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

1/19/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Nancy Kanwisher

Project Title: Neuroimaging and deep learning studies of human socialinteraction perception

Project Description: Humans are extremely adept at recognizing other people's social interactions. This ability is a hallmark of human visual intelligence and is becoming increasingly important for artificial intelligence applications. However, the neural computations underlying this ability are still not well understood, and we still lack good computer vision models to parse social information. This UROP will assist in neuroimaging (EEG/MEG) data collection and comparing neuroimaging data to neural networks to understand how the brain recognizes other people's social interactions from visual input.

Prerequisites: Matlab and python programming skills. Prior experience with basis machine learning or tensorflow is a plus, but not required.

Contact: Leyla Isik (lisik@mit.edu)


1/19/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Precision Machine Control for 3D printing of nanomaterialcomposites

Project Description: The objective of this project is to construct and test a control system for a three-axis-motion 3D printer to create miniature objects out of nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes. The UROP would be involved in evaluating machine motion performance, and writing and testing software to control the machine, and assisting with selecting additional mechanical and fluidic hardware.

Prerequisites: Hands-on experience with Labview and/or other hardware control interfaces. 

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief statement of interest for this project to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart (ajhart@mit.edu)


1/19/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Gene-Wei Li

Project Title: Web-based data visualization for high-resolution transcriptome mapping

Project Description: High-throughput DNA sequencing has been a transformative tool for quantifying the expression of genomes. However, there lacks an intuitive and accessible platform for data visualization and for sharing among scientists across different disciplines. The Li lab has recently developed an end-enriched RNA-seq method that provides a high-resolution view of transcriptome with single-nucleotide resolution. These genome-wide data sets provide comprehensive information about regulatory elements that will benefit the broader research community. We are looking for a UROP to develop a web-based visualization tool for interactive analysis of this new data type. Extension of this project may involve development of a mobile app, as well as other computational biology projects. This position is available for pay or credit.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with genomic data is a plus, but not necessary. Independent and self-driven student.

Contact: Cindy Woolley: cwoolley@mit.edu. Please send a concise cover letter, a resume with relevant experience, and the number of hours you could work on the project.


1/18/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Andrew Lippman

Project Title: Listen to America: Analysis and Visualization of Conservative Talk Radio In the USA

Project Description: We've analyzed tweets, television, and internet articles, but talk radio has not really been explored. Talk radio, however, may be extremely influential in American politics. We want to listen in on the conversation using automatic speech recognition, search for patterns, visualize live-radio and previously recorded shows in AR, and even synthesize our own radio station. This UROP position will be exploratory and focused on a frontier which has been largely neglected in research.

Prerequisites:

No strict prerequisites, but knowing these subjects is a plus and an interest in learning more about them is important:

  • AI/Machine Learning
  • NLP
  • Augmented Reality
  • Data Visualization

Relevant URL: https://researchonabudget.wordpress.com/portfolio/xr-radio-explorer/URL

Contact: Hisham Bedril: hisham.bedri@gmail.com


1/18/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Matthew A. Wilson

Project Title: Wireless 3D pose tracking for animal research

Project Description: Advanced systems have been developed to enable accurate room-scale 3D tracking for virtual reality applications. Steam has recently made these tools available for community development (https://partner.steamgames.com/vrlicensing, https://www.triadsemi.com/steamvr-tracking/). These tools can be leveraged to enable wireless 6-degree of freedom tracking of freely moving animals for experimental neuroscience.  This would provide a large number of benefits compared to current video-based tracking technology and would likely become the _de-facto gold-standard method in the field, once implemented. A functional system requires the development of calibration and sensor fusion algorithms to combine 15-60Hz room-scale optical tracking with 500Hz local inertial reference frame data. This UROP would focus on the development and verification of these algorithms in a high level programming language and then implementing them on existing head-borne FPGAs and microcontrollers being used in the Wilson lab for behavioral research.

Prerequisites: Experience in any programming language. Linear algebra. Introductory experience to control theory would be helpful. Experience with Kalman Filters or similar would be helpful. Ability to engage on community forums. We work with git/github, so experience there would be good. Previous hardware programming experience would be beneficial, but is not required.

Relevant URLs: https://partner.steamgames.com/vrlicensing,

https://github.com/fughilli/ViveTrackerSolver,

https://github.com/cnlohr/libsurvive

Contact: Jonathan Newman: jpnewman@mit.edu


1/18/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Gesture and Speech

Project Description: How do we use gestures to communicate as we speak?  This project studies the way gestures line up with the speech, and how they help to signal both the way words are grouped into phrases, and which words are prominent.  You will learn to analyse the kinematics of the gestural motions, how the gestures group together, and how they line up with the prosody of the speech.   A commitment of 8-10 hours per week during the spring term is necessary; pays $12/hour or you can do this for credit.

Prerequisites:  Some experience with speech signals, linguistics or manipulation of large data sets will be useful, but not required; we can train you.

Contact: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel: sshuf@mit.edu


1/18/18

Multiple Openings

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Troy Littleton

Project Title: Molecular mechanisms of physiological diversity in synaptic signaling

Project Description: The Littleton lab is interested to understand molecular mechanisms of diversity in synaptic signaling using Drosophila as the model system. To address this fascinating question, we use Drosophila genetics, molecular biology, calcium imaging, optogenetics, electrophysiology, super-resolution microscopy, biochemistry, and behavior assays.  I am looking for biology or BCS student to assist our efforts to carryout molecular biology, imaging and behavioral assays. We will provide support and training in genetics, molecular biology, microscopy and behavioral assays, if required. We offer a friendly environment for your training and learning. We are interested in addressing the following: (project 1) Investigating molecular mechanisms of synaptic diversity using RNAi knockdown and imaging techniques, (project 2) Synaptic signaling mechanisms of autism-associated SHANK.

Prerequisites:

  • Great curiosity and enthusiasm to pursue multidisciplinary research.
  • Interest in synapse biology research.

Relevant URL: https://littletonlab.mit.edu/home

Contact: Suresh Kumar Jetti: sureshj@mit.edu


1/17/18

Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Josh McDermott

Project Title: Cross-cultural studies of music perception

Project Description: We plan to conduct a set of experiments comparing how individuals in Western and Amazonian societies perceive musical pitch and consonance. Previous studies in our lab have provided evidence, for example, that consonance is not universally perceived as more pleasant than dissonance– the Tsimane’, a native society of horticulturalist-foragers in the Bolivian Amazon, do not demonstrate an aesthetic preference for consonance over dissonance. This UROP opportunity will involve running studies relating to music perception, preparing for a data collection trip to Bolivia during the summer. The UROP will possibly be asked to join this trip. This is an interdisciplinary project combining psychophysics, auditory psychology, and music cognition.

Prerequisites:

  1. Fluent Spanish
  2. Comfort in MATLAB
  3. An interest in working with human participants
  4. Outdoor/travel experience and comfort
  5. Must be available for Spring and Summer 2018, in particular, must be available during the month of July for a possible data collection trip to Bolivia

Relevant URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature18635

Contact: Malinda McPherson: mjmcp@mit.edu


1/17/18

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Moshe Ben-Akiva

Project Title: Scalable architecture for traffic control

Project Description: The ITS Lab is looking for a UROP to redesign existing data structures and code, and to implement an efficient database interface, with the goal of improving the running time and memory use of the DynaMIT traffic simulation system. DynaMIT is a control architecture for traffic management developed by ITS Lab. Based on information coming from sensors distributed in the road network, DynaMIT generates control signals to improve traffic conditions. Currently, the control signals correspond to incentives distributed to travelers to motivate them to change their mode of transportation, their departure time, or their route. The end goal is to reduce the energy consumption of the entire urban system. Deploying DynaMIT in very large scale networks has shown to be infeasible. The candidate will participate in a redesign of the system to scale it up to the Greater Boston Area. She will modify the data structures to use more efficient ones, review the current code to eliminate redundancy, minimize the memory footprint by dynamically loading necessary data from a database, and perform extensive experiments to evaluate the efficacy of the improvements. Note that funds from the lab are not available.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in C++ and databases

Relevant URL: https://its.mit.edu/software/dynamit

Contact: Andrea Araldo: araldo@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)

Faculty Supervisor: Georgia Perakis

Project title:  Analytics-driven logistics for healthcare start up

Project Description: Our project is about delivering on-demand healthcare services at home. Our objective is to revolutionize how healthcare is delivered by providing “house-calls, on-demand, powered by analytics”. Patients will be matched with healthcare providers, and care will be provided when and where most convenient for the patient. We are collaborating with Incasa (healthcare startup) in order to design realistic models that will help them make operational decisions for at home healthcare delivery. This includes using machine learning and statistics techniques to estimate demand, devising policies to match customers with providers, and building simulations which will help them analyze the performance of their operations and suggest ways to improve.

Responsibilities: First of all, you will be a 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, which are decided upon during meetings. 

Qualifications:

  • Competence with Python is required
  • Experience in machine learning and optimization is preferred
  • Experience with geospatial data and visualization tools (incliding interacing with Google maps) is not necessary, but is a plus.
  • Experience in R also a plus

Salary: $18 per hour 

Duration: summer, with the possibility of extending further

Contact Information: Please send applications or questions to Professor Georgia Perakis (georgiap@mit.edu), Max Biggs PhD student (maxbiggs@mit.edu) Applications should include your resume and a concise statement of why you are interested and why you would make a good fit. 


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Nanoscale biosensors for in vivo monitoring of cancer treatment and response

Project Description: Prof. Strano’s laboratory focuses on the development of nanoscale biosensors and materials for a wide array of applications.  A growing area of our research is the development of nano-biosensors for cancer research applications in particular to probe biologically relevant analytes in vivo and in real-time. Recently, we have developed a series of near-infrared (nIR) fluorescent probes for sensing nitric oxide and reactive oxygen species as well as several chemotherapeutic drugs. Our lab has already customized these nanosensors for a wide range of biomedical analytes such as saccharides, dopamine and neurotransmitters, glucose, insulin, and cortisol.  Our lab is pursuing a number of applications in cancer research to study chemotherapeutic drug delivery, tumor development, progression, and response to therapies.  This includes identification of potential cancer markers, in vitro validation studies (cell cultures and 3D models), and in vivo studies in orthotopic xenograft animal models.  This new nanoscale sensor-imaging platform will allow for monitoring biomolecular changes at earlier time points following chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or immunotherapies, clinicians will be able to more promptly adapt the patient’s treatment strategy depending on the tumor response.

As a student on this project, you will be exposed to a very diverse and interdisciplinary research project and lab. You will have the opportunity to learn many different areas of research ranging from synthesis and characterization of our bionanosensors, to development and testing of biocompatible form-factors (hydrogels) to encapsulate our bionanosensors, testing the sensitivity and specificity of the sensors to the analyte of interest, to testing of sensor response in solution phase, in cell cultures or 3D tumor models, and ultimately in xenograft orthotopic cancer animal models.  Students will also have the opportunity to learn several optical techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, and Raman spectroscopy.  Students may also choose to be involved in the design and development of optical systems (free space and fiber optic) including optical design, hardware instrumentation, and software instrumentation.

Student's specific project will be tailored to the student's particular interest, research needs of our lab, and student's previous experience.  In addition to cancer area, we also have opportunities in relation to our  diabetes related work.

Prerequisites: Students interested in year long or longer research opportunity with interest in biology, chemistry, bioengineering, or optics. Multiple student positions are available for this project.

Relevant URL: srg.mit.edu

Contact: Freddy Nguyen, MD, PhD: freddytn@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rebecca Saxe, Josh Tenebaum

Project Title: Reasoning about emotions

Project Description: How does one person infer another's experience? The intuitive answer—by watching her facial expressions—is often surprisingly incorrect. We are using computational modeling, fMRI, and behavioral analyses to understand human emotion attribution (also called affective theory of mind—how we make inferences about other people's minds and causally related events) and affective cognition (how we reason over emotionally-relevant information).

The immediate project involves editing video clips to showcase people's emotional reactions to the outcome of a prisoner's dilemma. These stimuli are subsequently used to examine how people attribute emotions to other people.

In addition to generating the video stimuli, this project can also involve building probabilistic models of social cognition, neuroimaging design/analysis, and/or behavioral analysis, depending on the student's background and interest.

Prerequisites: Prior video editing experience is useful but not required.

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

Contact: Dae Houlihan: daeda@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Aviv Regev

Project Title: Deciphering cis-regulatory logic

Project Description: In recent years, we have found that many disease-causing genetic polymorphisms lie in regulatory DNA regions. However, very little is known about the process by which transcription factors interpret these DNA sequences to control gene expression levels (cis-regulatory logic). Consequently, we cannot predict how these polymorphisms may alter gene expression and cause disease. We are looking for a UROP to develop experimental techniques that will enable learning the rules by which transcription factors interpret regulatory DNA, under the supervision of a post doc.

We will use genomic methods to measure in high-throughput the gene expression levels of large datasets of regulatory DNA sequences and use these to train computer models to predict gene expression of a given DNA sequence in yeast and human (see https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/11/25/224907). The UROP will work closely with a postdoc and help with lab experiments including high-throughput genomics assays and testing model predictions experimentally. This opportunity can potentially transition to a research assistant position in the summer.

Specific end of UROP goal: You will develop and apply high-throughput genomic technologies for learning how DNA controls gene expression and experimentally validate what is learned.

Prerequisites: Previous experience with molecular biology techniques and/or cell culture is recommended, but can also be learned by a motivated individual.

Contact: If you are interested in this position, please send an email to Carl de Boer: cgdeboer@broadinstitute.org and include:

  • 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
  • Please indicate whether you are looking for IAP or spring or both IAP and spring, and whether you are seeking a UROP for credit or for pay.

1/16/18

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mitchel Resnick

Project Title: Optimize ScratchJr for Chromebooks

Project Description: Want to help research and develop the world’s largest programming community for kids? With Scratch and Scratch Jr developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, kids as young as five can get started programing their own interactive stories, games, and animations. In the process they learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively with the computer.

ScratchJr is used in many different settings including schools. Since 2015 ScratchJr has been available for Android tablets as well as iPads, but many schools use Chromebooks instead of iPads or tablets. Chromebooks can run Android apps, but some ScratchJr features do not work as expected on Chromebooks. This work would include optimizing ScratchJr for use on Chromebooks, along with researching how Chromebooks are managed in schools and updating ScratchJr to work in an environment where ScratchJr projects are  stored in the cloud rather than locally on the device. Interested candidates should have experience developing apps for Android and be fluent in Java. Fluency in Javascript and experience with chromebook apps would be a plus. 

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

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

Contact: To apply, please contact Chris Garrity (chrisg@media.mit.edu) with a paragraph describing your interest and relevant experience, a copy of your resume, and include links to any previous projects or apps you created


1/16/18

Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Klavs F. Jensen

Project Title: Multistage synthesis of non-toxic quantum dots using a series of μCSTR reactors

Project Description: Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals (NCs) or quantum dots (QDs) are particles that have a diameter between 1 and 10 nm and are composed of a semiconductor core surrounded by a layer of organic ligands. Colloidal NCs have been widely investigated due to their tunable optical and electronic properties, which are directly controlled by particle size. QDs are characterized by broad absorption bands, narrow emission linewidths and high fluorescence quantum efficiencies. Since they emit across the UV, visible and near-IR regions of the electromagnetic spectrum they have found significant application in multiplexed biological sensing, optoelectronics, photovoltaic technologies, and single photon sources.

The focus of the proposed project is to use of a series of micro-sized continuous flow stirred-tank reactors (μCSTR) for the controlled and multistep synthesis of non-toxic quantum dots. Particularly, in comparison with capillary based formats and chip-based reactors, a μCSTR configuration offers greater flexibility regarding multiple and controlled addition of reagents and reactions with slower reaction kinetics (reaction time is in the range of minutes). In addition, the homogeneous concentration and temperature profiles realized by strong agitation in each chamber result in nearly ideal CSTRs in series RTD profiles and accurate predictability of reaction conversions. Such approach is beneficial for the introduction of new reagents (e.g. to create multinary structures or core/shell architectures) in a controlled manner avoiding secondary nucleation, which would degrade sample quality and yielding QDs with controllable compositions. In addition, such platform will provide a greater flexibility for the scale-up production of multinary structures. Last, the combination of inline photoluminescence measurements and the fast mixing of reagents within such a platform will allow for mapping of reaction parameters, including molar ratios of precursors, reaction temperatures and reaction times for optimizing the synthetic procedure. Systems of study will be focusing on core and core/shell structures of type III-V semiconductor NCs.

Prerequisites: Students with a plan for a semester-long or longer research commitment with interest in chemical engineering, nanomaterial synthesis, spectroscopy and kinetics.

Relevant URL: jensenlab.mit.edu

Contact: Dr. Ioannis Lignos: ilignos@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: William Green

Project Title: Laser Detection of Transient Species in Fuel Combustion

Project Description: The burning of organic fuels remains the primary source of power for transportation and industrial sectors around the world. Untangling the complex chemistry that occurs during combustion is the key to improving engine designs and reducing undesirable emissions from both traditional fossil fuel and renewable biofuels. The Green group combines theory, experiments and computer science to develop tools for accurately predicting the important elementary reactions in combustion and other processes. Of particular importance are reactions involving molecules with unpaired electrons (radicals) and aromatic rings (benzene), which are abundant in combustion and lead to the formation of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are suspected cancer-causing agents. These reactions are difficult to explore experimentally due to the transient nature of both the reactants and intermediates. We seek a UROP to assist in our Chemical Dynamics Laboratory measuring gas-phase reaction kinetics and product channel branching ratios with the unique combination of two highly sensitive experimental methods: laser absorption and time-of- flight mass spectrometry. You will learn how to operate and optimize performance of the laser equipment and high vacuum systems, and assist with the raw data collection, processing and analysis. A student curious about the intersection of fundamental physical chemistry and chemical engineering is especially welcome to apply. This position is for IAP/Spring with potential for a longer term commitment.

Prerequisites: Good communication and time management skills are required. A basic understanding of chemical kinetics and physical chemistry principles is desired. Some familiarity with MATLAB is preferred. Previous experience working with gas flow systems and/or aligning laser optics is a plus. The time commitment is full time during IAP (schedule can be flexible) and 10-12 hours a week during the semester.

Contact: Mica Smith: mcs@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: opensource pneumatic control system for designers

Project Description: Air is one the most abundant resources on earth. By adding computation ability to air, we can create new types of materials that enable us to design robots that are soft, furniture that is adaptive, clothing that is intelligent and art pieces that are breathing.

Pneuduino is a hardware platform for kids, students, artists, designers, researchers who are interested in controlling air flow and pressure for their projects. It is developed at MIT Media Lab, Tangible Media Group. It controls multiple connected solenoid valve modules with the Pneuduino library and can be programmed via USB through the Arduino IDE. You can find the board and examples here: http://pneuduino.org

Your task is to help developing an additional module for the Pneuduino platform. this module allows user to add an extra sensor, LED or other peripheral to the pneumatic system. For that we are looking for students who has background in EE and is familiar with micro controller programming and Arduino environment. knowledge in PCB design is a plus.

Relevant URL: pneuduino.org

Contact: Jifei Ou: jifei@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Afreen Siddiqi

Project Title: Socio-Economic Impacts of Universities: Tracing the Social Linkages through Conferences, Events and Speakers

Project Description: This project investigates how universities impact societies and local economies. The socio-economic role of research intensive and science and technology oriented universities is not fully understood. Furthermore, while aggregate impacts of universities in a region have been studied from economic dimensions, the broader societal dimensions have not been systematically studied nor examined from a quantitative lens. The debate on the “role of” and “return from” investments for universities has continued to evolve. This research project aims to contribute new methods that may provide novel insights to these enduring questions in the social realm.

In this project, the UROP student will help in testing a method that measures the engagement power of universities by identifying and quantifying social linkages that are created through conference attendance, events, and visiting speakers at universities. This method will be tested through data collection and application for a set of selected universities in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Tasks for UROP project: A) The student will create scripts for data scraping and data collection of publications records (from Web of Science, Scopus etc.), conference websites, and events calendars of universities. B) The student will collect and process data, and will conduct analysis (including building heat maps and network graphs) to create network models of social linkages between international research universities. C) The student will contribute in writing and communicating the results of this research to key sponsors of this project and to the broader community via presentations and journal papers.

Prerequisites: (1) Experience in programming and creating scripts for web scraping and online data gathering; (2) Experience in creating and using databases; and (3) Preferred: Knowledge of creating network diagrams, graph analysis (using packages such as gephi).

Contact: Stephanie Toews Moeling: srichar@mit.edu


1/16/18

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leslie Owens

Project Title: Social Media Marketing in Academic Research

Project Description: The Center for Information Systems Research (CISR) maintains a social media presence on multiple platforms, including Twitter and LinkedIn.  This presence has been limited in the past.

This UROP has several objectives:

  • Provide CISR leadership with an analysis of the center's current social media presence, including comparisons to other academic and commercial institutions with similar research objectives
  • Alongside the research staff, develop a strategy for increasing CISR visibility
  • Help manage CISR's social media presence across platforms

Prerequisites:

  • Experience with social media platforms, including Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Professional communications experience preferred

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

Contact: Aman Shah: amanshah@mit.edu


1/16/18

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: - Academic Departments -

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Troy Littleton

Project Title: Developing analytical tools to control and analyze synaptic activity in a simple genetic model system  

Project Description: Littleton lab is interested in developing novel biological and analytical tools to investigate mechanisms of diversity in synaptic communication. I am looking for a course 6 student to assist our efforts to develop analytical tools to analyze our data using MATLAB tools and to build simple electronic circuits for our behavioral apparatus. My project involves obtaining electrophysiological recordings (whole-cell patch-clamp and sharp electrode recordings) and microscopy data to study how different types of synapses in the nervous system communicates at the nanoscale resolution. We are interested to address the following challenges: (Project 1) Develop image processing data analysis tools to automate the analysis of our synaptic calcium imaging data [confocal and super-resolution nanoscopy data], (Project 2) Develop hardware/software interface to optogenetically control and track the locomotion (crawling behavior) of the larva Drosophila (maggots).

Prerequisites: Great curiosity and enthusiasm to pursue multidisciplinary research. Candidates with MATLAB and/or electronic background/work experience interested in creating image processing tools, developing simple electronic circuits, hardware/software interface.  Although Candidates of all experience levels will be considered, preference will be given to candidates with a background in at least two of the following:

  • Experience with MATLAB preferred. Python background is also considered.
  • Programming of electronic controller (e.g. Arduino, adafruit or equivalent)
  • Image processing background (in MATLAB preferred).
  • Signal processing background.

Relevant URL: https://littletonlab.mit.edu/home

Contact: Suresh Kumar Jetti: sureshj@mit.edu


1/16/18

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniel Anderson

Project Title: Engineering nanomaterials for nucleic acid delivery to mammalian cells

Project Description: Nucleic acids including DNA and mRNA can be utilized for therapeutic applications such as replacement of missing or faulty proteins in genetic disease. However, efficient delivery of nucleic acids remains a critical hurdle and this project aims to develop nanomaterials that can protect nucleic acid from degradation during in vivo delivery as well as promote cellular uptake for translation.

We are interested in developing non-viral vectors comprising of cationic polymers that may also be engineered to be biodegradable to enable repeat dosing of nucleic acids with low toxicity. One such class of materials are poly(beta amino esters) which have been previously shown to be efficient for delivery of DNA and more recently mRNA. These materials are interesting due to their high chemical diversity to enable fine tuning of material properties.

We are advertising a research opportunity for an undergraduate that will help to characterize properties of delivery materials such as molecular weight, solubility and degradation to identify potential relationships with nanoparticle properties such as stability, cargo encapsulation and transfection efficiency in mammalian cells. Depending on experience and time commitment, further research aims may include development of an individual project to focus on an area of personal interest for the UROP candidate.

Previous experience in materials or nanoparticle characterization such as GPC, NMR, DLS, TEM etc is desirable.

Relevant URL: https://ki.mit.edu/people/faculty/anderson

Contact: Asha Patel: akpatel@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Silent Speech Interface

Project Description: Could we speak in natural language to other people, artificial intelligence assistants, computers and applications just by internally vocalizing and not explicitly saying anything? This is explored through a new technology being developed at the Fluid Interfaces group. The UROP research would focus on designing and building hardware to instantiate this as a platform. The project will involve electronics design and implementation.

Prerequisites: The student must have experience with circuit design, PCB fabrication, PCB materials, board houses, components (SMT, through-hole etc.).

Contact: Arnav Kapur: arnavk@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Computer Vision in High Speed Robotic Manipulation

Project Description: We are building a robotic system for manipulating tiny objects in a clustered environment, and the machine learning process that enables robots to learn such manipulation skills from human. We are looking for UROPs to work side by side with post-doc and graduate researchers to develop the vision system and machine learning algorithms. The student will get practical experience in all aspects of the machine learning. The UROP is expected to commit 8-10 hours a week to the project.

Prerequisites: The student should at least be comfortable programming in python. Prior experience with machine learning or computer vision will be a plus.

Contact: Ali Jahanian: jahanian@mit.edu


1/16/18

Multiple Openings

Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory

Faculty Supervisor: Joi Ito

Project #1 Title: Open Agriculture Initiative | Instructional Design for Food Computers 

Project Description: OpenAg is developing Food Computers  - robotic adaptive environments for agriculture that monitor and control plant growth. Advances in open hardware and software have recently made it possible to develop open source food production and agriculture tools that anyone can build, hack and improve upon. 

OpenAg is designing instructional materials to make our open source hardware, software and data common more accessible, easy to understand, and engaging for low-technically literate audiences. The purpose of this project is assist in the interaction/instructional design process and development of digital materials to support the OpenAg EDU “PFC_EDU” development project.

Work will include:

  • Webpage design and development
  • UX/UI/IxD/IA design and ​instructional ​materials development 
  • Design research with target users of education-focused Food Computer prototypes
  • Design-prototype-build participation 

Prerequisites: The UROP should display a willingness to participate in the prototyp/build of OpenAg’s open source Food Computer platforms. Curiosity about graphic design and/or instructional design concepts preferred, Proficiency in visual design tools (Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator), website development/design tools and prototyping tools (InVision, Marvel, Proto.io) preferred. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are necessary.

IAP only

———————-

Project #2 Title:  Open Agriculture Initiative | Camera and Computer Vision Development

Project Description: OpenAg is developing robotic adaptive environments for agriculture that monitor and control plant growth. The purpose of this project is to design and validate the imaging platform for Food Computers using RGB cameras. The project may also include work with LiDAR and FLIR cameras. 

Prerequisites: The UROP should be adept in camera technologies, image processing, pattern recognition, and related data analysis and reduction. 

IAP-Spring 2018

———————-

Project #3: Open Agriculture Initiative | Whole Plant Microbiome in Food Computers

Project Description: Open Agriculture Initiative is developing smart controlled environments to control, measure and manipulate chemical and environmental conditions that can influence crops/plant development and growth. The purpose of this project is to map an entire plant microbiome within these controlled environments under different environmental/chemical stimuli. 

Prerequisites: We are looking for a student with an interest in plant science and metagenomics with experience in microbiology, microbial ecology and bioinformatics.

IAP-Spring 2018

———————-

Project Title #4: Open Agriculture Initiative | Controlled Environments for Tree Computers (Design/Build) 

Project Description: OpenAg is developing Food Computers - robotic adaptive environments for agriculture that monitor and control plant growth. Advances in open hardware and software have made it possible to develop open source robotic farming tools. The purpose of this project is to build and develop controlled environments for the cultivation and research of hazelnut trees. 

Prerequisites: The UROP should be a civil engineering or architecture student with a strong background in civil engineering. The applicant should be comfortable with experimental work, an iterative design-build process, mechanical engineering, structural engineering, and production-quality design documentation. Significant prior experience working in SolidWorks, Rhino3D, Maxwell and/or other rendering software, and the Adobe Suite is highly recommended. Experience producing Construction Drawing sets is recommended. Applicants should be collaborative thinkers, eager to work across disciplines. The UROP must be able to provide own transport to OpenAg’s second lab in Middleton, MA.

IAP-Spring 2018

URL: openag.mit.edu

Contact: Hildreth England: hildreth@media.mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof/ Wim M. van Rees

Project Title: Computational investigation of a rotating cylinder pair in a viscous fluid

Project Description: A pair of rotating cylinders immersed in a viscous fluid has been shown to exhibit interesting propulsion and wake suppression properties. The simplicity of the system has opportunities for micro-scale energy harvesting. This project aims to use numerical simulations of the two-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations to explore the parameter space for the system and derive some analytical scaling laws that can describe their behavior. Our in-house solver is written in modern C++ and exploits multi-resolution grids and shared-memory parallelism. A follow-up project would use evolutionary optimization algorithms in order to optimize the parameters and geometry for maximum performance, and investigate the three-dimensional flow structures using our in-house 3D Navier-Stokes solver.

Who should apply?: If you are excited about computational fluid dynamics and the interface between computer science, mathematics, and engineering, then this project will provide an opportunity to get familiar with initializing, running, and analyzing simulations.

If you are interested, please apply or email with your resume/CV. There is one UROP position for Spring 2018. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).

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

Contact: Geoff Fox: gfox@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Wim M. van Rees

Project Title: Helicity in a fluid flow: vortex rings and loops

Project Description: Helicity is a scalar quantity that measures the degree of intertwining and linking of vortex lines inside a fluid flow. A circular vortex ring, such as a smoke ring, does not necessarily have helicity, but once the ring has undulations or other asymmetries, local helicity dynamics can play an important role in the evolution of the flow. Using simulations of the three-dimensional Navier-Stokes equations on a parallel compute cluster, we aim to investigate those helicity dynamics for some basic vortical flows. The goal of this project is to design initial conditions for a helical flow, implement those in our in-house code, simulate it, and visualize/analyze the results. As such, this project combines fluid dynamics, mathematics, and computational science.

Who should apply?: If you are excited about computational fluid dynamics and understanding the fundamental building blocks of vortical flows, then this project will provide an opportunity to get familiar with some of these aspects.

If you are interested, please apply or email with your resume/CV. There is one UROP position for Spring 2018. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s).

Prerequisites: Need to have a basic understanding of vector field calculus and fluid dynamics. Familiarity with basic numerical methods (finite difference, timestepping, elliptic solvers) is appreciated. Our in-house solver is written in Fortran-90, so experience with that is a plus - but the language and code is easy to pick up.

Contact: Geoff Fox: gfox@mit.edu


1/1618

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. Ghoniem and A. Slocum

Project Title: Waste management / renewable energy for rural development

Project Description: In many parts of the developing world, agricultural and other biomass waste is simply burned in the open air, creating much toxic pollution. Thermochemical treatment (torrefaction) is a process whereby this waste can be converted into solid fuel. This has the potential to provide renewable energy, create new income and jobs, reduce waste, and in some cases cut down pollutions and greenhouse emissions.  You will help develop analytical tools to design and optimize a low-cost biomass-to-fuel conversion process described above. Scope of the work, depending on your background, may involve modeling combustion processes and reactors, with subsequent prototype testing. You will learn the fundamental process of engineering design and modeling tools that are widely applicable to other areas of engineering. Successful projects will have potential follow-on travel opportunities (India, Kenya, etc.) to test viable prototypes. 

Prerequisites: Multi-semester engagement strongly preferred. Prior experience with Matlab is preferred. 

Contact: Kevin Kung: kkung@mit.edu


1/1618

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Siegel

Project Title: Real-time Cyber Analysis to Improve Response to a Cyber Attack in Energy Delivery Systems

Project Description: Energy delivery systems (EDS) operators have multiple guidelines for cybersecurity. However, these recommendations and guidelines may not be fully implemented in part because the details can be overwhelming. In addition, these types of documents may not be reviewed until they are needed (e.g., during a crisis). All these guidelines are only helpful if the operator can access them effectively in real-time to respond to a crisis, and assess the impact that following a given recommendation will have on the state of the cyber system. In addition, choosing the right response plan could be challenging if the guidelines have various and sometimes conflicting recommendations.

In this project, we have a three-fold objective. First is to create a database of response strategies and a real-time simulation tool to assist EDS operators in responding to a cyber-crisis. Second is to better understand how EDS operators decide on a response plan in a cyber-crisis situation in order to help them perform better. Third, to improve both the database and simulation tool based on operator experience.

Learning opportunities: Overall, this project can enhance your critical thinking, simulation modeling, and data analysis skills, and prepare you with hands-on experience in cybersecurity, simulation, and decision-making sciences. Selected candidate(s) can join the project immediately.

Qualifications: Required skills include attention to details, as well as excellent reading, writing, and communication skills. Programming skills are also essential. Familiarity with cybersecurity and simulation modeling techniques is a plus but not required. We are particularly interested in working with motivated and organized students who are committed to doing research.

Relevant URL: You will be working with Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan (http://ic3.mit.edu).

Contact: Please email Dr. Mohammad Jalali (jalali@mit.edu) with your CV, and feel free to ask any questions.


1/1618

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Juejun Hu

Project Title: Automated Manufacturing for Photonic Integrated Circuit Sensors

Project Description: We are looking for a highly motivated undergraduate student (preferably mechanical engineering) to help us develop packaging and manufacturing capabilities for photonic integrated circuit (PIC) sensors designed and fabricated in our lab. The project consists of:

  • Designing a high-precision automated positioning system
  • Making custom mechanical components
  • Working closely with a team of graduate students to test and validate this system
  • Designing and fabricating new packaging solutions for PIC sensors

Prerequisites: Important prerequisites or skills required for this UROP are:

  • Proficient with Solidworks  (or equivalent CAD software)
  • Machine shop experience
  • Good team working skills
  • At least 8 hours/week availability

The ideal candidate would also have:

  • Completed 2.007 and 2.008
  • Experience working with and completing mechanical engineering projects
  • Prior knowledge of heat-transfer and product design
  • Experience with circuit design is a plus!
  • Programming experience (preferably python)

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

Contact: Derek Kita: dkita@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisors: Julian Shun

Project Title: Practical Parallel Graph Algorithms

Project Description: Graph algorithms have applications in a variety of domains, such as social network and Web analysis, computational biology, and machine learning. Analyzing large graphs quickly requires designing high-performance parallel algorithms. This project involves the design, analysis, and implementation of parallel graph algorithms for various problems of fundamental importance such as subgraph matching, connectivity, and clustering. This project is suitable for students who are strong in algorithm analysis and performance engineering. 

Prerequisites: Performed well in 6.172 and 6.046 or have comparable experience. Committed to at least 20 hours/week during IAP/summer and at least 15 hours/week during the spring semester. 

Contact: Julian Shun: jshun@mit.edu


1/16/18

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Development of vision after curable blindness

Project Description: The overall goal of Project Prakash is to provide treatment to curably blind children and study their subsequent visual development. In particular, we have been studying the development of object and concept formation following recovery from prolonged congenital blindness.

Project Prakash uniquely allows us to investigate this developmental progression from the earliest stages both behaviorally and with brain imaging tools. In this study, we focus on basic face recognition ability,particularly in the hours and days following treatment for congenital blindness from cataracts.  Specifically, we have video data recorded from the first hours and days immediately upon sight onset, and we need these videos translated from Hindi to English and annotated as part of the data analysis process.  The student will be supported by and mentored by me (a postdoc) in the lab.  This position is available for pay or credit.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in visual development and behavioral studies. Significant advantage for background in psychology and/or cognitivescience. Fluent knowledge of hindi and ability to translate efficiently and accurately is a must.

Relevant URL: www.projectprakash.org

Contact: Sharon Gilad-Gutnick: sharongu@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Linda Griffith

Project Title: Interrogating the Tissue Microenvironment at Single Cell Resolution in Patients with Endometriosis / Adenomyosis.

Project Description: The human endometrium undergoes extensive remodeling that is guided by proteolytic and inflammatory networks in a spatially asynchronous yet temporally resolved manner, culminating in implantation or menses. Aberrant proteolytic and inflammatory activity is known to facilitate metastasis in cancer, and numerous studies have detailed their aberrations in gynepathologies such as endometriosis. Uterine pathologies such as adenomyosis and fibroids have foci of disease often surrounded by healthy tissue. Whether this seemingly healthy tissue that is proximal to disease facilitates pathogenesis more so than distal unaffected tissue is unclear.

The goal of this project is to implement a cyclic, multidimensional immune-fluorescent staining procedure to image molecular and cellular signatures of disease in frozen tissue sections, and possibly 3D gel co-culture systems, in order to characterize the microenvironment of adenomyosis lesions. The student will learn histological techniques, immunoassay development, fluorescence microscopy, Luminex, data analysis and presentation of results. The student will also have the opportunity to develop their own project.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate would have some immunofluorescent microscopy experience, however, candidates of all experience levels will be considered. We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working at least 20 hours per week during IAP and summer and 10 hours per week during the academic year. We are offering academic credit for new UROPs.

Relevant URL: http://lgglab.mit.edu/  http://cgr.mit.edu/

Contact: Evan Chiswick: chiswick@mit.edu


1/16/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. John D.E. Gabrieli

Project Title: Neural basis of comorbidity in reading and math disorders

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

Prerequisites: UROPs should be available for ~6 hours/week. 

Contact: Please contact Anila D’Mello and Dayna Wilmot (admello@mit.edu & dvwilmot@mit.edu) to state your interest!


1/7/18

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard C. Larson

Project Title: Queueing, Queueing, Queueing, We All Hate to Wait!

Project Description: Professor Richard C. Larson in MIT’s new IDSS (Institute for Data, Systems, and Society) is looking for a few imaginative/creative undergraduates to help him with background research on his new book on queues, or waiting lines. This will be a popular book covering all aspects of queueing, especially psychology of queueing, queue culture across countries, and – yes – even the mathematics and physics of queueing.  We hope the book will be of interest to parents of MIT undergraduates and to parents, grandparents and young people everywhere – any person who experiences queues and has reactions to them.

In particular, there will be separate chapters dealing with different aspects of queues.  The UROP’s responsibility would be to find and organize information about that topic, the information being current as well as historical, and representing queues from anywhere in the world.  We imagine that a great majority of the research work will be internet-based, using Google, Google Scholar, etc., with perhaps some innovative techniques such as crowd sourcing and social networks.  Being a popular book, much of its content will be illustrative examples of queues and queue behaviors, from routine and mundane to outrageous.  Examples of topics: (1) cross-cultural comparisons, finding examples of behaviors totally fine in one country and completely unaccepted in another -- and what happens when the cultures collide; (2) cell phone apps that are meant to help you reduce wait and otherwise experience less frustration in queues; (3) identifying queue performance measures other than duration of the wait that irritate people or make them happy; etc.  There will be several more topics, and the UROP students are invited to suggest new ones!

We are hoping for a small UROP team of 3 or 4 students.  We plan to meet weekly for one hour to share updates and team advice.  This should be a great introduction to applied research that combines math, physics, and probability, on the one hand, with psychology, cultures and traditions.

Prerequisites: No Prerequisites!  Freshmen are just as welcome as seniors!  We just want enthusiasm and commitment!

Contact: Richard C. Larson aka "Dr. Queue": rclarson@mit.edu


1/3/18

Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael S. Strano

Project Title: Engineering Nanomaterials for the Control of Enzyme Function

Project Description: Enzymes are biological machines that modulate chemical reactions, often crucial to cellular health and metabolism. Both the increase and decrease in function of these proteins are main causes of many known disease processes such as pancreatitis, glycogen storage disease and tumor metastasis. While current treatments often involve extensive screening for small molecule drugs targeting specific proteins, we propose a system for the rational design of functional protein modulators based on single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs). One area of Prof. Strano’s laboratory focuses on the engineering SWCNTs as specific biosensors for reactive species, small molecules and proteins. We have discovered a system coined corona phase molecular recognition (CoPhMoRe) where analytes can be specifically identified using its interactions with the external surface of a nanomaterial. This work will extend the technology of CoPhMoRe toward the targeted functional control of biological activity. As a student on this project, you will be exposed to a very diverse and interdisciplinary research project and lab. You will have the opportunity to learn many different areas of research ranging from synthesis and characterization of our bionanosensors, study of enzyme activity and structure, testing of sensitivity and specificity of the SWCNTs, and potential work with cell culture. Students will also have the opportunity to learn characterization techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, absorption spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, circular dichroism and isothermal calorimetry.

Prerequisites: Students with plan for year-long or longer research commitment with interest in biology, chemistry, bioengineering, or nanomaterials.

Relevant URL: srg.mit.edu

Contact: Xun Gong, MD, PhD: xungong@mit.edu


1/3/18

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Laura Schulz

Project Title: Building an engaged participant userbase for online developmental research

Project Description: The Lookit project is a new approach to research in developmental psychology. Rather than bring families to the lab to participate in studies about cognitive development, we've developed a website where parents and children can participate from home at any time, with video of the child's responses recorded via webcam and sent to the lab for later analysis. We are currently scaling this tool to allow researchers from any institution to post their own studies. Our primary goals are (a) to accelerate robust, reproducible developmental science by reducing the practical barriers to conducting the “right” study to answer a particular scientific study, and (b) to expand participation in research to a more representative population of families.

A critical factor in the success of online research is the pace of recruitment. In principle, testing online can allow access to both a more representative population and much larger sample sizes, over a much shorter timespan – which lets researchers measure effects more precisely and with adequate power, or run many experimental conditions and appropriate controls to better understand responses. However, while labs have good established strategies for bringing families into the lab, no one really knows how best to recruit families to participate online. That’s where you come in: we’re looking for a responsible, motivated UROP to explore strategies and recruit families to participate. 

UROP responsibilities may include:

  • Identify and pursue opportunities for local, online, and media
  • outreach/recruitment (e.g., family-oriented science events, online parenting message boards, parenting-focused blogs)
  • Design and post Lookit flyers in the Cambridge area
  • Manage social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter) and write content
  • Talk with families to understand their reactions to the idea of online studies and reasons for participating
  • Coordinate recruitment efforts with collaborating labs and evaluate the impact of various recruitment strategies
  • Propose & evaluate strategies for participant engagement (e.g., point systems for study participation, immediate feedback, ability to see or share own data, social media content)

Time commitment: 8-12 hours/week

Compensation: credit

Prerequisites: Strong scientific communication skills and the ability to work and problem-solve independently. 9.85, previous experience working with young children, graphic design skills, and social media marketing experience are all beneficial but not required. This would be a good fit for a student in or considering CMS, Course 9, 15-1, or E&I as the Lookit project is intermediate between a startup and an academic lab. UROPs will work closely with Lookit project lead Kim Scott to develop strategies and assess progress. Full semester commitment required with schedule to be arranged. Candidate may start work during IAP if desired.

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

Contact: Kim Scott: kimscott@mit.edu


1/3/18

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Spray drying of concentrated milk-based emulsion

Project Description: Severe acute malnutrition afflicts more than 20 million children worldwide, with 8 million in India. Under MIT - Tata center, the Hatton Lab is developing a ready-to-use therapeutic food for the community based treatment of this disease in India. While we have resolved most engineering issues and successfully demonstrated the scaled-up feasibility (see MIT News in the URL), the final instant powder product does need additional optimization. Thus, it is important to understand how process parameters would affect the resultant powder quality. This research is a great opportunity for students interested in spray drying, a technology widely used in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industry, and to build hands-on experience with this technology.

Prerequisites: Committed to >30 hr/week during IAP and >15 hr/week during the spring semester.

Relevant URL: http://news.mit.edu/2017/fighting-child-malnutrition-with-nanoscience-0421

Contact: Tonghan Gu: tgu@mit.edu


1/3/18

Spring 2018

Department/Lab: Economics

Faculty Supervisor: Prof.  Robert Townsend

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 January.  The RA would be expected to work approximately 8 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: If you have questions, please contact the Project Supervisor, Xiaowen Yang at xiaoweny@mit.edu


1/3/18

Summer 2018

MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA

Faculty Supervisor:  Mr. Paul Metzger

The Intelligence and Decision Technologies Group develops prototypes to demonstrate innovative command and control technology and open system architectures that measurably improve intelligence and military decision making.  This work begins with an understanding of the workflows of intelligence analysts and military commanders, often through operations research.  Operational data sets are amassed to support all types of algorithm development, such as multisensor fusion, “big data” mining, cloud technologies, graph-based network detection, and artificial intelligence, including deep learning.  The group guides the nation in the adoption of open architecture standards in air, space, and cyber platforms.  Prototype systems for data exploitation and knowledge management are delivered for evaluation in theater.  Areas of technical staff expertise include systems analysis, modeling and simulation, feature extraction and pattern analysis, computer vision, natural language processing, machine learning, software development, and field experimentation. 

Position Description The Intelligence and Decisions Technologies Group is seeking summer interns to contribute to the following 2018 MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute (BWSI) programs:

  • Autonomous Cognitive Assistant
  • Data Science for Health and Medicine 

The MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute is a rigorous, world-class STEM program for talented rising high school seniors.  For more information on BWSI and the Cog*Works and Medlytics programs, visit: https://beaverworks.ll.mit.edu/CMS/bw/bwsi 

Interns will spend four weeks working at MIT Lincoln Laboratory to establish familiarity with the curriculum, develop novel software and hardware applications, and build solutions to challenging machine learning problems.  Afterwards, interns will spend four weeks (July 9-August 5) on campus co-instructing the courses alongside Lincoln Laboratory staff. 

Tasks for Cog*Works and Medlytics programs include the following:

  • Improving existing course content for robustness and usability
  • Creating templates and prototyping solutions for weekly challenge problems
  • Developing and implementing novel hardware solutions and machine learning algorithms
  • Co-instruction of course material to top high school students across the nation 

Position Requirements:

  • Current MIT undergraduate students in Computer Science, Physics, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics or other technical field, coupled with the demonstrated ability to apply talents to new fields.
  • Demonstrated excellence in communication skills and the ability to convey technical concepts in a clear, concise manner to a wide spectrum of audiences are required.
  • Familiarity with machine learning concepts.
  • Significant experience with mathematical and object-oriented programming (preferably in Python).
  • Enthusiastic interest in course development and educational instruction.
  • Ability to start summer employment no later than June 11, 2018. 

Desired Skills:

  • Experience with Python, Git, and Jupyter.
  • Familiarity with advanced machine learning (e.g., neural networks). 

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, veteran status, disability status, or genetic information; U.S. citizenship is required.

Apply: Please submit your resume and unofficial transcript to our website at https://ll.mit.edu/careers/research-opportunities.html.    In the ‘Search by Keyword’ field, please enter 20581. A free shuttle bus is provided so that student may commute to Lincoln Laboratory from campus.  Please see https://ll.mit.edu/about/shuttle.html.


1/3/18

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Picower Institute for Learning and Memory (PILM)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Matt Wilson

Project Title: Characterizing neuron firing during spatial navigation

Project Description: I am looking for a course 6 student (sophomore level or above) to assist with a variety of tasks, possibly including debugging hardware, coding, and signal processing. My project involves taking electrophysiological recordings from neurons in vivo as the rat runs a maze. A vast quantity of data is collected and presents many processing challenges. Since this is a neuroscience project, a healthy interest in neuroscience is also needed!

Prerequisites: Please have some of the following skills (it is not necessary to have them all). Please specify which you are able to do in your response!

  • experience building and troubleshooting electrical circuits
  • coding experience, particularly in MATLAB
  • courses or experience in signal processing

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/wilsonlab/

Contact: Hannah Wirtshafter: hsw@mit.edu


12/27/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Edgerton Center

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Kim Vandiver

Project Title: Develop Maker projects for K-12 core academic classes

Project Description: The Edgerton Center has a mission of developing and fostering experiential learning opportunities for K-12 students as well as MIT students.  We recently kicked off the "Learning Supported by Making" project. Our goal to create a methodology allowing K-12 educators to design and implement Maker projects in their core curricula. We define Maker projects as authentic (students have a personal interest in the project), project-based learning activities, that involve community and collaboration, and have a strong component of hands-on technology-based tools (think 3D printer, laser cutter, Arduino microcomputer, electronics, shop tools, sewing machine). We intend our methodology to be used by K-12 educators who seek to integrate STEM and Maker activities in core academic subjects, including Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Math, Science, and World Languages. We are working with a group of K-12 schools to develop this methodology and sample projects.  Our need is for students to create project samples that will inspire the teachers in this group and show the range of opportunities available with the maker technologies.  We anticipate this being very creative and iterative, with students using tools and materials at our shop. They will design and create the kinds of  projects they wish they could have done in high school or middle school, informed by the collaborating K-12 teachers.

Resources:

“Learning Supported by Making” project information: http://edgertoncentermakerspace.com/learning-supported-by-making-project.html

Project samples from other schools: https://drive.google.com/open?id=16ZTOrJREh0CZU8zVd24wlmQMNEhY9tz5G9ooFPICvhg

Prerequisites: General familiarity with maker tools and materials. Experience with shop tools, digital fabrication tools, and 2D/3D modeling packages is preferred but not required.

Contact: Diane Brancazio: dianeb@mit.edu


12/27/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Iyad Rahwan

Project Title: IARPA Hybrid Forecasting Competition

Project Description: The Scalable Cooperation group at the Media Lab is involved - together with Harvard, Northeastern, Microsoft Research and HRL labs- in a 4 year-long challenge on hybrid systems for geo-political forecasting. The challenge is funded and coordinated by IARPA, an organization within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It involves the creation, testing and improvement of hybrid systems capable of accurate forecasting of precise future geopolitical real events (e.g., What is the chance that a nuclear weapon will be used against the USA by the end of June 2018). Hybrid systems are defined as composed of a human component - like individuals, teams, experts etc. - and a machine component - like statistical models, artificial agents and probabilistic inference algorithms.

The UROP collaborator will work in a team composed of other graduate students and staff aimed at (a) generating and testing hypotheses stemming from current state-of-the-art literature on wisdom of crowds, group information processing, cognitive sciences, Bayesian inference, machine learning and probabilistic programming; (b) implementing and supervising large-scale online group experiments; (c) data-analysis and statistical hypothesis testing, using a range of inference techniques. The UROP collaborator’s precise role within the team will be defined based on their individual skill-set and preferences, but specific projects will be either on the tools implementation side or on the data analytic side.

We expect a motivated person who is interested in the topic and scope of this research and who can bring personal original contributions to the team. There is a possibility of continuing the collaboration further within the Scalable Cooperation group. The workload is about 10 hours/week.

Prerequisites: We highly value a good understanding of probability theory and Bayesian inference. This include (but is not limited to) one/more of the following: Bayesian graphical models, Bayesian statistics, probabilistic programming (PyMC3, Stan, BUGS, WebPPL etc).

Relevant URL: https://www.iarpa.gov/index.php/research-programs/hfc

Contact: Niccolo Pescetelli: niccolop@mit.edu


12/21/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Krystyn Van Vliet

Project Title: Nano-Mechanical Studies of Energy Materials

Project Description: As fossil fuels near depletion, it is becoming increasingly important that alternative energy sources are soon found. Nano-scale materials and characterizations are often key components to finding a solution. This project involves nanoscale studies of energy materials using nanomechanical testing techniques. As a lead undergrad researcher, you will have the opportunity to gain exposure to SEM and nanomechanical testing, learn various data analysis techniques, and other invaluable skills applicable to a variety of nanoscale and multiscale energy material investigations. Undergrads with significant MATLAB experience required.

Prerequisites: Significant MATLAB experience is required. sophomore level or above desired

Relevant URL: http://kjvvgroup.mit.edu/?p=2298

Contact: Shilpa Raja: shilpar@mit.edu


12/20/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Taylor Perron

Project Title: Grooving to Coral Reef Morphology

Project Description: Go to 6.261°N, 171.922°E in Google Earth. Do you see those long, cyan-colored channels that look like streams under the ocean surface? Those are spur and groove structures, built by an actively growing coral reef. Spurs and grooves are found on nearly every coral reef exposed to wave energy across the globe, but nobody’s sure how most of them form. We’ve been developing a model to explore the conspiracy between waves, sediment, and coral that we think is behind these features. We need your help to link our model to reality. This UROP opportunity will involve digitizing spurs and grooves from high-resolution bathymetric maps and satellite images from Hawaii and the Marshall Islands. You will then use spatial statistics to examine the characteristics of these ubiquitous features and determine how they vary with changes in the surrounding environment. This is a great opportunity to develop skills in GIS and learn how to quantitatively analyze geographic features.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with ArcGIS is a plus, but is not necessary.

Relevant URL: https://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/jbram

Contact: James Bramante: Jbram@mit.edu


12/20/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisors: Charles E. Leiserson and James Orlin

Project Title: An app for high-school students applying to college

Project Description: We are looking for a UROP student to help develop a personalized software system for college applications.   It would be an app that runs on a browser, and would help high-school students figure out to which colleges that they should apply.

The system would first gather information from 10 to 20 of the best colleges. The information would be used to help estimate the probability of a high-school student being admitted.  The student using the system would input personal information such as (1) grades, SAT scores, and some other information that affects the probability of admission; (2) the student's value (e.g., from 1 to 100) of going to each of the colleges;  (3) the number of colleges K to which the student will apply; and (4) a target probability p such that the student will get into at least one college with probability p. The system would minimally provide an optimal list of K colleges to which the student should apply, but there is a creative opportunity to develop a graphical UI to let the student play with trade-offs.  There is also an opportunity to experiment with the underlying algorithm to take into account other factors, such as application costs.

The UROP project primarily involves three tasks: (1) developing a browser-based user interface,  (2) writing a program to “scrape” the relevant data on colleges, and (3) implementing the optimization algorithm.

The project is a UROP for pay (or credit).  The pay would be $20/hour.

The project will be jointly supervised by Professor Charles E. Leiserson of EECS/CSAIL (cel@mit.edu) and Professor James Orlin (jorlin@mit.edu) of Sloan.

Prerequisites: 6.170 and 6.006 or have comparable experience. Having taken 6.831 is a plus.

Contact: Charles E. Leiserson: cel@mit.edu


12/19/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: LEGO-based droplet production

Project Description: The objective of this project is to create tiny droplets inside a fluid network built out of LEGO bricks, in order to create a system that can make encapsulated materials useful for pharmaceuticals, beauty products, and applied research. The UROP would be involved in fabricating devices (including micromilling and gluing) and running hands-on experiments along with simple fluid mechanics analysis to characterize the rate, size, and limits, of the droplets we can produce. This would be useful for someone in Course 2, 3, 10, 18, or others.

Prerequisites: Basic Arduino, experience with LEGOs, interest in fluid mechanics.

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief statement of interest for this project to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart ajhart@mit.edu.


12/19/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: Adding structure to fibers using sound wave force fields

Project Description: The objective of this project is to control a small speaker to manipulate fibrous material inside a 3D-printed device. In particular, fluid moving through the center of the device will be aligned and patterned using the acoustic waves. The UROP would be involved in printing devices with an initial provided design, running hands-on experiments to observe the alignment and patterns we can produce, and predicting expected patterns by calculating force fields and fluid mechanics. A more experienced UROP would also contribute to redesigning the device based on results. Good for someone comfortable with MATLAB or another programming or math language (like Maple/Mathematica), and with Solidworks or another CAD software. This would be a useful experience for someone in Course 2, 3, 10, 18, and perhaps 6 and others.

Prerequisites: Some hands-on experience with building circuits, Matlab/programming, and Solidworks/CAD.

Relevant URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_levitation

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief statement of interest for this project to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart ajhart@mit.edu.


12/19/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: Micro-fluidic Control System

Project Description: The objective of this project is to automate a continuous chemical process to spin fibers, similar to how spiders spin webs, within a microfluidic device to create threads out of exotic materials. The UROP would be involved in developing a novel control system using continuous optical and mechanical feedback, and running hands-on experiments to test the system.

Prerequisites: Some experience using feedback control (ex. Matlab, Labview, C++) and/or with image/video processing (ex. Matlab).

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief statement of interest for this project to Crystal Owens (crystalo@mit.edu) and Prof. John Hart ajhart@mit.edu.


12/19/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Lily Tsai

Project Title: Using Facebook as a social science research tool

Project Description: MIT GOV/LAB is working on testing the ways Facebook can be used for social science research. The main research task will be to conduct a review of the existing experimental literature that uses Facebook to recruit subjects and randomly assign online treatments. If the UROP has quantitative skills and experience with quantitative methods data analysis will also be involved. This UROP will be mentored by Political Science PhD Candidate Leah Rosenzweig.

Prerequisites: Interest in social science and research methods preferred. Quantitative skills (e.g., STATA, R) are beneficial, but not required. Computer programming experience also ideal. Full semester commitment required (7-10 hours per week) with designated office hours.

Contact: Alisa Zomer: azomer@mit.edu


12/19/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Adult Mice

Project Description: We are developing a new technique for remotely exciting/inhibiting neuronal activity in freely moving animals during behavioral test. Most of current techniques for cell-type/region specific control of neuronal activity require implantation of electrode or optical fibers. However, implantations can damage the brain by micromovements during behaviors in living animals. To avoid the damage cause by the implantation, we are developing a new technique call magnetothermogenetics. Using high frequency magnetic field to heat up magnetic nanoparticles in the brain, and using the heat to open heat-sensitive ion channels on specific neurons. By using this technique, we can remotely control neuronal activity in freely moving mice with minimal invasiveness.

Prerequisites: We are looking for an UROP to do cloning, mammalian cell cultures and virus packaging. The basic requirement:

  1. Good time management skills
  2. A basic understanding of biology

Relevant URL: http://www.rle.mit.edu/bioelectron/research/

Contact: Po-Han Chiang: drchiang@mit.edu


12/19/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Cima

Project Title: Implantable neural devices for chronic in vivo drug delivery and electrical recording/stimulation

Project Description: The Cima Lab is looking for an undergraduate researcher to participate in the development of novel neural therapeutic devices. The injectrode device is being developed to target deep brain structures repeatedly over an extended period of time. Deep brain structures are responsible for many complex functions including homeostasis and emotions. The injectrode is a platform for interfacing with these structures through microfluidic channels and micro-electrodes. Targeting these structures is essential in the treatment of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson s disease.  A student on this this project will focus on designing, fabricating, testing, and improving the injectrode device.  An ideal student will be enthusiastic about learning techniques in microfluidics and device design, interested in expanding their general knowledge in engineering and neuroscience, and committed to making an impact on the project.

Prerequisites: No experience is required. Training will be provided in all areas. Familiarity with basic fluidic circuits and manufacturing would be beneficial, although not essential. 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 January 2018.

Contact: Khalil Ramadi: kramadi@mit.edu


12/15/17

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sara Seager

Project Title: Joining the Search for Other Worlds

Project Description: Over next summer we will be building a telescope in Tenerife to search for other exoplanets like TRAPPIST-1's seven potentially habitable earth-sized planets. This would constitute a unique opportunity for up to two students interested in astronomy, data-science, and the search for life elsewhere, to have a real hands-on experience with a state-of-the-art facility from installation, to commissioning, and initiation of the operations. The project is currently envisioned to include a trip to Tenerife (Spain).

Relevant URL: https://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/jdewit

Contact: Julien deWit: jdewit@mit.edu


12/15/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Philip Tan

Project Title: Designing Interlocking Puzzles Using Social Interaction

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab is designing a co-operative puzzle-hunt style game for 800 co-located participants that will take place over a short period of time during an event. We are looking for 2 UROPs to assist with the design of the game. UROPs would start in IAP or Spring, and could continue to work in Summer 2018.

We currently have ideas about the structure of the game, but are looking for assistance in designing multiple puzzles that would both lead to further puzzles (Mystery Hunt style) as well as require some amount of social interaction between players (similar to Assassin’s Guild games, but with less emphasis on advancing plot or story). As this is largely an non-digital game, We are also working on techniques to store and transmit data between players without requiring use of digital devices (a design constraint based on the event the game will be played within).

UROP Responsibilities:

  • Working alongside and reporting to Game Lab designer/project manager
  • Designing puzzle prototypes
  • Researching puzzle designs

What we’re looking for in our UROP team:

  • Experience playing (or designing) puzzle hunts, MIT Mystery Hunt, and/or Assassin’s Guild style games
  • Interest and experience in designing puzzles

Commitment:

  • 20 hours/week during IAP
  • Interest in continuing with the project during the Spring semester for up to 10 hours/week is desirable.

Contact: To apply please send a resume, link to portfolio, and cover letter (stating the Project Title you are interested in) to Rik Eberhardt reberhar@mit.edu. We would like to conduct interviews for students starting in IAP (January 8) ASAP.


12/15/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: CLEVR - Virtual reality and games for STEM learning

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab and Education Arcade is developing and pilot testing a proof-of-concept VR activity for a high school audience that leverages the affordances of VR (headset and hand controllers) to enable meaningful immersion and presence within the VR world. The learning goals for this project are to help students understand concepts of scale, particularly as it applies to biology.

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

We are looking for 2 UROPs to join our development team this IAP and Spring, to work on our VR game mechanics. UROPs hired can also continue to work on the project during the Summer of 2018.

UROP Responsibilities:

  • Working alongside and reporting to Game Lab/Education Arcade staff developers
  • Development of our VR game, in Unity, for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch controllers
  • Designing, modeling, and animating 3D assets for use in-game, of molecules, proteins, DNA, and cells

Experience we’re looking for in our UROP team:

  • Unity and/or C#
  • developing for VR headsets and/or Oculus Touch
  • 3D modeling and animation

Commitment:

  • 20-30 hours/week during IAP
  • Interest in continuing with the project during the Spring semester for up to 10 hours/week is desirable.

Contact: To apply please send a resume, link to portfolio, and cover letter (stating the Project Title you are interested in) to Rik Eberhardt reberhar@mit.edu. We would like to conduct interviews for students starting in IAP (January 8) ASAP.


12/15/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Suzanne Lane

Project Title: Web/UI Designer

Project Description: The program in Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP) has been researching the underlying logical relationships between central concepts in disciplinary argumentation with the support of funding from the Davis Family Foundation. One of the outcomes of this research is the development of a series of disciplinary “reasoning diagrams” which can be used to support pedagogy in professional communication. Over the past two years, WRAP has designed reasoning diagrams for Materials Science and Engineering, Comparative Media Studies, and Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and we are currently working on ones for Computer Systems and for Chemical Engineering.  As these reasoning diagrams will be used as a teaching tool to help students learn the patterns of thought and communication in a field, we are interested in developing instructional materials in the form of interactive visualizations to accompany them.

Responsibility: You will work with the directors of WRAP, as well as a graduate research assistant, to design elements of the online instructional materials, primarily the interactive tools for working with the reasoning diagrams. Different tools, for instance, might incorporate gaming elements, or might allow students to zoom in on particular reasoning patterns and see many examples or adapt the diagram to their own research project.  While we are looking for someone with fundamental coding skills, we are also looking for strong graphic design, storyboarding, and/or animation experience. Ideally, you will also have a good background in one of the fields we have already developed diagrams for (Course 3, CMS/W or  Course 9).

Commitment: Between 20-35 hours per week, with a start date during IAP. Interest in continuing with the project during the Spring semester for up to 10 hours/week is desirable.

Prerequisites: 

  • Experience with Python, java, HTML, and CSS. Front end web development experience (Jquery, Bootstrap, D3) is a plus but not absolutely required. 
  • Familiarity with key design concepts and processes:
    • Branding and Graphic Development
    • User Guides/Storyline
    • UI Prototyping
    • Interactivity and Animation
    • Adaptation to All Device Screen Sizes
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
  • Ability to meet deadlines and work independently

Contact: Rebecca Shepardson: bshep@mit.edu


12/15/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Thomas Kochan

Project Title: Shaping the Future of Work: Support for a MIT MOOC

Project Description:The UROP student will assist my graduate TA and me in doing background and market research and in teaching an on-line MITx ("MOOC") 15.662x Shaping the Future of Work.  Duties will include doing market research to assist in recruiting young workers to take the course, analyzing and preparing reports of data class participants provide in assignments and exercises, helping organize the video and reading materials on the MITx platform, facilitating discussions of the students on topics throughout the course, helping to manage an interactive online exercise aimed at building a new Social Contract for work, and supporting development of new videos and related materials.  The course runs from March 19 to May 11 but work to develop materials and load them on to the course website begins in January. Therefore, this UROP opportunity runs through IAP and the Spring Term if the student is available for that extended period.

Prerequisites: Interest in learning more about the future of work and related management, labor, and economic policy issues; basic data analytic skills using Excel and other standard data analysis programs; good writing and communications skills.  Helpful to have basic coding skills to place materials in the MITx platform.

Relevant URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeRzs5iqxhM

Contact: Thomas Kochan: tkochan@mit.edu


12/14/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Herman Marshall

Project Title: Operating the X-ray Polarimetry Beamline

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.  Some 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: http://space.mit.edu/~hermanm/polarimeter/

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


12/14/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chris Schmandt

Project Title: Stiffness tunable skin overlay

Project Description: SkinMorph is a stiffness tunable skin overlay. We seek to create uniquely textured and dynamically controllable skins to explore a new class of morphological body interfaces. We are seeking both Electrical Engineeringand Fabrication UROPs to work with us.

Detailed requirements for the two positions:

(1) The Electrical Engineering UROP will work on iterating hardware aspects of the prototype and assist with setting up the demo. We are looking for someone with:

  • good debugging skills (required)
  • experience soldering and/or reworking PCBs and surface mount components (basic soldering required, the rest is nice to have)
  • familiarity with Bluetooth stack (nice to have)

(2) The Fabrication UROP will work on the design and fabrication of the skins. We are looking for someone with:

  • demonstrated experience working in detail with hands (such as in crafts, textiles, or maker projects) (required)
  • experience with mold making  (nice to have)
  • experience in interfacing electrical and mechanical components (nice to have)

Contact: If interested, please send an email to Cindy Kao cindykao@mit.edu and include 1) your resume, and 2) a few sentences describing your experience in the listed categories,


12/13/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chi-Sang Poon

Project Title: MATLAB analysis of clinical data 

Project Description: Excellent opportunities for two talented/motivated UROP students to participate in ongoing clinical trials in Boston area hospitals on the therapeutic treatment of patients with respiratory dysfunction. Premed/bio students are welcome to apply. 

Requirements:  Familiarity with Matlab programming is essential. Background or interest in signal processing and physiology is helpful. We are dealing with real patients who are under medical care – strong student commitment is a must!

Responsibilities: Develop Matlab programs for analyzing clinical time series data from patients or from computer simulations. Adapt and refine an existing computer program written in Labview (a Matlab-based software package) for real-time data acquisition and control of a therapeutic device in the ICU. Interact with research scientists and clinicians and provide technical support to facilitate those clinical studies. 

Contact:  Dr. Chi-Sang Poon at Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, E25-250, cpoon@mit.edu.


12/13/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jonathan Polimeni, PhD

Project Title: 3D Brain Surface Modeling Software for Neuroimaging Data Analysis

Project Description: Our neuroimaging laboratory is looking for a student with experience in computer science and an interest in neuroscience to port software for 3D brain surface mesh creation, manipulation, and visualization from MATLAB to C/C++.  The student will have access to neuroscientists and software developers who are familiar with the detailed goals of the project. The software created during this project will be used by our lab to guide neuroimaging experiments and analyze the resulting imaging data.  Although flexible, we would ideally start this project  as soon as possible.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of MATLAB and C/C++ programming is required. A background in software development and computational geometry are highly desired.

Contact: Ned Ohringer: ned.ohringer@mgh.harvard.edu


12/12/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Analysis and visualization of longitudinal data

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab, is looking for UROP students who join us to run our experiments and develop system to organize depression data 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/objective-asessment-of-depression-and-its-improvement/overview/

Contact: Szymon Fedor: sfedor@media.mit.edu


12/11/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tomaso Poggio

Project Title: Deep Learning Projects

Project Description:

  1. Develop a new deep learning framework with some novel design principles (already implemented in Matlab. want to extend it to python).
  2. Implement a special-purpose Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system using Deep Learning
  3. Train Reinforcement Learning (RL) Agents for Question Answering. Building datasets and environments for RL
  4. Develop novel & efficient deep learning models using NVIDIA CUDA
  5. Biologically plausible & biologically inspired deep learning
  6. Web development for some of our AI projects
  7. We can also do other general deep learning projects on computer vision and natural language processing or something you are interested in.

In addition, we can provide computing resources, technical support and class credits (if needed).

Prerequisites: 

  • Good programming skills with any of the following languages: Matlab, Python, or CUDA/C/C++.
  • Interest in Machine Learning.

URL: 

Contact: Qianli Liao, LQL@mit.edu


12/7/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Edward Adelson

Project Title: Graphical Material Simulation from Touch using Neural Networks

Project Description: The purpose of this project is to simulate the material’s appearance from the vision/touch sensing in the real world. We use the fabric as an example: after seeing/touching a piece of fabric, the proposed system will generate a set of related parameters to describe the fabric and use the parameters to simulate the fabric’s appearance in different configurations or its motion during the physical interaction with the environment. The tactile sensor we apply is a novel high-resolution tactile sensor called GelSight (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKoKVA4Vcu0), and we use Blender as the graphics platform to simulate the appearances of different fabrics. We plan to build Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) to find the correlation between the real-world sensing information and the simulation.

The candidate is expected to work on computer graphics and computer vision. Responsibilities include writing programs to generate the simulated pictures with Blender and helping to improve the architecture of the neural networks for processing the images.

Prerequisites:

  • High motivation and enthusiasm for Deep Learning or Computer Vision
  • Experience with Python
  • Experience with Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN) is preferred, but we can teach you if you are not familiar with it

Relevant URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKoKVA4Vcu0

Contact: Shaoxiong Wang: wang_sx@mit.edu


12/5/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: Development of a speech analysis system

Project Description: Join a UROP team developing an algorithm for analysis/recognition of continuous speech¬¬, IAP and Spring term Interested in the links among speech signal processing, linguistics and human speech recognition?  Have some background (or strong interest) in either phonetics/phonology, computer science or cognitive science?  In this UROP you will learn to label the individual cues to speech sounds in the speech signal by hand, to create a database for evaluating a prototype automatic speech analysis system that is under development in our laboratory. In the process you will learn to recognize the many ways in which a word or sound can vary in different contexts, and why this is important for modeling human speech processing, as well as for improving automatic speech recognition systems, and potentially designing interventions for speakers who are experiencing speech difficulties due to disease, injury or developmental delay.  If interested, you will advance to coding components for this emerging speech analysis system. The position involves up to 20 hours during IAP and 10 hours per week during the spring term, learning to recognize the acoustic cue patterns in samples of speech from many different speakers and several different domains, and applying that knowledge in the labelling task, with the possibility of subsequently applying this knowledge to coding. Pays $12 per hour.

Prerequisites: Interest in the links among speech signal processing, linguistics and human speech recognition.  Some background (or strong interest) in either phonetics/phonology, computer science or cognitive science.  Matlab and Python skills desirable.  Some knowledge of signal processing will be a plus, but we can train you.

Contact: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel: sshuf@mit.edu


12/5/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M Graybiel

Project Title: Understanding dopamine signals regulated by the striatonigral and nigrostriatal pathways

Project Description: The goal of our research is to understand the function of the striatum and basal ganglia system. The striatum is a central station within the basal ganglia circuit to play a critical role for making appropriate actions based on external stimulus according to internal motivation or state. Dopamine, the main neuromodulator in the striatum, is believed to be critically involved in these processes. The loss of dopamine cells in the brain is a major cause of Parkinson's disease, and dopamine signals contribute to various functions and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our research particularly focuses on the functional interplays between the striatum and dopamine modulation using various techniques, including in vivo electrophysiological recordings, voltammetry, calcium imaging, decision making task for conflicting values, reward approach task on the maze, and optogenetic manipulations in genetically engineered mice or rats. The project requires a wide range of skills such as animal care and training, surgical implantation of the recording device, and data collection/processing/analysis. UROPs will be exposed to and learn various state-of-the-art experimental techniques according to his/her interests and motivation. It is preferred that candidates are highly motivated to pursue the field of neuroscience and enjoy the challenges of learning new knowledge and skills.

There will be no option available for UROP payment for those who join our lab research projects for the first time (general lab policy for payment). The UROP payment will be available from the second term. It is not mandatory but strongly preferred to work with those who plan to commit at least two semesters or more due to heavy trainings.

Prerequisites: necessary – motivation, intellectual curiosity, work ethics, accountability; not necessary but desirable – background knowledge or experience on neurobiology, experimental psychology, electrical science and/or biochemistry, matlab programming/unix/linux experience, basic understanding of how to read and understand research articles

Relevant URLs: http://www.graybiel-lab.com/

Contact: Min Jung Kim: mjk1028@mit.edu


12/5/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Nano-scale materials design and development for electrochemically-mediated selective ion separation from aqueous media

Project Description: Separations are an ubiquitous part of chemical production - on both the lab scale for small-yield high-purity synthesis, as well as at the industrial level in markets such as petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. Redox-active materials exhibit electron-transfer capability, and this functionality can be electrochemically leveraged to perform selective and energy-efficient charge-based ion separations. In this way, specific ions can be removed from a solution for the purpose of capturing valuable products, or removing harmful contaminants. This type of interface chemistry can also be further extended and applied to areas such as electrocatalysis, as well as energy conversion and storage for use in batteries. The goal of this work is to develop and engineer redox-active electrodes using nano-scale materials to extract a variety of organic and inorganic anions and cations for water remediation, with a second area of research being the development of functionalized magnetic particles for the same motivation. The student will be expected to both assist researchers as well as work independently. 

The responsibilities of the students will be in three areas:

  1. Material synthesis and electrode preparation. This will involve the preparation of nano-scale materials, polymers, and their subsequent functionalization to generate electrodes.
  2. Materials and electrode characterization. This will involve the characterization of the produced materials, particles/electrodes through techniques such as TEM, DLS, SEM, BET, TGA, as well as electrochemical methods like cyclic voltammetry, chrono-amperometry and -potentiometry.
  3. Ion separation. This will involve the electrochemical separation of different ionic species from aqueous media of varying solution chemistries. The separated amounts will be quantified using spectroscopic methods such as titration, UV-vis, NMR, or ICP.

Prerequisites:

  1. Minimum commitment of 15-20 hours a week for spring, students are strongly encouraged to begin familiarizing themselves and engaging in the lab starting during the IAP session.
  2. Diligent and high motivation in learning lab skills quickly as well as learning basics of solution formulation and chemical interactions, molecular design, organic chemistry and materials characterization.
  3. Recommended prior experience with basic lab housekeeping and with hands-on wet chemistry.

Contact: Kai-Jher Tan: kjtan@mit.edu


12/5/17

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Chemistry (Course 5)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tonio Buonassisi

Project Title: Materials Development for Thin-film Solar Cells

Project Description: The Materials Development Team in MIT Photovoltaic Laboratory seeks candidates to develop and optimize materials design for photovoltaic devices. We aim to create a better understanding of what makes a good photovoltaic absorber and how to make them. The project involves materials synthesis a range of compositions and deliver parametric space mapping. Candidates will focus on transferring materials in powder form into thin-films and potentially fabricate solar cell devices using the materials they develop.

The UROPS will be trained on solution processing of thin films and will be exposed to a range of characterization tools. There are also opportunities to learn about crystallography and device design/engineering. Additional projects will be available with increasing experience and knowledge. Good work of this project are expected to lead to co-authorship of journal publications.

Prerequisites: We are looking for UROPs who are interested in materials chemistry and genuinely enjoy hands-on lab work. Candidates with all relevant chemistry or engineering majors are considered.  Prior experience in synthetic chemistry is a big plus. The project has the potential to be extended to a longer-term commitment. The time commitment is at least 20 hours a week during IAP and summer, and 12 hours a week in the Spring. This position is available to start now and you can certainly work on a flexible time schedule.

Contact: Dr. Shijing Sun: shijings@mit.edu


12/4/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (ISN)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Joannopolous

Project Title: Control system for a TPV portable power generator

Project Description: We are seeking a student for design of critical auxiliary systems in a portable power generator. This interdisciplinary project uses thermophotovoltaic (TPV) to convert fuel to electricity, using heat and light as intermediaries, at the mesoscale where traditional energy generation is not possible. In our system, propane and air react in a microcombustor to generate heat, which brings a nanostructured photonic crystal emitter to incandescence, and the resulting spectrally confined thermal radiation drives a low bandgap photovoltaic cell to generate electricity. We have demonstrated record 5% fuel-to-electricity conversion in a benchtop experiment, and have a 10% design in the works. (For comparison, a 1.5% efficiency corresponds to the energy density of batteries.)

In order for efficient fuel-to-electricity conversion, the microcombustor requires a steady supply of fuel and a controlled fuel/air ratio. The focus of this project is to design the control system, which is part of our effort to build a first portable prototype. This will be the first practical portable generator capable of producing a target of 10-20 W in a soda can size package, with application to drones and robotics, soldier power, and remote sensors.

Specific tasks include:

  1. Fuel. Select an off-the-shelf flow controller to control the propane flow delivered to the burner. Interface the flow controller with a microcontroller.
  2. Air. Select an off-the-shelf flow meter to measure the air flow and interface it with a microcontroller. Design a circuit to control fan power. Design a closed loop control system to servo the power to the fan to achieve the desired fuel/air ratio.
  3. Integration. Design a PCB for the controller.

Prerequisites: Availability over IAP and Spring semester. Experience with basic circuit design, microcontrollers (including Arduino), and feedback systems. Experience with fluidic and combustion systems is a plus.

Contact: Walker Chan: wrchan@mit.edu


12/1/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: Design and Develop Augmented Reality Contents

Project Description: Candidates will become adept in designing interactive contents for Augmented Reality applications. Candidates will bring to life effective designs of innovative contents for Augmented Reality systems, and will work also on a systemic level, connecting the AR system to other devices. They will integrate voice and image recognition in the AR application. As part of a team, they will support the selection and/or design of AR systems, and will specifically work on the design and development of interactive contents for AR.

Prerequisites: Candidates should have strong passion for Augmented and Virtual reality solutions. They should have a robust knowledge of Javascript and Python languages, Android platform, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi protocols, and experience in working with voice or image recognition platforms or APIs. Knowledge of Augmented Reality software (e.g. Unity, Unreal engine, Vuforia) is a plus. In addition to being incredibly skilled and to having a problem-solving attitude, the right candidate is a team player, self-motivated and has a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines. 

Contact: Sara Colombo: scolombo@mit.edu


12/1/17

Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Federico Casalegno

Project Title: Design and develop robotic solutions

Project Description: Candidates will become expert in current and emerging technologies connected to robots/drones movement, environment sensing capabilities and controls. They will become adept in designing wearable robotic solutions and/or UAV for extreme environments. Candidates will bring to life effective designs of innovative solutions and will contribute to all the phases of the project, from research to design and prototype development. As part of a team, they will collaborate with industrial designers to define the technical requirements of the solution to develop and support the selection of the technologies and components that meet those requirements (e.g. motors, batteries, actuators, etc.).

Prerequisites: Candidates should have a strong mechanical engineering background and practical experience in building robotic solutions. It is essential to have a strong knowledge of technologies and components that allow to design and prototype new robotic solutions (robots/UAV), in particular sensors, batteries and movement actuators. Knowledge of technologies supporting self-driving capabilities is a plus. In addition to being incredibly skilled and to having a problem-solving attitude, the right candidate is a team player, self-motivated and has a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines. 

Contact: Sara Colombo: scolombo@mit.edu


11/30/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Pharmacy on Demand

Project Description: The Pharmacy on Demand initiative seeks to create mobile, reconfigurable platforms capable of synthesizing multiple active pharmaceutical ingredients. Following on from past iterations, the group is now working towards the design build and implementation of this platform for one selected API and gaining regulatory approval of the synthesis and platform. To accomplish this, the system and synthesis needs to be characterized to ensure a complete understanding of the different process parameters, residence time distributions (RTD) etc.

UROPs will be involved with the characterization of different system components, i.e. reactors, liquid/liquid separators, pumps etc. Accurate RTD measurements will be acquired for each of the components and integrated into a basic software model that can predict RTD of the entire system; an essential criterion if the project goal of regulatory approval is to be realized. Students will also get some exposure to organic flow synthesis, the creation  and use of FTIR models as a process monitoring tool and some basic HPLC exposure.

Prerequisites: The major requirements are motivation and an eye for detail. Knowledge of (or interest in) the Pharmaceutical industry, basic organic chemistry, reactor characterization/RTD models and some experience with LabVIEW/Matlab.

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/jensenlab/

Contact: Luke Rogers: lrogers@mit.edu


11/30/17

IAP

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Michael Triantafyllou

Project Title: Marine invertebrates in fouling communities

Project Description: Fouling organisms are plant and animal species that attach to ship hulls, piers, docks, walls and almost any other underwater man-made structure. Open space on these hard surfaces and favorable physical factors are needed for the settlement of fouling organisms. Depending on the time of the year, settlement can favor species with different competitive advantages such as early recruitment, time and frequency of reproduction, or broad physiological tolerances. The goal of this project is to assess the role of available space on settlement and early competition of species throughout the year. Fouling communities are prone to the establishment of marine non-native species that can have ecological and economic impacts when interacting with native species.  These interactions result in winners and losers that change the appearance and function of fouling communities. In some cases, non-native species outcompete native species but little is known about these processes in view of altered global patterns due to climate changes. Increased seawater temperatures, poleward extension of organisms range and increased occurrence of diseases, can alter the suite of physical and biological conditions that affect fouling establishment. This study examines patterns of settlement at two locations along the Massachusetts coast, by examining plates with living organisms, but also from preserved samples and photographic record. 

Training will be provided in the following: identification of marine organisms common in fouling and other natural hard substrates, field ecological methods, dissecting microscopy and image analysis for estimating abundance of organisms, basic data analysis and visualization.

Prerequisites: Interest in the project and curiosity about the form, function and diversity of marine organisms. Reliability and ability to work independently with guided discussions of 2 - 3 hours per week. Prior lab or image analysis experience preferred but is not required. This would be offered as a UROP for 6 credits (20 hours worked/week) during IAP 2018.

Contact: Carolina Bastidas: bastidas@mit.edu


11/30/17

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: Using an open-source media analysis platform to study media representation of civic change

Project Description: This research project focuses on researching the media representation of civic change. Moments of social or political change are usually captured in the news within a political narrative - the focus on the politics rather than the civics makes for an easier and more compelling story. The efforts of activists, civic organizers, community organization, or relevant interest groups pushing for change through advocacy, mobilization, and various campaigning efforts, before an issue reaches the political stage, is often left out of the media representation. Often these narratives can be harder and more complicated to portray, and can often require the reader to have an understanding of methods of civic change. Yet, for a healthier civic culture, reporting on the efforts of civic practitioners is important.

In this project, we aim to create a deeper understanding of how civic change is presented in the media using a media analysis tool called Media Cloud (www.mediacloud.org). Media Cloud is an open source platform for studying media ecosystems, and was developed by the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Berkman Klein Centre. The tool allows you to track the attention, influence, and framing of various media issues. 

This work will involve:

  • Learning to use the various data and text analytical abilities of the tool
  • Doing background research on various moments of civic change over the last 2 years in the US and abroad
  • Conducting conversations and phone/ in-person interviews with relevant people
  • Tracking moments of heightened attention, frame changes, and influential stories and sources through the media conversation
  • Drawing insights on the comparison between the media story and the on-ground stories

Candidates with a background interest in media research, journalism, and civics are encouraged to apply. 

Time commitment: 10-15 hrs per week.

Relevant URLs: www.mediacloud.org

Contact: Anushka Shah: anushkas@media.mit.edu


11/30/17

Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: Database evaluation of an open-source media analysis platform Media Cloud

Project Description: We are an open source project producing research about the networked public sphere, and helping others do their own research about online media. We collect, visualize, and analyzed online news and we make available to the public our existing archive of more than 550 million stories, adding more than 40,000 new stories daily. We are looking for someone interested in data, and willing to perform a series of experiments, validations, comparisons, and tests using our database and tools. This is an opportunity for a creative yet rigorous researcher interested in media and journalism.

Prerequisites:

  • Interest in data science and journalism
  • Familiarity with APIs

Time commitment: 10-15 hours per week

Relevant URLs: www.mediacloud.org

Contact: Anushka Shah: anushkas@media.mit.edu


11/30/17

IAP/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: Promise Tracker: Data collection for civic action

Project Description: Promise Tracker is a citizen-monitoring platform designed to help communities track issues they care about and use that information to advocate for change with local government, institutions, or the press. More than a data collection platform, Promise Tracker is a civic process designed to gather groups of citizens to discuss critical issues in their communities, collect actionable information to better understand those issues, and engage in dialogue with local actors in order to develop solutions.

Promise Tracker was developed in collaboration with a network of partners in Brazil and  is currently being used by youth in over 130 public schools to track issues including nutrition, infrastructure and use of pedagogical spaces. As the platform scales to additional states, we're looking for a new team member to help support the project and its users through improved data visualizations and updates to or rebuilding of the mobile app. If you're interested in civic technologies or collaborative design, this would be a great fit.

Prerequisites:

  • Proficiency in JavaScript and CSS
  • Familiarity with Ruby on Rails
  • Prior experience with Ionic or Angular a plus
  • Proficiency in Portuguese a plus

Relevant URLs: promisetracker.org

Contact: Emilie Reiser: emreiser@media.mit.edu


11/29/17

IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Frank O'Sullivan

Project Title: Techno-economic analysis of the costs and benefits of advanced energy storage systems

Project Description: The project is on the development of a web-based energy storage technology cost/benefit assessment tool. The initial framework for the tool has already been developed. The selected candidate will work on further developing the tool and transferring it over to the web. 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 strong background in programming and ideally have web development experience. Detailed requirements listed below. 

Prerequisites:

1. Some fundamental understanding of electrochemical energy storage systems

2. Programming: 

  • Fluency in Python.
  • Being able to develop models.
  • Transfer of an Excel tool into Python.

3. Web Development (preferred not required)cleardot.gif

  • Experience with Django
  • Fluency in PhP.
  • Experience in web programming and database development.

For more information on being a MITEI UROP: energy.mit.edu/urop/

Contact: Apurba Sakti: sakti@mit.edu


11/29/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Stewart

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 are working towards the goal of becoming the foremost clearinghouse for election science data. Although much data exists, it is often disorganized and not in easily-analyzed formats. This UROP is an opportunity to be part of improving access to data and contributing to election science research. We welcome applications from students at both MIT and Wellesley. 

As a UROP working on this project you will:

  • Collect and organize election science data
  • 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 weekly lab meetings

The UROP can be for credit or pay.

Prerequisites: You should 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., C/C++, MATLAB, Python, R, Stata) are welcome but not required. Please indicate your level of familiarity with data collection and management, econometrics, statistical programming, and web (data) scraping when you apply.

Relevant URL: electionlab.mit.edu

Contact: Cameron Wimpy: wimpy@mit.edu


11/29/17

IAP

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evelyn Wang

Project Title: Studying Desalination Performance of Carbon Electrodes in Capacitive Deionization

Project Description: Capacitive deionization (CDI) is a desalination method where voltage is applied across high surface area carbon, adsorbing salt ions and removing them from the water stream. CDI has the potential to be more efficient than existing desalination technologies for brackish water, and more portable due to its low power requirements. In order to optimize salt removal in CDI, we want to increase salt adsorption of existing materials and also study the stability or degradation of performance in realistic conditions. The IAP UROP student will investigate the desalination performance of promising electrode materials, running experiments, analyzing data, and presenting findings internally. The work involves gaining skills in prototyping, making device level measurements, analyzing results, and learning about R&D opportunities in desalination in the Boston area.

This is for 20-40 hours/week during IAP. For credit, but can discuss pay options. Please email if interested!

Prerequisites:

  • Previous research experience preferred; MATLAB experience preferred. 
  • Some LABVIEW can also help but not required.
  • A willingness to learn and maintain a detailed lab notebook will get you far in this UROP!

Contact: Heena Mutha hmutha@mit.edu


11/28/17

IAP/Spring

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab

Faculty Supervisor: Alex `Sandy' Pentland

Project Title:  Rhythm Badge: an Open-Source wearable for quantifying face-to-face interaction

Project Description:  We are developing a platform for quantifying, analyzing and improving team collaboration outside the lab in real-life situations. One of its components is the Rhythm Badge - a wearable devices for quantifying face-to-face communication. 

We are looking for a talented individual who can continue developing the firmware and hardware of the badge. This includes, but not limited to, writing a new light-weight file system and data management layer, adding accelerator readings, and adding encryption and other means of security to the badges. We are also considering migrating from nRF51 to the nRF52 - a new, more powerful SoC.

The main focus will be on the firmware side. However, for those of you who are interested in design for manufacturing, this project provides a unique opportunity to experience a full design iteration. After changing the circuit design you will work with a U.S based PCB+A manufacturer in order to create a small prototype batch, test it, and later create a batch of 100 units that will be used in our studies.

Skills you need to already have: significant programming experience and strong interest in learning embedded programming.

Optional skills: Significant experience with embedded programming. Familiarity with Nordic nRF51/52 series is a major plus.

Other prerequisites: we are looking for students who are able to contribute a minimum of 20 hours per week during IAP, and/or 12 hours per week during the spring semester.

Contact: Oren Lederman (orenled@media.mit.edu) with a short description of your background or resume.


11/21/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: TaleBlazer Software Developer – Location-based Augmented Reality on Smartphones

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

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

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

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

A single semester position for the Spring semester 2018 is available. Candidate may start work during IAP if desired.

Project ideas include:

  • Map Improvements - rework main interface to add ability to rotate 'static' map and zoom in/out and make other usability enhancements.
  • Data Collection - allow players to take photos and/or add notes during gameplay.  Use your keen UI design skills and your mobile-user expertise to design and implement a meaningful way for players to collect and review their data.
  • Feature Enhancements - help make TaleBlazer more usable by adding some highly requested features such as the ability to control sound effects, etc.

Prerequisites: While these positions require a strong programming background, experience with specific programming languages is not required. Availability to work majority of hours during business hours at the STEP Lab is required.

Relevant URL: taleblazer.org

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

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

11/21/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Reich

Project Title: MicroMasters Program Research and Evaluation

Project Description: MicroMasters is a professional and academic credential for online learners from anywhere in the world. Learners who pass an integrated set of MITx graduate-level courses on edX.org, and one or more proctored exams, will earn a MicroMasters credential from MITx, and can then apply for an accelerated, on campus, master’s degree program at MIT or other top universities. The very first blended cohort of the Supply Chain Management MicroMasters will be on campus this fall, and we are starting a research project to investigate the experience of learners in both the traditional and blended programs, their level of preparation, and other aspects of the program with the ultimate goal of preparing an advisory report to the SCM program and to the university about the future of MicroMasters. Researchers on this project will help conduct interviews, design and deliver surveys, and evaluate other forms of data.  Sponsored research funding available.

Specific end of UROP goal: Design and create game bundles on different STEM topics for ELK, design new versions of games to help teachers become more effective in building on what students know.

Address letter to: Justin Reich jreich@mit.edu

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief cover letter via email to csambata@mit.edu.  Please indicate which project(s) you would be interested in and describe how your experience or interests would be a good match for the project(s). Also, please indicate whether you are looking for IAP or spring or both IAP and spring, and whether you are seeking a UROP for credit or for pay.


11/21/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Reich

Project Title: Crazy STEM-tastic Lessons Design

Project Description: Are you passionate about STEM? Do you want to share your ideas with K12 students and teachers? What are some crazy topics that you have been pursuing or interested that you think middle and high school students can learn from? This is an opportunity to have an independent design research project where you can pick a topic and create lessons/ activities and units, from robotics to mathematical modeling to nuclear physics to materials science. Starting from your ideas, we’ll work with teachers and designers to create lessons and activities that can be used in classrooms.

Specific end of UROP goal: Create and present a series of interactive, engaging activities, and experiences about STEM topics that are suitable for an audience of middle school or high school students. 

Address the letter to: Yoon Jeon (YJ) Kim

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief cover letter via email to csambata@mit.edu.  Please indicate which project(s) you would be interested in and describe how your experience or interests would be a good match for the project(s). Also, please indicate whether you are looking for IAP or spring or both IAP and spring, and whether you are seeking a UROP for credit or for pay.


11/21/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Reich

Project Title: Playful Practice Spaces and Making

Project Description: Do you like to play lots of different games? We are looking for UROPs who are interested in creating digital and non-digital games that can help teachers to be better prepared for authentic teaching situations. If you play a lot of games and are fluent with different game mechanics, you are the perfect candidate! For example, classroom management can be very challenging. What kinds of game mechanics can be used to teach this skill differently? If this question excites you, please join our lab to create these game prototypes. The prototypes you create will be used by the students of the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning, and some other teacher education programs. You will have rich opportunities to design and test with other people who work in the lab as well.

Specific end of UROP goal: You will create a prototype of playful practice space (i.e. game-like learning experience) targeting teachers and help them to learn fundamental skills.

Address the letter to: Yoon Jeon (YJ) Kim

Contact: Please send a resume and a brief cover letter via email to csambata@mit.edu.  Please indicate which project(s) you would be interested in and describe how your experience or interests would be a good match for the project(s). Also, please indicate whether you are looking for IAP or spring or both IAP and spring, and whether you are seeking a UROP for credit or for pay.


11/17/17

IAP/Spring 2018

Department/Lab/Center: MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Faculty Supervisor:  Dr. Joseph Campbell

Project Title: Teaching Machine Learning Systems to Learn

Project Description: The Human Language Technology Group is engaged in a wide range of projects focusing on speech, text, image, multimedia, and language processing. The group’s speech and language processing research and development (R&D) efforts include automatic speech recognition, speaker recognition, language and dialect identification, keyword search, topic analysis, speech and audio signal enhancement, and machine translation. The HLT Group’s newest R&D efforts include domain adaptation for HLTs; cross-language information retrieval systems; cyber and transaction analysis; entity and relationship extraction; cross-media recognition; recommender systems; language-learning technologies; and analysis of social networks based on information content extraction from speech, text, and video combined with network communications and activities. In each of the group’s R&D areas, emphasis is placed on realistic data and experimental evaluation of techniques. On a global scale, the HLT Group leads research in several speech, text, and multimedia analytics domains, with a long-standing and extensive publication record and history of international honors for staff. 

Help dramatically expand the applications of machine learning by automating the process of constructing machine learning solutions. It currently takes machine learning experts weeks or months to solve new problems. Automating this process will decrease the time required by these experts to create solutions and may make it possible for biologists, physicians, urban planners, and others without a machine learning background to interact with an automated system and obtain high-quality solutions. Training such an automated system requires many datasets with machine learning solutions to a wide variety of problems. These solutions must begin with tabular, text, graph, rating, image, video, audio, geospatial, multimedia, and other types of data and end with an answer to a posed question. In this initial phase of this work, we are looking for students to help gather unprocessed datasets from the internet that include raw data and a problem of interest. They must curate the data and construct solutions to develop a community-wide resource that can be used to train automated machine learning systems. Each student will be challenged with a wide range of problem types and machine learning applications that require solutions. Our goal is for each student to solve twelve or more machine learning problems this semester with the help of advisors and other students. In the second phase of this project, we will continue to curate datasets, but also develop an automated learning system using the datasets already generated. 

This project is an opportunity to work with leaders in the field from MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the Human Language Technology and other groups. All work will be performed by students on their own laptops and cloud computing resources will also be available. Meetings with MIT Lincoln Laboratory staff will be held regularly on campus at the Beaver Works Center in Tech Square. Students must be able to devote 10 hours/week to the project.

Prerequisites: Must know how to use python and scikit-learn to create machine learning solutions for data-driven problems. Useful to have taken 6.036 (Introduction to Machine Learning) or its equivalent.  Helpful to be familiar with Pandas, ipython, and Jupyter Notebook.

Relevant URLs : http://ll.mit.edu/HLT

Contact: Charlie Dagli: dagli@ll.mit.edu

Apply: Please submit your resume and unofficial transcript to our website at https://ll.mit.edu/careers/research-opportunities.html.    In the ‘Search by Keyword’ field, please enter 19963.

A free shuttle bus is provided so that student may commute to Lincoln Laboratory from campus.  Please see https://ll.mit.edu/about/shuttle.html.


11/17/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jacquelyn Gillette

Project Title: Calculating spelling errors, grammar errors, and boiler-plate language in 10-Ks and 10-Qs.

Project Description: Understanding the causes and consequences of financial restatements is one of the most important questions in accounting and finance. For example, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was implemented in response to the large accounting restatements such as Enron and WorldCom.

However, not all accounting restatements signify instances where managers fraudulently misreport financial statements, yet the theoretical framework and empirical measures for understanding the drivers of unintentional mistakes are not well identified in the literature. In other words, not all firms can afford to pay for the best accounting staff, and this leads to restatements because of unintentional mistakes rather than intentional fraud. We contribute to this literature by positing that firms optimally choose how much to invest in accounting resources (including hardware, software and accounting staff human capital) and the resulting earnings quality of the firm is the outcome of this optimal investment in accounting resources.

Using three novel measures for accounting resources, spelling errors, grammar errors, and boiler-plate language in the 10-K, we expect to find evidence consistent with our model’s predictions. Namely, we expect our measure of accounting resources to be negatively correlated with the likelihood of a future restatement.

This UROP provides students with the opportunity to participate in a research project that examines the determinants of accounting restatements from a theoretical and empirical perspective. Specifically, this research paper will examine how managers’ internal decisions affect financial reporting outcomes that are relevant to investors and regulators. Overall, this project will help students learn more about accounting restatements and the nature of financial statements (i.e., 10-Ks and 10-Qs). This project requires use of natural language programming such as Python to clean 10-Ks from XBRL formatting and then to calculate spelling errors, grammar errors, and boiler-plate language (i.e., language that is the same from year to year). The project will enable students to learn more about the information content of financial statements and about the research process.

Prerequisites: Preference will be given to students with extensive experience with natural language processing. Experience with XBRL is encouraged but not required. Please indicate in your email the program that you intend to use and your previous experience. The option to begin the UROP immediately and continue into the spring is available.

Contact: Jacquelyn Gillette: jgillett@mit.edu


11/17/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M Graybiel

Project Title: Create fully-automated behavioral assays in mice

Project Description: Tap your creativity to develop fully-automated behavioral setups, using your electronics/engineering background! I am looking for undergraduate researcher(s) to design and fabricate system, and program controllers to assess mice behavior with minimal disturbances. Due to the stress imposed on mice by scientists who handle them and the environment unfamiliar to them, conventional behavioral assays have a limited ability to study the mode of decision making; try something new in seek of information (“exploration”) or do the best thing known to be rewarded (“exploitation”)? Because mood — manic and fearless? Or depressive and conservative? — would affect the mode, it is necessary to house and test mice in a familiar, stress-reduced environment, i.e. home cage.  Thus, how about equipping home cages with your state-of-the-art modules?

In the Graybiel lab, we have studied basal ganglia, a group of nuclei (composed of neurons) located deep within the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. Striatum, a biggest nucleus in the basal ganglia, is composed of two compartments; striosomes and matrix. Striosomes are interconnected clusters of neurons embedded in the surrounding matrix, forming 3-dimentional labyrinth. What we believe is that all the repertoire of automatic behaviors, whether they are innate or learned, is stored in striosomes, and matrix selects the appropriate and inhibits the inappropriate behaviors according to goals. Imbalance might be linked to “loss of agency” as involuntary movements in neurodegenerative disorders, or as involuntary thoughts in psychiatric diseases as schizophrenia.

Very recently, I have succeeded in selective targeting of developmentally old, and new striosomal neurons in mice. Based on their distinct axonal projection patterns, I hypothesize that the old and new striosomes are differentially involved in exploitation/exploration strategies animals take. New discoveries are within reach!

Prerequisites: Candidates with electronic background/work experience interested in creating own system for mice behavioral assays, independently or in a team. Candidates of all experience levels will be considered. However, preference is given to candidates with:

  • Great curiosity and enthusiasm!
  • Experience with MATLAB and/or C++ and/or python and/or LabView or equivalent
  • Experienced electronics background/work experience.
  • Experienced programming of electronic controller (e.g. Arduino, adafruit or equivalent)
  • Fabrication experience: 3D printing, Analog and digital circuits, Prototyping electronics

Ideally, I would like to find a UROP who would potentially be interested in pursuing the project for longer than a year. You can work on a flexible time schedule.

Contact: Ayano Matsushima: ayanom@mit.edu


11/17/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M Graybiel

Project Title: Delineation of developmentally hardwired logics in the brain

Project Description: Logics may be determined by evolution. Rats quickly learn to avoid foods that share a characteristic “taste” of a food, which made them ill after eating. Contrary, birds quickly learn to avoid foods that share a characteristic “color” of a food, which made them ill after eating. Causal inference totally differs between the two species. We, humans, may also think and act in an evolutionarily restricted way. Then, what is the biological basis of these traits? Hardwired neuronal circuits would be the one, which is determined by developmental programs in large extent.

In the Graybiel lab, we have studied basal ganglia, a group of nuclei (composed of neurons) located deep within the cerebral hemispheres of the brain. Striatum, a biggest nucleus in the basal ganglia, is composed of two compartments; striosomes and matrix. Striosomes are interconnected clusters of neurons embedded in the surrounding matrix, forming 3-dimentional labyrinth. Very recently, I have succeeded in selective targeting of developmentally old, and new striosomal neurons in mice. I’m now accumulating evidence that the developmentally distinct striosomal subpopulations project to different region/sectors of other brain areas. Among the projection targets, what is of extreme interest is the control-centers for learning guided by positive and negative outcomes. Everyday is full of new discoveries! How about being the first person in the world to see the truth?

In this project, you will participate in histological analysis of mice brains, and may also be involved in viral injections. You will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule. With increasing experience and knowledge, I will help you to find your own project to pursue.

Prerequisites: Candidates of all experience levels will be considered. However, preference is given to candidates with:

  • Great curiosity and enthusiasm!
  • Love to do delicate works

Ideally, I would like to find a UROP who would potentially be interested in pursuing the project for longer than a year.

Contact: Ayano Matsushima: ayanom@mit.edu


11/17/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Brian Anthony

Project Title: Pilot Product Development for Integrated Photonics Packaging Factory

Project Description: We have recently set up an integrated photonics packaging factory, and now we are at a stage to develop some pilot products. With this project, you will

  • work with multiple industry partners and MIT research groups to develop pilot products.
  • we have enough funding for us to tryout new ideas and prototypes.
  • a sample product can be a light-sensing device, it may include a laser chip and light detector.
  • we will scale up the product once the prototype has been made and tested.
  • process variation in finished products will be studied.

Prerequisites: All students are welcome! Any related experience to the following topics is a plus:

  • Optics and photonics
  • Integrated circuit and integrated photonics
  • Laser
  • PCB design, circuits
  • IC/IP packaging
  • Semiconductor
  • Electrical and optical testing
  • Process control

Contact: Mingxiu Sun: mingxiu@mit.edu


11/14/17

IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Collaborative Chemical Synthesis Robot

Project Description: We are developing a new configurable chemical synthesizing robot utilizing microfluidics. Its two unique capabilities are decentralized reaction modules for chemical synthesis/monitoring and a fluidic manifold for robotic manipulation. This work is being carried out by a cross-disciplinary team (chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering) focused on overcoming limitations of chemical synthesis through IoT reactor modules which have integrated control electronics and process analysis technology to collect data and optimize reactions.

UROPs will be involved with the design and testing of new parts, electronic circuits, and sub-modules. They can also be involved with the development of new microfludic manufacturing techniques. We are also working on the development of a new web interface to communicate with IoT devices and path planning for the UR robot.

Prerequisites: The major requirements are motivation and an eye the detail. Knowledge of (or interest in) programming an Arduino/PSoC, experience with LabVIEW/Matlab/Python for UI development, mechanical component design experience would also be helpful (solidworks, 3dp).

Relevant URL: http://web.mit.edu/jensenlab/

Contact: Dale Thomas: dt3@mit.edu


11/6/17

IAP/Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Steven Flavell

Project Title: Developing code to control and analyze neuronal activity in a simple nervous system

Project Description: We examine how the brain generates persistent behavioral states like sleep/wake and emotional states. In mammals, the circuits controlling these states include millions of neurons, making them challenging to study. Using the nematode C. elegans, which has only 302 neurons, we have identified neural circuits that generate long-lasting locomotor states that animals display as they forage for food. We are developing tools for monitoring the activity of all of the neurons in these circuits simultaneously in moving animals, with the goal of understanding how activity within these circuits drives long-lasting behavioral states. We also hope that these studies will provide a platform for a mechanistic analysis of how persistent neural activity arises in neural circuits.

Current projects are centered around the imaging technologies and data analysis pipelines that facilitate this project. Current challenges that need to be addressed include: (Project 1) Improve on an existing computer vision software to automatically track multiple fluorescent cells across a movie, (Project 2) Develop hardware/software interface to optogenetically control the activity of neurons in real time in a free-moving animal.

Prerequisites: Students should have a fairly strong background in computer programming. Familiarity with C and/or MATLAB is preferable, and knowledge of Python or LABVIEW a plus. Students with coursework/experience in machine vision (for Project 1) and/or hardware control (for Project 2) are particularly encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to applicants who can commit ~10 hours per week. For sophomores and juniors, this position could be open to a longer-term commitment.

Contact: Steven Flavell: flavell@mit.edu


11/1/17

Fall/IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Duncan Simester

Project Title: Big Data - Economics

Project Description: We look for an undergraduates in Engineering/Computer Science/Economics interested in participating in an exciting academic research project using big data, online prices, web-scraping, large datasets, and applied economics.

Candidate will interact with faculty at the Sloan School (Economics) and a PhD candidate in Economics. This is a great combination as will provide exposure, and learning experience, to both perspectives. It will also give insights on graduate school and type of projects one might do during a PhD or Masters.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience with R, Python, Stata is a PLUS but not required. We DO NOT need experts in these programming languages, but candidates should have some familiarity.If you have doubts please email me.
  • Previous experience working with large datasets or web-scraping is a PLUS.
  • Available to start in November 2017.

Contact: Diego Aparicio: dapa@mit.edu