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

2/23/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dan Anderson

Project Title: Engineering Circular RNA for Therapy

Project Description: Messenger RNA (mRNA) has broad potential for a range of therapeutic and engineering applications. However, one fundamental limitation to its use is its relatively short half-life in biological systems. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are a class of RNAs with a unique structure that were recently shown to possess several biological functions including microRNA regulation and translation into short peptides and proteins. In addition to having protein-coding potential, circRNAs lack the free ends necessary for exonuclease-mediated degradation, rendering them resistant to several mechanisms of RNA turnover and granting them extended lifespans as compared to their linear mRNA counterparts. For this reason, circularization may allow for the stabilization of mRNAs that generally suffer from short half lives and may therefore improve the overall efficacy of mRNA in a variety of applications.  In the Anderson lab, we are attempting to engineer synthetic circRNAs that are stable and efficiently translated into protein. The student would work closely with a graduate student on various aspects of the project and learn an array of molecular biology techniques.

Prerequisites: We are looking for someone who is strongly motivated and interested in the topic of study. The project is open to all relevant majors. No experience is required, but a reasonably good understanding of biology, especially molecular biology, is desirable. Hours are flexible.

If interested, please send your resume/CV to Alex Wesselhoeft (rwesselh@mit.edu).

Contact: Alex Wesselhoeft (rwesselh@mit.edu)


2/22/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mark Bathe

Project Title: Creating Nanoscale Patterned Surfaces for Immune Cell Stimulation

Project Description: All cells sense their external environment through a multiplicity of surface receptors that engage external ligands. These receptors exhibit complex behavior that depends upon the number of receptors interacting, their spatial proximity to one another, and the presence of nearby co-receptors. Generally, studying how these parameters impact receptor behavior is challenging because of the nanometer length scale involved as well as the lack of efficient methods for controlling surface receptor positioning in living cells. Our lab has developed DNA nanoparticles that allow placement of biomolecules with nanometer precision, tight control over number and density of ligands, and capability to place many different ligands on DNA nanoparticle surfaces. We have used these DNA nanoparticles to investigate how the spatial patterning of HIV antigens impacts immune cell recognition and signaling. Thus far, we have applied these nanoparticles to cells in solution; however, we would like to pattern these DNA nanoparticles on surfaces so that we can gain an even tighter control over the molecular interactions between cell surface receptors and DNA nanoparticles. To this end, we seek a UROP to aid in the development of soft lithography techniques for creating regular arrays of DNA origami.

This UROP will be working on the following tasks:

  1. Creating regular lattices of glass surface modifications using colloidal lithography.
  2. Validating lattices using atomic force microscopy and light microscopy.
  3. Assisting in the creation of custom DNA origami with surfaces modified by ligands.
  4. Testing methods to adhere DNA origami to modified glass surfaces and validating the adhesion.
  5. Applying immune cells to DNA origami lattices and measuring cellular responses.

Prerequisites:

  1. Experience working in a wet lab (lab notebook, concentrations, dilutions, pipetting, and mixing).
  2. Background knowledge of Biology and Immunology is a plus.
  3. Familiarity with microscopy and imaging technology is a plus.

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

Contact: Matthew Stone (mbstone@mit.edu)


2/22/18

Term: Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Algorithmic method of 3D printing fur structure

Project Description: We are building a customized resin-based 3D printing pipeline to produce dense material structures like hair, fur, foam and feather with high resolution and large build volume. Some of the initial results have been published. (http://tangible.media.mit.edu/project/cilllia/)  The printing method developed in our lab allows us to control 3D printer at 50um resolution and produced hair structures at high density, which is impossible with traditional 3D printing pipeline.

Now we are looking for someone who's interested in computational fabrication and 3D printing to further develop our  voxel-based 3D printing method. Your task is to create algorithms that generate and compress the digital models of material structures for 3D printing. The process is tightly coupled with the resin-based 3D printing, so some knowledge about SLA and DLP printing is required. The developed algorithm will be applied to a collaboration project with an award-wining fashion designer to produce a 3D printed fur garment for the coming Paris Fashion Show. After that, the ultimate goal is to establish our own 3D printing file format for materials rather than shapes.

Fluent in JAVA, C++ or Python. Experience in computer graphics or/and image compression is a plus.

Prerequisites: Fluent in JAVA, C++ or Python. Experience in computer graphics or/and image compression is a plus.

Relevant URL: http://news.mit.edu/2016/3-d-print-hair-0617

Contact: Jifei Ou (jifei@mit.edu)


2/21/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Ernst R. Berndt, Louis E. Seley Professor in Applied Economics, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research

Project Title: How Do Old Medicines Decline?  The Life Cycle of U.S. Generic Drug Markets

Project Description:  This research project focuses on how medicine utilization declines as once-pioneering drugs lose patent protection, experience generic competition, eventually become obsolesced, and no longer are manufactured and marketed in the US.  Quarterly sales and utilization prescription drug data from IQVia’s National Sales Perspective data set, 2004Q4 – 2016Q3, on all branded and generic prescription drugs sold in the US are examined empirically, focusing on how utilization initially increases as low-priced generic versions of once-pioneering drugs become available, and gradually decline in importance as they are obsolesced by new generations of patent-protected innovative drugs. This UROP is offered from March 1 – June 15, 2018 (possible extension to end of August 2018).

Prerequisites: Interests in biology and health care markets, economics of regulation, and facility with Excel, statistical software, and SAS or STATA.

Contact:  Prof. Ernst Berndt, eberndt@mit.edu, or his administrative assistant, John Tracey-Ursprung, jtracey@mit.edu


2/16/18

Multiple UROPs

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alex ('Sandy') Pentland

Project Title: Secure Data-driven Human-Robot Interaction

Project Description: At the Human Dynamics (HD) group, we are exploring how data is shaping and changing societies. The purpose of this project is to conduct research on the combination of robotics, machine learning and data-privacy. The aim of this research is to address the important challenges that social and assistive robots such as NAO present in the fields of data-privacy and data-sharing, especially, for medical and wellbeing applications. For this purpose, the UROP will participate in the design, simulation, and experimentation of a working prototype.

Responsibilities: We are looking for UROPs who are proficient in programming, and are able to work independently while being supervised by the labs’ postdocs. The UROP involves the following tasks:

  1. Design, test, and implement controllers for the NAO robot to ensure the data-privacy and security tasks.
  2. Code machine learning programs to achieve a (semi)autonomous interaction between NAO robot and humans.
  3. Generate, analyze, and interpret data produced by such system
  4. Design innovative prototypes based on open-source software and hardware standards.

Prerequisites:

  1. Programming skills (excellent knowledge of Python - TensorFlow and Keras).
  2. Experience with robotics software is a plus (Robot Operating System).
  3. Basic machine learning experience (Linear Algebra, Regression, Statistical Analysis)

Additional information: You will be working in an interdisciplinary team of engineers, designers and software developers. Selected candidates will be invited for a short interview in the lab. The deadline for the MAS direct funding is Feb 15, and for the sponsored/credit/volunteer deadline is March 15.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/human-dynamics/overview/

Contact: Eduardo Castello (ecstll@media.mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Andrew J. Whittle

Project Title: Interactive web application development for monitoring ground movements of an expansive clay subgrade

Project Description: Expansive soils are one of the geologic hazards that most cause economic losses, mainly due to the large extent of its occurrence on Earth's surface and lack of understanding of its behavior. This type of material is very problematic in highway design given that the current methods for estimation of vertical displacements do not give accurate predictions. An automated monitoring station was installed in a problematic site in Mustang Ridge, TX, and data is being collected in order to study the seasonal behavior of the expansive clay subgrade. It is then necessary to create a web-based visualization tool capable of interacting with the field system, allowing the user to perform basic statistical analysis. The idea is to build an interactive dashboard that will import and process the raw data acquired with the data logger. 

Prerequisites: The candidate is expected to have experience with web application development.

Relevant URL: https://ajw-group.mit.edu/node/33

Contact: Ivo Rosa Montenegro (ivorm@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rafael Gomez-Bombarelli

Project Title: Inverse chemical design of small molecules

Project Description: The ability to quickly and accurately invent novel small molecules that will interact with proteins is of key importance for the healthcare and the chemical industries. The action of small molecule drugs is intimately related to their ability to selectively bind to pockets in target macromolecules. Likewise, the ability of enzymes to carry desired transformations is dictated by the interaction between catalytic pocket and substrate.

We are creating a computer-driven design tool able to assess the degree of binding between molecules and 3D pockets and to suggest optimal matching substrates and hosts. This has the potential to accelerate drug discovery and biosynthesis of high value chemicals.

Prerequisites: A combination of experience and interest in learning the following:

  • Python programming
  • Deep learning using tensorflow / keras / tangent
  • Cheminformatics / medicinal chemistry
  • Students from course 5, 6 and 10 are very welcome to apply.

Contact: Rafa Gomez-Bombarelli (rafagb@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: V. Michael Bove

Project Title: Gesture or Voice-controlled Large User Interface (LUI) for Heads-up Displays

Project Description: As cars become more autonomous, the windshield is prime real estate for new interactive experiences for the passengers. I propose a gesture and/or voice-controlled Large User Interface (LUI) that allows a user to manipulate visual information on very large screens. The person can imagine using a Leap Motion finger tracker and/or Amazon Alexa interface to provide the control inputs (no keyboard or mouse). Importance should be placed on UI/UX and visuals. Examples can be "opening the hand" to separate the display in to multiple windows, asking Amazon Alexa to pull up the places to eat nearby, etc. The user must demonstrate that this natural interface can work on a large 4k or 8k TV (which we have in lab). Then we can push the information to a see-through display (which I will help with).

Prerequisites:

  • UI/UX design (required)
  • Prefer Leap Motion experience
  • Prefer Amazon Alexa/GoogleHome/Apple Homepod experience
  • Prefer Web development experience

Relevant URLs:

Contact: Vik Parthiban (vparth@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Multiple UROPs

Term: Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: AI Powered Socio-technical Systems for Sustainable Development

Project Description: The Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab, is deeply committed to solve sustainable development challenges across the globe. Our research follows a four-step cycle of observation, explanation, co-design, and evaluation of complex systems, using methods from engineering and social science. At each step, we learn from our partner communities – especially from the poor, racial minorities, displaced peoples, forced laborers, and indigenous peoples – as they pursue greater empowerment through improved public services.

We are looking for student(s) with an interest in designing and developing AI powered socio-technical systems to help address pressing societal challenges. The student(s) will have an opportunity to work on a broad range of technical problems related to poverty mapping, gig-economy design, crisis response, and environment. This is a great opportunity to develop strong research skills and gain experience in full stack development of human centered socio-technical system AND/OR developing NLP-machine learning models.

The student(s) would participate in the full research cycle—needfinding, design, software development/computational modeling, and potentially publishing the results in a paper or poster in a top conference. The student(s) may have the possibility to extend the project into the summer or for MEng thesis.

Estimated hours per week: 7-8

Prerequisites:

  • Proficiency with python, javascript, html, jquery
  • Experience with front-end OR back-end web frameworks
  • Prerequisites: 6.813/6.831, 6.148, 6.006
  • Good to have: 6.031, Exposure  to machine learning (6.036), experience with deep learning frameworks such as tensorflow or PyTorch

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/space-enabled/overview/

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


2/16/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: William Uricchio

Project Title: LEAD DEVELOPER (MOBILE: REACT NATIVE)

Project Description: Anandana Kapur (Fulbright Nehru Fellow @ MIT Open Documentary Lab) is building an interactive mobile documentary to provide women who are below the digital divide an opportunity to create and share their stories of New Delhi, the capital of the world's largest democracy. This is an opportunity to apply software engineering skills in two important and exciting areas - 1) creative arts, and 2) social development. Your work will contribute to a documentary film on an important socio-political issue in society - mobility in cities and security for women. Your responsibilities for this project will be:

  • Provide technical expertise and leadership to the development team.
  • In-person at CIC on Tuesday evenings, and over Slack otherwise
  • Design, develop, and test software
  • Drive execution of team strategy and roadmap, as set by Project and Product Leads

Prerequisites:

  • Good communication skills
  • React Native proficiency; experience with audio/video integration a big plus
  • Focus to lead team to finish project by or before May 2018

Relevant URL:

Contact: Rebecca Shepardson (bshep@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: James Utterback

Project Title: Hybridization Strategy in the Automotive Industry

Project Description: Consistent with Telsa’s highly visible success with its electric vehicles, much attention has been devoted to alternatives to internal combustion engines. Most established players have focused on hybrid cars. As part of a larger research project on these fully or partially electric powered vehicles, MIT Professor James Utterback together with co-authors Prof. Fernando Suarez at Northeastern University, and Dr. Kang at Boston University, are currently working on a research project on hybridization strategies in the automobile industry. Despite the growing attention to hybrid cars and their significant impact on our economy, there are very few academic studies that investigate this interesting phenomenon in the auto industry. We explore how each firm’s different approach to hybridization impacts the competitive dynamics of hybrid car and entire automobile industry in transition. More specifically, the RA will help our research team to determine the different degrees of hybridization in the industry, and how these different hybridization levels have affected the performance of the hybrid products launched by auto firms.

Prerequisites:

  • Knowledge/expertise on and interest in technical specification of cars (ideally, hybrid cars). We are looking for auto aficionados!
  • Prior research experience – e.g., establishing a data base by combing multiple data sources from the web
  • Meticulous attention to details
  • Intermediate excel skills

Contact: James Utterback (jmu@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term: Fall/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Electronic Interfaces for Wearable and Implantable Systems

Project Description: The Conformable Decoders group explores novel materials, device designs, andfabrication strategies to create micro- and nanoscale electromechanical systems with mechanically adaptive features, which allow intimate integration with the objects of interest. These systems enable us to collect and convert essential patterns into beneficial forms in order to gain insights into our world, and enhance interactions with nature and each other.

We are currently fabricating piezoelectric sensors, actuators, transducers, and energy harvesters for a broad range of biomedical applications. In order to interface with these devices, a wireless, miniaturized, and low-power design of interface circuits must be developed.

The UROP will be expected to:

  • Conduct literature review of the prior work of their research
  • Design, simulate, and prototype analog and/or digital circuits to read sensor output signals
  • Interface their circuit with mechanically-adaptive micro-fabricated devices
  • Analyze measurement data and document results

A successful UROP will have the option to extend the project into the next term. Our lab prioritizes inclusion and diversity to achieve excellence in scientific research and to foster an intellectual climate that is welcoming, nurturing and challenging. Please send your resume and interest about this project to irmandy@mit.edu.

Prerequisites:  

Have the ability to dedicate 10-15 hours a week consistently throughout semester.

Are dedicated, imaginative, and creative.

Possess great organizational and communication skills.

Have experience in one or more of the followings: analog/digital electronics, embedded systems, PCB design, sensor fabrication and characterization, and programming (Matlab, Arduino, C).

Contact: Irmandy Wicaksono (irmandy@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tomaso Poggio

Project Title: Towards AI capable of mathematical reasoning

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

To understand how to tackle mathematical reasoning, we might want to take inspiration from how mathematics is performed in human brain. While the exact mechanisms remain elusive, evidence from some fMRI studies suggests that language might play minimal role and the main neural circuits involved are those providing intuitive understanding of space, time and numbers. If this is true, then two large projects of the CBMM on visual intelligence and intuitive physics models of the world might provide crucial insights.

As a first step to realize this goal, we propose a system that would learn from a database of mathematical statements and questions and then generate new statements that are both meaningful and human readable as well as solve problems. This will first require both designing a useful data set of meaningful statements and questions, as well as proposing a model for this task that is able to learn, reason and incorporate new experience in its memory.

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

  1. Generate a database of mathematical questions and statements to which unsupervised learning methods can be applied. As this is a monumental task, we plan to restrict this to subfields of mathematics relevant to research in CBMM: linear algebra, analysis/calculus and geometry (not only Euclidean).
  2. Create a benchmark for the generative process from the database to measure “success”. This would take the form of providing a way to verify if questions/statements generated are meaningful to humans, as well as making use of this metric – for example by providing a tool for finding relations useful for human mathematicians, or working on a module capable of solving these questions, figuring out relations and patterns in questions and answers, paving a way to a recurrent framework generating and answering its own questions. We expect students working on these two project to cooperate very closely, since the database to learn from has to be designed in a format usable by the application in mind.

Prerequisites:

  • Computing Experience: at least 6.009 or equivalent / software internship
  • Mathematics basis: knowledge of linear algebra, analysis/calculus, geometry.
  • If you think your favorite field should be represented, make a case for it.
  • Some knowledge of machine learning would be beneficial.
  • Previous research experience would be an asset.
  • Please send your resume with GPA and a short description of why you are interested in the project.

Contact: Andrzej Banburski (kappa666@mit.edu) & Brando Miranda (brando90@mit.edu)


2/16/18

Term UROP is offered: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Townsend

Project Title: Insurance Markets in Thailand

Project Description: Lack of access to financial services is a significant obstacle to economic growth and development. This problem is especially pronounced in some areas of developing countries such as Thailand. Thai villagers operate small businesses with associated capital requirements, risks, and returns on investments. Access to credit and insurance is critical in the villagers' business expansion and transition to more profitable ventures.

Thai villagers have developed informal systems of credit and risk-sharing, such as gift-giving, pooled labor, and cash loans, to alleviate this problem.  However, informal networks are often neither equitable nor efficient. Our research goal is to develop a platform that matches potential lenders to borrowers and to design (approximately) optimal contracts for them, taking into account incentives, risk tolerances, and existing local knowledge.

Karaivanov and Townsend, in prior work, designed a model of optimal contracts and fit this model using existing data from Thai villages.  These optimal contracts are too complex and unintuitive to be useful in rural villages. The main goal of this UROP project is to identify a more restricted set of possible contracts that are 1) simple enough for villagers and investors; 2) robust to model misspecifications and noisy information; and 3) (approximately) socially efficient.  We believe linear contracts may satisfy these criteria.

We are looking for a UROP to help design models of linear contracts, fit them to existing data, and compare the results to the optimal contracts of Karaivanov and Townsend.  An ideal candidate will be based at MIT, able to write and run code fitting contract models to existing data, and have basic knowledge of microeconomics and mathematics.  Through this project, the candidate will gain significant experience in the theory of contract design, linear programming, and contribute to the economic welfare of Thai villages.

Prerequisites:

  • Knowledge of CPLEX/Gurobi, MATLAB, R and/or Python.
  • Understanding of dynamic programming and optimization.
  • Good mathematics skills.
  • Some economics knowledge is very useful.
  • Preferred candidates will have taken at least an introductory microeconomic course.

Contact: Ruth Levitsky (levitsky@mit.edu)


2/14/18

Term UROP is offered: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alvar Saenz Otero

Project Title: Zero Robotics: MS Game Programing & Resource Development

Project Description:  This team will help us get everything ready to run the Middle School Summer Program competition in July and August, with the finals happening aboard the International Space Station in August! The tasks include:

  • Evaluate and simplify the High School "LIFE-SPHERES" game (available in our website now) to be played by MS students.
  • Re-program the game and visualization.
  • Update the game manual and create new introduction videos.
  • Test the game in our simulation environment.
  • Create "standard players" that the MS students can compete against at the start of the competition.
  • Review educational materials for both students and teachers.
  • Prepare the "Teacher Training" at MIT in late April.

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

Application Process:

  • Indicate which term(s) you are applying for
  • Write a short introduction letter (one paragraph is enough)
  • Send a resume + intro to zr-officers@mit.edu
  • We will send you a link to schedule an in-person interview

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

Prerequisites:

Requirements:

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

Previous experience:

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

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

Contact: Alvar Saenz-Otero (zr-officers@mit.edu)


2/14/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Gareth McKinley

Project Title: Water Drop Levitation on Superhydrophobic Textures

Project Description: Want to observe droplets of water levitate over a surface? Want to perform some cool microscopy and image processing? Apply here!

This project aims to study a novel technique of drop levitation, different from the traditionally used techniques such as heating non-stick pans (Leidenfrost droplets) or blowing gas through porous surfaces. Here we make the liquids generate enough gas to lift the droplet off the surface.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Preparing superhydrophobic surfaces and the levitating liquid droplets
  • Performing microscopy experiments
  • Perform data analysis of videos/pictures obtained

You will learn

  • Fabrication of superhydrophobic surfaces
  • Using light interferometry to visualize and quantify thin films of gas
  • Image processing using Matlab/ImageJ

You will be strongly encouraged to ask questions and suggest improvements to the work throughout your experience.

Prerequisites:

  • At least a sophomore. Ideally someone who as taken 2.05/2.06 or 2.005/2.006 sequence in MechE.
  • Requires commitment for a period of 10-12 hours/week with at least 5-6 hours at a stretch.
  • Prior experience with microscopy/Matlab/C++ is a plus but not required.

Contact: Divya Panchanathan (divyap@mit.edu)


2/13/18

Term: Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Wood

Project Title: Satellite Laboratory Development

Project Description: The Space Enabled Group advances justice and development by improving designs for complex systems. The group is building a satellites laboratory for fundamental and applications-based research in the area of small satellite technology. We seek to design satellites that help advance the state of the art in spacecraft engineering by reducing the creation of future space debris as well as exploring designs for reconfigurable and reusable satellites. Space Enabled plans to build satellites that will directly contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  Future lab work may involve collaborations with the United Nations, as well as governments or space agencies of emerging space nations. We are looking for students who are passionate about the group’s social and technical missions and are interested in:

  1. Conducting literature reviews to better understand the needs of our satellite laboratory and become familiar with the state of the art;
  2. Contributing to early conceptual designs for the laboratory space; and
  3. Physical assembly of lab hardware.

Possibility for summer 2018 renewal.

Prerequisites: An interest in small satellite research and development for the benefit of all people. Willingness to work as part of a team. Bonus: previous experience with satellite hardware and/or computer-aided design. A demonstrated passion for engineering solutions for issues of social justice.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/space-enabled/overview/

Contact: Javier Stober (stober@media.mit.edu)


2/13/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph A. Paradiso

Project Title: Chains of bistable elements for grappling to asteroids

Project Description: Last semester we prototyped and tested an asteroid grappling concept involving chains of bistable pinching elements. The idea is to use this type of shape-changing grappler to adhere to unpredictable terrains. We are currently developing a toy numerical model to qualify the set of terrains it would successfully adhere to.

Prerequisites:

  • Numerical modeling experience
  • At least a sophomore (ill consider freshmen who have previously UROP'ed anywhere at MIT last term )

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

Contact: Juliana Cherston (cherston@mit.edu)


2/13/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph A. Paradiso

Project Title: Chains of bistable elements for grappling to asteroids

Project Description: Last semester we prototyped and tested an asteroid grappling concept involving chains of bistable pinching elements. The idea is to use this type of shape-changing grappler to adhere to unpredictable terrains. We are currently developing a toy numerical model to qualify the set of terrains it would successfully adhere to.

Prerequisites:

  • Numerical modeling experience
  • At least a sophomore (I’ll consider freshmen who have previously UROP'ed anywhere at MIT last term)

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

Contact: Juliana Cherston (cherston@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pattie Maes

Project Title: Creating a Gut-Brain Computer Interface

Project Description: We are developing a new area for wearable technology by using abdominal electrodes to measure signals from the enteric nervous system (ENS) or the “gut brain.” Despite intimate anatomical linkage between the brain’s emotion, stress, and memory centers to the ENS and allusions to “gut feelings” worldwide, the mind-gut connection is unexplored for human-computer interaction research. Building devices and systems around this connection can lead to applications for improving emotional wellbeing, improving personal and group decision-making, and training artificial intelligence with gut instincts.

We envision a closed-loop system that would return feedback to the wearer on their “gut brain” to make these applications possible. YOUR JOB: to design and create a wearable device for acquiring gut signals.

Students, with the support and guidance of the graduate student, will be expected to:

  • Review and critique literature in and outside their field of expertise
  • Prototype and test multiple designs in fast cycles
  • Investigate and empirically evaluate electrode and wearable system design to meet both signal acquisition (i.e. impedance measure) and usability (i.e. form factor and aesthetic) requirements
  • Conduct minimum N=12 user evaluation
  • Photograph process and product throughout
  • ITA update design based on study results

Please introduce yourself, tell me what caught your eye about this project, and send your resume to Angela avujic@mit.edu. Being positive and eager to learn through enlightened trial and error is more important than having the exact skillset. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Prerequisites:

  • Ability to dedicate min. 10 hours/week
  • Resourceful and unafraid to ask questions
  • Rapid prototyping and mockup abilities
  • Dedication to both aesthetics and technical specs

Bonus:

  • Electrical engineering, materials science, design backgrounds
  • Experience conducting user studies
  • Being a self-described “maker”

Contact: Angela Vujic (avujic@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center:  Center for Transportation and Logistics

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jarrod Goentzel

Project Title: Stochastic Analysis of Logistics Capacity in Disaster Response Networks

Project Description: Effective analysis of logistics capacity - particularly the deployment of stockpiles and consignment inventory to meet human needs - is critical in preparedness efforts for disaster response. Building on stochastic optimization models previously developed by the researchers and utilized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to analyze logistics capacity and inform disaster preparedness decisions, this project further explores the impact of transportation capabilities on stockpile effectiveness, the contingent capacity enabled by private sector commitments of transportation and/or relief items, and the potential for practical metrics to assess transportation readiness. Models aim to provide decision support for both strategic transportation and inventory decisions as well as dynamic deployment in advance of a notice event such as a hurricane.

This research position will provide support running stochastic LP models in python and contribute to the analysis. Working alongside researchers at the MIT Humanitarian Response Lab, this position will help improve the experience of future disaster survivors by examining capacity planning in terms of transport requirements and networks that incorporate the private sector. This is important as partnerships between private sector organizations that are moving goods daily and disaster response organizations are an avenue through which expertise and resources can be shared. Depending on the interest and skills of applicants, this position may include a focus on:

  • Data collection from FEMA, NOAA/NWS, and CRED EM-DAT
  • Running a two-stage stochastic LP model incorporating private sector commitments
  • Development of capacity assessment metric(s)

Prerequisites: Previous experience with python will be helpful.

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

Contact: Alexander Rothkopf (rothkopf@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Center for Transportation and Logistics

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Jarrod Goentzel

Project Title: Post Disaster Housing and Rebuilding

Project Description: Following major disasters, large numbers of homes are damaged, destroyed, or inaccessible.  Government assistance supports both temporary and transitional housing with a wide variety of tools - including options such as a shelter, financial assistance, home repairs, and a hotel room. The speed of disaster survivors' return home can impact school reopening, local business recovery, and even tax revenue.

This research position will provide analysis, insights, and recommendations into post-disaster housing solutions in the United States. Working alongside FEMA, as well as the National Association of Homebuilders, this position will help improve the experience of future disaster survivors by providing innovative solutions and repairs to the provision of housing, and the overall housing construction market.  Depending on the interest and skills of applicants, this position may focus on a range of housing issues including:

  • Determining the home building and home repair capacity in the United States.
  • The tradeoffs made by disaster survivors throughout their home repair/reconstruction journey.
  • The impact of professional licenses on the home repair and home construction labor pool.
  • The ability of disaster survivors to quickly utilize insurance payouts as well as financial assistance provided by the government.

Relevant URL: (http://humanitarian.mit.edu/)

Contact: Jarrod Goentzel (goentzel@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ceasar McDowell

Project Title: Civil Design Network

Project Description:  The MIT Civic Design Network (CDN) brings together people of all backgrounds who are seeking to facilitate inclusive civic engagement in today's democracies. CDN is focused on developing knowledge on the best practices around eight principles for designing more inclusive public engagement processes.  This includes researchers, leaders, academics, and politicians, as well as artists, community organizers, and ordinary citizens. Together, these will support cities, communities, and other institutions in creating the space needed to struggle peacefully and build a more inclusive democracy.  

This semester we are working with MIT's Open Learning to launch an online learning network on these eight principles.  We have 2 UROP opportunities to assist in our research for the learning network. The first is to conduct a scan of podcast shows with episodes on civic engagement and the eight design principles. The second opportunity is to participate in our effort to identify grassroots efforts focused on strengthening democratic practice.  This requires scanning the web to create an initial set of people and organizations that will lay the foundation for our snowball approach for identifying efforts throughout the country.  Both endeavors require creating a database for tracking results and a schema for organizing the results. Also, both initiatives will require creating image-driven communication pieces to connect with the different audience.  The student will work with our team to help develop the images for different audiences. 

Prerequisites: An interest in diversity and issues of inclusion.  Willingness to work as part of a team. 

Other skills:

  • Graphic design 
  • Audio editing 
  • Excel 
  • Google Suite
  • Photoshop or Illustrator

Contact: Ceasar McDowell (Ceasar@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Moshe Ben-Akiva

Project Title: Future Automated Mobility

Project Description: Automated vehicles will change the face of our cities and open the path for new services. Automated taxis will be able to serve a high volume of passengers with efficient routes, no labor cost and high level of service. Automated buses will be able to change their route on-the-fly to accommodate new requests. Several households or entire neighborhoods will be able to share the ownership of same vehicles, allowing each traveler to “call” a car only when needed. We model and evaluate the deployment of a mobility service offered by deploying different kinds of vehicles (Uber-like taxis, buses, minibuses), targeting high level of service and low cost of operation. The candidate will be involved in one of two activities: (i) model definition and evaluation in Matlab or (ii) simulation in C++. The options available are direct funding or UROP for credit. The work will be performed with the MIT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Lab, a multidisciplinary research group investigating the impact of information science in future transportation systems.

Prerequisites: Proficiency in Matlab or C++.

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

Contact: Andrea Araldo (araldo@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring to Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David M. Sabatini

Project Title: Investigating genes of unknown function

Project Description: CRISPR-based genetic screens have revealed hundreds of genes that are important for cell viability and yet largely unstudied. Hypotheses as to the function of many of these genes can be inferred by analysis of large biological databases, providing promising leads for many new projects. In the Sabatini Lab, we are looking for students eager to take on some of these genes to elucidate their function. The student will learn techniques in database analysis and how to dissect the function of an uncharacterized gene -- foundational training for a future in biological research.

Prerequisites: Prior lab experience is a plus

Relevant URL: http://sabatinilab.wi.mit.edu/

Contact: Evgeni Frenkel (genya@wi.mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Fall/Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph Paradiso

Project Title: On-body Wearable Robots

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

Some of the areas that we are exploring:

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

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

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

Relevant URLhttps://www.media.mit.edu/projects/rovables/overview/

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


2/12/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. John Hart

Project Title: Manufacturing thin fibers using sound waves

Project Description: The objective of this project is to test building a device that holds a small vibrating element to manipulate material inside the device via acoustophoresis. In particular, a fiber moving through the center of the device will be manipulated using the acoustic waves to control its manufacturing. The UROP would be involved in 3D-printing devices, running hands-on experiments to calibrate the acoustic control, and predict expected patterns by calculating force fields and fluid mechanics. Good for someone comfortable with Matlab or another programming or math language (like Maple/Mathematica), and with Solidworks or another CAD software. 

Prerequisites: Hands-on experience with acoustics/electronics/speakers, 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)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Solar powered mobility analysis for underserved communities

Project Description: Many communities around the world lack access to basic services and markets, contributing to cycles of inequality with few opportunities for growth. Mobility solutions can provide access, materials, and business opportunities empowering citizens and providing needed connections. We are researching a solar-powered vehicle solution that offers several advantages including distribution of medicine, refrigeration and backup power, cellphone service and charging, transport of goods to markets, and education opportunities to name a few. We will also explore options for local communities to manufacture these vehicle themselves using local materials and widely available scrap components.

We are looking for a driven student to work with our team as we explore deployment of this real-world prototype.  In this position you will research use cases, locations, vehicle designs and business models with potential for global impact.

Position goals:

  • Identify existing transport and power access challenges in locations around the world
  • Research customer needs and willingness to pay for different transport and power services
  • Identify local materials, and existing local vehicle assembly and service/repair assets
  • Research local government/regulatory concerns for introducing new vehicles
  • Propose new vehicle designs and mobility service solutions
  • Explore cost of ownership/operation and revenue creation
  • Draft business model for manufacturer and operator
  • Research market size for each location and extrapolate for global deployment

Prerequisites:

  • Ability to synthesize complex global scenarios
  • Ability to be creative and innovative with goal for deployment of a real world solutions
  • Interest in intersection of global policies and tech deployment
  • Preferred experience working with developing markets
  • Analytical and entrepreneurial mindset

Contact: Chris Borroni-Bird (cborroni@mit.edu)


2/12/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Thomas R. Consi

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

Project Description: A UROP position is currently available to work with scientists at the MIT Sea Grant program in analyzing satellite data of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.   Stellwagen Bank is an amazing underwater national park located off the coast of Massachusetts.  It is most famous as a feeding ground for whales and dolphins, notably the giant humpback whales.  MIT Sea Grant is starting-up a collaboration with famed underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen to document the entire ecosystem of Stellwagen Bank from whales to microbes for education and public outreach.

Part of this project involves visualizing and analyzing satellite image data. We are particularly interested in identifying and locating phytoplankton blooms, gargantuan aggregates of single-celled algae that are so large they can be seen from space.  This UROP will involve taking raw satellite image data and processing it through MATLAB (and other) software to produce compelling images of Stellwagen Bank as seen from space that will be part of our image gallery of the sanctuary. The project will also involve analyzing the images to identify and locate phytoplankton blooms for further study.

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

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

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


2/9/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Sensory processing in autism spectrum disorder

Project Description: If you are interested in applying your programming and data analysis skills to the important scientific challenge of understanding sensory processing in autism, then this project is for you. Not only would you be part of a significant research effort, you will also have the opportunity to travel to Milan, Italy, to work with our collaborators.

Sensory sensitivities are a commonly occurring feature in individuals with autism. These difficulties can present considerable challenges for autistic individuals, in addition to the social-communication impairments and repetitive behavior that are typical of the autism phenotype. Motivated by a theory we have recently proposed (Sinha et al., 2014), the overarching hypothesis guiding this proposal is that difficulties in prediction may cause differences in sensory habituation.

This project aims to investigate habituation profiles across a range of sensory modalities. Ultimately, we seek to understand whether the sensory difficulties observed clinically result from an underlying impairment in habituation and prediction. The project uses the tools of electroencephalography (EEG), electrodermal activity (EDA), and heart rate variability (HRV) to obtain rich quantitative information regarding physiological response to repetitive stimuli. Deeper knowledge of the issue holds relevance for more accurate diagnosis, the provision of environments that are more tolerable for autistic individuals, as well as the design of interventions that acknowledge and address potential underlying neurocognitive issues (e.g., prediction, habituation), and not merely the manifestation of the underlying impairment (e.g. sensory sensitivities).

Position Description: The UROP will contribute substantially to data analysis of an existing electrophysiological dataset, using MATLAB or Python. The UROP will use sophisticated signal processing methods such as time frequency analysis, as well as machine learning. The student will work in parallel with others as part of a team, with substantial opportunity to work independently.  This position is available for pay or credit.  There is a unique opportunity to travel to Milan, Italy during this UROP (or at the end of the semester/beginning of summer) as part of this UROP. Travel would require appropriate visas, and would be supported through a MISTI-Italy grant. There may also be opportunities for this work to be presented by the research team in upcoming conferences. 

The deadline to apply through the UROP office for direct funding is listed on the UROP deadlines page; however, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if you wish to apply. We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis starting now until the position is filled. Visit the UROP website for details about UROP application requirements: http://uaap.mit.edu/research-exploration/urop/apply/application-checklist 

To apply, please e-mail Annie Cardinaux, Project Coordinator, at anniec@mit.edu, and include your Resume/CV and a brief letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the project. **Please specify whether you would like to do the UROP for pay or credit, and several times when you are available to meet with members of our lab to learn more.** If you are selected and wish to complete the UROP for pay, you will need to create a project proposal for review by a member of our research team a minimum of 1 day in advance of the direct funding deadline.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have previous experience in Python, C , or other programming languages, MATLAB, engineering, and strong analytical skills. Must be able to commit 6-10 hours per week during the semester. A background in computer science, engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, or related field is desired. This opportunity is ideal for an advanced student who is independent, takes initiative, and proactively solves problems.

Contact: Annie Cardinaux, Project Coordinator (anniec@mit.edu)


2/9/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alessandro Bonatti

Project Title: Markets for Information

Project Description: The mechanisms by which information is traded can shape the creation and the distribution of economic value in many important markets. Information about individual borrowers guides banks’ lending decisions, information about consumers’ characteristics facilitates targeted online advertising, and information about a patient’s genome enhances health care delivery.

This research project aims to connect the theory and the practice of buying and selling information. The UROP for this project will be responsible for:

  1. Documenting through primary and secondary sources the current practices adopted by data sellers and aggregators. (For example, brokers that sell consumer data to online advertisers and marketers). These practices might include price levels, pricing mechanisms (e.g., discriminatory pricing), exclusivity restrictions, as well as sourcing practices (where do they get the data from?).
  2. Conducting a thorough literature review (under faculty guidance) in economics and computer science around the optimal mechanisms through which information is acquired and traded.

A successful UROP will have the option extend this project into the summer.

Prerequisites: Creativity, initiative, and an independent research spirit; seeking alternative sources, expanding the research domains (both theoretical and applied) beyond the ones we discuss together; good organization and communication skills. Some experience with LaTeX and BibTeX would be helpful. A background or interest in economics or information theory is also helpful but not required.

Relevant URL: http://www.mit.edu/~bonatti

Contact: Alessandro Bonatti (bonatti@mit.edu)


2/9/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Azra Aksamija

Project Title: Code of Ethics - Platform for Critical Evaluations of Cultural Interventions in the Humanitarian Context

Project Description: Code of Ethics is an online platform that investigates the ethics of cultural interventions in the humanitarian context towards the formulation of a guideline for practitioners in art, architecture, design, urban planning, historic preservation, social  enterpreneurship, education and technology. This platform offers a shared channel for dissemination of questions, reflections, and dilemmas that practitioners face when working in humanitarian context.

We are in the process of expanding this platform to include perspectives from various MIT faculty, researchers and students. These perspectives will take form of short text entries (300-500 words) describing an ethical concern, a one-sentence summary and 3 keywords, as well as references to the author's work and expertise. We are looking for a few team members who could help us with the research on this topic and interviews on MIT campus and feeding this platform. The work would take ca. 10h/week. Your tasks would entail interviewing selected authors on campus and compressing the interview towards a short entry at the online platform.

If interested, please send us a writing sample.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience in writing
  • Interest in refugee-related topics
  • Passion for the humanitarian work

Relevant URL: https://www.codeofethics.online/

Contact: Melina Philippou (melphil@mit.edu)


2/9/18

Multiple Openings

Term UROP is offered: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Seok-Hyun Yun

Project Title: Mapping biomechanical properties of the cornea

Project Description: We are developing a new biomedical imaging tool based on Brillouin light scattering for non-invasively measuring the biomechanical properties of the eye. An important application of this optical technique is measuring the biomechanics of the cornea (the clear, outer layer of the eye responsible for much of the eye’s focusing power) in order to improve diagnosis and screening for diseases related to corneal mechanical weakening.

We are looking for 1 - 2 students with an interest in machine vision (pupil tracking, structured light surface profiling) and instrumentation (acquiring patient data and building a 3D map in real time) to develop the capabilities of the instrument for creating accurate, spatially resolved maps of the cornea. The student(s) will make an important contribution to the development of a biomedical device and may have the opportunity to see their work used with patients.

Prerequisites: Programming experience with python is required. Experience in the areas of image processing, interfacing with hardware, threading, or user interface design is a major plus. No biomedical background is necessary.

Relevant URL: http://www.intelon.org/index_files/Page436.htm

Contact: Amira Eltony (aeltony@mgh.harvard.edu)


2/9/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Aude Oliva

Project Title: Crowdsourcing attention and interestingness of images

Project Description: We're studying new ways of crowdsourcing how people look at images, what they find interesting, and what image regions they choose to explore - in natural images, graphic designs, and data visualizations. Applications include smart image compression, automatic thumbnailing, and graphic design tools. We are looking for someone to help us build the web UIs for the crowdsourcing tasks, to help analyze data, and (optional) to start training machine learning models for prediction and application purposes.

If interested, please send a resume/CV and a sample completed project to zoya@mit.edu.

Prerequisites:

  • Required: proficiency with python, javascript, html, jquery.
  • Recommended: 6.148, 6.170 or similar.
  • Bonus: statistics or machine learning background.

Relevant URL: Related projects here: web.mit.edu/zoya/www/research.html

Contact: Zoya Bylinskii (zoya@mit.edu)


2/9/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hugh Herr

Project Title: Camera-based 3D scanner for biomechanical applications

Project Description: In order to design subject-specific biomechanical interfaces, such as the prosthetic socket for amputees, accurate knowledge of the shape, deformation, and mechanical properties of the body part is essential. At the Biomechatronics group of the MIT Media Lab, we develop a 360-deg 3D scanner and indentation device for measuring the shape of the residual limb, as well as the full-field deformations and strains on the skin, and the mechanical properties of the underlying soft tissues. The system employs synchronized multiple Raspberry Pi camera boards and ATI force/torque sensors. An open source Matlab toolbox was developed to analyze images from multiple cameras and reconstruct the 3D shape and deformations.

There are several different projects available for this study (each student only need to work on one of the following):

  1. Mechanical design (SolidWorks experience required)
  2. Raspberry Pi software development (Python experience required, experience with Raspberry Pi is a plus)
  3. Matlab coding (specifically GUIs).

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/biomechatronics/projects/

Contact: Dana Solav (danask@mit.edu)


2/9/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hugh Herr

Project Title: Optogenetics in Peripheral Nerve Studies

Project Description: The Biomechatronics lab at the MIT Media Lab is studying optogenetic stimulation for applications in the peripheral nervous system. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we will engineer systems to control neural activation and movement of limbs. Interested candidates should email shriyas@mit.edu with his/her CV and transcript as well as relevant skills.

Prerequisites:

Required:

  • Minimum of 7 hrs/week time commitment
  • Please read the following publication: doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa5e20 prior to contacting

Preferred:

  • Previous experience working with animals/animal trained at MIT
  • Experience with biological research (histology, cell culture)

Relevant URL: http://biomech.media.mit.edu/#/

Contact: Shriya Srinivasan (shriyas@mit.edu)


2/8/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Georgia Perakis

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

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

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

Qualifications:

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

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


2/8/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rafael Jaramillo

Project Title: Methods for Open and Reproducible Materials Science

Project Description: Help us develop the future of open materials science. We will explore new ways of improving the development, publication, discovery, and use of experimental data in materials science. We are looking for students who are curious about the intersection of data management, libraries, publishing, and machine learning; and who are inquisitive, reliable, and energetic.  As a research assistant in the Jaramillo Group and the Libraries Program on Information Science, you will meet regularly with the faculty advisors on conducting research advancing open and reproducible materials science.  This will include: identifying and evaluating methods and tools for reproducible science -- especially those focused on data and workflow management and sharing; interviewing selected members of DMSE to characterize their data management and sharing workflow; and developing prototype methods for sharing data in open discovery and repository systems. Opportunities for further research are available upon completion. Building infrastructure for open materials science is as much a social challenge as it is a technical one. We are looking for students who enjoy learning about others through conversation and observation. The ideal candidate should be enthusiastic about making new personal connections and interviewing busy researchers.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience in lab-based materials science
  • Basic competency in python or R.
  • Minimum commitment is 6 hours per week

Relevant URL: http://Informatics.mit.edu; http://jaramillo.mit.edu/

Contact: Rafael Jaramillo (rjaramil@mit.edu)


2/8/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring / Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Senseable City Lab

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Carlo Ratti

Project Title: Roboat - Collaborative Autonomous Boats

The Senseable City Lab is developing Roboat, an autonomous boat. This platform will serve a range of functions in the urban waterways of Amsterdam, including transportation and municipal waste collection. We have developed an initial prototype capable of localizing, and following trajectories and are working on adding advanced features. We are seeking highly motivated and dedicated UROPs interested in working on several aspects of our robotics systems. Anyone broadly interested in the project should also feel free reach out. Students of all years and skill levels are encouraged to reach out. The positions can be flexible or include more structure and mentorship, depending on the student’s skill level and preference. 

Perception and Mapping 

Possible tasks:

  • SLAM tuning to ensure factors such as loop closure 
  • Real-time LiDAR data accumulation
  • Filtering environmental noise in LiDAR data, such as rain and snow
  • Hardware integration including PCB design, sensor integration and tests

Useful Skills:

  • SLAM or LiDAR experience
  • C/C++
  • Signal Processing
  • ROS
  • Electronics
  • Robotics experience 

Naval Engineering

Tasks:

  • Helping us scale to 1:1 prototypes of the roboat within the year
  • Defining the basic characteristics for the fleet units

Useful skills:

  • Hull analysis and optimization
  • Prototyping skills to realise models within MIT workshops and makerspaces 
  • Knowledge of propulsion systems
  • Open foam or other cfd tool
  • Solidworks
  • fmea analysis 

Software Systems Engineering

Possible tasks:

  • Customizing our runtime manager or visualization
  • Researching and implementing a system diagnostics tool for our robot
  • Containerizing our software installation and setup using Docker
  • Continuous Integration with build and/or testing functionality

Useful Skills:

  • Systems engineering
  • ROS
  • Python
  • Docker
  • Virtualization/Software Container experience 
  • Robotics experience

Contact: roboat-dev@mit.edu


2/8/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Roger Mark

Project Title: Data Science for Medicine and Healthcare

Project Description: The Laboratory for Computational Physiology at MIT’s Institute of Medical Engineering and Science is seeking a highly-motivated student to participate in research in Data Science for Medicine and Healthcare starting Spring and/or Summer 2018.  Successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary research team from MIT, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, and clinicians from Boston-area hospitals to develop machine learning and statistical techniques for patient risk stratification and treatment decision support in critical care. The project offers opportunities to apply data science and machine learning techniques for processing, analyzing, and extracting insights/knowledge from large volumes of electronic health records (EHR) data.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have taken basic statistical analysis, machine learning, or related courses. Familiarity with Python, MatLab, SQL, or R preferred. Database and NLP experience may be helpful, but not required.

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

Contact: Li-wei Lehman (lilehman@mit.edu)


2/7/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rahul Mazumder

Project Title: Machine Learning for Compact and Interpretable Models 

Project Description: This project will provide UROP(s) exposure to machine learning models and optimization algorithms that are being currently developed by our research group. The project will broadly involve (but is not limited to) creating user-friendly interfaces for algorithms and testing these algorithms on real datasets.

Feature selection is one of the core techniques in statistics and machine learning that is widely used in practice (e.g., computational genomics, text categorization, natural language processing, marketing,..). These methods in particular, and other (more general) statistical/machine learning methods lead to compact and interpretable models that are important when dealing with messy, high-dimensional data in varied applications. We are seeking students interested in (a) building Python/Matlab/Julia bindings (wrappers) for the current C++ implementation and potentially implementing new algorithms to our growing toolbox; and/or (b) experimenting with these new models on large-scale real datasets (from different domains); study how they work and interpret the findings. Multiple (paid) positions are available depending upon applicant interests and preparedness.

What you will get out of the UROP experience?

  • Hands-on experience with implementing modern analytics/machine learning algorithms; and data-processing skills
  • Experience with efficiently managing big data in memory
  • Potentially a research publication

Prerequisites:

1) Good knowledge of C++

2) Knowledge of R/Python.

3) Previous experience with creating bindings between different languages is a plus.

4) Previous exposure to machine learning or optimization can be helpful but is not required.

Contact: Hussein Hazimeh (hazimeh@mit.edu)


2/7/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Roger Mark

Project Title: Machine Learning for Medicine and Healthcare

Project Description: The Laboratory for Computational Physiology at MIT’s Institute of Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) is seeking a highly-motivated student to participate in research in Machine Learning for Medicine and Healthcare starting Spring and/or Summer 2018.  Successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary research team from MIT, MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, and clinicians from Boston-area hospitals to apply machine learning and statistical techniques for patient risk stratification and treatment decision support in critical care. The project offers opportunities to apply and/or develop novel machine learning and statistical methods for i) multivariate physiological and clinical time series modeling, ii) patient phenotyping and disease progression modeling (longitudinal analysis), and/or iii) causal inference and reinforcement learning using large volumes of heterogeneous observational data from electronic health records and physiological signals from patient monitors.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate would have taken courses in machine learning, statistical inference, or related courses.  Knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas would be desirable: deep learning, state space models, latent variable models, structure learning, reinforcement learning, controls and non-linear dynamical systems. Availability to work during Summer is preferred, but not required. Familiarity with Python, MatLab, or R preferred.

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

Contact: Li-wei Lehman (lilehman@mit.edu)


2/7/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Siegel

Project Title: Human aspects of cybersecurity in organizations

Project Description: We have several interview- or survey-based projects for measuring the culture of information security in organizations, impacts of trust among employees on cybersecurity, and the perception of cybersecurity at organizations. In addition, we have an on-going literature review project in the intersection of cybersecurity and healthcare. For these projects, we need several students to join us at Cybersecurity at MIT Sloan.

Overall, these projects can enhance your critical thinking, literature search, qualitative research, and data analysis skills. Selected candidate(s) are expected to join the projects immediately.

Prerequisites: Required skills include attention to details, as well as excellent reading, writing, and communication skills. Familiarity with cybersecurity is a plus but not required. Priority goes to students with a background in social sciences. Basic programming skills (Python, R, or Matlab) are expected ONLY for the review project in healthcare. We are particularly interested in working with motivated and organized students who are committed to doing research.

Relevant URL: http://ic3.mit.edu

Contact: Mohammad Jalali (jalali@mit.edu)


2/7/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Alexandra H. Techet

Project Title: 3D Body Reconstruction and Automated Tracking of Swimming Fish 

Project Description: The UROP hired for Spring 2018 will work directly with graduate students to develop automated masking and tracking codes to reconstruct the visual hull and plot the 3D trajectory of unsteadily translating and rotating bodies. Depending on UROP interest, the project will include an opportunity to perform analysis on 3D data sets of swimming measurements obtained from live fishes. Performing experiments and interacting with fishes is optional. Opportunities for project extension into the summer are possible.

Keywords: Computer Vision, 3D Body Reconstruction, Automated Tracking, Image Processing, Python, C++, Open CV

Prerequisites: Junior and Senior applicants only. Must be comfortable working in a Linux environment. Development experience in C++ and Python and experience working with Open CV are required. Familiarity with image processing helpful, but not necessary.

Contact: Andrea Lehn (lehn@mit.edu)


2/7/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Raspberry Pi and IoT Development for Health Appliances

Project Description: Our group is building health appliances (furniture, mirrors, street signs, etc.) that can be used to collect health information from a person and transmit it to the cloud for processing. Since we do not want to be limited by the hardware constraints of Amazon Alexa or Google Home, we want to build our own devices using Raspberry Pi. Raw data includes sound, light, and other information.  We are looking for student(s) who are interested in helping to build some prototype devices and software platforms.

Prerequisites: We are looking for a variety of students to join our team: (1) students who have experience working in embedded systems, such as programming the Raspberry Pi or embedded Linux, who could help implement some of the algorithms that our group has developed;  (2) we also welcome any students with hardware experience who are interested in helping test some of our wireless sensors and devices that interface with the Raspberry Pi; (3) students with server development experience, interested in developing server API's and architectures to analyze the data from our "health appliances".

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

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


2/6/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Flow system with electro-sorption for water purification

Project Description: Electro-sorption is a promising technique for water treatment and extends the capability of capacitive deionization (CDI) with higher salt adsorption capacity and selectivity. We have built a flow electro-sorption system with online sensors to monitor the conductivity and pH of the effluent stream. The focus of the current project is to modify and optimize commercial electrode materials and characterize the dynamic charging/discharging process to obtain a better understanding of the mass transport phenomena inside the electro-sorption cell. These insights would provide guidance to the future cell design and performance optimization. Credit or pay is available. It is highly preferred that candidates contact MIT direct funding for pay.

Prerequisites: Basic data analysis skills, familiar with matlab or excel. Some previous experience with electrochemical characterization methods, such as chronoamperometry (CP), cyclic voltammetry (CV) and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) will be preferred. Candidates without those experience but have a strong motivation for learning are also acceptable.

Contact: Fan He (fanhe@mit.edu)


2/6/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: Developing LEGO-based microfluidics

Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop parts of a fluid network built out of LEGO bricks. This includes building a few electronic units for sensing, testing chemical compatibility, and creating tiny droplets 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), testing circuitry, and running hands-on experiments along with simple fluid mechanics analysis to characterize the units, and test the rate, size, and limits, of the droplets we can produce.

Prerequisites: Arduino or feedback control, experience with LEGOs, interest in fluid mechanics.

Relevant URL: http://news.mit.edu/2018/microfluidics-lego-bricks-0131

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


2/6/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Power Electronics Research Group

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Professor David Perreault

Project Title: High Frequency Current-Voltage Measurement for Power Electronics

Project Description: High-frequency AC currents are used in many industries – semiconductor device fabrication, plasma generation, wireless power transfer, medical imaging etc. However, it is difficult to measure high frequency voltages and especially currents with accurate magnitudes and phases. This difficulty slows development of important systems and limits the approaches that can be used to improve those systems.  This project will involve a survey of existing high-frequency measurement techniques and development of novel approaches. A successful approach will be highly impactful in many disciplines, in academia and industry alike. The student can expect to publish successful work. The student will gain exposure to the field of power electronics in a supportive group. The student will develop important skills including efficient literature review, circuit design and simulation, PCB layout, and prototyping. The student will also learn to identify and communicate the impact of their work. 

Prerequisites: 6.002 or equivalent proficiency with circuit theory/design. No background in power electronics is required.

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

Contact: Professor David Perreault (djperrea@mit.edu), Alexander Jurkov (asjurkov@mit.edu), Alex Hanson (ajhanson@mit.edu) 


2/6/18

Spring 2018

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

Faculty Supervisor: Bob Pozen

Project Title: Credit Rating Agencies

Project Description:  The project involves data collection and analysis to evaluate the new rules of the European Union ( EU ) on credit ratings agencies ( CRAs ) such as Moody's or Standard & Poor's.  I am looking at the credit ratings in the second and third quarters of 2017 for UK based issuers who sold offerings in what are called structured finance deals –  like a mortgage pool with multiple tranches ( slices of the pools ) sold to investors.  Each tranche get a prescribed cash flow in a prescribed order from the pool. So there are credit ratings for each tranche, from the most senior with the highest rating to the most junior or riskiest with the lowest ratings ( gets cash flow remaining ).



The new rules require every issuer to appoint two CRAs for every structured finance deal.  They also require CRAs to publicly disclose on their websites, and to report to an EU regulator called ESMA, all provisional and final ratings on structured finance deals.  In addition, the new rules require CRAs to disclose and report to ESMA what I call preliminary approaches from issuers -- expressions of interest even if they do NOT result in a credit rating.  ESMA has established a public data base called the ERP and each CRA has its own website with the required disclosures. But the ERP does not contain either provisional ratings or preliminary approaches – these are only disclosed on the websites of the CRAs. 



You would need to complete the data gathering and then analyze the data with the following issues in mind.



1.  The requirements to appoint two CRAs for each structured finance deals, and the disclosure requirements on the provisional and final ratings. These requirements were intended to limit the bias that any one CRA – in the US, Fitch tends to give higher ratings than Moody’s and S&P.

2. The requirement to disclose preliminary approaches, even if they did not result in provisional or final ratings, was intended to reduce Ratings shopping by issuers – searching for the CRA that would give the highest rating and ditching those that might give lower ratings.

3.  The EU rules also now require issuers to consider, but not appoint, the appointment of a small CRA from a list compiled by ESMA.   Did this requirement lead to more appointments of smaller CRAs to break the oligopoly of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch?   We have not yet focused on the data gathering for small CRAs, but it appears they were used infrequently.

Contact: Bob Pozen: bobpozen@mit.edu


2/6/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Y. Karen Zheng

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

Project Description: Want to improve livelihoods of farmers in India through your work? Our goal in this research is to employ a data-driven approach combining empirical data analysis, mathematical modeling, and field experiments to optimize the design of India’s online agricultural platforms.

It is reported that Indian farmers earn as little as 30% of the value of their products, compared to 50% in the United States. India’s regulated markets and the resulting market structure have led to poor outcomes for farmers because of barriers to entry, information asymmetry and non-transparent price setting processes. In order to tackle such inefficiencies, the government has launched an online platform that aims to connect markets all over the country. We seek a UROP to assist us in an empirical study that quantifies the effect of this new platform on market outcomes.

Tasks for UROP:

  • A) Create scripts for web scraping of data related to market prices, characteristics etc.
  • B) Collect and process data, and conduct preliminary analysis involving machine learning techniques to draw valuable insights from the data.

Prerequisites

  1. Familiar with programming, particularly web scraping, and creating structured datasets/database.
  2. Experience in machine learning tools.
  3. Minimum 10 hours per week.
  4. For credit or for pay ($15/hour).

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

Contact: Somya Singhvi (ssinghvi@mit.edu)


2/6/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Server App Development for Machine Learning and Visualization of Health Data

Project Description: Our group builds tools and algorithms for health diagnostics, which includes both mobile apps as well as server-side platforms.  The health conditions which we track are fairly broad ranging from malnutrion, to respiratory disease, heart disease, diabetes, and also mental health. One the server side, there is a need to create dashboards and visualizations of this data which is collected from various parts of the world. This data visualization is a critical tool to enable clinicians or government health workers to be able to see where certain diseases are occurring, and then target therapies, interventions, and policy where it is most needed.

Prerequisites: For this UROP, we seek students who have experience with server-side coding and with an interest in either machine learning or data visualization (or both!). Data is collected from a variety of custom mobile apps on smart phones, and the data is then sent to the server for processing and visualization.  A variety of programming languages can be used, but student should have experience working with databases, and setting up virtual machines for cloud computing services (e.g. Linode, Digital Ocean, or Amazon Web Services).  We are looking to recruit 2 or 3 students, who have complementary skills to work on different aspects of the server (machine learning, visualization, user dashboard, etc.). Students should be able to work independently and attend weekly meetings to review progress.

This project is offered for pay or credit, and can also be done as a UAP instead of UROP.

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

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


2/6/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Embedded Programming for Wearable Heart Monitor

Project Description: Our group develops tools and algorithms to diagnose disease and monitor mental health.  In addition to our own custom hardware, we are interested in loading our custom algorithms onto some commercial wearable sensors.  We are currently looking for a student with strong programming skills to develop custom software for the Samsung Gear S3 Sport smart watch, which is perhaps the most advanced consumer wearable on the market today.  These mobile apps shall be used in clinical studies to measure a variety of mental health parameters such as stress and drug use.

Prerequisites: The Samsung Gear S3 is programmed in C, using the Tizen Studio development environment.  No experience in biomedical devices or signal processing is required (we will support you with that), but experience with coding in C is desired.  Student should be comfortable working independently and attending weekly meetings.  Since the Samsung Tizen development environment is relatively new and poorly documented, student should have the patience and experience to be able to debug code and problem-solve independently.  Linux or computer hacking skills are a plus.

Relevant URL: http://http://www.mobiletechnologylab.org/portfolio/algorithms-for-autonomic-assessment

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


2/6/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Lienhard V

Project Title: High-efficiency Chemical-Free Backwash Strategy for Reverse Osmosis Membrane Antifouling

Project Description: Reverse osmosis (RO) technology has attracted great academic and industrial interest due to the increasing demand for cleaning water in various aspects of our life and society. However, membrane fouling, the accumulation of foulants on the RO membrane, inevitably leads to a decrease in membrane permeability and thus higher energy consumption and cost. The conventional method of cleaning fouled membranes is to add chemicals such as chloramine to the feed solution, which is costly, time- and energy-inefficient, and environmentally undesirable. In this project, we propose to develop a new chemical-free cleaning strategy with low energy consumption and cleaning cost, to achieve high-efficiency RO membrane antifouling, by applying a programmed net (osmotic-minus-hydraulic) pressure profile to the RO membrane. This high-efficiency chemical-free strategy is based on two new foulant detachment mechanisms: i) swelling-induced foulant film detachment caused by the water absorption of the highly-saline foulant film and; ii) foulant film detachment caused by the RO membrane deformation/vibration.

The research objectives of the proposed project include: 

  1. To study the fouling process during RO membrane operation and characterize the adhesion between fouling film and RO membrane; 
  2. To understand new foulant-detaching mechanisms based on foulant swelling and membrane vibration 
  3. To provide optimized cleaning pressure profiles for chemical-free RO antifouling.

The significance and impact of the proposed project is two-fold:

  1. It will provide fundamental understanding of foulant detaching mechanisms
  2. Based on this understanding, it will result in development of a high-efficiency, chemical-free antifouling strategy for RO systems.

Whereas existing studies on membrane fouling and antifouling have not incorporated a deep understanding of solid mechanics; the proposed work will create a new collaboration between experts in soft material mechanics (Zhao lab) and experts in RO membrane fouling (Lienhard lab) to develop targeted, efficient, chemical-free membrane cleaning protocols

Prerequisites: Knowledge of transport phenomena (fluid mechanics, heat & mass transfer) or mechanical design/prototyping is a plus.

Relevant URL: http://lienhard.scripts.mit.edu/research/

Contact: Omar Labban (olabban@mit.edu)


2/5/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Moshe Ben-Akiva

Project Title: Future Mobility Sensing

Project Description: The Future Mobility Sensing (FMS) is a comprehensive platform to facilitate study of users't ravel behaviors. FMS uses smartphones to facilitate more accurate data collection than traditional methods of household trade surveys. Our goal is to build machine learning algorithms that infer the users' travel attributes like modes of travel and stop activities from raw data collected on Smartphones. FMS technology has applications in real time travel surveys, stated preferences surveys, trip planner, etc. The trip planner component of the FMS, also known as the FMS Advisor, presents users with energy efficient trip alternatives and provides them with incentives if they choose energy efficient modes of travel.  We will use raw data collected from smartphones and contextual data collected from external data sources, like foursquare for point of interests, GTFS for real time public transit information, locations of parking lots, etc. to infer the travel modes and stop activities. The inferred information can then be used to verify the user actions against their stated travel choices and award the incentives accordingly.

Prerequisites: The first step in developing the algorithm is to process the raw sensor data, identify the contextual data sources, write scripts to collect and organize the contextual data. The intern will work with graduate student / Postdoc to build the training data set, machine learning models, deploy the models on the smartphones and test the models.

  • UROPs are expected to devote 10 hrs/week, and successful UROP will have option to continue during summer 2018. 
  • Experience with Ruby on Rails / Matlab / Java / R. (Experience in Ruby an
  • Rails is prefered) 
  • Experience with either android or Swift is a plus but not required. 
  • Comfortable with Linux. 
  • Experience with Postgresql/MySQL.

Relevant URL: https://its.mit.edu/future-mobility-sensing

Contact: Ajinkya Ghorpade (ajinkya@mit.edu)


2/5/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Oliver Jagoutz

Project Title: Himalaya Research Expedition

Project Description: We are looking for a student to participate in a 6-week long research expedition to the Himalayas in July/August.

The Himalayas are the archetypal example of a collisional mountain belt, yet many of the fundamental parameters describing their formation history remain poorly understood. It has become generally accepted that the final collision between India and Asia occurred approximately 50 Ma (Ma = million years ago) along the Indus Suture Zone (ISZ). However, it is disputed whether the Kohistan-Ladakh Arc (KLA), a volcanic island arc that existed in the ocean that separated India and Asia, collided first with India or with Asia. In order to determine the nature and timing of the India-Asia collision we will conduct a paleomagnetic study of volcanic rocks in the Ladakh region of India. This will allow us to constrain the KLA's latitude relative to both India and Asia through geologic time.

The student will conduct geological fieldwork with our MIT research group as well as in collaboration with colleagues from Kumaun University in India. They will have the opportunity to participate in a once in a lifetime travel experience to a remote and beautiful part of the Himalayas. They will develop a broad range of geoscience fieldwork skills including geological mapping, ArcGIS software, paleomagnetic sample collection, and structural geology.

Prerequisites: 12.001 Introduction to Geology (preferred)

Contact: Craig Martin (crm7@mit.edu)


2/5/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Project Prakash: Humanitarian/Scientific initiative for treating curable blindness and studying visual development

Project Description: We are looking for UROP/s that can help us in our dual goal humanitarian/scientific initiative to provide treatment to curably blind children and study their subsequent visual development using a range of behavioral, imaging and computational methods. In particular, we have been studying the development of object and face perception following recovery from prolonged congenital blindness and have significant data that needs to be sorted, annotated and analyzed.  A self motivated and interested UROP will also have opportunities to become involved in defining new questions, designing and preparing new experiments, and joining in on many other exciting aspects of this project.

In this study, we focus on basic face recognition and drawing abilities, particularly in the hours and days following treatment for congenital blindness from cataracts.  We have video data recorded from the first hours and days immediately upon sight onset, as well as longitudinal data on standardized tests of face and expression identification (both behavioral and eye tracking).  The student will be asked to sort through this data, which will include watching and annotating videos, performing data sorting and analysis with excel, literature search and (with support) coming up with new and appropriate ways of analyzing the behavioral and eye-tracking data.  The students will be supported and mentored by me (a postdoc) in the lab.  This position is available for direct pay or credit.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate/s will have a strong interest in visual development and behavioral studies, and should be interested in contributing to both the scientific and humanitarian aspects of our project. Significant advantage for background in psychology and/or cognitive science. Creativity and patience is a must!  We are looking for someone who is self motivated (though I will always be around to guide and help) and ideally with at least a potential interest in returning to or continuing work with the lab. Knowledge of hindi and ability to translate is a plus but not a must.

Relevant URL: www.projectprakash.org

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


2/5/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kamal Youcef-Toumi

Project Title: Pipeline Inspection Robot Design

Project Description: Work with a team of graduate students to accelerate the development of a in-pipe inspection robot. This is the advanced stage of the previous research (http://news.mit.edu/2017/robot-finds-leaks-water-pipes-0718) Three positions are open. The tasks include (1) CAD design and rapid prototyping with 3D printers, (2) electronics and circuit design fabrications, (3) signal processing and data analysis.

Prerequisites:

Required:

  1. Intermediate or higher in Solidworks
  2. Intermediate or higher in arduino
  3. 2.004, 2.14

Preferred:

  1. Familiar with machining plastics, wax and acrylics
  2. Familiar with tools available in LMP machine shop or makerworks, especially laser-cut, water-jet, milling and CNC
  3. Javascript

Relevant URL: http://news.mit.edu/2017/robot-finds-leaks-water-pipes-0718

Contact: You Wu (youwu@mit.edu)


2/5/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name:  Alan P. Jasanoff

Project Title: Development of agents for Brain Imaging

Project Description: This project involves laboratory work for the design and validation of novel neuroimaging agents. Our lab is developing MRI contrast agents that can sense neural activity, neurotransmitters and brain processes. The UROP student will gain expertise in validating new sensors using brain slices, neuronal cell culture, immunohistochemistry, and confocal imaging and analysis - in order to validate genetically expressed probes and other sensors (will be co-mentored by Dr. Nan Li - nli9@mit.edu and Dr. Aviad Hai - aviadhai@mit.edu).

Contact: Nan Li (nli9@mit.edu)


 

2/1/18

Term UROP is offered: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alex 'Sandy' Pentland

Project Title: Experimental investigation of Collective Intelligence

Project Description: Collective intelligence is believed to underly the remarkable success of human society. The formation of accurate shared beliefs is one of the key components of human collective intelligence. How are accurate shared beliefs formed in groups of fallible individuals? An exciting area to investigate is the use of online experimentation for answering questions about both: 1) the individual decision mechanisms people use; and 2) the properties and dynamics of those mechanisms in the aggregate. We are interested in developing an online experiment to examine the effects of confidence levels, network topology, social influence, repeated interactions, and reputation, on the emergence of collective intelligence.

Prerequisites: The role will involve the development of the experimentation platform, therefore experience with Javascript/HTML/CSS and React framework is required

Contact: Abdullah Almaatouq (amaatouq@mit.edu)


2/1/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: John Tirman

Project Title: MIT and Israeli-Palestinian Bridge Building Initiatives

Project Description: MIT currently is doing significant work in Israel, Jordan and with Israeli-Palestinian projects. Most of this is focused on student internships and teaching.

This project aims to do the following:

  • Survey and categorization of the current for-profit and non-profit Israeli-Palestinian initiatives and projects in the Middle East
  • Engaging with these institutions to understand: challenges; opportunities; funding; assessment of success; ways MIT can be engaged
  • Assessing viability and ways of MIT engaging with these initiatives in order to significantly impact bridge building between Israelis and Palestinians
  • May be widened to include Israel and Jordan

Prerequisites:

  • Interest in the region
  • Not required, but travel to the region in summer 2018 or if relevant IAP 2019 may be possible
  • Not required, but academic or other experience in the Middle East is helpful
  • Strong analytical skills

Contact: David Dolev (ddolev@mit.edu)


2/1/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rebecca Saxe

Project Title: Using functional near-infrared spectroscopy to study the development of the infant and child brain

Project Description:  The Saxe Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is looking for 2 UROPs interested in social cognition and early cognitive development. This project uses functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to study brain regions related to social cognition and their connection to social behavior (i.e., face recognition and social preferences).  

Position Description: The UROPs will be responsible for assisting with data collection, participant recruitment, video coding, and preprocessing neuroimaging data.

Prerequisites: At least 10 hour/ week commitment, including occasional weekends. Must be comfortable interacting with families. Some familiarity with MATLAB helpful but not required.

Relevant URL: kidsbrains.mit.edu

Contact: Lindsey Powell (ljpowell@mit.edu)


2/1/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Programmable protein degradation for synthetic biology proofreading and genetic circuitry 

Project Description: If you have interest/experience in synthetic biology and want a fun summer research project that is set up for success, then look no further. The Church Lab - located at Harvard Medical School - is at the forefront of synthetic biology. Your potential summer mentor is an MIT alum who leads a team that recently developed and published a cutting-edge synthetic biology technique.

This technique enables new opportunities and he needs your help in completing one of them before he starts his own Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering lab at a new institution next year. (Great fit if you are Course X or XX and are considering going to grad school.) 

Proteins are incredible polymeric nano-machines that perform most actions necessary for life. To improve our ability to control and alter protein function, we recently combined advances in two different fields of protein research. One field is the incorporation of non-standard amino acids (nsAAs) into proteins in living cells to diversify the kinds of sidechains that proteins can have at specific positions and thus confer functions that the natural 20 types of amino acids could never achieve. Another field is the selective recognition (or “discrimination”) of amino acids that are incorporated into proteins. We showed how this can be achieved by protein degradation modules, specifically by engineering the N-end rule pathway of protein degradation. By programming cells to recognize specific amino acids at the N-terminus of the protein and decide its fate, we can improve the accuracy of nsAA incorporation tools and we can temporally control the abundance of certain proteins. However, only a limited number of amino acids are currently subject to the N-end rule pathway in the model bacterium E. coli.

The goal of this summer project will be to engineer and characterize an expanded N-end rule pathway in E. coli that is capable of selectively recognizing most of the 20 natural amino acids. We also seek to understand how many kinds of non-standard amino acids we can currently incorporate using different genetic tools. We are looking for 2 enthusiastic UROPs to work as a team on these goals full-time in Summer 2018. Assays are largely based on high-throughput fluorimetry. Many constructs are already cloned but it will be helpful to have some experience with molecular cloning. Experience with Excel/MATLAB for data analysis and plotting heatmaps would also be helpful. This type of project that can have a shorter path to publication given that foundational techniques/components are already vetted. If there is mutual interest, the UROP can extend into Fall 2018.

Resources:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/01/03/1715137115.abstract

http://arep.med.harvard.edu/

https://www.kunjapurlab.org/

Contact: Aditya Kunjapur (kunjapur@mit.edu)


2/1/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dirk Englund

Project Title: Photonic Neural Networks for Next-Generation AI

Project Description: We are building an artificial neural network using optics.  The long-term goal is to create a system that is hundreds of times faster and more energy-efficient at deep-learning tasks than existing microprocessors. Researchers will be responsible for building and testing components for a prototype system that demonstrates the viability of this concept.

Possible roles:

  • Build / test a demo system
  • Work with nanophotonic lasers (e.g. VCSELs) and modulators and photodetectors

Prerequisites:

  • Programming experience (C / Python).  Experience with Arduino / Raspberry Pi ideal.
  • Experience with lasers / laboratory optics, or strong motivation to learn.

Relevant URL: qplab.mit.edu/qpwp

Contact: Ryan Hamerly (rhamerly@mit.edu)


2/1/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Proactive Social Agents & Eldercare

Project Description: The Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab is studying aging adults’ daily living assistance, social and emotional needs, and intergenerational connection. The goal of this work is to identify optimized modalities for a social agent to successfully deliver these interactions to facilitate human-human connection between older adults and their families. 

We are currently looking for a UROP for the Spring semester who is interested in learning more about human-robot subject studies. The work will involve planning and executing human studies as well as both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Other aspects of the role may include prototyping interactions on a social agent and conducting user research studies in the lab and at local senior centers.

Prerequisites:

  • Interested in a deep dive into human subject study design and implementation (transcript annotations, data analysis)
  • Willingness to help conduct user studies in the field (at local senior centers and in the lab) with older adults and families with kids
  • 10-12 hours a week commitment

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/designing-social-robots-for-elders/overview/

Contact: Nikhita Singh (nikhita@mit.edu)


1/31/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Develop molecular genetic approaches for targeting genes of interest in brains of mouse models of neurodegenerative disease

Project Description: Help us solve the mysteries of the brain using your molecular cloning skills!

This is an ideal project for students interested in putting their molecular biology experience to work toward unraveling the brain mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease, particularly Huntington's disease.

You will help us to develop and clone new constructs to target genes in the basal ganglia system of mice. We will design and clone constructs for packaging in viral vectors. These vectors will be delivered to brain systems, in particularly the striatum and dopaminergic systems in mice and evaluated by anatomical histological, and behavioral evaluations. This project combines molecular biology skills, surgical skills, anatomical and behavioral genetic approaches. The student will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule. The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have experience with molecular cloning; prior experience with rodent work at MIT is a plus.

Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who could work at least 12 hours per week and would potentially be interested in working with us for longer than a year. 

In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of neurons in the striatum and other brain areas in simple behavioral tasks performed by rats and mice, typically involving learning. The striatum is a key part of the basal ganglia that receives input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in procedural learning, habit formation, action selection, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome, schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Prerequisites: Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who can work at least 12 hours per week. UROP projects are for credit; with increasing experience or in special cases, we will consider UROPs for pay.

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


1/31/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA

Faculty Supervisor:  Dr. Navid Yazdani

Project Title: Machine Learning for Spectrum Operations 

Project Description: The project will develop and improve machine learning techniques to more effectively use RF spectrum.  Specific challenges will include prediction of RF channel usage by other radios in complex environments, blind classification of RF signals, and game theoretic RF usage strategies to maximize system utility.  The student will work with a mentor with expertise in the field who can provide guidance and support.  The work will be performed at both MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA and at the Beaver Works Center in Tech Square.  Students must be able to devote 10 hours/week to the project.  

Prerequisites: Useful to have taken 6.036 (Introduction to Machine Learning) or its equivalent.  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 21061. 

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.

Contact: Gary Hackett (hackett@ll.mit.edu)


1/30/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Siegel

Project Title: Developing Endpoint Security in on the Internet of Things

Project Description: Our electric grid is under attack. We are seeking MEng RA/Thesis student(s) and UROPS for the spring semester to develop endpoint security for embedded systems pertaining to the Energy Delivery Systems (Electric, Gas and Oil). The researchers will be responsible for further developing embedded device technology and will be responsible for cross-compiling security software. The existing technology is a lightweight firmware which can remove malware from infected devices as well as create a secure, dual factor, communication channel using the bitcoin blockchain to prevent unauthorized device access. The goal of the research is to develop a functioning proof of concept on energy delivery system technology.

Possible Roles:

  • Hack into electric meters and industrial routers!
  • Research embedded operating systems
  • Use/Learn cross-compilation toolchains such as Buildroot or Yocto
  • Cross compile embedded software onto new devices

Prerequisites:

  • Classes: 6.828
  • Comfort working with Embedded C
  • Experience playing with embedded devices and low-level programming

Relevant URL: https://ic3.mit.edu/

Contact: Greg Falco (gfalco@mit.edu)


1/30/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Townsend

Project Title: Research on modeling the effects of weather fluctuations and climate change

Project Description: This project is part of research on modeling the effects of weather fluctuations, and by extension climate change, on rainfed rice yields and farmers’ cultivation choices. It involves preparing and analyzing data from multiple sources, such as a multi-module panel household survey, local weather stations, and regional price records.

The RA will prepare and organize the data; carry out preliminary statistical, regression, and graphical data analysis; examine the data for individual, temporal, and spatial trends; and write up their findings in a report. This project is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to explore work in applied economics, and to improve their data analysis and coding skills.

The project will begin in February. The RA will be expected to work approximately 10 hours per week for the duration. The RA will report to the Project Supervisor, Kamilya Tazhibayeva, and the Faculty Supervisor, Robert Townsend.

Prerequisites: Most of the work will be carried out in Stata, and the ability to code in Stata is required. Candidates are required to have completed at least one course in statistics or econometrics. The nature of work with large datasets necessitates a responsible and organized approach, and attention to details. The candidate should be committed to the project and interested in working with microeconomic data. While it is understood that the RA will have other commitments besides this project, it is important for the RA to be responsible and thorough in their work, to be committed to the timeline agreed on with the project supervisor, and to communicate in a timely manner with the project supervisor.

Contact: Kamilya Tazhibayeva (kamilya@mit.edu)


1/29/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Danielle Li

Project Title: Understanding Incentives for Drug Development

Project Description: This project studies why some promising drug candidates are developed by pharmaceutical firms and why other equally promising ones are not.  In particular, we will focus on "non-scientific" factors that impact scientific discovery -- profit potential, regulatory policies, financing constraints, etc.  Understanding these factors will create a better understanding of the factors that impede medical innovation -- and potentially shape policies to address this.

A successful UROP will have the option extend this project into the summer and also take a larger role in data analysis.  In exceptional circumstances, the UROP may also be included as a coauthor on this project (previous work of this kind has appeared in Science).

The UROP for this project will be responsible for data management related to drug development pipelines -- categorizing drugs into disease classes, assessing existing alternatives in that treatment class, etc.

Funding Options: MIT students should apply for Direct UROP funding and Wellesley students should cross-register for course credit.

Prerequisites: Above all, initiative and good organization and communication skills (actively finding potential solutions to challenges you encounter before asking for further instructions, documenting your process and code clearly so that it can be replicated by others, keeping a clear to do list and pro-actively updating me on your progress on each item).  Some of the work will likely involve getting data from online sources and matching drug names across data sources.  This in theory can be done by hand, but your life will be more fun and interesting if you have some web scraping and text analysis skills. A background or interest in medicine is also helpful.

Contact: Danielle Li (d_li@mit.edu)


1/29/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: James Swan

Project Title: Transport modeling of ultrafiltration process with highly concentrated antibody solution

Project Description: Monoclonal antibodies and their derivatives represent the fastest growing segment of the biopharmaceutical industry. During the protein production process, ultrafiltration is one of the main downstream steps. The challenge in the development of many protein drugs is the lack of predictability when physical properties, such as viscosity and diffusivity, have strong dependency on concentration. This effect has significant impact on ultrafiltration behavior since there is very high concentration gradient between the bulk flow and the boundary layer. For single-pass configuration, concentration changes along the flow as well. Most of the current transport models assume constant physical properties and are not suitable for modeling the ultrafiltration of protein solutions.

The student is expected to work independently on the development of a transport model capturing the non-ideality during the ultrafiltration process. The deliverable shall be a user-friendly software tool (either in MATLAB or JavaScript) for experimentalists predicting the outcome of ultrafiltration given the physical properties of the protein solution investigated.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with transport analysis, mathematical modeling, and numerical methods is required. Previous programming experience (MATLAB/JavaScript) is highly appreciated. The student also needs to apply for the UROP Direct Funding for payment.

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

Contact: Gang Wang (gangwang@mit.edu)


1/29/18

Term: IAP/Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Jonathan How

Project Title: Project Title: Pedestrian Tracking and Intention Recognition for Autonomous Vehicles

Project Description: Our goal is to improve the safety of autonomous driving in urban areas, specifically in busy streets and crowded intersections. A crucial component of this is understanding and predicting pedestrian intention, learning which needs training data from the real world. The goal of this UROP is to work on pedestrian tracking and classification algorithms which can be run on our portable data collection platform consisting of cameras and Lidar/Velodyne.

Job Description: The first step in extracting pedestrian trajectories from raw camera and Lidar data is to detect/classify pedestrians and track them while in the field of view of the data collection platform. This UROP would require working with a graduate student/postdoc on improving the existing pedestrian detection and tracking algorithms we use for better, more robust trajectory extraction.

UROPs are expected to devote 10 hrs/week, and successful UROP will have option to continue during summer 2018.

Prerequisites:

  • Passionate about robotics/autonomous driving
  • Comfortable with Linux
  • Experience in ROS, Python, C++
  • Knowledge of vision based object detection and classification algorithmswould be helpful

Contact: Golnaz Habibi (golnaz@mit.edu)


1/29/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kent Larson

Project Title: Swarm Robotic Systems for Urban Environments 

Project Description:  At the City Science (CS) group, we are exploring the synergies between advanced robotic systems and urban environments. The purpose of this project is to conduct research on the integration of distributed robotic systems (i.e., swarms of robots) within cities. The aim of this research is to address challenges in transportation, targeted material delivery, and waste management. For this purpose, the UROP will participate in the design, simulation, and real-hardware implementation of a prototype.

Responsibilities: We are looking for a person who has creativity andchallenge established thinking. The UROP will be involved in the following tasks:

  1. Design, test, and implement controllers for Distributed Robotic Systems (DRS).
  2. Simulate DRS in urban scenarios.
  3. Generate, analyze, and interpret data produced by DRS with state-of-the-art ABS (Agent-Based Simulators) and GIS (Geospatial Information Systems).
  4. Design innovative prototypes based on open-source software and hardware standards.
  5. Academic papers will be elaborated on selected topics along this project. UROPs are welcomed to participate and co-author. These will be discussed on an ad hoc basis depending on student’s interests, skills, and availability.

Prerequisites: You will be working with an interdisciplinary team of electronic engineers, designers and software developers. The ideal candidate has strong programming skills (Python, C/C++). Experience with robotics-oriented software such as ROS (Robot Operating System). Experience with ABM, GIS, and data visualization skills would be a very welcomed plus. There is a possibility for extending this to the Summer and Fall semester, for subsequent phases of this project.

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

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


1/26/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ian Condry

Project Title: Music discovery research and app development

Project Description: Local live music discovery app, research and development.  This research is part of the Dissolve Music project (mitdissolve.com), which aims to understanding broader questions of social networking, economic growth and inequality, community engagement, and data analysis by developing, and experimenting with, an app that provides listings of local live music events in Cambridge/Boston/Somerville..  Work with a professor of Comparative Media Studies to learn about these issues, and help streamline and optimize work that's already underway with other college student researchers.  Expectation of 5-10 hours per week, if possible.  Some flexibility too.

Prerequisites: We seek people with an interest in live music, who also have interest in learning about database development, web scraping, and app creation in a group work environment.  Computer science background of some sort is a plus, but we also welcome people who are willing to learn.

Relevant URL: mitdissolve.com

Contact: Ian Condry (condry@mit.edu)


1/26/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rebecca Saxe

Project Title: Brain Mechanisms underlying Motivation in Healthy Humans

Project Description: This study will investigate the brain regions underlying social motivation. The basic questions of this research are: which brain regions are selectively recruited when individuals are experiencing a drive to engage in social interactions? Are these the same regions that are recruited when individuals experience other drives, such as food-seeking, or are they exclusively dedicated to "social" motivation?

Prerequisites:

  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Interest in cognitive neuroscience

Contact: Livia Tomova (tomova@mit.edu)


1/26/18

Term UROP is offered: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Guoping Feng 

Project Title: Source localization using spherical microphone array 

Project Description: In this project, the student will perform source localization analysis for animal vocalizations using a spherical microphone array. Tracking vocal interactions among animals is a powerful means to evaluate animal models of human disorders in which social behavior is affected. In disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and schizophrenia, vocal communication is often impacted. Using animal models we seek to understand the brain processes that are involved in normal species specific vocal interaction as well as those in affected individuals. Using a microphone array, we seek to localize where vocalizations come from, so that we can identify which animal vocalized in a group recorded simultaneously. The use of a spherical array is a novel approach within our lab. To explore this, we need a student with a firm understanding of source localization and beamforming methods. A considerable amount of code is freely available on the internet (eg. SOFiA, Many Ears, Fieldtrip). The student is welcome to either work with existing code, his/her own, or both.

Contact: Rogier Landman (landman@mit.edu)


1/26/18

Term UROP is offered: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Guoping Feng

Project Title: Auto-detection of animal vocalizations

Project Description: In this project, the student will help develop and evaluate animal vocalization auto-detection software created in our lab. Tracking vocal interactions among animals is a powerful means to evaluate animal models of human disorders in which social behavior is affected. In disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and schizophrenia, vocal communication is often impacted. Using animal models we seek to understand the brain processes that are involved in normal species specific vocal interaction as well as those in affected individuals. The auto-detection software uses machine learning to detect animal vocalizations recorded in a noisy environment with multiple animals, classifies vocalizations into different types, and identifies which animal vocalized. The student will be required to use existing code, add and improve components and test the parts that are under development. Proficiency in Python and machine learning are required.

Prerequisites:

  • Python
  • Machine learning

Contact: Rogier Landman (landman@mit.edu)


1/25/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sangbae Kim

Project Title: Force Sensing Smart Shoes for Humans and Robots

Project Description: We are developing the next generation of the wearables in the form of shoes that are capable of real-time in-situ measurement of multi-axis force data. This work will involve integrating the lightweight force sensor that have been developed for use on the MIT Cheetah robot.  The force sensor is capable of:

  1. Measuring large forces in both the normal and shear directions.
  2. Real-time in-situ data streaming (1kHz) using an onboard ARM microcontroller for data processing, and a WiFi chip for data streaming.
  3. High impact robustness, and immunity to inertial noise during large accelerations.

The ultimate goal is to use these force sensing shoes to help:

  1. Elderly to detect neurologic gait abnormalities, and facilitate earlier treatment.
  2. Disabled people for fall prevention and mitigation, when moving about with prosthetics or exoskeletons.
  3. Athletes to collect data during training to better optimize their workouts.

This project is in its last stages, so we are looking for 1 or 2 motivated undergraduate students (Course 2 or 6) to work on this project in the Biomimetic Robotics Lab (biomimetics.mit.edu), under the supervision of Michael Chuah (PhD candidate) and Prof. Sangbae Kim. These positions are for either direct funding or credit.

If you are interested in being part of this project, please contact Michael Chuah (mcx@mit.edu) with your resume. Be sure to highlight any relevant experience, the project that most interest you, and any other questions you may have.

Prerequisites: The current focus are on the following aspects of the force sensing smart shoes project:

  1. Improving the existing Android app used to interface with the force sensing smart shoes. Android programming experience required.
  2. Iterating on the design of the electronics enclosure of the force sensing smart shoes. Knowledge of Solidworks is necessary. Familiarity with microcontrollers, electronics, and PCB design is desired but not necessary.
  3. Working on FEA simulations of different sensor geometries. Abaqus FEA experience required (http://ist.mit.edu/abaqus/all).

Relevant URL: http://biomimetics.mit.edu/footpad-sensor

Contact: Michael Chuah (mcx@mit.edu)


1/25/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Amos Winter 

Project Title: Prototyping Inline Drip Emitters for Low-Energy, Low-Cost Irrigation 

Project Description: Drip irrigation is a method of irrigation that delivers a steady, controlled flow of water directly to a plant’s roots. This leads to improved water use efficiency over other irrigation methods, and greater control over irrigation amounts and scheduling, enabling farmers to grow higher-value crops and produce better yields. Despite these and other benefits, drip irrigation has very low adoption rates in developing countries -- just several percent of all agricultural land. Major barriers include the high cost of drip irrigation systems (pump and piping), especially in locations without an electric grid.

GEAR Lab is developing components that will enable high-performance, low-cost, on- and off-grid irrigation systems by reducing the power needed to pump water through the system. We have designed and field-tested a new low-pressure online drip emitter, which reduces pumping power by ~40% over conventional online emitters. 

Currently, we are designing low-pressure inline emitters via two methods: (1) optimizing existing inline emitter architectures, and (2) developing brand new concepts for even lower pressures and better resistance to clogging. We are looking for help with prototyping and testing several of these emitter architectures. The goal is to develop a successful design that can be manufactured in fall 2018, and deployed in field trials in Morocco and Jordan in spring 2019. The main tasks of the UROP will likely consist of the following (but can be tailored to a student’s specific interests):

  1. Figuring out the best way to prototype a given emitter design concept,
  2. Fabricating the prototype,
  3. Testing its performance by measuring water pressure and flow,
  4. Iterating on the design.

Prerequisites: Course 2 student with Solidworks experience and some fabrication skills, including milling (CNC specifically – we can train if needed), laser cutting, and waterjet. Interest in prototyping and experimental work. The student should be reliable and independent, and able to dedicate 8-12 hours per week. If interested, UROP position can be continued through summer and the following academic year.

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

Contact: Julia Sokol (sokol@mit.edu)


1/24/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiromi Ozaki

Project Title: Scent in Design & Science: Secondary Research & Writing 

Project Description: Seeking a UROP to assist in research and writing for a book chapter entitled "Follow Your Nose" about the science of scent and the use of scent in design. UROP will be responsible for conducting research into relevant biological, phenomenological, and effectivity issues and trends regarding the use of scent in design and engineering. In addition to conducting a literature review of secondary research, UROP will be assisting in writing a chapter on this topic, to be published by Bloomsbury Press in a book entitled "Design and Science: Catalyzing Collaborations"  This is a unique opportunity for UROP to be listed as co-author in an academic compilation. Must be Junior of Senior, with significant writing experience, able to work independently and stick to schedule.

Prerequisites:

  • Experience in conducting interdisciplinary research
  • Experienced in academic writing
  • Knowledge and interest in design and/or scent is a plus

Contact: Miriam Simun (simun@mit.edu)


1/24/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Paul Blainey

Project Title: Optogenetics incubator

Project Description: We are looking to design and fabricate a small-scale temperature-controlled cell culture incubator that includes a DLP light projector to enable optogenetics experiments. 

In 2010, the journal Nature Methods selected Optogenetics as “Method of the Year.” Optogenetics is a set of techniques that allows biological functions to be controlled by light. This very useful capability has had far-reaching impact on biological research and engineering. Researchers have applied optogenetics to a wide range of problems from controlling biofilms to curing blindness.

Despite the popularity of optigenetics, some basic tools are lacking. The function of an incubator in a microbiology lab is to maintain ideal conditions for growing cells. A significant challenge in in vitro optogenetics experiments is that typical lab incubators do not offer any convenient way to illuminate cell cultures with patterned light while they grow. To solve this problem, we are developing an incubator that includes a DLP projector. The incubator will initially be used in a makerspace training exercise. Several research labs at MIT have expressed interest in owning one too.

Prerequisites: You should have mad making skills – mechanical design and building, plus knowledge of single board computers (BeagleBoard) and Linux. It wouldn’t hurt to know a little bit about optics.

Contact: Steve Wasserman (scwass@mit.edu)


1/23/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. A. John Hart

Project Title: Development of Electrochemical Reader for Point of Use SoilTesting

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

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

Contact: Michael Arnold (mjarnold@mit.edu)


1/22/18

Term: 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, including setting up hardware and software and writing code. Depending on your skills, course 20 and course 2 are also invited to apply. My project involves taking electrophysiologicalrecordings from neurons in vivo as the rat runs a maze. You would be responsible for helping to set up training apparatuses and write code for analyzing data.

Prerequisites: Some possible things you are good at are (you do NOT need to have experience in all or most of these, and I encourage anyone with doubts about their skills to apply anyway):

  • Experience building and troubleshooting electrical circuits
  • Building hardware
  • Coding experience, particularly in MATLAB
  • Familiarity with the command line
  • Courses or experience in signal processing
  • Good troubleshooting skills
  • Independent worker

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

Contact: Hannah Wirtshafter (hsw@mit.edu)


1/22/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. James G. Fujimoto

Project Title: Video Capsule Endoscopy

Project Description: The Biomedical Optics and Biophotonics Group in RLE is looking for 1 UROP student to work on the next generation of minimally invasive digital endoscopy for imaging the upper gastrointestinal tract. This project has the potential to have broad impact in healthcare and cancer detection. In this project, the student will help with mechanical prototyping, circuit layout and testing, and programming a new video capsule device. The device will be tested both ex-vivo against calibration target and in vivo in swine. The student will work with a postdoc and graduate students in the lab. The student is expected to spend about 8-10 hours/week for this project. Interested students: please send applications and questions to Prof. James G. Fujimoto (jgfuji@mit.edu) or Dr. Tan H. Nguyen (thnguyn@mit.edu). Applications should include your resume and a concise statement describing your relevant experience and why you are interested in this project.

Prerequisites:

  1. Mechanical prototyping (knowing Solidworks is a plus)
  2. Circuit design, layout, and testing (some experience preferred, knowing Altium/Orcad is a plus)
  3. Programming experience in Python or Matlab (some experience preferred, not required)
  4. Very good working ethics

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

Contact: Dr. Tan H. Nguyen (thnguyn@mit.edu)


1/22/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. A. John Hart

Project Title: Optimization of Printed Sensors for Point of Use Soil Testing

Project Description: We are developing a point-of-use soil testing and nutrient management system to provide small holding farmers with actionable soil health information. The soil testing system will enable the accurate measurement of pH, nitrate, phosphate, and potassium - providing critical information for the farmer to efficiently utilize fertilizer inputs and maximize crop yields. We are seeking a student to investigate the impact of different parameters on the performance of our potassium and nitrate sensors, optimizing the designs for a pilot test in India.  The project will involve fabricating sensors, building a new potentiometry setup for characterizing the sensors, and analysis using profilometry and microscopy.

Prerequisites: The project is open to all relevant engineering majors. Enthusiasm and willingness to learn new experimental techniques are most valued. Interest or experience in fabrication, electrochemistry, and/or design for resource constrained environments is great.

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

Contact: Michael Arnold: (mjarnold@mit.edu)


1/22/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Leakyphones/gaze-based audio sharing headset

Project Description: We will be working on a headset that lets users look at other users and listen to their audio content. As a UROP working on this project you will:

  1. Design PCB's for the project and choose components. Solder components and test pcbs
  2. Work and improve an existing arduino code that controls the headset operation.
  3. Work on various aspects of the design to improve the operation of the headsets, fabricate them and test.
  4. Assemble the modified headsets and test them.
  5. If interested, you could also help in conducting a user study later during the spring semester.

Prerequisites: Must have:

  • Good  knowledge in electronics, schematics,  pcb design and building hardware (arduino, pcb design).
  • Know how to program with arduino.

Great to have:

  • CAD design skills (Onshape/solidworks/fusion)
  • Other programming languages
  • Knowledge and experience  in audio and radio experience with conducting user studies

Contact: Amos Golan (amosg@media.mit.edu)


1/21/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Siegel

Project Title: Moving Towards a Cyber Immune System: Understanding Cyber Attack Business Models

Project Description: Beyond a nefarious hobby, cybercrime has become a way for cybercriminals to earn a living. With the wide-spread adoption of the “as-a-service” model for cyberattacks, attackers can purchase the desired “services” through the dark web without so much as a cursory understanding of what is involved in its execution. This eliminates the barriers that previously existed to performing a crippling cyberattack and pushes the attackers further from the grasp of authorities.

In this project, we intend to understand the cyberattack business model. We will being by creating a database based on the public cyber threat information to understand the cyberattack patterns. Specially, we will focus on the energy and financial sectors. We will then us AI techniques (e.g., deep learning, NLP) in developing a system to collect information from the dark web and identify the related cyberattack business components. Finally we will be developing a simulation system to design and evaluate the strategies to combat cyberattacks.

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

Prerequisites: Required skills include attention to details, critical thinking, as well as excellent reading, writing, and communication skills. Programming skills are also essential. Familiarity with Tor, artificial intelligence technology (deep learning, NLP, data science) is a plus but not required. 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.s on any prerequisites or skills required for this UROP

Relevant URL: http://ic3.mit.edu

Contact: Keman Huang (keman@mit.edu)


1/20/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Abhijit Banerjee

Project Title: Please supply the project title for this UROP

Project Description: This job will involve collecting information toinvestigate publication bias by (i) reviewing the economics handbook chapters in to assess how each review summarizes multiple pieces of evidence, (ii) reviewing specific articles in meta-analysis data to assess the extent to which each article highlights the conclusions. Salary is $12/ hour. The current version of the working paper is included below.

Relevant URL: https://economics.mit.edu/files/12424

Contact: Chishio Furukawa (chishio@mit.edu)


1/19/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Alan Berger

Project Title: Metabolism Platform for Urban Design

Project Description: The Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism is currently developing a set of novel analysis tools for urban designers to aid in the envisioning of future neighborhood designs which are low-carbon and partially or wholly self-sufficient for water, energy, and food. A key aspect of this platform is the holistic integration of typically isolated systems in order to let designers creatively, yet rigorously explore synergies between built-form, metabolic flows, and emerging technologies. 

We are seeking 3 to 4 UROP’s to work collaboratively under the guidance of a research associate at the LCAU. UROP’s will aid in the development of the metabolism platform through the design and implementation of novel algorithms. A key functionality of the platform will be the integration of emerging storage and load shifting tactics to maximize the use of renewable energy sources. As such, UROP’s should be comfortable performing primary research around these topics and deploying both best-practices and new storage/buffering concepts developed by the team.

Models will be implemented in Grasshopper for Rhinoceros (the industry leading 3D software package) using Python or C#. Grasshopper components may also be linked to models in Matlab, Simulink, or Homer, as needed.

This position is ideal for undergraduate students in computer science or engineering who are interested in applying their knowledge of complex systems, microgrids, etc., learned through class-work or internships, to the field of design. Architecture undergraduates are welcome to apply as well, but must demonstrate competency in coding.

Prerequisites: This posting is for 10-20 hours a week (depending on availability) during the Spring 2018 semester, with potential for Summer or Fall 2018 extension.

Contact: Pru Robinson (pru@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: 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

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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


1/16/18

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


1/16/18

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.


1/16/18

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


1/7/18

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

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