil the dynamics in travel behaviors. However, the corresponding practical survey instruments have been primarily limited to traditional paper-and-pen or web-based questionnaires that heavily depend on asking the respondents to recollect what have been done, which lack accuracy and unable to collect detailed information. To challenge the status quo, our lab has been developing a smartphone-based software, Future Mobility Sensing (FMS), that delivers previously unobtainable mobility behavioral data and insights. The software tracks movement trajectories and infers information such as stops, activities and travel modes based on advanced sensing technologies and machine learning algorithms. The software is proven to be successful in improving the accuracy and granularity of the collected data while easing the burdens on the respondents at the same time.

FMS is capable of collecting data pertinent to passenger travel behaviors and freight. Both components have been fully developed and engaged in data collection efforts. Currently, we are focusing on improving the freight component and its implementations.

The student will mainly work on a logistic performance evaluator being designed and implemented in FMS, which serves as an analytical tool to assist users, such as drivers, establishments and government agencies, to facilitate more efficient logistics and transport operations. The student’s responsibility will mainly focus on data analysis and visualization, along with providing necessary technical support for the ongoing pilot of data collection with the software (maintaining the backend system/database). If the student has any interesting idea of extending the FMS platform in other aspects, we are also open to discussions.

The student will receive close support and guidance by researchers at MIT and software engineers in Singapore-MIT research alliance, and part of the tasks will be shared with rest of the team.

Prerequisites: The following skills are preferred but not necessarily required. Learning ability would be highly appreciated.

  • Ruby on Rails 4.1+ (5.1+ preferred), Nodejs
  • Relational databases (MySQL and PostgreSQL) and No-relational database (Mongodb)
  • Javascript, HTML, CSS, D3.js, Leaflet.js, Cesium.js and jQuery.js

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

Contact: Yifei Xie: yifeix@mit.edu


4/16/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph Paradiso

Project Title: On-body Wearable Robots

Project Description: We are developing a new type of robots that move around the human body. Such small robots can either move on the clothing or directly on the skin. The robots could be used for medical sensing and interventions, human-computer interactions, as well as fashion and art.

Some of the areas that we are exploring:

  1. Localization and controls. How robots can act and cooperate together
  2. Soft robotics. How can we fabricate small robot climbing robots using flexible and stretchable materials?
  3. Applications. For example, can we sense the properties of the skin? Also, how can we use robots to make cloth directly on the body or draw tattoos?

Prerequisites: Experience in one or multiple of the following areas is helpful:

  1. Programming (C, C++, Python)
  2. Electronics (sensors, embedded, PCBs)
  3. Mechanical Design  (CAD, fabrication)
  4. Robotics (controls, design, etc)

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/skinbot-a-wearable-skin-climbing-robot/overview/

Contact: Artem Dementyev: artemd@media.mit.edu


4/16/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hal Abelson

Project Title: AI and machine learning for K-12 students using mobile computing.

Project Description: MIT App Inventor lets young people all over the world create original apps for smartphones and tablets.   Recent advances in smart phone hardware and software technology (such as Google's Tensorflow.js) have made it possible to implement machine learning applications on mobile devices.  This UROP project will use this technology to let students in upper primary school, middle school and high school implement projects that take advantage of machine learning and AI capabilities like image recognition and language understanding.

Prerequisites: Most programming with be done in JavaScript, and it would help you have had some experience with Android or iOS development. There will also be opportunities to work directly with students and teachers.

Relevant URL: appinventor.mit.edu

Contact: Hal Abelson: appinventor-urop@mit.edu


4/16/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jonathan Polimeni

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

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

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

Prerequisites: Comfortable with LINUX/UNIX and Matlab.

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


4/16/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ekene Ijeoma

Project Title: Poetic Justice

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

Some of our first projects include:

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

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

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

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


4/16/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joshua Tenenbaum

Project Title: Moral Reasoning in Young Children

Project Description: Dr. Sydney Levine is currently seeking summer research assistants to work on studies of developmental moral psychology.  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 10-20 hours/week in the Boston/Cambridge area. 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. Dates: End of May 2019 through mid-August (flexible). 

Prerequisites: Previous experience working with young children.

Relevant URL: https://sites.google.com/site/sydneymlevine/research/summerra

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.


4/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title:  Building a new 3D printer for control of internal structures of materials.

Project Description: Project Description: We aim to build a novel 3D printer that is specially designed to print controlled and precise internal structures like porosivic and capillaries within materials to open a new design space of fabrication of fluidic interfaces for applications in the fields of Human computer interactions and human material interactions and design. We are looking for a  motivated and curious student to join us for the summer and help with design and construction of the 3D printer, the control system and fluid dynamics modeling.

Prerequisites: Student from EECS or MechE with machine planning and construction experience , programming,  experience in computational simulation /fluid dynamics modeling. Eager and curious to learn and create new things, develop creativity and design skills.

Contact: Hila Mor: Hilamor@media.mit.edu


4/12/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Charles Leiserson

Project Title: Enabling technology for AI and Machine Learning

Project Description: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications are critical technologies being applied to a wide variety of applications. From autonomous vehicles to cyber security, AI and ML techniques such as deep neural networks can learn from data to develop complex decision boundaries that often compete with human performance in applications such as image classification, strategy, and pattern recognition. While there are many well-publicized examples of algorithmic advances, many of the underlying algorithms are difficult to unravel when trying to gain an understanding of how an algorithm made a particular decision. In our prior work, we have built bottom-up algorithms with known mathematical foundations. This research explores the foundational aspects of machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Specifically, this project seeks to develop an understanding of and strengthen the mathematical foundations of popular machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Prerequisites: Strong mathematical background. Experience with programming is helpful, but not a requirement.

Relevant URLs: http://www.mit.edu/~kepner/; https://vijayg.mit.edu

Contact: Dr. Jeremy Kepner: kepner@ll.mit.edu


4/12/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Charles Leiserson

Project Title: Enabling technology for AI and Machine Learning

Project Description: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications are critical technologies being applied to a wide variety of applications. From autonomous vehicles to cyber security, AI and ML techniques such as deep neural networks can learn from data to develop complex decision boundaries that often compete with human performance in applications such as image classification, strategy, and pattern recognition. While there are many well-publicized examples of algorithmic advances, many of the underlying algorithms are difficult to unravel when trying to gain an understanding of how an algorithm made a particular decision. In our prior work, we have built bottom-up algorithms with known mathematical foundations. This research explores the foundational aspects of machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms. Specifically, this project seeks to develop an understanding of and strengthen the mathematical foundations of popular machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Prerequisites: Strong mathematical background. Experience with programming is helpful, but not a requirement.

Relevant URLs: http://www.mit.edu/~kepner/; https://vijayg.mit.edu

Contact: Dr. Jeremy Kepner: kepner@ll.mit.edu


4/12/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Townsend

Project Title: Spatial data visualization application

Project description: This project involves preparing data for use in a spatial data visualization application that will allow users to visualize and query extensive GIS data from US, Thailand and China. The project will begin in April.  The RA would be expected to work approximately 20 hours per week for the duration.  The RA will report to the Project Supervisor, Xiaowen Yang, and the Faculty Supervisor, Robert Townsend.

Qualifications: This position will require the ability to import data from different formats to Stata, identify indicator name and label by reading original documents, process data (aggregate, identify outliers, etc.) and export data to Microsoft Access. A student with proven experience in statistics or economics is preferred though not required. This is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to explore their interest in economics.

The candidate should be committed to the project.  While it is understood that the RA will have other commitments besides this project, it is important for the RA to be responsible in his work and be committed to the timeline agreed on with the project supervisor, and to communicate in a timely manner with the project supervisor.

Contact: Xiaowen Yang: xiaoweny@mit.edu


4/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Migration of the personal social robot across different robotic embodiments for a defined goal

Project Description: At Personal Robots group, we are building a system that allows an agent from a personal robot to migrate from its current embodiment to different robots for a defined goal. It provides a method to contextually share the information across different robots, direct the execution of the task of robots towards the goal and preserve the identity.

You will have the opportunity to work with robots such as Jibo: https://www.jibo.com and Kuri: http://heykuri.com/explore-kuri/ or autonomous bike on the following technologies:

Prerequisites: In an initial phase of the project, we are specifically looking for a UROP position to build a migration app on robots that requires expertise in Unity and ROS.

Contact: Ravi Tejwani: tejwanir@mit.edu


4/12/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Y. Karen Zheng

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

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

Tasks for UROP:

  1. Collect and process data, and conduct preliminary analysis involving machine learning techniques to draw valuable insights from the data.
  2. Test optimization algorithms on datasets

Prerequisites:

  1. Familiar with programming, particularly web scraping, and creating structured datasets/database.
  2. Experience in machine learning tools.
  3. 40 hours per week in the summer.

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

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


4/12/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Armstrong

Project Title: Economic Assessment of Hydrogen Technologies Participating in Electricity Markets

Project Description: The electricity sector is in the midst of an unprecedented transition driven by the emergence of new technologies, like wind, solar and energy storage and the increasing policy emphasis on decarbonization and decentralization. While there has been significant progress on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the power sector, the progress in other sectors has remained sluggish in part due to the lack of policy action as well as the high cost of alternative technologies. As the average GHG emissions intensity of electricity supply reduces over time with the adoption of wind and solar generation, electrification of other sectors like transport and industry is emerging as a viable alternative for economy-wide decarbonization. Pathways for electrification could include direct or indirect approaches using intermediate carriers like H2 produced from electrolytic water-splitting. This project is focused on studying the cost of electrolytic H2 production based on electricity sourced from a future low-carbon grid. The assessment will consider the value of electrolytic H2 production from the perspective of providing valuable grid-services such as demand flexibility and ancillary services, in a future grid with increasing share of wind and solar generation.

A UROP working with our group will:

  • Work on improving the existing grid operations models available in the group
  • Setup the input data for the case study of interests including solar, wind generation, electrolyzer operating parameters etc.
  • Solve the model for a variety of scenarios to systematically quantify the cost and emissions impact electrolyzer operations
  • Quantify the impacts of observed changes in the power system
  • Participate in weekly team discussions of research progress

Prerequisites: The best candidate will possess data analysis and coding experience in Python and familiarity with optimization models. The candidate will be interested in working with a team of chemical engineers, data scientists, and economists to study the nexus of energy and the environment.  Familiarity with the electric power system and hydrogen technologies will be beneficial but is not required.

Relevant URL: http://energy.mit.edu/profile/dharik-mallapragada/

Contact: Dharik Mallapragada: dharik@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Asada, H. Harry

Project Title: Simulation Design for Human Training in Advanced Manufacturing

Project Description: Each year over 200,000 people enter various apprenticeship programs in the United States. While the total number is large, most of them are for construction industries, e.g. plumbing, carpentry, and electric works. In contrast, the manufacturing automation and robotics segment is scant, and virtually no apprentice program is currently available in many states and regions. The needs for advanced manufacturing and robotics are increasing, and the significant talent shortage and skill gaps hamper the growth of manufacturing industries.

To solve this problem, Dr. Harry Asada and the d'Arbeloff lab recently received over $2 million dollars to develop a fully automated apprenticeship program called TeachBot to empower workers in manufacturing in the US with the skills necessary to work collaboratively with robots in modern manufacturing environments. The project is currently in early stages of development, and we are seeking a talented, passionate, and eager-to-learn UROP to develop interactive educational simulations for TeachBot learning modules. Simulations will be written using the ROS framework in Python and run in Gazebo or similar visualization software. Our ideal UROP would be proficient in ROS and Gazebo using Python and/or JavaScript, know how to generate CAD models, possess a high degree of independence, and be excited about STEM education and revolutionizing advanced manufacturing.

Benefits include mentoring from premier robotics researchers, an impressive headline project for your engineering portfolio, extremely flexible hours, and a desk in a nice office with a third story view.

Required: ROS, Python

Encouraged: Gazebo, JavaScript, CAD

Relevant URL: http://meche.mit.edu/news-media/professor-harry-asada-awarded-2-million-grant-develop-robotic-educational-tool-%E2%80%9Cteach-bo

Contact: Nick Selby: nselby@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Game Design for Child Robot Interaction

Project Description: As a part of our Early Literacy with Social Robots project, the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab is doing a long term in-school deployment of literacy games that young children play with robots. For this purpose, we designed a suite of language learning and creativity skills development games that children play with a robotic peer.

The games are developed for Android tablets and communicate with the Jibo robot over Robot Operating System (ROS). This UROP involves designing and deploying two creativity games where the child and the robot collaboratively create art. The games make use of RNN models to enable the robot to generate drawings and music. In the Spring semester, we developed these games in an Android environment and used the robot's app-toolkit to communicate with the robot. This UROP project involves developing robot interactions for the games using the ROS framework, as well as improvising the models to create better collaborative art . A large part of the project will be to make the game interactions usable and stable for a long term deployment.

Experience with Java is a must. Experience with ROS and game development is preferred.

Prerequisites:

  • Java
  • Python
  • Android App Development

Preferred: Experience with ROS, game design experience

Relevant URL: https://robotic.media.mit.edu/project-portfolio/

Contact: Safinah Ali: safinah@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Creative AI Education - Teaching

Project Description: In the Personal Robots Group at MIT Media Lab, we aim to make AI accessible to all. As a part of our larger AI Education project, we developed a Creative AI curriculum, which enables children make computational and generative art. We will be deploying and evaluating this curriculum in schools in Somerville over the summer. The UROP project involves curriculum development, teaching (grade 2 - 6), collecting and analyzing data. You will be teaching with 1 other instructor.

We will be teaching AI skills from an existing AI curriculum and basic hardware skills such as Arduino. The participants will be building and programming their own robots till the end of the workshop. You need to commit all Mondays in July (for the entire day) to teach in Somerville Public Schools.

Prerequisites: Arduino Javascript

Preferred: GANs, teaching experience, user research and evaluation

Contact: Safinah Ali: safinah@media.mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

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.

Please contact us with a resume or CV. Wellesley Students are welcome and encouraged to apply.

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

Contact: Leo Rosenstein: leaena@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Stewart III

Project Title: Data Initiatives in Election Science

Project Description: The need for science and transparency in the analysis of elections is an increasingly important part of our democracy. As the MIT Election and Data Science Lab (MEDSL) continues to grow we are working towards the goal of becoming the foremost clearinghouse for election science data. Although much data exists, it is often hard to access and out of date. This UROP is an opportunity to be part of improving access to data and contributing to election science research.

As a UROP working on this project you will:

  • Collect and organize election science data related to the recent general election
  • Learn and use Git and GitHub for version control
  • Present interesting research ideas and findings to the larger group
  • Learn additional data management and statistical programming skills
  • Contribute to ongoing MEDSL research projects
  • Work towards answering your own research questions related to election science
  • Participate in lab meetings

Prerequisites: Some experience with statistics and data handling is required. You should also be familiar with data management in formats such as comma/text delimited and/or Excel-type spreadsheets. Additional programming or statistical software skills (e.g., Stata, R, Python) are desirable but not required. Please indicate your level of familiarity with data collection and management, web scraping, and statistical software packages when you apply. We welcome applications from students at both MIT and Wellesley. The UROP can be for credit or pay.

Relevant URL: electionlab.mit.edu

Contact: Dr. Cameron Wimpy: wimpy@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Joe Jacobson

Project Title: Scaling Science -- Machine Learning on Large Graphs to Predict Impactful Science/Technologies

Project Description: We have built a linked-data graph containing a large percentage of all published research, and have computed graph-based metrics of impact, as well as unsupervised community detection algorithms, to discover structure.

This UROP will involve assisting in the construction of algorithms to compute on this datasource. For example, on current effort involves the identification of features that drive highly impactful science--and ultimately predicting what technologies and scientific advancements will be highly impactful in the future.

There is also an opportunity to join this work with portfolio theory and economics in analysis of impact-optimal funding for technological ventures.

Critical: Excellent programming abilities, consistent time commitment, highly motivated, and the ability to work independently.

Important: Advanced statistics or machine learning, back-end development and/or database experience

Ideal: Exposure to graph theory and/or portfolio theory, front-end or UI/UX development experience

Contact: James Weis: jww@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph Paradiso

Project Title: Digital Airflow Simulation Tool for shape changing structures

Project Description: The project intends to calibrate an airflow simulation tool for shape changing structures that has been developed in collaboration with FERRERO. The computational model is entirely coded in Grasshopper environment using OpenFoam for the Computational Fluid Dynamics analysis. The calibration process will require both digital and experimental testing with 3D printed geometries.

Prerequisites: Rhinoceros + Grasshopper + OpenFoam

Contact: Valentina Sumini: vsumini@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jeffrey Hoffman

Project Title: Moon Village project: prototyping a lunar scaled habitat

Project Description: The UROP activity will focus on the development and realization of a scaled prototype of an habitat for human space exploration on the Moon. The habitat design is part of the Moon Village project that has been developed in collaboration with the European Space Agency and the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP. Therefore, the position will require advanced skills in architecture, computational design (mainly in Grasshopper), construction and digital fabrication techniques (3D printing, laser cutting, etc). The final prototype will be exhibited in occasion of different international conferences after its completion in August 2019. This UROP activity will be fully paid and require a close interaction with the design team to develop the prototype.

Prerequisites: Rhinoceros + Grasshopper + FEM + Digital fabrication

Contact: Valentina Sumini: vsumini@mit.edu


4/10/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph Paradiso

Project Title: Prototyping a Tidmarsh  Living Observatory Portal

Project Description: The UROP activity will focus on the design and fabrication of a Tidmarsh Living Observatory Portal  at the MediaLab. The portal design is part of a postdoctoral research that focuses on the realization of a pavilion that will generate an immersive experience about the Tidmarsh Living Observatory. This site has been restored from a former cranberry farm to natural wetland. Through an extensive Responsive Environments research, this networked  and outdoor instrumented site streams live  data that will be part of the portal experience. This UROP position will require advanced skills in architecture, computational design (mainly in Grasshopper), construction and digital fabrication techniques (3D printing, laser cutting, etc). The final prototype will be exhibited in occasion of different international conferences after its completion in August 2019.

Prerequisites: Rhinoceros + Grasshopper + FEM + Digital fabrication

Relevant URL: https://tidmarsh.media.mit.edu

Contact: Valentina Sumini: vsumini@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Vladimir Bulović

Project Title: Deployment mechanism for flexible solar panels on telecommunication towers

Goal: To prototype mechanism for deployment of flexible panels on telecommunication towers

Context: The GridEdge Solar Research program is a highly collaborative team of electrical/mechanical engineers, chemists, and materials scientists. The team is working toward designing, manufacturing, and piloting lightweight and flexible solar cells to increase use of renewable energy for new applications based on the advantages of emerging technologies.

Details of the role: We are looking for a highly motivated applicant to develop an automated deployment mechanism for lightweight solar cells on telecommunication towers. The applicant will be responsible for CADing, designing and building a system that can automatically roll flexible solar panels in and out. The system will also be capable of monitoring the power output, automatically cleaning, and retracting the panels with changes in wind conditions in a reliable manner. The candidate is expected to work independently to drive the design and prototyping work to a clearly defined deliverable within the UROP length.

Skills to be gained: Product design, machining and manufacturing, interfacing motorized systems and sensors, developing a basic understanding of solar cell operation Tools to be used: CAD, Mill, lathe, Arduino, basic programming (in a language of applicant’s choice)

Output: Fully functional deployment system

Estimated time commitment: 20-40 hours/week

Time required to get to output: End of summer, with possible extension to additional semester for system refinement

Compensation: Hourly, as per university guidelines

Prerequisites: Familiarity with basic CAD and machine work is expected

Relevant URL: https://gridedgesolar.org/

Contact: Anurag Panda: Rm. 13-3082 / apanda@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Georgia Perakis

Project Title: Machine Learning and Big Data for Promotion Optimization for an Online Platform

Project Description: Interested in using analytics and Machine Learning to improve decision making at Wayfair this summer? Our goal in this research is to develop state-of-art Machine Learning techniques to understand customer buying behavior, which can be used to optimize customer promotion and assortment decisions.

Our industry partner in this project is Wayfair, one of the world’s largest online seller of home goods. Wayfair runs many simultaneous promotional events on its website. Each promotional event contains a set of products that are discounted from their nominal price. We seek to optimize Wayfair’s promotion planning process by jointly making optimal pricing and product selection decisions across different events. In order to answer these questions, our goal is to understand and predict customer purchase behavior, using historical transactional data and state-of-art machine learning tools. The overall goal of the project would be to apply the models and algorithms constructed through the research to see impact in practice.

Responsibilities: The UROP student will be a full member of the research team and the whole team will meet weekly. In these meetings, we will work on modelling the problem, devising algorithms, building theory, discussing results and setting further steps. Outside of research meetings, we will work with data, implement and test algorithms, and research literature. The most important responsibilities will be to process the data, code the algorithms and run the computational experiments with the retailer’s data. The directions will be decided upon during the meetings.

Qualifications:

  • Experience with either Python, Julia, R, or equivalent programming language is required
  • Experience with SQL is not necessary, but is a plus.

Contact: Please send applications and questions to Professor Georgia Perakis (georgiap@mit.edu), Divya Singhvi PhD student (dsinghvi@mit.edu), and Omar Skali PhD student (oskali@mit.edu). Applications should include your resume and a concise statement of why you are interested and why you would make a good fit. 


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Georgia Perakis

Project Title: Analytics and Decision Making at a Large Fashion Online Retailer

Project Description: Interested in using analytics and Machine Learning to improve decision making in one of the biggest ecommerce fashion retailers in India this summer? Our goal in this research is to reduce customer order returns using optimal customer incentivization schemes. Our industry partner is one of India’s largest online fashion retailer with yearly sales of over $1 Billion. The project aims to reduce "Returns to Origin” (RTO) which is a problem specific to India. Customers are allowed to order online and pay at the time of delivery. This means that customers, because of change in preferences, decide to send the delivered item back without accepting the package. This in-turn results in double shipment costs for the industry partner. In order to tackle this problem, the research team aims to use customer purchase history along with item level features to understand customer preferences and develop personalized incentive schemes. The overall goal of the project would be to apply the models and algorithms constructed through the research to see there impact in practice.

Responsibilities: The UROP student will be a full member of the research team and the whole team will meet weekly. In these meetings, we will work on modeling the problem, devising algorithms, building theory, discussing results and setting further steps. Outside of research meetings, we will work with data, implement and test algorithms, and research literature. The most important responsibilities will be to process the data, code the algorithms and run the computational experiments with the retailer’s data. The directions will be decided upon during the meetings.

Qualifications:

  • Experience with either Python, Julia, R, Matlab, or equivalent programming language is required
  • Experience with SQL is not necessary, but is a plus.

Contact: Please send applications and questions to Professor Georgia Perakis (georgiap@mit.edu), Divya Singhvi PhD student (dsinghvi@mit.edu), and Yiannis Spantidakis PhD student (yspant@mit.edu). Applications should include your resume and a concise statement of why you are interested and why you would make a good fit. 


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Cima

Project Title: Silicone oxygen sensors for personalized cancer therapies

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

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

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

Contact: Gregory Ekchian: gekchian@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Computational Modelling of Language Processing and Acquisition

Project Description: How do people learn and process new languages? In this project we explore this topic using tools from natural language processing, cognitive science and linguistics. We are looking for a highly motivated student with a strong background in web programming and data analysis to join the project during the summer. As part of the UROP, you will develop web experiments which will probe people's linguistic knowledge, analyze the collected data, and learn about experimental methods in psycholinguistics.

Prerequisites:

  • CS major with substantial experience in web programming (e.g. through 6.170 & 6.148)
  • Interest in language (and ideally coursework in linguistics and/or natural language processing)
  • Available to work full time (40 hours per week) during the summer.

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


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leia Stirling

Project Title: Human-Robot Teams for Spacecraft Anomaly Detection

Project Description: Human-robotic systems are a crucial component of future deep space missions, from maintenance and inspection of habitats and spacecraft to human-robot teams performing joint science and exploration tasks. In looking at human-robotic teams, we must consider how information and commands can be communicated between the human and robotic teammates to ensure efficient and effective performance. The Human Systems Lab is currently working on a human-robotic system for performing inspections of spacecraft and habitats, with free-flying robots performing inspections tasks of the exterior while being controlled by humans inside the spacecraft. Human operators communicate with the robotic free flyers through an Augmented Reality display built on the Microsoft HoloLens platform. The system will be tested first using. simulated UAVs and then implemented on hardware for further testing.

We are looking for passionate UROPs to help develop the UAV component of this project. The effort will involve implementing HoloLens - UAV communications, helping to develop a simulated environment for testing, and working with hardware.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience with ROS (preferably in C++) is required
  • Familiarity with UAVs
  • Experience with the Unity Gaming Engine (which we use for visualization) is a plus.
  • Excitement to work on a NASA-funded project

Contact: Jessica Todd: jetodd@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Roberto Rigobon

Project Title: Financial Prediction and Machine Learning

Project Description: We are looking for one undergraduate student in Computer Science / Engineering to work as a UROP for the Summer and the Fall. The student should be fairly experienced running code on machine learning methods (e.g., random forest, SVM, LASSO, neural networks). The UROP is ideal for students that are close to finishing their program (they can be doing an internship at the same time) but have 5 hours per week to do applied work. Candidates must be available in the Summer+Fall. Interest in finance and time-series is a big plus. Experience with R and/or Python is required.

Prerequisites: Candidates must be available in the Summer+Fall. Experience with R and/or Python is required. The student should be fairly experienced running code on machine learning methods (e.g., random forest, SVM, LASSO, neural networks).

Contact: Please send resume to Diego Aparicio: dapa@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Li-wei Lehman

Project Title: Physiological and Clinical Data Analysis Using Machine Learning

Project Description:  The Laboratory for Computational Physiology at MIT’s Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) is seeking highly-motivated students to participate in research to apply machine learning for the following project: physiological time series modelling and patient representation learning from clinical data (including time series and text) for outcome prediction and informed treatment decision making.  The project offers opportunities to gain experience in data analysis using large-scale Electronic Health Records (EHR).

Prerequisite: The candidate should have taken courses in machine learning or related classes.  Knowledge and experience in deep learning would be desirable.  The candidate should be available to work 20-40 hours per week during the Summer.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/lilehman/www/

Contact: Applicants should submit their resume to Dr. Li-wei Lehman, lilehman@mit.edu ASAP.


4/9/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: CSAIL

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Berthold K.P. Horn

Project Title: Indoor navigation using time-of-flight to-and-from WiFi APs

Project Description: Want to work on indoor location finding (where GPS does not penetrate)? Wish to provide turn-by-turn indoor navigation for the visually impaired?  We are looking for a summer UROP student to use 802.11mc FTM (fine time measurement) RTT (round trip time) code for finding distances to known WiFi access points (APs) to provide data to a navigation module (such as e.g. AnyPlace v3.4). Sample code for the Android API for FTM RTT distance measurement will be provided. FTM RTT is new in Android Pie and its properties are not well understood --- its raw accuracy being just barely good enough for this purpose. Measurements of properties in various environments needed - opportunities to discover something new abound.

Prerequisites: Java, AndroidStudio

Relevant URL: http://people.csail.mit.edu/bkph/ftmrtt

Contact: Berthold K.P. Horn bkph@csail.mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew B. Lippman

Project Title: Enlightened - bursting media filter bubbles and echo chambers by showing the big picture on a small screen

Project Description: Media filter bubbles are creating a loss of shared reality amongst U.S. citizens. We aim to burst these echo chambers by presenting short, automatically summarized news clips to users through a mobile app. You will gain substantial cross-platform mobile development experience (React Native), conduct user tests and evaluations, and ship the mobile app to the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store at the end of this UROP.

Prerequisites: Programming experience is required. React Native (or React.js) is a plus.

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


4/9/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew B. Lippman

Project Title: SuperGlue - a mass media metadata generator for data mining, visualization, and machine learning

Project Description: SuperGlue is a modular software system consisting of 20+ Python modules that process and annotate news videos to generate a vast amount of metadata used for data mining, visualization, and machine learning. Current modules apply many technologies (Google Vision API, IBM Watson, Affectiva SDK, OpenPose, Redis, MongoDB, Papertrail, Google Cloud Platform, Kubernetes, Docker and more) to generate face emotion, text and sentiment analysis, body pose, automatic news summarizations and more.

Given the size and complexity of this system, you will have the opportunity to explore areas of your choice. This means that you can work on the following:

  • Develop an API for consumer-facing applications
  • Develop consumer-facing applications based on the API
  • Improve the infrastructure by making it more robust or write new modules
  • Build meaningful visualization tools for the vast amount of data
  • Mine the vast amount of data to find new insights
  • Come up with interesting questions and build tools to answer them. This can include machine learning.

Prerequisites: Programming experience in Python is strongly preferred.

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

Contact: You will be guided and supported by Mike Hao Jiang, a graduate student in the Viral Communications Group at the MIT Media Lab, who has been extensively developing and evolving this system. Please send your resume/CV with an indication of availability (avg per week) and your area of interest to mhjiang@mit.edu.


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Deep Learning for Autonomous Driving

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, neural network compression, 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 a full-scale autonomous vehicle.

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.

If you are interested, please apply with your CV and grade transcript. 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: igilitschenski@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Robust Perception for Autonomous Driving

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  omputer 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.

If you are interested, please apply with your CV and grade  ranscript. Work hours can be organized flexibly and are expected to be on average above 10h / week or full-time for Summer and IAP UROPs.

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski: igilitschenski@mit.edu


4/9/19

Summer

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.
  • 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 50k lines of code spanning different programming languages and numerous different frameworks).

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski: igilitschenski@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cullen Buie

Project Title: Electrophoretic deposition of bacteria for living electronics

Project Description: Electrophoretic deposition (EPD) is a well established technique for the deposition of colloids for ceramic coatings. In EPD, charged particles are suspended in a liquid medium, then attracted and deposited onto a conductive substrate of opposite charge with the application of a DC field. In essence, bacteria are also charged particles (albeit not hard and spherical) and can be electrophoretically deposited.

In this project, we will be investigating the different parameters for depositing bacteria onto electrodes (without killing them!) for the long term goal of living electronics. The project will involve culturing cells, EPD, and fixing cells for (supervised) confocal and scanning electron microscopy. If we're lucky and get a nice film on an electrode, we'll stick it in a microbial fuel cell and see if it can outperform an inoculated microbial fuel cell.

Prerequisites: None, although wet lab experience is a plus. Students from mechanical engineering, materials science, physics, chemical engineering, and biological engineering are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Chelsea Catania: cataniac@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Constructing feedback controllers in cells

Project Description: Synthetic biology is an emerging field of interdisciplinary research aimed to engineer cells for novel functionalities in health, environment and energy industries. This is enabled by encoding the production of and subsequent interactions among biomolecules on DNA so that cells can sense external signals, carry out computation and produce outputs. While promising, a synthetic biomolecular system often exhibits undesirable crosstalk among its composing genetic components, which largely increase the complexity of design and reduces the robustness and predictability of the resultant system.

Our lab investigates fundamental system-level design principles to engineer bacterial systems using a combined mathematical/experimental approach. In particular, we study how feedback control theory, which is widely adopted in traditional engineering systems, could help mitigate crosstalk and therefore improve robustness and predictability in biomolecular systems. We have recently prototyped a genetic feedback controller to realize this goal in a simple test-bench system. The goal of this UROP project is to apply/test this new technology in more complicated biomolecular systems in order to scale-up/optimize/improve it to be application-ready.

The UROP student will work closely with a graduate student to design, construct, test and analyze these feedback control systems in bacteria. The student will also have the opportunity to work on the modeling, simulation and theory aspects of the project.

Prerequisites: This project is suitable for a motivated student interested in molecular biology and engineering. No prior experience is required, but strong preference will be given to candidates familiar with basic molecular biology experimental techniques (e.g., PCR, cloning, bacterial culture). Candidates with a control/dynamical systems background who are willing to learn wet lab techniques are also welcome. Application for direct funding is required unless interested in credits.

Relevant URL: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsif.2016.0380, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07899-z

Contact: Yili Qian: yiliqian@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Marin Soljacic

Project Title: Study on photonic synthetic gauge fields

Project Description: The physics of a photonic structure is commonly described in terms of its apparent geometric dimensionality. One symmetry of a photonic structure is reciprocity---a fundamental principle in optics, requiring that the response of a transmission channel is symmetric when source and observation points are interchanged.

With the concept of synthetic dimension, it is in fact possible to explore physics in a space with a dimensionality that is higher as compared to the apparent geometrical dimensionality of the structures. One viable way to break reciprocity is via the synthetic dimension. Concretely, modulation-based T breaking was recognized long ago and revitalizes with much attention recently, under the context of Floquet topology.

This project is ideal for student interested in topological photonics. We will theoretically study models (with future experiment potentials) that evolves out of the group's recent experiment. The UROP student will work with a senior graduate student. Ideally, the student will come up with new theoretical and experimental possibilities as he/she gets familiar with the content of research.

Prerequisites: Any major of any year is welcome.

Contact: Yi Yang: yiy@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Designs to support environmental services start up firm in West Africa

Project Description: The Space Enabled Research Group advances justice in Earth’s complex systems using designs enabled by space. Space technology contributes to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals via communication, earth observation, positioning, microgravity research, spinoffs and basic research. Space Enabled uses six methods: art, design, social science, complex systems, satellite engineering and data science. This project applies engineering and design in collaboration with a company based in Benin called Green Keeper Africa that harvests the invasive water hyacinth and uses it to manufacture products that clean oil-based waste. Green Keeper Africa seeks to improve their method to dispose of their product after it is soiled with oil-based waste. Space Enabled is pursuing research that combines knowledge of mechanical engineering, thermodynamics and chemistry to propose new approaches to safely disposing of oil-soaked plant fibers.

The selected undergraduate will contribute to areas of the project related to developing waste management schemes for soiled water hyacinth, including a small-scale pyrolyzer and water-based contaminant scrubber.  The undergraduate will analyze potential waste management solutions then conduct conceptual and computer-aided design and construction of a prototype.

Prerequisites: Background in civil, environmental, mechanical or chemical engineering. In addition to this technical background, we seek students with an interest in sustainable development.  Prior experience with machining and CAD are strongly preferred.

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

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

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

Prerequisites: Experience and proficiency with either front-end web frameworks (React or Vue.js) or back-end web frameworks (Django or Node.js), or Both Proficiency with Python, Javascript, Html/CSS, React, GitHub, and SQL 

Recommended prerequisite coursework: 6.813/6.831, 6.148, 6.006 or similar at other universities

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

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

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


4/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chrys Chryssostomidis

Project Title: Development of Machine Learning Tools for Ocean Science and Engineering

Project Description: Modern machine learning techniques enable prediction of complex dynamics of the oceans and marine structures. MIT Sea Grant is developing innovative machine learning tools to forecast environmental data such as ocean circulation, temperature and salinity. The sources of these data will be measurements collected by Sea Grant researchers, data published by the research community (e.g. NOAA, NASA) and computational data coming from the solution of fundamental equations modeling coastal and ocean circulation. There is a tremendous interest in collecting data to train prediction models capable of describing complex phenomena without the necessity of complicated physical or mathematical modeling. This project aims at constructing machine learning tools that can be used both in geophysical science and oceanography. They can also be used to model the behavior of complex ocean structures and high-performance marine vehicles.  Ultimately, the formulation of intelligent Reduced Order Models will significantly increase the understanding of ocean geophysical characteristics empowering researchers and engineers with data-driven information on the current status of the ocean.

Prerequisites: Python knowledge is highly desirable.

Contact: Luca Bonfiglio: bonfi@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chathan M. Cooke

Project Title: Underwater Wireless Communications

Project Description: MIT Sea Grant has developed a prototype form of underwater wireless communications that involves digital compression and modulation of collected data.  This work needs to be enhanced for direct application to a system scheduled to be installed in Boston harbor.

Prerequisites: It is better if students who would like to work on this project are familiar with microprocessors, such as Arduinos, and the Python language.

Contact: Chathan M. Cooke: cmcooke@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew B. Lippman

Project Title: Decentralized Crowd-sourced News Verification System

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

You will have the opportunity to work on the following areas of your choice:

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

        (A) Ethereum DApp

        (B) Facebook App

        (C) Twitter App

(II) Back-end development of

        (A) Ethereum Smart Contracts, and distributed databases

        (B) DApp API for Facebook

        (C) DApp API for Twitter

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

Prerequisites:

User interface designers:

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

Front-end developers:

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

Back-end developers:

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

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


4/5/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Machine Learning for Capturing the Appearance of Objects

Project Description: This project explores the use of machine learning for capturing object properties such as surface reflection from images. Faster capture of object material properties let machines understand more about world.  We are looking for motivated students who are interested in building a deep learning pipeline for the described task. In this project, you will learn about machine learning, computational imaging and graphics. Please include a copy of your most recent resume/CV when applying.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with machine learning implementation is preferable but not required. We look for self driven students.

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

Contact: Tomohiro Maeda: tomotomo@mit.edu


4/5/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Lin-wen Hu

Project Title: Hydraulic Characterization of next-generation MIT Reactor Fuel Element Design

Project Description: The on-campus MIT Research Reactor is designed for experiments using neutron beam and in-core irradiation facilities. In the framework of non-proliferation policy, our reactor has committed to convert from high-enriched uranium (HEU) fuel to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. Converting to LEU requires optimizing the fuel element design to maintain large safety margins. The past thermal-hydraulic studies performed to support the LEU core licensing relied on flow distribution parameters that were adopted from the HEU configuration. The goal of this project is to quantify flow distribution patterns within the newly designed LEU element using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations at nominal and off-nominal flow rates. In addition, the numerical evaluation of the pressure drop across the element and the element inlet/outlet nozzles would provide an assessment of current penalties that are utilized in thermal hydraulic calculations. The ultimate outcome is to decrease uncertainty in safety margins evaluations of the next-generation fuel element. We are looking for a UROP who has basic knowledge (or is interested in learning) of the CFD tool STAR-CCM+. The work would be a direct contribution to the MIT community and provide hands-on experience in using numerical tools for addressing real-world problems. Displayed below is a CAD of the fuel element you will be simulating!

Prerequisites: Background in fluid dynamics is preferred. Additionally, computational fluid dynamics knowledge/experience is desirable (STAR-CCM+ , Fluent, etc.).

Relevant URL: https://nrl.mit.edu/reactor

Contact: Akshay Dave: akshayjd@mit.edu


4/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Philip Tan

Project Title: Designing Puzzle Hunts for Museum Exhibits

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab is beginning a new project to design and develop a math-based puzzle hunt experience for small groups using a user-provided mobile web browser in museum, with some amount of interactivity between the game & the physical exhibits. This design exploration project to create one or more playable prototypes for testing with identified user groups and to create a support structure allowing for the creation of additional puzzle hunts, including identifying best practices.

Positions opening in June: We are looking for 3 UROPs to join our design team this Summer, starting in June.

Relevant experience may include:

  • HTML5/JS programming
  • Node.JS or similar back-end programming
  • puzzle design
  • game design
  • 2D illustration and graphic design
  • User Interface design
  • Github
  • Working in teams

Contact: Richard Eberhardt: reberhar@mit.edu


4/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: CLEVR - Collaborative Learning Environments in VR

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab and Education Arcade are developing and pilot testing a proof-of-concept VR game for a high school audience. We want to help students understand relative scale in Biology and collaborate with each other on problem-solving.  We currently have a 3D environment of the interior of a human cell, in which one person in VR is exploring, and a tablet-based companion app for non-VR players to interact with the in-VR player.  We are looking for 4 UROPs to join our development team this Summer, to develop and refine our VR and tablet gameplay.

Positions opening in June:

  • Programmer
  • Artist (3D or 2D) x2
  • Scrum master/Producer

UROP Responsibilities may include:

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

Relevant experience may include:

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

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

Contact: To apply to any of these UROPs, please send a resume, link to portfolio, and cover letter (stating which role you are interested in) to Rik Eberhardt: reberhar@mit.edu.  We would like to conduct interviews in April for students starting in June.


4/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Philip Tan

Project Title: Designing innovative Audio AR games and experiences at MIT

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab is starting a new project to examine the use of innovations in audio augmented reality (AR) in the design and development of audio-focused and location-aware games and play experiences. We see audio AR technology as expanding the potentials of games and play in a number of ways. Location-based audio AR allows the potential for telling stories using the players lived world, through innovative use of the affordances of mobile phone devices, particularly GPS. This could involve telling the history of the player’s location or layering a fantasy world on top of it, and because it is in an audio format, limited only by the imagination of the player themself.

Prototypes will be developed to explore the potential of the following research topics:

  • Best practices for design and development of Audio AR games
  • Location-based gaming using audio contextual clues
  • Playing -with- your music using an Audio AR interface
  • Augmented interactive storytelling experiences using Audio AR

We are looking for 3 UROPs to join our development team this Summer, to design and experiment with us. Students who can continue working through Summer 2020 (or at least Fall 2019) are preferred.

UROP Responsibilities may include:

  • Working alongside and reporting to MIT Game Lab staff developers
  • Designing and developing individual features or prototypes
  • Running tests of prototypes

Relevant experience may include:

  • Unity and/or C#
  • Game design
  • Developing for touchscreens
  • audio recording
  • music composition
  • digital signal processing
  • Github
  • Working in teams

Contact: To apply to any of these UROPs, please send a resume, link to portfolio, and cover letter (stating which role you are interested in) to Rik Eberhardt: reberhar@mit.edu.  We would like to conduct interviews in April for students starting in June.


4/3/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Paraffin Wax Rocket Fuel Formation Experiment

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

The research group is conducting experimental work considering novel ways of forming non-toxic rocket propellants, in particular paraffin wax (common candle wax).  The student would develop and refine an experimental procedure for melting paraffin wax and forming it into rocket fuel grain geometries. The student would also be programming an Arduino to control a related oil-based centrifuge experiment.

Prerequisites: Machining and solid modeling experience (Solidworks or similar).  Preference for students with Arduino experience and mechanical/aerospace/electrical engineering backgrounds.

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


4/3/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

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

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

Renewed interest in lunar missions has catalyzed new research related to platforms for observations and measurements on the lunar surface.  Lunar activities were traditionally completed by governments with extensive science budgets but current trends towards lower-cost scientific missions on the moon warrant an examination of technologies to aid these efforts.  This study focuses on three areas: the (1) characterization of radiation, (2) the impact of lunar dust on materials, and (3) position determination using measurements of the Earth and Sun.  

This project will involve four steps: (1) a literature review of past lunar missions and international priorities for lunar science; (2) the proposal of conceptual designs for sensor systems to make measurements related to the three aforementioned areas of scientific interest, (3) a search for examples of technology that already exist which could be adapted for scientific lunar sensor kits; and (4) the proposal of specific designs for low-cost observation platforms.

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

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


4/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher Cassa

Project Title: Improving computational predictions of genomic sequence variants

Project Description: We develop computational methods to assess whether individual genetic variants are likely to cause disease. This summer, we have opportunities on several projects:

  1. Improving predictions for variants in high-risk disease genes for individuals without disease
  2. Using population-level sequencing data to improve assessments of disease risk
  3. Developing models to improve sequence alignment and protein structure inference

Prerequisites: Reasonable proficiency in Python and data analysis are required.

Preferred: Experience with statistical modeling, machine learning methods, interest in genetics and medicine.

Relevant URL: https://genetics.bwh.harvard.edu/wiki/cassa/

Contact: Christopher Cassa: cassa@mit.edu


4/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: pSims (Participatory Simulations) games at The Education Arcade

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

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

The system is currently using React (js) and Firebase, with some work started on a React Native client.  This Summer we plan to expand work on the React Native client; refine a newer game started in React and Firebase; and design and implement one or two new games.

Prerequisites: 

  • Requirements: 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.

Relevant URL: https://education.mit.edu/project/psims-participatory-simulations/

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

4/3/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Stuart Madnick

Project Title: Interdisciplinary management research to enhance cyber security resiliency

Project Description: Cyber security has a critical role in today’s digital society, yet managers and leaders are often at a loss as to what to do to keep their organizations secure. Without proper strategy and plans to manage risks in cyber security, managers can put their entire organization in jeopardy. 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 a person did something wrong either by accident or maliciously. Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (CAMS) fills a critical need for leaders and managers of cybersecurity by focusing on managerial, strategic and organizational issues. Our current projects fall into 5 different research streams: Creating a cybersecurity culture; Managing IoT, blockchain and end-point security; Measuring and managing cyber risk; Securing cyber-physical Industrial control systems (ICS); and Understanding the business of the dark web.  We seek undergraduate researchers interested in creating the latest thinking about cybersecurity. We have several opportunities for interested UROP students.  We list some examples of UROP projects here but we have other projects for motivated students. Contact us if you are interested in knowing more.  Some of our projects for the summer include: 1) Cyber security culture project. This project asks how leaders shape the beliefs, values, and attitudes of their organizations to align with overall cyber security goals. The UROP student will work together with our research team to collect and analysis survey data, assist with interviews, and draft a report of findings based on the empirical study.  2) International culture influences project.  Another aspect of cybersecurity culture is related to the country in which the organization operates. The UROP student working on this project will assist in understanding and comparing country cultures and attitudes towards cybersecurity and analyzing data from 3 case studies to compare and contrast how country culture influences cybersecurity culture.  A report of findings will be the deliverable for this project. 3) Cyber attack business innovation project. This project studies how hackers innovate and build cyber-attack capabilities. We believe AI and machine learning will change the way hackers design future attacks and offer their services in the dark web ecosystem. The UROP student will work together with our research team to collect related materials, assist with data analysis, demo the related attack services and draft a report of findings.

Learning opportunities: Overall, these projects will give you a front row seat to some of the latest thinking in cybersecurity leadership and management.  The projects will enhance your critical thinking, explore the interdisciplinary research in cybersecurity domain, and prepare you with hands-on experience in cybersecurity, cybersecurity management and related fields  You will also get experience with presentations and business writing and be part of a fun, energetic research team.  Selected candidate(s) can join the project immediately or begin in the Summer.

Qualifications: Required skills include attention to details, critical thinking, as well as excellent reading, writing, and communication skills. Students who are self-starters and like to take the lead to get projects accomplished are especially needed.  Background in political science, organizational design, data analysis, or quantitative analysis is a huge plus. 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 on your summer project or a related project during Fall or IAP will be welcome.

Relevant URL: You will be working with Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan https://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 projects mentioned above. Feel free to ask questions.


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Oliver Jagoutz

Project Title: Himalaya Geochronology and Field Expedition

Project Description: We are looking for a student to prepare rock samples for U-Pb detrital zircon geochronology and participate in a 6-week long research expedition to the Himalayas in July/August.

The Himalayas are the archetypal example of a collisional mountain belt, yet many of the fundamental parameters describing their formation history remain poorly understood. It has become generally accepted that the final collision between India and Asia occurred approximately 50 million years ago along the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ). However, it is disputed whether the Kohistan-Ladakh Arc (KLA), a volcanic island arc that existed in the ocean that separated India and Asia, collided first with India or with Asia. In order to study the nature and timing of continental collisions we use paleomagnetism to study the motion of tectonic plates and geochronology to determine the age of major tectonic events.

The student will spend the first half of the summer working on campus in MIT’s mineral separation laboratory. During this time the student will gain experience with geochronological sample preparation as well as making measurements using LA-ICPMS. The student will also conduct geological fieldwork for six weeks with our MIT research group as well as in collaboration with colleagues from Kumaun University in India. They will participate in a once in a lifetime travel experience to a remote and beautiful part of the Himalayas as well as develop a broad range of geoscience fieldwork skills including geological mapping, ArcGIS software, paleomagnetic sample collection, and structural geology.

Prerequisites: There are no specific prerequisites but an interest in geology is preferred. The fieldwork component of this UROP will involve working at high altitude and will be physically strenuous.

Contact: Craig R Martin: crm7@mit.ed


3/31/19

Summer

Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kripa K. Varanasi

Project Title: Interfacial engineering for hydrogen embrittlement resistance

Project Description: Interfaces are ubiquitous, and fundamentally altering electro-chemo-mechanical interactions at the interfacial level is key to enhancing efficiency in numerous industrial applications. In this project, interfacial engineering will be studied to inhibit hydrogen embrittlement in geofluid environments. Other applications such as anti-corrosion and anti-fouling will also be explored. The student will be supervised by a Ph.D. student and will build a test setup and design experiments, and study the fundamental science behind these interfacial phenomena. Specifically, hydrogen transport will be measured through solid oxide surfaces as well as oxide surfaces impregnated with lubricants. The student will be taught how to prepare special nano-engineered surfaces and will also learn a variety of imaging techniques. Interested candidates should email khansami@mit.edu with a brief explanation of why they are interested in this project and describe any relevant previous experience.

Prerequisites: Basic chemistry lab experience is ideal. A background in fluid mechanics and/or chemistry is a plus. Students from mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science and engineering are encouraged to apply. 

URL: http://varanasi.mit.edu

Contact: Sami Khan: khansami@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Status of commercial mollusks in Massachusetts

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

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

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

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

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

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

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

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles M. Oman

Project Title: Analysis and Modeling of Locomotive Engineer Driving Strategies

Project Description: As a result of recent accidents, rail safety and automation is receiving increased research attention. The Human Systems Laboratory is collaborating with GE Research Center on a DOT FRA-sponsored project to develop new modes of automation for railroad locomotives. We are looking for a UROP to help with the data analysis and modeling of the interactions between an experienced engineer and novice locomotive drivers (e.g,. students) in order to understand their driving strategies.  The UROP will be helping with the analysis the verbal interactions and subsequent modeling of driving strategies. Data is being collected using the locomotive simulator located at the DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA. UROPs will also learn about railroad operating practices, including learning to drive simulated freight trains. Familiarity with MATLAB and programming is desirable, but not required. The work is expected to take 20-30 hours/week.

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

Contact: Dr. Andrew M. Liu: amliu@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mitchel Resnick

Project Title: Build a Scratch extension for kids to play with concepts of probability and uncertainty in their projects.

Project Description: Want to help extend the world’s largest programming platform for kids? With Scratch (scratch.mit.edu) developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, kids as young as eight can get started with programming their own interactive stories, games, and animations. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively with technology. Scratch 3.0 (the latest version) comes with many new features and capabilities. You can now add collections of extra blocks called "extensions." For example, there are extensions that enable you to program physical devices (such as micro:bit and LEGO robotics kits) and to translate text within your Scratch projects.

=> For this project, we are looking for a student to collaborate in the development of a new Scratch extension that can enable kids to incorporate probability and uncertainty in their Scratch projects in ways that are easy to get started with, and lead to new creative possibilities.

There might also be an opportunity to travel to India during IAP in Jan 2020 to organize creative computing workshops based on this extension with children and educators.

Required: Proficiency with Javascript

Recommended: 6.170, 6.148, or similar. Understanding and interest in probability and statistics would be a plus.

Contact: Manuj Dhariwal: manuj@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

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

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

Prerequisites: MATLAB and/or Python

Contact: Sam Raymond: sjr@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Williams

Project Title: Combining AI and Numerical Simulations for faster mechanics

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

Prerequisites: MATLAB and/or Python and/or JavaScript

Contact: Sam Raymond: sjr@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dayna L Cunningham

Project Title: Hacking the Archive

Project Description: A vanguard generation of progressive activists is approaching advanced age just as many of their 1960s era defining battles are taking on renewed political urgency. These actors link a vital web of fight genealogies filled with strategies, values, lessons and cautions largely unknown to current and emerging activist communities. Preserving and growing activist networks demand an intentional effort to prioritize the social relationships and knowledge-building work that anchor their missions across generations and geographies now and far into the future.

Existing institutional archives offer interesting but limited opportunities to investigate the stories and actors of the near political past. This project will engage a cross-coalition of students, activists, residents and their allies to create a new type of archive of activist histories and stories that trace their beginnings to multiple land fights rooted in the civil rights, anti-war, student, women’s and counterculture movements of the 1960s.

Student will work with a set of activists seeking to answer specific questions about how to develop an archive that will continue to stimulate and inform activism that is linked to the historic struggles of economic and social inclusion in Boston.

Hack Partners

  1. Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative/Ros Everdell Hack Need: gathering more oral histories of local residents exploring Circulation
  2. Boston Ujima Project/ Ujima Fund/Nia Evans.  Hack Need: gathering local history and examples of resident-led efforts to create tools for cooperative economic practices at the local scale
  3. Activist Film Project/Simeon Awosan. Hack Need: View raw footage of Chuck Turner & Mel King to give feedback and suggest content for B roll additions https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d1w4Nc9zSl3ZPKVeeZnzmS80V9gCXg3uevG9P2xODo3zw/edit?ts=5c5f132b#gid=0
  4. Boston Community Learning Project/Ceasar McDowell.  Hack Need: Review and sort drop box file of notes and video (?) files gathering activist stories of Boston organizing to identify gaps and opportunities form public distribution https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5q3neyompaa1t5f/AAD8TT9PgBRfa6EUINrqqx35a?dl=0
  5. Northeastern University Archives & Special Collections/Giordana Mecagni. Hack Need: public engagement with current archives and acquisition of new stories/content
  6. Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (Metco)/Milly Arbaje-Thomas & Colin Stokes. https://metcoinc.org. Hack Need: help researching MetCO’s founding story of parents organizing to create a voluntary approach to racial desegregation of schools across greater Boston and its suburbs

Contact: Antonio Moya LaTorre: amola@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dayna L Cunningham

Project Title: Wellness Empowerment Brooklyn

Position Description: CoLab seeks student researchers to join the team conducting a Comprehensive Planning Process for Wellness Empowerment for Brooklyn, a multi year effort to improve community health and grow community wealth in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

  • Responsibilities of the position include working with the CoLab team and its partners to: Conduct background research to inform the asset mapping and planning process
  • Provide technical assistance to community stakeholder partners to do what exactly?  Please add a bit of detail here. 
  • Analyze quantitative and qualitative data collected over the course of the study In collaboration with CoLab staff and local stakeholders, help to pepare a development study based on the results of the participatory asset map findings to identify synergies among assets, needs and aspirations in Brooklyn communities in order to create the conditions for health, wellness and the development of shared wealth

Compensation: This is a paid position: $15/hr.

Prerequisites: Ideal Candidate Is familiar with participatory action research, participatory asset mapping and similar methodologies

  • Has strong writing and analytic skills
  • Has experience in quantitative and qualitative data analysis
  • Is familiar with mapping software
  • Has experience working in neighborhoods to collect survey, interview and focus group data
  • Has a record of meeting deadlines
  • Is able to develop strong rapport with colleagues from a range of backgrounds and levels of experience

Contact: Application materials and questions should be directed to Gretchen Susi at gsusi@mit.edu and Antonio Moya-Latorre at amola@mit.edu.

  • A resume
  • A brief statement of interest (4-5 paragraphs)
  • Two writing samples of no more than 4 pp. each

3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evans

Project Title: Developing an Innovative Online Education System for Independent Learners

Project Description: I have positions for one or two UROPs to work with me in designing an innovative new software system to allow independent learners to find the right resources online to achieve their learning goals.  The independent learners have a goal to achieve.  Maybe their job has changed and they need to learn some new skills, or they want to apply for a new position, or they are just curious to learn something new.  Usually they self educate by watching YouTube videos, studying Wikipedia articles, reading books, etc. But the problem is, they don’t know what they don’t know.  So it’s hard to find the right learning resources.

The UROPs will help me develop a proposal for funding to launch this system by reviewing published work, developing some prototype examples of how the system would be used, interviewing prospective users and scoping out the issues in software development.

The system I envision will be built around online learning modules.  Each module will have a set of incoming skills and knowledge as prerequisites. When the learner completes the module they will have an additional set of skills and knowledge as outcomes.  The system will have tests online enabling the learner to self-assess if they have the prerequisites for taking a module and to assess whether they have achieved the desired outcome after completing a module.

The system will not provide instructional modules per se, but instead will point to the best existing resources already available online. Once it is launched, it will grow by crowdsourcing using a wiki approach.

The project provides an opportunity to gain entrepreneurial experience and to learn about the important field of educational technology.

Prerequisites: The main prerequisite is enthusiasm and an interest in education.  Any year and any major at MIT is acceptable.  Comfort with computer programming is a plus.

Contact: Lawrence Evans: lbevans@mit.edu


3/31/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evans

Project Title: Developing an Innovative Online Education System for Independent Learners

Project Description: I have positions for one or two UROPs to work with me in designing an innovative new software system to allow independent learners to find the right resources online to achieve their learning goals.  The independent learners have a goal to achieve.  Maybe their job has changed and they need to learn some new skills, or they want to apply for a new position, or they are just curious to learn something new.  Usually they self educate by watching YouTube videos, studying Wikipedia articles, reading books, etc. But the problem is, they don’t know what they don’t know.  So it’s hard to find the right learning resources.

The UROPs will help me develop a proposal for funding to launch this system by reviewing published work, developing some prototype examples of how the system would be used, interviewing prospective users and scoping out the issues in software development.

The system I envision will be built around online learning modules.  Each module will have a set of incoming skills and knowledge as prerequisites. When the learner completes the module they will have an additional set of skills and knowledge as outcomes.  The system will have tests online enabling the learner to self-assess if they have the prerequisites for taking a module and to assess whether they have achieved the desired outcome after completing a module.

The system will not provide instructional modules per se, but instead will point to the best existing resources already available online. Once it is launched, it will grow by crowdsourcing using a wiki approach.

The project provides an opportunity to gain entrepreneurial experience and to learn about the important field of educational technology.

Prerequisites: The main prerequisite is enthusiasm and an interest in education.  Any year and any major at MIT is acceptable.  Comfort with computer programming is a plus.

Contact: Lawrence Evans: lbevans@mit.edu


3/27/19

Summer

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 educational 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

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


3/27/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evan Lieberman

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

Project Description: The Lieberman Research Group (LRG) seeks a UROP to join our team for Summer 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 is encouraged to apply. The UROP will have the opportunity to work on two projects:

  • Ethnic Animus in Online Comments: This project involves analysis of hundreds of thousands of comments from the Nigerian news site The Vanguard. The project aims to understand what factors trigger ethnic animus in the comments section. In addition to other tasks, the UROP’s role includes analyzing comments to identify animus and potentially scraping comments and article content. We will use the analysis to create a “training set” for supervised natural language processing.
  • 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 center around GIS analysis of the survey results as well as research on gang activity worldwide.

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.

Prerequisites: Interested applicants should email Andrew Miller 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 summer. Preference will be given to those with the most availability. Experience with GIS is a plus. Applicants should plan to apply for direct funding through MIT by April 11.

Contact: Andrew Miller: millera@mit.edu


3/27/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Marin Soljacic

Project Title: Artificial Intelligence for Scientific Discovery and Understanding

Project Description: In the last decade, we have witnessed enormous progress in applications of artificial intelligence (AI) for a wide variety of different tasks, including natural language processing, image recognition, self-driving cars, and playing games. We want to investigate how some of these recent AI techniques can be used for scientific discovery. We want to move away from pure data-science approaches since many current deep learning techniques lack interpretability or generalizability (extrapolation outside of the training data set). Rather, we want to more closely integrate physics and machine learning. The main goal of this project is to develop new AI tools to support scientific discovery in broad areas of science and engineering.

We will design deep learning architectures that can extract interpretable parameters and derive generalizable laws of nature so that we can automate optimization of experiments, designs, and data analysis techniques.  Our datasets are generated from a variety of systems in physics and engineering, including Maxwell’s equations (electrodynamics), diffusion equation, Navier-Stokes equations (fluid dynamics), and Schrodinger’s equation (quantum mechanics).

In addition, we will study symmetries in deep learning. Convolutional neural networks are well-known to have translational symmetry. We will explore rotational symmetry, exchange symmetry etc for general deep learning applications as well as scientific discovery.

We will also explore theoretical concepts in natural language processing, thereby aiming to explain the recent empirical success in the field, and thus seeking links and applications to the field of scientific discovery. Datasets range from benchmark language modeling and general linguistic intelligence corpora to custom-made summarization and physics datasets.

Each undergraduate student will have their own project supervised by a graduate student, and will ideally transition to leading the project and come up with new ideas. Students will learn about a variety of modern deep learning techniques.

Prerequisites: Comfort with programming is required. Any major of any year is welcome. Prefer experience with Python and machine learning (especially in Tensorflow/Pytorch). Exposure to deep learning, optimization, differential equations, numerical simulation, and/or Bayesian statistics is helpful, but not required.

Relevant URL: http://www.mit.edu/~soljacic/AI.html

Contact: Samuel Kim: samkim@mit.edu


3/27/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: Virtual reality and games for STEM learning

Project Description: Are you curious about how to use virtual reality, simulations, and games to help students understand and imagine careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects? In this project, you will work closely with TSL research scientists to understand the current research about using technology based solutions in high school classrooms. We are currently working on a game for 9th grade biology students in which students will be able to explore a cell using an Oculus Rift headset. UROPs will help assimilate research on students’ conceptions in biology, effectiveness and strategies for using 2D, 3D, and 3D VR simulations in educational games, and fostering collaboration in those environments. Sponsored research funding available. Specific end of UROP goal: Understand current research in educational games that involve collaboration and virtual reality simulations.

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

Contact: If you are interested in this position, please send an email to Meredith Thompson meredith@mit.edu  and include: an overview of your research experience (specific references to courses and other projects or experiences would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume) the number of hours you could work on the project a short description of why you are interested in working on this project Please put the title of the project in the subject line of your email.


3/27/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Eyetracking for Language Processing

Project Description: We are launching an exiting new project on the intersection of linguistics, cognitive science and machine learning, which uses eyetracking technology to study how humans read and process language in real time. The project will explore what eye movement patterns during reading can reveal about the linguistic knowledge of the reader and how well they understand the text.

We are looking for highly motivated students to join the project during the summer. 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 and analyzing the collected data.

Prerequisites:

  • Highly responsible, independent, and attentive to detail.
  • Available to work full time (40 hours per week) during the summer.
  • No prior experience is necessary, but the following are desirable:
  • Strong interest language (and ideally prior/planned coursework in linguistics).
  • 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.


3/27/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Nuclear Science and Engineering (Course 22)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Elisabeth Reynolds

Project Title: MIT Work of the Future Initiative

Project Description: The MIT Work of the Future Task Force was launched in the spring of 2018 to bring to bear all that MIT can contribute to our understanding of the relationship between technology, work and society and to offer a path forward for policy makers, business, education, government and non-profit leaders to ensure the benefits of technological innovation are shared broadly throughout society. This two-year, faculty-led convening, research and pilot initiative, and public exchange initiative will address three broad questions:

  1. How are emerging technologies transforming the nature of human work and the skills that enable people to thrive in the digital economy?
  2. How can we shape and catalyze technological innovation to complement and augment human potential?
  3. How can civic institutions—existing and new—act to ensure that the gains from technology innovation contribute to equality of opportunity, social inclusion, and shared prosperity?

The MIT WotF is pairing frontier knowledge of engineering and technology with expertise in the humanities and social sciences, including economics, history, education, business, political science, sociology, anthropology, and public policy. Over the course of two and a half years, the Task Force will pursue a collaborative research effort to synthesize and interpret current knowledge across fields, and to break ground with original research to deepen current understanding of the relationship between technology, work, and society and to inform public policy in this area.  Research is being launched that addresses a range of important topics including specific industry studies (e.g., advanced manufacturing, logistics and warehousing, mobility), education and training efforts (e.g., community colleges, dual education programs in the US and Germany), and the geographic and demographic dimensions of the changing nature of work.

The Work of the Future Initiative, which is overseen by the MIT’s Industrial Performance Center, is seeking two or more UROPs this summer to help with foundational research on a range of topics related to technology and work. These include research into specific industries such as manufacturing, mobility and healthcare, as well as larger geographic and demographic trends, such as how different regions or segments of the population (women, minorities) are experiencing technological change.

Prerequisites: The UROP should have solid research skills for gathering and synthesizing secondary research and helping prepare literature reviews if needed. Strong analytical skills are required to potentially work with data sets and present analysis in graphic form. Writing  and interpersonal skills are also an asset as well as knowledge of powerpoint/keynote.  The UROP will work 10-20 hours a week over the summer at standard UROP pay and report to the Executive Director of the Work of the Future and the IPC, Dr. Elisabeth Reynolds.

Relevant URL: workofthefuture.mit.edu

Contact: Laura Guild: lguild@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

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

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

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

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

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


3/20/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Zen Chu

Project Title: Tracking successful innovations in healthcare throughout thenentrepreneurial ecosystem

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

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

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

Contact: Khalil Ramadi: kramadi@mit.edu


3/20/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Zen Chu

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: Khalil Ramadi: kramadi@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Synthetic Biology Meets Control Theory

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

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

Role: Biomolecular circuit design, assembly and testing.

Prerequisites: Basic bio lab experienced  (7.02)

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

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

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


3/15/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David Moncton

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

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

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

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

Contact: Boris Khaykovich: bkh@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Gareth H. McKinley

Project Title: Measuring toughness in soft materials

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

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

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

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

Contact: Jake Song: jakesong@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. George M. Church

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

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

Must have:

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

Strongly prefer:

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

Bonus points:

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

Contact: George Chao: gchao@mit.edu


3/15/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Developing raw materials to spin powerful fibers

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

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

URL: http://mechanosynthesis.mit.edu/

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


3/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

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

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

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

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

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


3/13/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ekene Ijeoma

Project Title: Poetic Justice

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

Some of our first projects include:

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

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

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

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


3/13/19

Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Roger Levy

Project Title: Computational models of vague language

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

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

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

Contact: MH Tessler: tessler@mit.edu


3/13/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Rosalind Picard

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

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

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

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

Contact: Szymon Fedorl: sfedor@mit.edu


3/13/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: MoleCube

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

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

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

 


3/12/19

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nicholas Roy

Project Title: Developing stateoftheart.ai

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

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

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

Frontend

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

Backend

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

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

Contact: Antonio Teran: teran@mit.edu


3/12/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Herman L. Marshall

Project Title: X-ray Polarimetry Lab Experimentation

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

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

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

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


3/12/19

Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Market Research for Atomic Force Microscope

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

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

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

Contact: Fangzhou Xia: xiafz@mit.edu


3/8/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rosalind Picard

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

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

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

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

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

In your response, please state the following:

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

Contact: Kristy Johnson: ktj@mit.edu


3/8/19

Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Guoping Feng

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

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

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

Relevant URL: http://fenglaboratory.org/

Contact: Dheeraj Roy: droy@broadinstitute.org


3/5/19

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Characterizing prediction in autism spectrum disorders

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

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

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

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

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


3/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Paraffin Wax Microgravity Experiment for Hybrid Rocket Applications

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

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

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

Relevant URL: spaceenabled.media.mit.edu

Contact: Javier Stober: stober@mit.edu


3/5/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joe Paradiso

Project Title: Climate CubeSat Co-build Program

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

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

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

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


3/5/19

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Antoine Allanore

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

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

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

Contact: Hilary Sheldon: hsheldon@mit.edu


3/4/19

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

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

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

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

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


3/4/19

Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: - Academic Departments -

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ahmed Ghoniem

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: Kevin Kung: kkung@mit.edu