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

4/24/18

Multiple Openings

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

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

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab and Education Arcade is developing and pilot testing a proof-of-concept VR activity for a high school audience uses VR (headset and hand controllers) for meaningful immersion and presence within the VR world. We want to help students understand relative scale in Biology and collaborate with each other on problem-solving.

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

We are looking for 3 UROPs to join our development team this Summer to develop and refine our VR and tablet gameplay.

Positions available:

  • Programmer
  • Game designer
  • Artist (3D or 2D)
  • Scrummaster

UROP Responsibilities may include:

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

Prerequisites: Relevant experience may include:

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

Contact: Philip Tan (philip@mit.edu)


4/24/18

Multiple Openings

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Mikael Jakobsson

Project Title: Digital Diversity Space Tool

Project Description: MIT Game Lab are developing a digital tool for game developers together with King (the makers of Candy Crush and other mobile games) called the digital diversity space tool. It will be used for testing how diverse a set of characters are. For each character you add scores for attributes like Culture, Ethnicity, Age, Ability, Body type, Gender identity and Sexual orientation etc.

The tool will be developed for the web, but may in the future also be implemented as an app on mobile platforms. The tool will initially be tested and used by Activision-Blizzard owned studios, but the intention is to make it open to everyone in the industry once it is fully developed.

We are looking for two undergraduate students who are interested in working on the development of this tool this Summer. The majority of time will be spent coding, but the project also involves conceptualization, design, graphic design. As a part of the Game Lab Summer crew, you will also be asked to participate in testing of other dev. project prototypes and lab activities. The project work will be supervised by Dr. Mikael Jakobsson (PI) including daily and weekly meetings. The students will be expected to work office hours on campus.

Prerequisites:

Required skill: Programming (Experience with Unity is a plus.)

Desired skills: Game/software design. Graphic design. Sketching/drawing.

Since the students will be offering input on the development direction of the tool, it is valuable if the applicant has lived experience with marginalization/discrimination playing games and interacting with games, gamers, and gaming communities.

Contact: Mikael Jakobsson (mjson@mit.edu)


4/24/18

Term UROP: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Pindyck

Project Title: UROP IN ECONOMICS: Environmental Policy and Global Catastrophes

Project Description: I am looking for one or two students to help with research related to environmental policy and the economics of global catastrophes.  With respect to environmental policy, I am working on the relative benefits of amelioration versus abatement for dealing with climate change and other environmental problems in a world of uncertainty (including tail risk).  With respect to possible global catastrophes, I am interested in population impacts and the "willingness to pay" to avoid fatalities.  (For more information, go to my website and download "Uncertain Outcomes and Climate Change Policy," "Averting Catastrophes: The Strange Economics of Scylla and Charybdis", and "Averting Catastrophes that Kill".)

This work will involve programming in MATLAB as well as some statistical analysis.  A strong working knowledge of MATLAB is essential.  Candidates should also have a good background in economics, and be able to work independently.  Please note that this is a summer position, but has the possibility to extend into the fall.

If interested, please send a resume and transcript to: Professor Robert Pindyck, Sloan School of Management, Room E62-522, rpindyck@mit.edu.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of MATLAB and background in Economics.

Contact: Jessi Duston (jduston@mit.edu)


4/24/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rick Young

Project Title: Impact of noncoding genetic variation on transcription and human disease

Project Description: The Corradin lab is looking for motivated students interested in the study of human genetics. This project is offered for Summer term with opportunity for continuation during the school year. UROP student will learn and perform a variety of molecular techniques including cloning, RNA extraction, qPCR, cell culture and Crispr/Cas9 design and application.

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

If interested, please send CV/resume and detail any experience or course work you have had with molecular biology and experimental biology.

  • Summer 2018 (with opportunity for continuation)
  • Direct Supervisor: Dr. Olivia Corradin

Prerequisites: Candidates with a strong background in experimental and molecular biology are encouraged to apply, particularly students who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in the life sciences.

Contact: Olivia Corradin (corradin@wi.mit.edu)


4/24/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Rick Young

Project Title: Interpreting genetic predisposition to disease

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

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

If interested, please send CV/resume and detail your computational experience/relevant course work.

  • Summer 2018 (with opportunity for continuation)
  • Direct Supervisor: Dr. Olivia Corradin

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

Contact: Olivia Corradin (corradin@wi.mit.edu)


4/24/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Nerve growth/imaging & Optical and electronic devices

Project Description: Our lab is highly multidisciplinary so there is opportunity for you to explore a field that best interests you. Your main project will be to stain and image mouse brain tissues. Ideally you will learn how to automatize image quantification by writing a code/doing machine learning. This project is toward the end and as a result, if committed, you will be on the publication. Depending on your interests, you will also work on optical devices, design of electronics (PCBs, building a treadmill, etc), materials science processing and characterization, help with training rats for walking on a treadmill, and/or machine learning coding.

When will you join & logistics:

Ideally you can start asap, but we will wait for the right match till the Spring finals end. I would need about >20 hr/week commitment over the summer. If it is a mutually productive relationship, you are encouraged to stay beyond summer. Unfortunately, we cannot provide financial support this summer, but happy to help with you getting course credit for your UROP.

Some of what you will gain:

  • First hand laboratory training on a variety of skills from a post-doctoral fellow
  • You will get on at least one paper (if you deliver the asked commitments of course)
  • Will have a better idea on what career paths you may take and will have our support to foster your ambitions

If interested, please email and let me know when you can start, how much time you can offer, and what part(s) of the description interest(s) you, and if known, what your major is.

Prerequisites: You will be thought all the skills, just bring motivation and positive energy!

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

Contact: Dena Shahriari (sdena@mit.edu)


4/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: James DiCarlo

Project Title: Processing of neural manifolds for invariant perception in the brain and deep networks

Project Description: The brain and the recent deep convolutional neural network models have the impressive capacity to recognize objects and other perceptual entities despite enormous variations in their physical instantiation, such as location, size, rotation, and intensity. Invariant object recognition, is one of the most fundamental computations performed by the visual system. We are interested in understanding the mechanism behind the emergence of perceptual invariance, by focusing on how neural representations change across layers of the visual hierarchy. In the high dimensional neural state space, variability in object representations can be formalized as object neural manifolds. Thus, invariant object recognition is the problem of separating unambiguously different object manifolds. 

This project is based on the assumption that sensory hierarchies in the brain as well as in artificial deep networks reformat object manifolds across the processing stages so that in the top layers they become ’untangled’, allowing for simple invariant computations by downstream readout circuits in the brain.

Using the recently developed theoretical framework for analyzing neural object manifolds, we will analyze how neural manifold representations reformat in visual hierarchies in two important domains: the ventral visual pathway in macaques and the deep convolutional networks. Specifically, we will analyze the geometry of the neural data from different areas in the ventral stream, responding to different object stimuli with a variety of physical transformations, and compare with the analysis done on the representations from the convolutional neural networks. How do geometric properties of the real neural manifolds relevant to their separability change across different visual areas? Can we hypothesize the transformations done in the ventral visual hierarchy and choose and reject possible models by analyzing the neural geometries and using insights from the analysis done on the deep convolutional networks? The student will learn to work with the neural data and code with the latest deep learning framework (i.e. Tensorflow, PyTorch, etc).

Prerequisites: Experience with MATLAB or Python is required. Some familiarity with deep learning would be helpful.  Ideally, we are interested in the students who are interested in working with us beyond the summer.

Contact: SueYeon Chung (schung@fas.harvard.edu)


4/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Desimone

Project Title: fMRI-guided neuroanatomy: a tracing study

Project Description: To understand the neural circuity mediating high-level cognition, it is first necessary to understand what parts of the brain connects to what, i.e., anatomy matters. We recently developed a novel technique to map millimeter-resolution patterns of causal, mono-synaptic projections of lateral prefrontal cortex, the hub of executive functions (attention, working memory, etc.) in macaque monkeys in vivo, using simultaneous electrical microstimulation and functional MRI. 

To validate this technique, we carefully placed six different anatomical tracers in various cortical locations in the same animal, of which microsimulation-evoked fMRI responses predict distinct connectivity profiles.

The candidates are expected to participate in the histology work of the tracing experiment (including immunocytochemistry staining, mounting brain sections, and glueing cover slips), as well as microscopic imaging under fluorescent and bright fields with confocal microscopy. This project will also converge data across modalities (fMRI and histology), with quantitative and automatic approaches.

Prerequisites:

  • Neuroscience, biology, or related background
  • Wet lab experience
  • Available to work 20-30 hours per week during the summer
  • Higher priority will be given to the candidate who can extend to the fall semester

Contact: Rui Xu (ruix@MIT.EDU)


4/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Philip Tan

Project Title: Designing a Socially Oriented Puzzle Hunt

Project Description: The MIT Game Lab is designing a short co-operative puzzle hunt style game for up to 800 colocated participants; it will occur as one activity within a larger event.  We are looking for up to 2 UROPs to design puzzles and create the graphic design and presentation materials for the Hunt.

We are looking for up to 2 UROPs, either full time (40 hours) or half time (20 hours) each week, to work over the summer.

This is a non digital game, and is intended to run with minimal support from the designing team.  Over IAP and the Spring, the team has designed the overall framework, style of presentation, and story outline for the event; over Summer, it is our goal to work intensively on creating the puzzles and the social interactions those puzzles will require.

UROP Responsibilities:

  • Working alongside and reporting to the Game Lab designer/project manager.
  • Researching puzzle design.
  • Designing puzzles, and running playtests on puzzles.

Prerequisites:

What we're looking for on the UROP Team:

  • Experience in playing and designing puzzles and interesting co-operative social interactions: Puzzle Hunts, Escape Room, MIT's Assassin guild, etc..
  • Interest and experience in designing puzzles.

Contact: Sara Verrilli (akiru@mit.edu)


4/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Krystyn J Van Vliet

Project Title: Engineering in vitro tools for myelinogenic drug discovery

Project Description: Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) are a class of multipotent cells that, when differentiated properly, engage and enclose neuronal axons with a myelin sheath. Poor remyelination, due to hindered OPC migration, axon engagement, or differentiation, is associated with poor nervous system function in diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Understanding causes and potential treatments of disorders characterized by incomplete myelin production or myelin degeneration are particularly challenging due to a lack of preclinical, in vitro tools that replicate key aspects of the OPC-neuron interactions. Emerging research including our own suggests that mechanosensitivity of the oligodendrocyte lineage, and physical and mechanical characteristics of axons, may impact key features of myelination such as the onset of oligodendrocyte differentiation, thickness and length of the myelin segments. This project is part of a collaborative effort to engineer pre-clinical models of human myelination that are more predictive of clinical outcomes, using a combination of materials engineering, high resolution 3D microfabrication, and human induced pluripotency technology.

The students will work closely with a senior graduate student and research scientist in the lab, and interact with several collaborators within MIT and external institutions to achieve common goals. He or she will have the opportunity to contribute to several aspects of this project, and become familiarized with an array of hands-on experimental techniques ranging from material design, processing and characterization, 3D printing, several microscopy modalities, and mammalian cell culture. Depending on the student's interest, he or she may also have the opportunity to learn and/or apply programming and data analysis skills to solve current challenges, and/or new challenges that may arise throughout the duration of the project.

Prerequisites: Some wet-lab experience, as well as basic programming (MATLAB) and data analysis skills are desirable, but not necessary.

Relevant URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-18744-6

Contact: Daniela Espinosa-Hoyos (ehoyos@mit.edu)


4/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hal Abelson

Project Title: Creating materials for new fall machine learning course

Project Description: 6.S178, Machine Learning Practicum, was offered for the first time this spring and will be offered again in the fall. Fall assignments and project will be using Tensorflow.js, which is a new platform just released by Google. We need to update the spring  assignments and also create new projects that take more advantage of Tensorflow.js's expanded capabilities.

Prerequisites: You'll need good skills in Javascript and a background in machine learning (e.g., 6.036 or more advanced). See the assignments on the class web page (mit.edu/6.s198) to see the kinds of materials that need to be updated.

Relevant URL: mit.edu/6.s198

Contact: Hal Abelson (hal@mit.edu)


4/20/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joseph A. Paradiso

Project Title: Sensory Aerospace Skin Development (2019 Deployment on ISS)

Project Description: Satellites are often covered in large area thermal blankets. What if the outermost layer of these 'satellite skins' could be multi-functional? We are beginning development of fibers with integrated micrometeroid counting capabilities while preserving their original functionality. Down the road, additional sensing capabilities will be considered as well.

A very small sample of the material will be tested using a space exposure facility located on the outer walls of the International Space Station in 2019.

Prerequisites: I am looking for up to two advanced undergraduates (entering Junior/Senior year) from the aero/astro, materials science, or electrical engineering departments. If you and a friend you work well with would like to apply as a pair, this will be weighed heavily in your favor!

There is plenty of work to do. We are just beginning. We can determine appropriate tasks and scoping based on your prior experience and interests.

Contact: Juliana Cherston (cherston@mit.edu)


4/20/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Synthetic Retroelements- Change the Rules of Evolution!

Project Description: Evolution is a fundamental force of Nature, creating biological innovations. It can also be both a friend and a foe in the lab. This project explores the ways that we can alter evolutionary processes in the lab-- creating tools to both to understand biological systems, and engineer new ones. More specifically, we use Synthetic Retroelements to edit genomes during an evolution experiment. We can observe the outcome of the experiment using DNA-sequencing. In this way, we explore the fundamentals of bacterial genes, antibiotic resistance, and the evolutionary process itself.

Prerequisites: Basic lab skills such as cloning/microbiology/PCR. Depending on the interests of the student, programming skill in Python, R, Matlab would be advantageous.

Contact: Max Schubert (mschubert@g.harvard.edu)


4/20/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs F. Jensen

Project Title: Continuously run pervaporation for dehydration of reaction solvents

Project Description: Pervaporation units combine two separation processes: membrane permeation with evaporation. In the process, liquid is fed on one side of the membrane while vacuum is applied to the permeate side. Thus, the component of the liquid mixture permeating through the membrane evaporates instantaneously, maximizing the concentration gradient across the membrane enabling its efficient operation. The membrane selectivity describes the ratio of the fluxes of both liquid components through the membrane. To achieve good separation performance, high selectivity towards one of the mixture components is required to maximize its flux through the membrane while preventing the loss of material of interest across the membrane.

Especially in continuous chemical synthesis, presence of water in the reaction solvent can have detrimental effect on the subsequent reaction steps. We thus investigate whether pervaporation could be used in a continuous fashion as an element of a larger continuously operated network. A solvent with known wt% water admixture is fed through the cell in order to evaluate the % of water removed. By testing several membranes and setup configurations we identify the most important process parameters and evaluate the applicability of the technique in the continuous manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.

In the context of this project, following tasks will be fulfilled:

  • Experiments on the tube-in-tube and planar cell membrane pervaporation systems
  • Assessment of Teflon membrane selectivity and water removal performance
  • Comparison of water removal performance of Sulzer and Teflon membranes
  • Impact of salts in the feed on membrane performance

Contact: Agnieszka Ladosz (aladosz@mit.edu)


4/19/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ben Olken

Project Title: Research Opportunity: The Economic Consequences of Political Leaders

Project Description: You will conduct biographical research about national leaders. The work will detail the circumstances when national leaders die of natural causes or are the targets of assassination attempts.  For each leader, you will produce detailed timelines around these events and collect source material. Additional historical and biographical information will also be collected. The research will be used to update empirical studies and to produce detailed anecdotes in a book.

  • When:  June-August 2018
  • Hours:  40 hours per week
  • Faculty:  Ben Olken (MIT Department of Economics) and Ben Jones (Kellogg School of Management)

Contact: Evie Smirnitskaya (esmirnit@mit.edu)


4/19/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Bradley Olsen

Project Title: Recycling rubber from tires into performance materials

Project Description: Used rubber tires are a major source of waste globally, and the most common tire disposal method is combustion or incineration as tire-derived fuel to recover the high energy values stored in the hydrocarbon polymer chains. However, in the absence of good practices for controlling emissions or enforced environment regulations to curb open burning, this leads to substantial ecological damage and health hazards, particularly in developing nations.  As ground up tires are cheaper than virgin polymer, recycling tires for use in high performance materials presents a green and potentially economically friendly solution. We are exploring a recycling method that involves blending fresh rubber with recycled ground rubber particles (GRPs) to form composite materials.

The goal of this project is to improve the bonding between the GRP and the fresh rubber compound to maximize the performance of recycled materials. To do this, the student will develop a variety of formulations and blending processes to create performance materials. In addition to the process and formulation design, the student will use a variety of characterization techniques, including mechanical testing. The student will work with a graduate student and postdoc on this project, which is in collaboration with the Tata Center.

Prerequisites: Students with an interest in chemical engineering and/or materials science are encouraged to apply. No prior lab experience is required, and training will be provided in all areas. This is a paid position, and we will give a strong preference to candidates who can commit to working 40 hours/week in the summer; a minimum of 20 hours/week is required.

Relevant URL: https://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/devulcanization-of-waste-rubber-for-reuse-in-new-tires/

Contact: Michelle Calabrese (mcalab@mit.edu)


4/19/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Krystyn Van Vliet

Project Title: Nano-Mechanical Studies of Energy Materials

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

The position is part-time, which will take up to 5-10 hours a week, and the possibility of extension to a part-time fall position.

Prerequisites: MATLAB experience or other computer language (Python, C, C++, Labview, etc) experience desired but not required.

Relevant URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/aenm.201602011

Contact: Shilpa Raja


4/19/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: George Church

Project Title: Software Package for Western Blot Analysis

Project Description: Do you enjoy applying a lot of effort into niche projects that are not flashy? If so, we're looking for someone like you. Western blotting is a molecular biology technique which allows researchers to gain information on both protein size and antibody affinity. The data is an invaluable tool for many fields of biology and often treated as a gold standard. However, it is notoriously difficult to correctly perform a Western Blot and the subsequent analysis is sometimes even more challenging. We have a concept for a Western Blot analysis software which would use image analysis to interpret 2D data into 1D,  build mathematical model approximations, and have an underlying database with built-in normalization to allow for comparison of data across multiple experimental replicates and conditions.

The work will be complex and challenging, and will require a driven individual with significant Java experience. The summer UROP would be a pilot into the feasibility of developing a full-fledged software package with plug-in for ImageJ (a widely-used biological image analysis software).

Skills expected to be developed during the project includes:

  • Understanding of molecular biology research techniques
  • 2D image manipulation through filters and transformations
  • 1D data curve-fitting and normalization
  • User Interface development and usability considerations

The end-goal would be to make the tool freely available and publish it in a methods journal.

Prerequisites:

  • Command of Java
  • Love of math and UI
  • Focused and driven individual

Contact: George Chao (gchao@mit.edu)


4/19/18

Term: Summer

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 and fabrication (SolidWorks and machine shop 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/projects/

Contact: Dana Solav (danask@mit.edu)


4/18/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Charles Stewart

Project Title: Data Initiatives in Election Science

Project Description: The need for science and transparency in the analysis of elections is an increasingly important part of our democracy. As the MIT Election and Data Science Lab (MEDSL) continues to grow we are are working towards the goal of becoming the foremost clearinghouse for election science data. Although much data exists, it is often disorganized and not in easily-analyzed formats. This UROP is an opportunity to be part of improving access to data and contributing to election science research.

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

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

Contact: Cameron Wimpy (wimpy@mit.edu)


4/18/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Robotic Platform for Collaborative Flow Chemical Synthesis

Project Description: We are utilizing a six axis robot to do flow chemistry. The robot’s ability to perform chemistry is based on the utilization of decentralized reaction modules with plug in play functionality. The utilization of a robotics for this application requires path planning, route optimization, and collision detection to be implemented. The robotic platform can be configured to run chemistry through a Django web interface. UROPs will be involved the development and testing of new code to improve upon the robot’s ability to perform chemistry.

Tasks Include:

  • Improving, developing, and testing a graphical user interface
  • Improving, developing, and testing path planning algorithms

Prerequisites: The major requirements are motivation and an eye the detail. Working knowledge of Python or web-based interfaces.

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

Contact: Dale Thomas (dt3@mit.edu)


4/18/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Reactor platform for chemical synthesis

Project Description: We are developing a reconfigurable chemical synthesizer for the manufacturing of advanced materials. The system will be designed, developed, and engineered over the summer following a product design framework to improve upon previously developed systems. Our goal is to overcome difficulties of handling of solids in small tubes. We plan to utilize a number of manufacturing techniques to build disposable highly chemically resistant microfluidic devices. The system are being developed by a cross disciplinary team (chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemical engineering) focused on overcoming limitations of chemical synthesis through the design of novel reactor modules.

UROPs will be directly involved with the design and testing of new parts, electronic circuits, and components.

Tasks Include:

  • Designing of system components
  • Prototyping system components
  • Assembling of system components

Prerequisites: The major requirements are motivation and an eye the detail. The ability to utilize Solidworks and familiarity in a machine shop is important. Knowledge of (or interest in) electronics is useful.

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

Contact: Dale Thomas (dt3@mit.edu)


4/18/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Electrochemically-mediated carbon capture materials

Project Description: One approach to mitigating carbon emissions is to remove CO2 from emissions streams; however, it is currently energetically and economically expensive. The Hatton lab is working to develop novel carbon capture approaches with lower capital and operating costs. In this project, electrochemically-mediated carbon capture materials will be studied for improved removal of CO2 from emissions streams. The student will synthesize, characterize, and test electrochemically active carbon capture materials under the supervision of a postdoc. Interested candidates should email kphill@mit.edu with a brief explanation of why they are interested in this project and describe any relevant previous experience.

Prerequisites: Students with basic chemistry lab experience from chemical engineering, chemistry, and materials science are encouraged to apply.

Contact: Katherine Phillips (kphill@mit.edu)


4/17/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Evan Lieberman

Project Title: Exploring Conflict in Africa

Project Description: The Lieberman Research Group (LRG) seeks a UROP intern to join our team for Summer 2018. The group, based in MIT’s political science department, is headed by Dr. Evan Lieberman, the Total Chair on Contemporary Africa. Any undergraduates interested in quantitative social science research, Africa, ethnic conflict, or gang violence is encouraged to apply. The UROP will have the opportunity to work on two projects:

  1. Ethnic Animus in Online Comments: This project involves analysis of hundreds of thousands of comments from the Nigerian news site The Vanguard. The project aims to understand what factors trigger ethnic animus in the comments section. In addition to other tasks, the UROP’s role includes analyzing comments to identify animus and potentially scraping comments and article content. We will use the analysis to create a “training set” for supervised natural language processing.
  2. Citizen-Police Cooperation in Lagos: This project entails analyzing data from a large-N survey of shopkeepers in Lagos, Nigeria looking at the intersection of the police, gangs, and the community. The survey included a virtual reality component in which survey respondents witnessed a fictional street fight and subsequently answered questions about their willingness to cooperate with the police. In addition to other tasks, the UROP’s role will center around GIS analysis of the survey results as well as research on gang activity worldwide.

As part of the UROP you will be working with Dr. Lieberman and Andrew Miller, a PhD candidate in the political science department.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites. If interested, email Andrew Miller (millera@mit.edu) with (1) your resume, (2) a one paragraph statement on why you are interested in the position, and (3) dates/times of your availability this summer. Preference will be given to those with the most availability. Experience with web-scraping and GIS is a plus.

Relevant URL: https://evanlieberman.org

Contact: Andrew Miller (millera@mit.edu)


4/17/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ariel White

Project Title: Collecting data for political science research on protest, incarceration, and media

Project Description: Professor Ariel White is looking for a UROP to work on a variety of projects over the summer.  The student would work between 5 and 20 hours per week depending on their availability.

Professor White's current projects include: a field study of prisoner re-entry, a study of how police treat protesters across the US, a project on how local officials respond to Black Lives Matter protests, a study of how local newspapers talk about crime and race, and several others.  A student could work on a range of tasks depending on their interests and background, including things like: reading newspaper articles and recording information from them in a database, finding and organizing data on local laws or demographics, or requesting records from local governments.

Please send a resume to Rob Pressel (rpressel@mit.edu) with a note about your availability this semester and for the rest of the academic year-- how many hours per week would you be hoping to work, and for how long?

Prerequisites: There is no required coursework or work experience for this position; applicants should be good at doing repetitive reading or coding tasks carefully.  Work schedules are flexible (no requirement to come into the office or work during business hours).

Contact: Robert Pressel  (rpressel@mit.edu)


4/13/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Julie Shah

Project Title: Evaluating Algorithms for Human-Robot Interaction

Project Description: At the Interactive Robotics Group, we are developing artificial agents that can work seamlessly with humans. To function successfully among humans, these agents need the capability to make fast planning and communication decisions. The goal of the UROP research is to assist in the (i) implementation of novel (learning and planning) algorithms, (ii) development of a testbed for human-machine interaction (e.g., an interactive game), and (iii) evaluation of the implemented algorithms via human subject experiments.

Prerequisites:

  • (Mandatory) Strong programming skills (either Python or C++) as demonstrated in past projects.
  • (Preferred) Familiarity with probability, inference and machine learning (e.g., 6.008, 6.036 or similar).
  • (Preferred) Prior experience with human subject experiments.

To apply: Please mail your resume (and, preferably, link to your Github/Bitbucket/similar page) to the contact email listed below.

Contact: Vaibhav Unhelkar (unhelkar@csail.mit.edu)


4/12/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: James Kirtley

Project Title: An Efficient Battery Management and Monitoring Strategy for Microgrids in India

Project Description: Increasingly, micro-grids and off-grid home electric systems have been used to provide electricity access to rural villages in India. This project focuses on developing a battery monitor for rural microgrids in order to elongate battery lifetime.  The primary goal of this UROP is to perform various battery cycling experiments to understand how different battery cycle characteristics affect degradation.  We are also looking to leverage machine learning to develop a more accurate battery monitor.

Prerequisites: Basic circuit knowledge (6.002 or equivalent), experience in machine learning preferred (6.036 or equivalent), experience with bench top equipment, proficient in MATLAB and C programming

Contact: Rakesh Kumar (rkumar3@mit.edu)


4/11/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Michael Triantafyllou

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

Project Description: Oysters are the most valuable marine species being farmed in the Northeastern US, with 38% of the value of the domestic marine aquaculture industry. We are developing a sensor that can detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria contaminating oysters in a quick, real time assessment of oyster safety. Results from this grant can also be used for the global aquaculture industry. This Vibrio sensor will be a demonstration project in our program to develop sensor based environmental monitoring to improve aquaculture production beginning with a NE region focus, but ultimately applicable to production nationally and globally. The UROP will work with a team from MIT and UMass Boston’s School for the Environment as part of the MIT Seagrant program.

The UROP is expected to be able to work with a team of interdisciplinary scientists and engineers, and conduct good lab practices with reporting and scientific communication skills. Interest in rapid prototyping of low cost devices using Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, and similar are a plus.

Prerequisites: This project is suitable for a student with interests in biology, environmental science, and has some molecular biology experience. Course 7, 20, 10, or 1  students or those with suitable experience are encouraged to apply. Interest in rapid prototyping of low cost devices using Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, and similar are a plus.

Contact: Carolina Bastidas (bastidas@mit.edu)


4/10/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Wojciech Matusik

Project Title: Computational Fabrication

Project Description: The Computational Fabrication Group at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory investigates problems in digital manufacturing and computer graphics. The group is led by Professor Wojciech Matusik. We are looking for students interested in one (or all) of the following: a)  developing mathematical foundations and algorithms (from geometry processing to machine learning, real-time simulation, optimization, and inverse design) b) Implementing end-to-end systems (for material simulation, color printing, computational design of robots and drones, or computational knitting) c) Building cool stuff - because in a fabrication group, we need to validate our methods by fabricating the results (no pun intended!) Example project: printing arrays of light sensors in interesting patterns Some of our recent project can be found here: http://cfg.mit.edu/publications  If interested, please, fill out this form: https://goo.gl/forms/HlYAobDxDX8IWWt73

Relevant URLhttps://goo.gl/forms/HlYAobDxDX8IWWt73

Contact: Alex Kaspar (akaspar@mit.edu)


4/10/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Design and Build Robust Biomolecular Circuits

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

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

Role: Biomolecular circuit design, assembly and testing.

If you are interested in being involved in this project, please contact Carlos Barajas (carlobar@mit.edu) with your resume and any question you might have.

Prerequisites:

  • Basic bio lab experienced  (7.02)
  • Prior cloning experience desirable not req.
  • Basic knowledge of ordinary differential equations useful but not required

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

Contact: Carlos Barajas (carlobar@mit.edu)


4/10/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Model and analyze neural recording signals and decision-making behavior in mouse models of neurodegenerative disease

Project Description: Help us solve the mysteries of the brain using your Matlab, programming and modeling skills! This is an ideal project for students interested in putting their computer programming and data science skills to use for the helping to unravel the brain mechanisms of neurodegenerative disease, particularly Huntington's disease.

You will help us to develop modeling using machine learning approaches, algorithms for big data analyses working using OpenMind high performance computing cluster, and data visualizations from neural photometry recording data and decision-making behavioral task data. You may also help to develop and refine new features for a custom Python and Arduino-based behavioral training system for mice. We interface this system with imaging and recording systems to allow recording of the striatum of mice during different behavioral tasks. This project combines programming, data visualization, and novel approaches to data analysis, with possible addition of electronics. The student will be fully supervised and can work on a flexible time schedule. The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have MATLAB programming skills; familiarity with Python and Arduino microcontrollers is a plus. Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who could work over the whole summer for credit, either full-time or part-time 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: The ideal applicant for this UROP position will have MATLAB programming skills; familiarity with Python and Arduino microcontrollers is a plus. Ideally, we would like to find a UROP who could work over the whole summer for credit, either full-time or part-time. UROP projects are for credit; with increasing experience or in special cases, we will consider UROPs for pay.

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


4/10/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Assistant for Wearable Sensor Project for Children

Project Description: Cardiometabolic disease (hypertension, diabetes, obesity) is an increasing concern in our society.  Our lab is starting a new NIH-funded study in collaboration with MGH Hospital to help assist children in families with cardiometabolic disease.  Our lab has designed custom wearable sensors to be worn by the children (age 6-12) to automatically measure specific behaviors (sleep, physical activity, screen time) and the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.  Data is uploaded daily to a server, which we have created.  Parents receive daily feedback about how their child is doing through their mobile phone, and then they provide counseling to the child. We are looking for a student to help support this study over the summer, to help with on-site tech support and enrollment of the families. This is an ideal job for a pre-med student, or someone who wants to get experience doing real-world clinical studies.

Prerequisites: This job does not have any specific technical requirements, but a general basic knowledge of computers, servers, and electronics is useful. No coursework is needed, but experience working with wearable sensors or networked devices (MIt class 6.08) would be useful. Candidates should have good social skills and be able to communicate (orally and in writing) with both doctors and also with families who are in the study.  An interest in health and medicine is certainly a plus. Ideally, we are looking for a student who would be willing to continue working with our team into the Fall semester. If you are interested, please send your resume to Rich Fletcher (fletcher@media.mit.edu) to set up a meeting to discuss the project.

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

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


4/10/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: J. Troy Littleton

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

Project Description: The 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/any engineering/Biology student(s) with background in MATLAB and/or image processing. My project involves obtaining electrophysiological recordings (whole-cell patch-clamp and sharp electrode recordings) and microscopy data (calcium imaging) to investigate how different types of synapses in the nervous system communicates at the nanoscale resolution.

We are developing automated synaptic calcium imaging pipeline to study how individual synapses work. We are interested to address the following challenges: 

  • (Project 1) image processing data analysis tools to automate the analysis of our synaptic calcium imaging 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 strong 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.
  • Signal processing background.

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

Contact: Suresh Kumar Jetti (sureshj@mit.edu)


4/9/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Leon Glicksman

Project Title: Modeling in Thermal comfort conditioning of workspaces

Project Description: Prof. Leon Glicksman seeks one undergraduate student to assist in an ongoing research project related to thermal comfort conditioning of workspaces in Hong Kong and USA. This summer, the project will involve mathematical modeling of the fluid interaction between jet streams of conditioned air and plumes of buoyancy-driven hot air emanating from the heat dissipation of humans and other internal loads. This would involve turbulent interaction of flows in an indoor space. There are a few ANSYS FLUENT simulation results and detailed experimental results and the work would involve a comparison of the mathematical model with these results. In collaboration with a graduate student, the project would involve approximation and modeling using differential and partial-differential equations related to fluid mechanics and heat and mass transfer, data analysis and a possibility for computational modeling. There would also be some involvement in experimental monitoring of a conference room at a facility in Massachusetts, which is a trial room for the above-mentioned study.

Prerequisites: The student is expected to have demonstrated an ability to work independently, present findings and recommendations, and clearly communicate their plan of action. The student will be expected to have good knowledge of fluid mechanics and heat transfer, with an ability to work on developing mathematical models. Prior experience with mathematical and computational modeling in a bonus!

Contact: Nikhilesh Ghanta (nikhil17@mit.edu)


4/9/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Video game development for Mental Health Screening

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

Prerequisites: We are seeking students with software and mobile programming skills, who may also have an interest in psychology or mental health, and who are motivated to create new ways to revolutionize mental health assessment and treatment. Our initial video game prototypes have been developed using a specific cross-platform framework called LibGDX (https://libgdx.badlogicgames.com/); however, we are open to using other development tools if the student has strong experience and motivation. Background in mobile app development or video game development experience and graphics is desired.  At this time, we are interviewing students for Summer UROP.  We seek someone who is self-motivated and able to work independently, and attend weekly group meetings to check on progress. Pay or credit is available or UAP project consideration.

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

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


4/9/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Richard Fletcher

Project Title: Server Development for Health Data mapping and Analytics

Project Description: Creating maps for health data is very useful: 1) it enables awareness of disease outbreaks and trends; and 2) it enables better targeting and prioritization of health services and interventions, such health maps for epidemiological studies are often used by health organizations around the world. Our group at MIT is currently setting up 3 servers to support the clinical studies and projects we are doing. More specifically creating a map for malnutrition data from young babies; creating a map of diabetes in India and rural USA; and creating a server for mental health. In addition to mapping, our platform also performs analytics on the raw data along with machine learning for disease screening and prediction.

Prerequisites: We are seeking students with server programming skills, who have some experience through projects or courses (e.g. 6.170) building server-side applications. Any experience working with Google Maps API or other mapping libraries is also a plus.  No background in health is required, but of course having a general interest in health is helpful. Our server design is currently using a LAMP stack (Linux Apache, MySQL, PHP) with the Django Framework, to support Python coding.  We seek someone who is self-motivated and able to work independently, and attend weekly meetings to check on progress. We are currently recruiting for summer UROP. Pay or Course 6 UROP credit is available or UAP project consideration.

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

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


4/9/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Design and fabrication of  soft robots using fluid-driven origami-inspired artificial muscles

Project Description: We have two related projects for 4 summer UROPs.

Project 1:  The goal of this project is to develop a computational end-to-end process for design and fabrication of soft robotic grippers based on our fluid-driven origami-inspired artificial muscles. The soft grippers need to be optimally designed for gripping specific shapes or objects. This project requires 2 summer students to work on (a) CAD and fabrication/experiment; (b) physical and mechanical modeling; and (c) programming and optimization.

Project 2:  We plan to design and fabricate a large-scale robot that is driven by a group of fluidic artificial muscles. In this project, a light-weight linear contractile “muscle” needs to be designed, fabricated, and characterized. The locomotion of the robot relays on thecoordinated actuations/controls of the artificial muscles. We need 2 summer students working on design, fabrication, and experiment of the linear actuators and the soft robot.

Please see the news article on our recent progress before you apply: https://www.csail.mit.edu/news/new-artificial-muscles-can-give-soft-robots-superpowers

Prerequisites:

  • MechE, EECS, or Physics background
  • Design/Fabrication
  • Programming/Control

Relevant URL: https://www.csail.mit.edu/news/new-artificial-muscles-can-give-soft-robots-superpowers

Contact: Shuguang Li (lisg@mit.edu)


4/9/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Robert Townsend

Project Title: Modeling the effects of weather fluctuations and climate change on rainfed crops

Project Description: Crops throughout the world are affected by weather shocks. These already substantial impacts will intensify as climate change exacerbates the extent of weather fluctuations. Yet, the interactions of crop development, farmer’s cultivation decisions, and weather are not straightforward. An effective private or policy response requires understanding of the mechanics of these interactions. We model the dynamics of weather-crop relationship and estimate its parameters using a unique detailed panel data.

The RA will perform data analysis; model and implement a method for measuring price fluctuations; review climate change literature; and automate data simulation procedure. The RA will work with data from multiple sources, such as a multi-module panel household survey, local weather stations, and regional price records. Data work responsibilities include cleaning and organizing the data; carrying out statistical, regression, and graphical data analysis; examining the data for individual, temporal, and spatial trends; writing up the 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.

Expected hours are 35-40 per week. The candidate should be committed to the project and interested in working with microeconomic data. The nature of work with large datasets necessitates a responsible and organized approach, and attention to details.

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

Prerequisites:

  • Proficiency in Stata
  • At least one completed course in statistics or econometrics
  • Ability to code in Python or willingness to learn quickly is a plus

Contact: Kamilya Tazhibayeva (kamilya@mit.edu)


4/9/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Tauhid Zaman

Project Title: Running influence campaigns in social networks

Project Description: It's believed that Russian bots meddled in the 2016 U.S. election.  Evidence suggests now Russian bots are doing the same thing again. So, how can we make sure the same thing doesn't happen in this year's midterm election and afterwards? This project aims to develop countermeasures for these influence campaigns. The main tasks is managing social media accounts using Python code. You will work with a graduate student to develop different behavioral models, and then implement these in the code for the social media accounts. We will then observe over time which models are more effective at influencing users in a social network. If that is successful, the next step will be to develop a coherent counter-measure for an influence campaign, and perhaps even test it in a field trial.

Prerequisites: Python (or other programming languages) and interest in social media

Contact: Qi Yang (yangqi@mit.edu)


4/6/18

Summer 2018

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Environmental Solutions Initiative

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Marius Peters

Number of positions:  Two

Project Title: Using Drones to Combat Deforestation in the Peruvian Andes

Project Description: MIT’s Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI) is partnering with global NGO Conservation International (CI) to pursue technologically innovative nature-based solutions to major environmental challenges.  In summer 2018 we launch the first in a series of UROPs that will include on-the-ground experience in some of CI’s 30+ field sites located around the world.  Read more about this partnership at http://news.mit.edu/2017/mit-conservation-international-collaboration-climate-adaptation-mitigation-0127

Every year, nearly 80,000 square miles of forested land are cleared of trees.  Rates of deforestation are particularly high in tropical forests in South America.  Tropical forests provide critical services to humanity including regulating climate change, filtering water, supporting biodiversity, and preventing soil erosion.  Deforestation threatens those services but is challenging to measure and monitor.

Rapidly evolving drone technology is a promising avenue for monitoring forest changes and informing local conservation efforts.  This UROP offers MIT students the opportunity to develop sensing and drone technology and to test tools and ideas in an ongoing conservation project located in the Peruvian Andes.  

The Alto Mayo Protec​​ted Forest is located in the San Martín region of northern Peru and spans 450,000 acres — an area twice the size of New York City.  Despite ​its protected status, the forest has had some of the country's highest deforestation rates. C​​I is working with several partners, including local communities, corporations and Peru's government, to protect the Alto Mayo forest.  CI and their partners in Peru are piloting the use of drones for monitoring deforestation and biodiversity and are excited to work with MIT students and faculty to improve their drone monitoring system. 

Project priorities include (1) developing a tool for using a multispectral sensor for land cover (agricultural crop types with emphasis in coffee) and land use change monitoring system using drones; (2) improving the use of drones to monitor real-time deforestation and forest degradation events; (3) innovating software tools or alternative/complementary software tools to monitor deforestation and forest degradation; and (4) developing apps and designing/creating a database for drone monitoring system improvements. 

This UROP project includes travel to the Alto Mayo Protected Forest (AMPF), which is a Natural Protected Area (450,000 acres) in Northeastern Peru (eastern slopes of the Andes) between 800 and 4000 meters (mostly cloud forest) in elevation.  Dates for the project travel are TBD.  Students will stay in Rioja or Moyobamba, Peru, in student facilities operated by Conservation International’s local NGO partner, Proyecto Mono Tocon.  Hourly wage $15/hour for 40 hours per week for 10-12 weeks, plus all costs for project travel, lodging, and meals.

For an overview of Conservation International’s work in Peru, see https://www.conservation.org/stories/alto-mayo-protected-forest/Pages/overview.aspx.  

For an introduction to ESI, see https://youtu.be/_fU9vvQmXfs

Prerequisites: The most important attributes are interest in sensor and drone technology innovation and field testing, and interest in travel to Peru.  GIS and remote sensing skills are required, as is basic Spanish.  The applicant is expected to work 40 h per week during the summer.  The majority of the UROP will be spent on the MIT campus, with a 2-3 week field deployment in Peru (likely early August).  Seeking applicants ASAP who can make a firm commitment to this project.  

Contact: Amanda Graham (agraham@mit.edu


4/6/18

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Physics

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Marin Soljacic

Project Title: Ultrafast nanofabrication of 3D structures

Project Description: Creating 3-dimensional structures with nanoscale dimensions over large areas is a grand manufacturing challenge; current technologies are too time-consuming and expensive for most practical applications. We are developing a new fabrication technology that is ~100x faster than the state-of-the-art, by patterning 3D nanostructures with a laser beam inside a chemically functionalized gel. One can think of this as a kind of 3D printer for nanoscale objects. During the summer, the student will work with Justin to calibrate and optimize the performance of a prototype currently under development. Responsibilities will include: (1) learning how to operate the prototype and print nanoscale structures; (2) quantifying print quality using microscopy techniques, and correlating results to system parameters; (3) investigating the limits of the system’s optimized performance. With initial success, this project could be continued for a senior thesis as we explore the fabrication of structures with significant scientific and practical importance.

Prerequisites: The project is suitable for a student with interests in software, lasers, experiments, control systems, micro/nano-engineering, and photonics/metamaterials; experience and/or coursework in some of these areas is a plus.

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

Contact: If you are interested, please email Prof. Soljacic (soljacic@mit.edu) and Justin Beroz (jberoz@mit.edu) and attach your resume.


4/6/18

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ian Condry

Project Title: App and web development for live music listings in Boston

Project Description: We are a small team developing an app and website for live music listings in the Boston area.  We have an alpha version of the app and the website which we hope will be released by mid-summer.  We are seeking students to work on the app, website, and marketing.  This will involve working on a team, preferably 20-40 hours per week, but we are flexible.  In addition to professor in Comparative Media Studies, team includes data entrepreneur, programmers, and tech consultant.  Interest in live music a plus.  We aim to build a tool that goes beyond Google, Facebook, and Amazon, for example, in helping people find information that they didn't know they needed.

Prerequisites: We are seeking people with app development and web development experience, but we are open to considering people with some programming experience and a desire to learn.  We prefer those with experience with React, React Native, Java Script / Node JS, HTML, CSS, MySQL, and/or experience with apps or web dev for IOS and Android.  We also seek people interested in working with local musicians and venues to improve outreach, user experience, and local networking.

Contact: Ian Condry: condry@mit.edu


4/6/18

Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Professor Roger Mark

Project Title: Machine Learning for Medicine

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 Summer or Fall 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. Familiarity with Python, MatLab, or R preferred.

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

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


4/6/18

Summer

Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab

Faculty Supervisor: Alex `Sandy' Pentland

Project Title:  Studying team dynamics in MIT Delta V accelerator program

Project Description: This project aims to study team dynamics and performance in an MIT accelerator program during the summer. We will use Rhythm Badges(http://www.rhythm.mit.edu/rhythm-badges/), wearable devices designed by our research group, to collect data on face-to-face interaction and conversational patterns.

As a research assistant, you will be involved in two main parts of the study - 

  1. Conducting the experiment (validate data integrity, ensure compliance, basic support, etc)
  2. Analysis of the behavioral data

This project is an exciting opportunity for students who are research oriented, and are interested in data analysis, networks and behavioral data.  The study will potentially result in an academic paper, and the UROP is welcomed to participate and co-author. This will be discussed on an ad hoc basis depending on student’s interests, skills, and availability.

Skills you need to already have: competency in python or R. Experience with Python Pandas and data analysis is a plus.

Other prerequisites:

  • Responsible, independent, and highly attentive to details
  • Available to work 30-40 hours per week during the summer (beginning of June until the end of August)

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


4/5/18

Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Canan Dagdeviren

Project Title: Building and Understanding Miniaturized pH Sensing Systems

Project Description: The project is composed of two main parts:

(1) 60% literature research, writings, and information organization.

(2) 40% electrochemical lab experiments to test different thin films for pH sensing.

Representative literature on the topic:

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/9/11/8911/htm

http://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/9/9/7445/htm

Experiments will be conducted in the Yellow Box (Class 10,000 area) at MIT Media Lab and will focus on proper characterization of the pH setup (i.e., extended gate field effect transistor configuration) and components, including various sensing thin films and materials for reference electrodes.

The goal is to build a stable and accurate scaled down pH sensing system for biomedical applications in wearable and implantable sensors.

Prerequisites: Responsiveness and dedication.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/projects/conformal-implantable-viscosity-and-electrochemical-sensors/overview/

Contact: Mohamed Ghoneim: mghoneim@media.mit.edu


4/4/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Cynthia Breazeal

Project Title: Designing Tablet-Based Interactive Games and Hacking Social Robots for Children

Project Description:

Project Aim: The project aims to develop more than one literacy games using Unity, program social robots (Jibo) using Jibo SDK, and implement child-robot interaction using Robotics Operation System. The goal of the project is to create personalized learning experience for children to learn and grow.

Project Context: Children before the age of 12 learn a new language faster than those of adult due to multiple phases of learning curve. Therefore, literacy learning as of young age is important.  Social robots are found to be assistive for children’s learning, especially in terms of engagement purposes. They serve as the child’s peer or mentor and take on different behaviors depending on the children engagement, making learning a positive experience for children in various settings.

A child and a social robot (Jibo) play different literacy games on a tablet together. The goal of the games is to help children learn literacy. Sometimes, two children may play the game together. Sometimes, a child plays with the tablet games alone. Sometimes, one child plays the games with a robot. We will implement the above three interaction modes for the games.

We will also implement personalization models and use various cutting-edge AI techniques (e.g., face recognition,. affective computing) to help recognize children's identities, track their learning performance and personalize how children can interact with the literacy games.

• Responsibility & Scope of Work:

  • Design, implement and optimize literacy games using Unity and C#.
  • Program and hack Jibo (social robots) using Jibo SDK
  • Add interaction features to Jibo and design Jibo-child interaction paradigm
  • Test and optimize the entire human-robot system architecture
  • Implement a system that can keep track of children's learning performance and interaction history with the robot and the literacy games
  • Basic data analysis

• Personal Growth

  • Become familiar with various cutting-edge techniques in the field of social robots Gain knowledge in how to do highly multi-disciplinary research at Media Lab. 
  • Practice programming and software engineering skills (C#, Python, Java, GitHub, ROS, API)
  • Learn data analysis
  • Co-author conference/journal papers
  • Recommendation/reference letter
  • Interview will be conducted before April 9. Will assist with the UROP funding application.

Prerequisites

  • Full-time summer UROP (40 hours per week and more than 10 weeks)
  • Programming skills (Python). C# is not required and can be learned very easily 
  • Interest in education, social robots and engineering. 
  • Be open to new ideas. 
  • Deadline driven

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/personal-robots/overview/

Contact: Huili Chen (hchen25@mit.edu)


4/4/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Experiments and analysis of brain activity and behavior

Project Description: Help us do experiments and analysis to solve the mysteries of the brain! In this project, you will assist us in performing experiments recording brain activity and behavior in mice using cutting-edge techniques such as fluorescence imaging with genetically encoded calcium indicators. You may help us run experiments, perform neurosurgeries, train animals and/or build micro-devices for recording neural activity. Students with strong programming and mathematics skills may also assist in database development and data analysis. This is an excellent UROP for students seeking laboratory experience in preparation for medical school or a research PhD program. Students majoring in Course 9 as well as those majoring in mathematics, physics, engineering, computer science, and other majors are welcome.

In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of the striatum, cortex, and other brain areas in behavioral tasks performed by rodents. The striatum is a key part of the basal ganglia, receiving input from midbrain dopamine neurons, cortex, and thalamus. It is thought to be centrally involved in evaluation, selection, motivation, and decision making, not only at the level of movements but also at the level of goals, strategies, thoughts, emotions, and sensory interpretations. It is implicated in movement disorders like Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome,autism spectrum disorders, aspects of schizophrenia, and other disorders.

Please send your resume to Leif Gibb, PhD (lgibb@mit.edu).

Prerequisites: No prior experience is required, but you must be highly motivated, conscientious and detail oriented. We will give preference to students who can commit to working for a year or more for a least 20 to 40 hours per week during the summer and IAP and 12 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. We will also give preference to candidates who can commit to working 4-5 days per week (at least 1-2 hours per day). Times are flexible; evenings and weekends are available. We can usually only provide academic credits (not payment) for new UROPs.

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

Contact: Leif Gibb (lgibb@mit.edu)


4/4/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Computational/mathematical analysis of brain imaging data

Project Description: This project will help us understand key brain circuitry underlying decision making and behavior. It gives you the opportunity to create databases and analyze large datasets collected from the mouse brain using cutting-edge neuroscience techniques, in particular fluorescence imaging using genetically encoded calcium indicators in mice performing freely moving tasks. You should have strong programming skills, preferably in MATLAB, and basic knowledge of statistics. There may also be future opportunities to create computational models of neural circuits. This is an -excellent UROP for students with computer programming and mathematics skills who are interested in neuroscience. You can work on a flexible time schedule. In this project, our goal is to understand the functions of the striatum, cortex, and other brain areas in decision-making tasks performed by rodents.

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 decision making and selection not only at the level of movements but also at the level of goals, strategies, thoughts, emotions, and sensory interpretations. It is implicated in movement disorders like Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and dystonia, as well as addiction, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Tourette syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, aspects of schizophrenia, and other disorders. 

Please send your resume to Leif Gibb, PhD (lgibb@mit.edu).

Prerequisites: We will give preference to candidates who can commit to working for a year or more for a least 20 to 40 hours per week during the summer and IAP and 12 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. We can usually only provide academic credits (not payment) for new UROPs.

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

Contact: Leif Gibb (lgibb@mit.edu)


4/4/18

Multiple Openings

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Caitlin Mueller

Project Title: Development of Data-based Design Tools for Architecture

Project Description: MIT Digital Structures is a research group working at the interface of architecture, structural engineering, and computation, focusing on the synthetic integration of creative and technical goals in the design and fabrication of buildings, bridges, and other large-scale structures.  As part of our research into how digital techniques and tools can play an unexpected, collaborative role in the design process, we have developed a suite of open-source design tools for Grasshopper, which is a graphical algorithmic modeler used by many architects to generate complex geometry and flexibly consider design options through parametric modeling.  These software tools provide rapid, interactive feedback and guidance about design performance, which can lead to future buildings that are structurally intelligent and energy efficient, yet still architecturally compelling. Drawing from methods such as optimization, machine learning, and data mining, this software provides easy access to powerful techniques for generating high-performance geometry.

For this project, we are seeking up to two UROPs—ideally one student with an interest and expertise in designing GUIs, and one who will primarily serve as a back-end software architect and developer.  These students will work with Digital Structures graduate students to continue developing open-source Grasshopper tools that facilitate early stage, data-driven design exploration.  Specific tasks and responsibilities include: implementing additional functionality related to geometry management, design problem parametrization, interactive optimization, and machine learning; integrating existing components for more seamless design workflows; and creating, improving, and testing visual interfaces for the tools.  Through close collaboration with members of Digital Structures, UROPs will have the opportunity to apply their programming and algorithmic thinking skills towards improving design tools that are currently used by leading architecture and engineering firms around the world.

Prerequisites: Students should ideally know C#/.NET and Python, or be willing to learn quickly; for the UI position, student should ideally also be familiar working with WPF. Software engineering experience is a plus, as is some interest in architecture.

Relevant URL: http://www.food4rhino.com/app/design-space-exploration

Contact: Nathan Brown (ncbrown@mit.edu)


4/4/18

Multiple Openings

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Caitlin Mueller

Project Title: Development of Data-based Design Tools for Architecture

Project Description: MIT Digital Structures is a research group working at the interface of architecture, structural engineering, and computation, focusing on the synthetic integration of creative and technical goals in the design and fabrication of buildings, bridges, and other large-scale structures.  As part of our research into how digital techniques and tools can play an unexpected, collaborative role in the design process, we have developed a suite of open-source design tools for Grasshopper, which is a graphical algorithmic modeler used by many architects to generate complex geometry and flexibly consider design options through parametric modeling.  These software tools provide rapid, interactive feedback and guidance about design performance, which can lead to future buildings that are structurally intelligent and energy efficient, yet still architecturally compelling. Drawing from methods such as optimization, machine learning, and data mining, this software provides easy access to powerful techniques for generating high-performance geometry.

For this project, we are seeking up to two UROPs—ideally one student with an interest and expertise in designing GUIs, and one who will primarily serve as a back-end software architect and developer.  These students will work with Digital Structures graduate students to continue developing open-source Grasshopper tools that facilitate early stage, data-driven design exploration.  Specific tasks and responsibilities include: implementing additional functionality related to geometry management, design problem parametrization, interactive optimization, and machine learning; integrating existing components for more seamless design workflows; and creating, improving, and testing visual interfaces for the tools.  Through close collaboration with members of Digital Structures, UROPs will have the opportunity to apply their programming and algorithmic thinking skills towards improving design tools that are currently used by leading architecture and engineering firms around the world.

Prerequisites: Students should ideally know C#/.NET and Python, or be willing to learn quickly; for the UI position, student should ideally also be familiar working with WPF. Software engineering experience is a plus, as is some interest in architecture.

Relevant URL: http://www.food4rhino.com/app/design-space-exploration

Contact: Nathan Brown (ncbrown@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor: Roger Levy

Project Title: Eyetracking for Language Processing

Project Description: We are launching an exiting new project which uses eyetracking technology to study how humans read and process language in real time. We are looking for motivated students who are interested in language to join the project during the summer.

As part of the UROP, you will learn about experimental techniques in psycholinguistics and will be trained to operate a state-of-the-art eyetracker. You will be in charge of running a series of experiments for data collection. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to participate in analyzing the collected data, or work on a related research topic on the intersection of linguistics, cognitive science and natural language processing.

Prerequisites

  • Responsible, independent, and highly attentive to detail.
  • Available to work 30-40 hours per week during the summer (beginning of June until the end of August).
  • No prior experience is necessary. Background in programming is a plus.

Contact: Yevgeni Berzak (berzak@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: K. Dane Wittrup

Project Title: Locoregional immunomodulating agents to potentiate anti-tumor immunity

Project Description: Immuno-oncology has great potential in the treatment of cancer. If properly activated, a patient’s own immune system can be directed against tumors to induce long-lived cures in a subset of patients. But for reasons unclear, a fraction of cancer patients fails to respond to immunotherapy. Evidence suggests that the immune infiltrate signature in a tumor is indicative of therapeutic success. In hopes of expanding the fraction of patients capableof responding to immunotherapy, this work seeks to imitate responsive tumors by rationally and productively modulating the intratumoral immune microenvironment. Capitalizing on the protein engineering and kineticmodeling expertise of the Wittrup lab, we will design and evaluate novel immunomodulating proteins to potentiate anti-tumor immunity.

This project is an exciting opportunity to learn and develop a diverse and marketable skillset. The undergraduate researcher will learn and actively participate in techniques involving molecular biology, protein engineering, macromolecular chemistry, immunology, and in vivo methods.

Prerequisites: None required. Strong preference will be given for students willing to work full time during the summer and 10 hours a week for at least two semesters.

Contact: Noor Momin (nmomin@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Institute for Medical Engineering and Science

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chi-Sang Poon, PhD

Project Title: MATLAB analysis of clinical data

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

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

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

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


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Kripa K. Varanasi

Project Title: Interfacial engineering for hydrogen embrittlement resistance

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

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

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

Contact: Sami Khan (khansami@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

Department/Lab/Center: Scheller Teacher Education Program (STEP) Lab/The Education Arcade

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: Participatory Simulations - Systems-based mobile simulation games for the classroom.  

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

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

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

The system is currently a prototype using React (js) and Firebase.  This summer we plan to create a scalable code base, design and implement several games, and hopefully add a native client.  

Requirements: We are looking for students with a strong programming background.  Experience with JavaScript/HTML/CSS, React/Redux/React Native and NoSQL databases is helpful.  Interests/expertise in front end design and game design are also big strengths.  Availability to work majority of hours during business hours at the STEP Lab is required.

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

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

4/3/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dane Wittrup

Project Title: Protein engineering for cancer immunotherapy

Project Description: Our lab designs new protein therapeutics that modulate immune cells to better attack cancer cells. The student will work with a graduate student to make and improve several protein-based strategies for cancer immunotherapy. The student will gain exposure to cloning, protein engineering, and in vitro assays. If the student desires, there may also be the opportunity to work with tumor models in mice. We welcome creativity and trying new ideas.

Prerequisites: Enthusiasm for biomolecular engineering! Wet-lab experience is a plus but not required. An ideal student would be interested in working 20~40 hours/week during summer 2018, and be interested in continuing around 10 hours/week during the school year. Students are responsible for their own stipend, or opt for credits.

Contact: Emi Lutz (emilutz@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Chappell Lawson

Project Title: MIT Research to Public Policy Mapping

Project Description: The mission of the International Policy Lab (IPL) is to enhance the impact of MIT research on public policy. The IPL works with faculty from across the Institute to better connect their research to the decision makers who are able to act on it. As policy making becomes increasingly technical it will be vitally important that the knowledge created in Universities is properly applied to the policy making process.

In an effort to further develop such connections the IPL has begun an initiative to map all research conducted at MIT to corresponding policy domains. This project has three main goals.

  1. To make MIT researchers more aware of the policy implications of their work. 
  2. To identify high impact opportunities for researchers to engage with policy makers. 
  3. To facilitate the development of evidence-based policy both domestically and internationally.

The summer stage of this research project will focus on mapping out specific policy domains where we have identified policy relevant research being conducted here at MIT.

Prerequisites: Ideal candidates will come from any School at MIT and will be comfortable drilling down to understand the technical details of multiple research programs. An interest in the application of research to the development of public policy is preferred but no policy experience is required. Training will be provided by MIT’s Washington DC office.

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

Contact: Dan Pomeroy (dpomeroy@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: W. Craig Carter

Project Title: Phase-field modeling of lithium batteries

Project Description: Lithium ion batteries power mobile phones, tablets and other portable electronic devices. These batteries are promising candidates for sustainable energy storage, although their use in high energy density applications, like powering electric vehicles, is still a challenge.

In the Chiang-Carter group, we develop mathematical models to investigate how microstructures form in electrodes and how they interact with the diffusing Li-ions. For example, in polycrystalline electrodes, Li-ions are trapped along/near the grain boundaries and induces a discontinuous change in electrode properties.

We are looking for a motivated undergraduate who will use our mathematical model to systematically investigate, how grain boundaries interact with interstitial Li-ions. The UROP will:

  1. Run phase-field simulations (in mathematica),
  2. Investigate the relationship between grain boundary orientation and Li-composition field,
  3. Validate simulation data with experimental observations from literature.

The student will have opportunities to interact with the experimentalists in the Chiang-Carter research group. and gain insights on the recent developments in battery technology. By the end of the UROP session, the student will acquire a deeper understanding on phase-field models and its applications in materials science.

Prerequisites: UROP with experience using Mathematica would be beneficial, but not essential. We greatly value an enthusiastic and a motivated student who is keen to learn new concepts and acquire new research skills.

Contact: Ananya Balakrishna (ananyarb@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Max Tegmark

Project Title: The Physics of Intelligence

Project Description: How does your brain work? Can we use recent breakthroughs from artificial intelligence to understand your mind better, or vice versa? In this project, we tackle such big questions with calculations, simulations and state-of-the-art neuroscience data from MIT and Harvard. You don't need to have a background in neuroscience or AI to work with me as long as you're eager to learn and share my interests: You love big questions such as how the brain processes information and why some but not all quark blobs are conscious. You're interested in learning and using advanced tools from condensed matter physics, field theory and information theory. You enjoy working with computers and state-of-the-art data to put theories to the test. You're interested in learning how to create your own deep neural networks. You can watch this video without falling asleep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzCvlFRISIM

Prerequisites: Programming

Relevant URL: http://space.mit.edu/home/tegmark/technical.html

Contact: Max Tegmark (tegmark@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Christopher Cummins

Project Title: Discovery of Methods for Improved Phosphate Utilization

Project Description: Historically, phosphate rock raw material has been upgraded to commercially important chemicals via white phosphorus in a dirty, energy intensive process. We are seeking to disrupt this entrenched practice by discovering novel chemical transformations that begin with phosphate. The project is connected to an MIT/UM6P effort to contribute to sustainable development in Africa as Morocco is the richest country in the world in terms of phosphate rock reserves. Please see the recent article in The Tech about our project and recent results: https://thetech.com/2018/03/08/lotw-cummins-lab

Prerequisites: An interest in doing laboratory chemistry research.

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

Contact: Christopher Cummins (ccummins@mit.edu)


4/3/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Phillip A. Sharp

Project Title: Computational analysis of transcription regulation at single-cell level

Project Description: Cancer cells are highly dependent on dysregulated transcriptional programs to maintain abnormal expression of cancer-supporting genes. Transcription of a gene is regulated by a network of distal non-coding genomic regions known as enhancers, and super-enhancers (SEs). Genetic alteration of enhancers results in deregulated cell states and disruption of SEs selectively inhibits tumor oncogenes, indicating their fundamental role in health and disease. Many cancer-associated enhancers and SEs have been identified, but two major limitations have prevented their discovery from translating into cancer therapeutics. First, genetic tools needed to identify therapeutic candidates among myriad SE-bound factors were unavailable until recently. Second—an ongoing limitation—is the lack of a methodology to elucidate the molecular mechanisms governed by the SE-bound therapeutic candidates. To overcome this remaining obstacle and spur the discovery of next-generation cancer therapeutics, we propose to develop a new single-cell technology to probe transcription regulation at enhancers and SEs at a single-cell level.

To process the genome-wide transcriptional data generated by the proposed single-cell technology and to decipher the underlying molecular mechanisms of transcription regulation by enhancers and SEs, novel computational analysis tools are required. These computational tools will integrate transcriptional data generated by the proposed single-cell technology with information extracted from other transcriptional assays such as RNA-seq, GRO-seq/PRO-seq, and single-cell RNA-seq. Under the supervision of a postdoctoral mentor, the UROP position advertised here will be involved in developing, maintaining, and executing computational pipelines to analyze genome-wide transcriptional data from single-cells.

This is a full-time position during the summer. A successful UROP will have the option to extend the project into the next term.

Prerequisites: We are seeking a candidate with interest in computational biology, expertise in R, and experience working in Unix environment. Familiarity with sequencing technologies and Python are preferred. Bench skills are not required. Candidates must have a strong work ethic, good record keeping skills, and a commitment to scientific research.

Contact: Jay Mahat (mahat@mit.edu)


3/30/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Sea Grant Program

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Michael Triantafyllou

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

Project Description: Atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (pCO2) increases since the Industrial Revolution has caused the acidity of surface seawater to decrease by 30% or 0.1 pH units. As increased pCO2 is largely due to anthropogenic use of fossil fuels and deforestation, seawater pH will likely decrease 0.3–0.4 units more by the end of this century. This, in turn, will result in a nearly 50% reduction in the carbonate ion concentration of seawater, making it more difficult for many calcifying organisms to produce or maintain their shells and skeletons. This research seeks to advance our understanding of the combined effects of pCO2 and temperature on critical aspects of shell/skeletal mineralization during the juvenile stage for three economically and ecologically important species of mollusks found in Massachusetts waters (oysters, scallops and mussels). This area has among the highest sensitivity to the potential effects of ocean acidification in the US due to its economic dependence on the shellfish industry and strong use of shellfish resources. Thus, understanding the impact of acidification on the early life stages of the mollusks that support these shellfish industries is our primary interest.

At this point, our focus is to identify properties from skeleton surfaces (roughness, mineral density, structural pattern) that can readily account for those effects in calcification. This is being targeted through analyses of images, of ultrastructure and of shell/skeletal thin-sections collected with TESCAN scanning electron microscope. Thus, working in this project you will gain experience in these techniques and additional lab training in carbonate chemistry analyses, maintenance of living organisms in seawater, 3-D stereomicroscopy to measure shell morphometric parameters.

Prerequisites: The most important attributes are interest in the project, motivation and reliability. Prior image analysis or Matlab experience is preferred. The applicant is expected to work 40 h per week during the 10 week period during the summer, with possibility of expanding this work towards a senior project or equivalent requirement. Seeking applicants before April 12, 2018 unless interested in summer credits.

Contact: Carolina Bastidas (bastidas@mit.edu)


3/30/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Bin Zhang

Project Title: Coarse-grained Protein-DNA Simulation on GPU

Project Description: The goal of this project is to port an existing C++ code onto GPU so that the computing performance can be significantly improved. This will make large-scale simulations of protein-protein assembly and protein-DNA complex possible. During this process, the student will get exposed to state-of-the-art high-performance computing, advanced computer graphics, and exciting science that intersects chemistry, biology and physics.

Prerequisites: Experience with GPU computing

Contact: Bin Zhang (binz@mit.edu)


3/29/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Johan Frenje

Project Title: MCNP modeling of the neutron and gamma background for the MRSt neutron spectrometer on the National Ignition Facility (NIF)

Project Description: The High-Energy-Density Physics (HEDP) Division (https://www-internal.psfc.mit.edu/research/hedp/index.html) of the PSFC designs and implements experiments, and performs theoretical calculations, to study and explore the non-linear dynamics and properties of plasmas under extreme conditions of density (~1000 g/cc), pressure (~ 1000 gigabar), and field strength (~megagauss).  As part of this effort, the group has installed many nuclear diagnostic instruments on the OMEGA laser at the University of Rochester and at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. The purpose of these nuclear diagnostic instruments is to diagnose conditions inside Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) implosions at these facilities. The evolution of fuel assembly, hot-spot formation, and nuclear burn in an Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) implosion at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) can be quantified through time-resolved measurements of the neutron spectrum. This information will be obtained with the next-generation Magnetic Recoil Spectrometer (MRSt) that will, for the first time ever, measure the neutron spectrum with time resolution. To successfully implement the MRSt on the NIF, the signal and background distributions at the MRSt detector must be characterized; the detector response to the signal and background must be determined; and the shielding enclosing MRSt must be designed and implemented to reduce the background to the required level. We are currently looking for a student who can help with the design and optimization of the MRSt shielding using the Monte-Carlo Neutron-Photon (MCNP) transport code.

Prerequisites: The primary prerequisites required are an understanding of the characteristics of neutrons and gamma rays and their interaction with matter, and some experience with Monte-Carlo simulations. Hours for this project will be negotiable, during Summer 2018.

Contact: Paul Rivenberg (rivenberg@psfc.mit.edu)


3/28/18

Multiple Openings

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Larry Sass

Project Title: Digital Fabrication of Smart Building Facades

Project Description: This summer we will explore new ideas leading to the development of a smart façade system for new single family home construction. Unfortunately, most wood frame homes created in the US and Europe are built with the same static wood and plastic skins as buildings constructed in the late 1800s. In contrast, a smart façade is a breathable, high strength building envelopes designed and fabricated for tall commercial buildings only. The novelty of this project will be discovery of a new area of research mostly ignored by both the architecture and construction industries that affects ordinary home builders. A smart façade on a single-family house could redefine energy use, cut costs in construction and improve the environment by reducing or removing green-house gases. For example, a smart façade could eat smog, capture \ energy from wind, driving rain or snow loads and support facade based farming. We believe this method of home surfacing can be made effective thanks to the development of computing and digital fabrication tooling. The grand challenge of this proposal is characterization and computation of a smart façade system as software developed for CAD. The first step in our work will be product development of a low cost, light weight smart façade system ready for assembly and installation on a small building. After, the design will be characterized as rules that generate façade geometry for any shaped or styled building. Rules will later be converted to algorithms that will decompose the 3D model into 2D shapes ready for digital fabrication with a CNC router. Ultimately, our system of design, computation and fabrication will lead to greater application across the field of architecture and design.

Prerequisites: Our lab group needs UROP students interested in design, 3D modeling and making. We also need fresh new ideas and information to develop best practices for making desktop models of building components.

  • Must have some experience 3D modeling in Rhino, Blender, Solidworks
  • A willingness to learn:
    • Architectural Design
    • Design and 3D model building components (Stairs, Windows, Doors)
    • 3D Printing
    • Photography

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

Contact: Larry Sass (lsass@mit.edu)


3/28/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joel Voldman

Project Title: Engineering Biological Circuits and Cells

Project Description: Often in cell biology courses we learn about cells through networked diagrams of molecular pathways and mechanisms that play an important role in regulating cell functions. These ‘circuit diagrams’ of interacting molecules  have the tantalizing promise that we can understand how cells work in terms of interactions of specific components. However we typically do not know the insight behind how these pathways change over time, why they possess a certain architecture, and how we could perturb these networks to program complex cellular behavior.

In this project we are aiming to generate synthetic biological constructs and circuits that allow us to build, analyze, or rewire existing genetic interactions, to get a better understanding human disease biology. We are looking for a motivated UROP who is intrigued by these type of questions and would be interested in getting involved in the design, construction and testing of novel genetic circuits in x mammalian cells. In this hands-on project, the student will assist in cloning, molecular biology techniques, mammalian cell culture and microscopy, to assess the functionality of the genetic circuits. The student will also learn and assist in using state-of-the-art genetic and genome engineering tools for learning about cell function in the context of disease.

Prerequisites: Experience with wet-lab techniques and cell culture is required. Knowledge from 7.02, 7.09, or 6.129/20.129, or at least some familiarity cloning and molecular biology would helpful. Any experience with quantitative and computational biology would be a plus.

Please send a pdf CV\resume along with a paragraph in the email describing your interest in the project and any relevant prior experience. Please also mention any other prior commitments or anticipated activities that may affect your availability over the term.

Contact: Sarvesh Varma (sarvesh@mit.edu)


3/28/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joel Voldman

Project Title: Developing Deep Learning Models for Cell Microscopy

Project Description: Cellular microscopy and analyses are critical to learning new biology. However, quantitative cellular monitoring requires precise cellular identification and segmentation, which often is a manual (i.e., subjective) and laborious process. Our goal is to deploy state-of-the-art deep learning approaches to establish a robust methodology for identifying cells within various biological conditions and environments. The model will train on various cells and features and will be assessed based its accuracy. We are looking for a motivated UROP who can take optimize and further improve our current work to develop such models. The student will learn basics of cell culture and cell microscopy, image acquisition, and processing to generate imaging datasets for the model. The student will finally integrate these models with current image acquisition software for automated cellular imaging, processing and analyses. These efforts will provide unique opportunities to the students to apply machine learning and deep learning methods to novel biological questions and insight relating to human diseases.

Prerequisites: Experience with MATLAB is required, and familiarity with Python would be helpful. Knowledge from 6.036/6.867, 6.801, 6.819/6.869, or at least some familiarity with computer vision and deep learning would be helpful. Any experience with cell culture and instrument automation would be a plus.

Please send a pdf CV/resume along with a paragraph in the email describing your interest in the project and any relevant prior experience. Please also mention any other prior commitments or anticipated activities that may affect your availability over the term.

Contact: Sarvesh Varma (sarvesh@mit.edu)


3/28/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joel Voldman

Project Title: Developing an Automated Imaging Platform to Monitor Cells in a Microfluidic Disease Model

Project Description: We have developed a microfluidic platform which models atherosclerosis, a human cardiovascular disease that is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. This platform replicates blood flow profiles directly upon human cells, which allows us to learn about human disease biology, as well as provides opportunities to test out potential drug candidates within the device. 

We are looking for a summer UROP student that will first integrate existing software through a GUI that interfaces with the microfluidic device, its control hardware, and an automated microscope. This automation will control the device functions and record movies of cells in the device. Next, the student will perform image analyses, and implement a graphical user interface to present the data. These analyses will be carried out within a MATLAB programming environment. The student will also have opportunities to learn about how we make these devices, and assist in device fabrication.

Prerequisites: Experience with MATLAB is required. Knowledge from 6.S08 or 6.115, or at least some familiarity with instrument automation would also be useful for this UROP. Additionally, experience with image processing or GUI design is a plus.

Please send a pdf CV/resume, along with a paragraph in the email describing your interest in the project and any relevant prior experience. Please also mention any other prior commitments or anticipated activities that may affect your availability over the term.

Contact: Sarvesh Varma (sarvesh@mit.edu)


3/27/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

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

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

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

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

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

UROP Project ideas include: Game Design – create a meaningful TaleBlazer game that can be easily reconfigured by a facilitator to be played in an arbitrary location.  Use your strategic thinking and your game design experience to help us conceptualize new TaleBlazer features that will make this easier and more rewarding.

Multiplayer – Allow players to share data to enhance gameplay.  We are in the process of exploring both peer-to-peer connectivity via Bluetooth AND server-mediated communication via a data connection.  This position will focus on one of these possibilities.

Data Collection (Mobile) - Allow players to take photos and/or add notes during gameplay.  Use your keen UI design skills and your mobile-user expertise to design and implement a meaningful way for players to collect/review/interpret data.

Data Collection (Editor) - Use your keen UI design skills and your web-programming expertise to design and implement a meaningful way for designers to specify how players will collect/review/interpret data.

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

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

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

Relevant URL: http://taleblazer.org, https://education.mit.edu/portfolio_page/taleblazer/

Contact: Judy Perry (jperry@mit.edu)


3/27/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Mathematics (Course 18)

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Alan Edelman

Project Title: Mathematical Foundations of Big Data & Machine Learning

Project Description: Big Data describes a new era in the digital age where the volume, velocity, and variety of data created across a wide range of fields (e.g., internet search, healthcare, finance, social media, defense, ...) is increasing at a rate well beyond our ability to analyze the data. Machine Learning has emerged as a powerful tool for transforming this data into usable information. Many technologies (e.g., spreadsheets, databases, graphs, linear algebra, deep neural networks, ...) have been developed to address these challenges. The common theme amongst these technologies is the need to store and operate on data as whole collections instead of as individual data elements. This research explore the common mathematical foundation of these data collections (associative arrays) that apply across a wide range of applications and technologies. Associative arrays unify and simplify Big Data and Machine Learning. Understanding these mathematical foundations allows the user to see past the differences that lie on the surface of Big Data and Machine Learning applications and technologies and leverage their core mathematical similarities to solve the hardest Big Data and Machine Learning challenges. This projects seeks to strengthen the mathematical foundations of Big Data and Machine Learning. Participants will be paid.

Prerequisites: Linear Algebra.

Relevant URL: http://d4m.mit.edu/; https://julialang.org/

Contact: Jeremy Kepner (kepner@math.mit.edu)


3/27/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Juejun Hu

Project Title: Study of glass-on-PDMS photonic devices processing

Project Description: The ability to deposit and process glass on polymer substrates would open many exciting opportunities for integrated photonic circuits, allowing e.g. for easy fabrication of stretchable devices. We are looking for a highly motivated undergraduate student to help us understand and develop the processing of glass-on-polymer photonic devices.

The project consists of:

  • Depositing and characterization of thin polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films, study of the influence of several deposition parameters
  • Depositing glass films
  • Characterizing photonic devices
  • Working closely with a team of graduate students to propose, test and validate new processing routes

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate would have:

  • At least 8 hours/week availability
  • Experience working with chemicals
  • Prior knowledge of the basics of photonics (waveguides, resonators)

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

Contact: Jérôme Michon (jmichon@mit.edu)


3/27/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Leon Glicksman

Project Title: Thermal Comfort in Nepal

Project Description: Prof. Leon Glicksman seeks one undergraduate student to assist in an ongoing research project related to thermal comfort of homes in resource-constrained areas of Nepal. This summer, the project will involve phases of concept exploration, analysis, and convergence towards a high impact solution. The student will need to analytically assess and compare the performance, feasibility, and viability of various material applications and construction systems as they pertain to the improvement of thermal comfort in Nepali reconstruction housing.  In collaboration with a graduate student, this may involve a combination of heat transfer approximations, computational energy modeling, and physical prototypes and data analysis.

Prerequisites: The student is expected to have demonstrated an ability to work independently, present findings and recommendations, and clearly communicate their plan of action. The student will be expected to have an elementary knowledge of building components and heat transfer as well as a working knowledge of basic hand tools and associated personal safety.

Relevant URL: https://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/analysis-and-design-for-thermally-autonomous-housing/

Contact: Vadim Kuklov (kuklov@mit.edu)


 

3/26/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Niels Holten-Andersen

Project Title: Controlling the gelation kinetics of hydrogel networks via supramolecular chemistry

Project Description: Metal-ligand coordinations have a unique role in providing structural reinforcements to a variety of biological soft matter ranging from tissues, slug slime, mussel adhesives and mollusc shells. The Holten-Andersen group is interested in understanding the physical chemistry that drives the strength and lifetime of such  interactions, and using these interactions as motifs for designing bio-inspired soft materials. We are currently looking for a student to assist us in our efforts to understand the supramolecular chemistry of different transition metals in different chemical environments, and interpret their role in the mechanical reinforcement of soft materials. Through this project, the student will gain exposure to materials synthesis, chemical analysis and mechanical characterization techniques, develop skills in data processing, and develop a better understanding of the literature surrounding supramolecular chemistry and bioinspired soft materials.

Prerequisites: Students interested in an interdisciplinary research in the fields of chemistry, materials science and soft matter. Training will be provided, but wet lab experience and basic knowledge of general chemistry and mechanics are a plus.

Relevant URL: https://sites.google.com/site/holtengroup/

Contact: Jake Song (jakesong@mit.edu)


3/26/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Julia Ortony

Project Title: Synthesis of amphiphilic molecules

Project Description: In this project, the student will synthesize a series of new molecules that are capable of spontaneous self-assembly in water. The student will be involved in molecular design, planning synthetic procedure, synthesis, and characterization.

Prerequisites: Organic chemistry (both lecture and lab) is required.

Contact: Julia Ortony (ortony@mit.edu)


3/26/18

Term: Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Prof. Pattie Maes

Project Title: Memory Enhancement Through AI and Wearable Sensors 

Project Description: We propose to collect and analyze a comprehensive database of human experience by recording daily life of users alongside their brain activity and other biosignals. Our wearable system includes a wide-angle camera, microphone, biometric sensors (HR,EDA, temperature) and a portable EEG headset. This data is combined with GPS, accelerometers (hand and chest) and tags provided by the user. The resulting dataset (~50 GB daily) will be analyzed to study relationships between human memory and the collected physiological data. The multimodal data is fed to a recognition pipeline (an end-to-end deep neural network) that models the relationships between different input signals as well as detecting meaningful entities from video and audio such as people, objects, places, actions, events, etc. The ability to find similar moments (based on the presence of certain entities and metadata) will open up a new way to interpret the EEG and physiological data in the context of everyday life given the longitudinal nature of these recordings. Our specific goal in gathering this dataset is to study memory in context. Some of the questions we plan to investigate are:

  1. Is it possible to predict the memorability of different moments from EEG, biometric data and the contents of recorded video/audio? Can we predict that a moment is going to be forgotten and use that prediction for producing cues or summaries for memory enhancement?
  2. Is it possible to find specific memories only using brain activity? For example, the user considers a particular entity (e.g. a person or a place) or event by just thinking about it. Can we identify what they are thinking about and then retrieve related memories (e.g. the summarized video) from that EEG signal in real-time?
  3. How can we apply the findings from these studies to improve learning and memory in people of all ages?
  4. A more speculative direction that we plan to pursue is the use of noninvasive brain stimulation. Since we can retrieve the corresponding EEG activities associated with a particular query or event, is it possible to steer the brain activity towards a particular pattern by silencing the irrelevant regions and elevating activity in relevant regions through brain stimulation, resulting in faster and more reliable recall?

Prerequisites: Familiarity with one or more of the fields below:

  • Machine Learning
  • Computer Vision
  • Sensing and Data Acquisition
  • Software Engineering
  • Neuroscience

Contact: Neo Mohsenvand (mmv@mit.edu)


3/26/18

Multiple UROPs

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dean Eckles

Project Title: Measuring and predicting with habits and intentions

Project Description: Psychologists see habits as behaviors that occur repeatedly and relatively automatically in response to cues in the performance environment. Measures of habits can be useful for predicting future behavior and how people respond to interventions.

This project has two parts, which could be worked on by different students:

  1. Meta-analysis of existing studies of the interaction of habits and intentions in predicting future behavior. Prior work has largely found measures of habits and measures of intentions to be substitutes in predicting future behavior. We wish to conduct some meta-analysis of this prior work, including re-analyzing some of this data.
  2. We are using unsupervised machine learning techniques to extract the predictable components of people's behavior in order to measure habits. We are then using this to study what happens when aspects of the performance environment (i.e. the situation someone usually performs the behavior in) is changed. In particular, there are opportunities to work with a large data set describing people's purchases of products, but also potentially fitness tracker data. Depending on your interests, this could involve working on estimators for the (information theoretic) entropy of random variables.

Prerequisites: Experience with computation in R, Python, or Julia is a plus.  Prior training in probability and any of statistics/econometrics/ML.

Relevant URL: http://deaneckles.com

Contact: Allison McDonough (almcd@mit.edu)


3/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Systems Integration for Autonomous Driving

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

In order to evaluate and validate our algorithms for different aspects of autonomous driving, we are operating several robotic platforms and simulation environments. Our platforms involve two Toyota Prius, two autonomous wheelchairs, and a set of miniature racing cars. The work of the UROP will involve supporting us in development and maintenance of the software infrastructure for real-world robotic experiments. It may also involve building and modifying hardware setups and integration of novel sensors and software components.

Prerequisites:

  • Python and C++ programming experience (having written at least 10k lines of code in each language).
  • Knowledge of ROS and hands-on robotics experience.
  • Knowledge of modern software development methodology as presented in the software construction course or through internships (working with git, style guides, unit tests, code reviews)
  • Knowledge of some of the following technologies / frameworks is a big plus: OpenCV, PCL, Tensorflow, PyTorch, Gazebo, Carla Simulator, Docker.
  • Students outside of EECS are also encouraged to apply.

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

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski (igilitschenski@mit.edu)


3/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Robust Perception for Autonomous Driving

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

Within this project we are looking for an UROP interested in computer vision and, more broadly, perception for self-driving vehicles. Developing a robust perception system is key to maintaining situational awareness in highly dynamic environments which may undergo strong appearance and structural changes.  The work will involve integration of existing Perception pipelines (e.g. for Object Detection or Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) and developing new tools for data processing and visualization.

Prerequisites:

  • Python programming experience (having written at least 10k lines of Python code).
  • Knowledge of Computer Vision covering the material of the courses 6.801/6.866 and ideally 6.819/6.869.
  • Experience with OpenCV and desirably PCL.
  • Experience in robotics,  having worked with real-world datasets for autonomous driving (e.g. KITTI or Oxford Robocar Dataset), or knowledge of some of the following technologies / frameworks is a big plus: C++, ROS, Tensorflow.
  • Students outside of EECS are also encouraged to apply.

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

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski (igilitschenski@mit.edu)


3/23/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Daniela Rus

Project Title: Deep Learning for Autonomous Driving

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

Deep learning has been successfully applied to different aspects of the autonomous driving task such as lane and vehicle detection as well as full end-to-end control. We are interested in developing novel algorithms for deep learning-based planning and control, quantifying and representing network uncertainty, neural network compression, and prediction of the state of the environment. The work of the UROP will involve implementation and development of neural network architectures and their evaluation with regard to one or several of these challenges on a full-scale autonomous vehicle.

Prerequisites:

  • Python programming experience (having written at least 10k lines of Python code).
  • Experience with at least one state-of-the-art Deep Learning framework (e.g., Tensorflow, PyTorch, Caffe)
  • Experience with deep learning architectures for Sequence and Image modeling (LSTMs, CNNs).
  • Experience in robotics,  having worked with real-world datasets for autonomous driving (e.g. KITTI or Oxford Robocar Dataset), or knowledge of some of the following technologies / frameworks is a big plus: C++, ROS, OpenCV, PCL, Docker.
  • Students outside of EECS are also encouraged to apply.

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

Contact: Igor Gilitschenski (igor@gilitschenski.org)


3/22/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Klavs F. Jensen

Project Title: Software Development for Gamification of Organic Chemistry

Project Description: We are developing a web-based game related to organic chemistry, where users can vote up or vote down chemical reactions suggested by a machine learning model. We are looking for a UROP to work on the software development aspects of this project. Familiarity with organic chemistry and/or machine learning would make the project more meaningful, but is absolutely not necessary; you can decide to what extent you become involved with the chemistry and machine learning aspects.

The primary tasks will involve programming in Python to integrate a number of different components (which are, for the most part, already written) into a web application. The ideal UROP candidate would be able to code independently but would frequently interact with the graduate student supervisor to ensure that the overall software design and interface is consistent with the project goals. Some front-end web development may be involved, but ensuring functionality is the top priority.

Prerequisites: Because the project will require the development of a Python-based webapp, a high level of comfort with Python is required. Experience with web frameworks (e.g., Django, Flask) is a plus.

Contact: Connor Coley (ccoley@mit.edu)


3/22/18

Term: Spring/Summer 2018

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Sharmila Chatterjee

Project Title: Research on Statistical/Econometric Modeling of the Impact of Sales and Marketing Alignment on Sales Performance

Project Description: This project is the statistical part of research of the impact of sales and marketing alignment on sales performance, via different organizational mechanisms. The student will organize the data; carry out preliminary statistical, regression, and graphical data analysis; examine the data for spatial trends; perform hierarchical linear modeling for 3 organizational levels; and share the findings. This project is a great opportunity for an undergraduate student, with advanced coursework in Statistics/Econometrics, to explore the applied statistics work in management science, and to improve their data analysis and coding skills. For Credit or Pay.

The student will report to the Faculty Supervisor.

Prerequisites: The work should be carried out in relevant statistical package (SPSS, R, or Stata). The ability to code is preferred. Though not essential, familiarity with HLM7 software package would be helpful. The perfect candidate should be a Junior/Senior undergraduate student, or a sophomore with advanced coursework in Statistics/Econometrics. The nature of work requires a responsible and organized student with careful approach and attention to details. The candidate should be committed to the project, responsible and thorough in his/her work, committed to the timeline agreed and communicate in a timely manner with the Faculty supervisor.

Contact: Sharmila Chatterjee (sharmila@mit.edu)

Relevant URL: http://mitmgmtfaculty.mit.edu/schatterjee/


3/21/18

Multiple Openings (contact for exact dates)

Spring start and Summer 2018

Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

Faculty Supervisor: Jose Gomez-Marquez

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

UROP positions for Summer 2018 are listed below. The same positions can start in Spring 2018. We will give you important challenges, guidance and autonomy and resources and you will surprise us with smart solutions. All positions have the option for pay or credit. There is a 2-day fabrication and design orientation to be scheduled upon assignment. You will be joining a fast paced, interdisciplinary group who focuses on hands-on ideation and prototyping.

Project #1: Digital Fabrication, Design and Healthcare Robotics (Mechanical, Course 2, Course 10, Course 20, etc)

Description: Robots helped map the human genome. They can do surgery and manipulate satellites in outer space. We’re inventing new ways of using mechatronic and robotic systems to transform life science automation in extreme environments. This summer, we will be focusing on creating and manufacturing tools for low-cost life sciences and medical hardware that use advanced robotics.  

Two positions available.

Prerequisites: Experience with Solidworks or other 3D modeling software, fabrication experience (machine tools, waterjet, laser-cutter), Arduino, and basic robotic (paths, manipulation, transport). Relevant useful background: D-Minor, 2.007, 2.678.

__________

Project #2: Space based Pharmaceutical Machines (Mechanical, Course 2, Course 10, Course 20, etc)

We’re sending our pharmaceutical factory to the International Space Station and we need your help in making drugs (in space). This UROP student will work to optimize one of our existing pharmaceutical manufacturing protocols for use in space. The UROP would be involved in fabrication to update the system and modelling expectations for use of the system in zero gravity.

Prerequisites: Experience with Solidworks or other 3D modeling software, fabrication experience (hand, machine tools, laser-cutting).

___________

Project #3: Space based Pharmacy Open Chemistry (Wet lab, Course 5, 7, Course 10, Course 20, etc)

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

Prerequisites: Good understanding of organic chemistry and wet lab experience a plus. You will work closely with our chemistry and biology team to create assays, apply reactions to our space platform and deploy them for launch. You will learn any digital fabrication skills required for the projects such as laser cutting, 3-D printing in collaboration with other team members.

___________

Project #4: Mechanical engineering for medical making (Mechanical, Course 2, Course 10, Course 20, etc)

Support the lab by using low-cost materials to develop medical device prototypes. Want to learn how to we’re reinventing the way hospitals come up with medical devices? How we generate tools for doctors and nurses to become medical makers? The UROP will work to develop new projects and to optimize existing devices developed by the Lab. There will be a focus on creating modular components for users to remix and customize these medical devices.

Prerequisites: The most important asset for this individual is an interest in being a medical innovator and strong problem solving skills. Experience with Solidworks or other 3D modeling software, fabrication experience (machine tools, waterjet, laser-cutter) and basic robotic (paths, manipulation, transport), are all assets.

___________

Project #5: Science Policy UROP: Exploring the Science and Policies of DIY Medical Technologies:

Work closely with DIY medical device developers and assist in exploring the legal, ethical, and sociotechnical drivers that affect the development of informal medical device development. You will be part of a team analyzing and uncovering information from the MakerNurse project, our network of medical makerspaces, the  Fair Trade medtech initiative, and the Open Diagnostics Project.

Contribute to our understanding of how underground networks of creators are changing medicine and biotech and learn about the tools that make it happen. We will measure disparities in access to life saving medical devices and the create scenarios involving real world tools developed in ours labs that can address them.

Prerequisites: An interest in medical device, maker culture, and democratized fabrication. Experience in literature reviews, data gathering and analysis, and an writing ideal.

Contact: Please send your CV and short statement of interest to littledevices@mit.edu


3/19/18

Term: Spring/Summer

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Joi Ito and David Sun Kong

Project Title: Zap-Pore: A Low-Cost Electroporator

Project Description: An electroporator is a fundamental tool for biotechnology used to transform bacteria with DNA. However, electroporators are expensive devices. This project involves the development of novel approaches for low cost electroporation via our device, ‘Zap-Pore.'

The student will execute user-experience studies with the device and collect data with ‘Zap-pore’ using a variety of micro-organisms. Experience with molecular and microbiology, along with electronics experience, including PCB layout and circuits, is preferred. The student will also assist in writing a publication on the technology and will be expected to contribute literature review and potentially manuscript writing and editing.

Relevant URL: https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/community-bio/overview/

Contact: David Kong (dkong@mit.edu)


3/15/18

Term: Spring

UROP Department, Lab or Center: Media Laboratory

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: Interactive Toy through Augmented Reality: Merging Digital and Physical

Project Description: The project aim to explore story-telling in kids play with toys. By utilizing Computer Vision and Computer Graphics capabilities, we want to create an interactive experience to seamlessly couple the dual world of bits and atoms by giving dynamic form to digital information and computation. The new toy we envision is bidirectionally coupled with an underlying digital model (bits) so that dexterity of the hand can be reflected in digital states in real time and vice versa. Strong Background in Computer Vision, pattern/object recognition is required.

Prerequisites: Computer Vision and Computer Graphics background

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


3/15/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Reich

Project Title: Building A Playground for Learning Engineers

Project Description: This fall, MIT designers and scientists are launching a new school for teaching teachers; This summer, YOU can help build the playground, full of: Video Games, Tabletop Games, Playful Objects, VR/AR/MR, Mobile Apps, More tools for learning...

As a UROP working for the MIT Teaching Systems Lab (TSL) and Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching & Learning (the Academy), you’ll design playful tools for teaching teachers how to ground their instruction in learning science. We’re hiring students to work on solo projects or tackle projects with peers – and it’s the students who decide how the playground, its tools and games, and the learning sciences come together.

Learning science is a complex discipline that draws on technology and research across disciplines, and this UROP invites students to explore areas of learning science that can be learned through play and translated into teaching practice.  UROPs will effectively work as Learning Engineers, taking on a role that reflects MIT’s strengths and aspirations: to invent for scalable change, to integrate design and science in our approach to education, and to build knowledge with mens et manus.

Apply to help build a Learning Science Playground and add to the curriculum for the Woodrow Wilson Academy, a brand-new, STEM-focused, competency-based teacher education program. Mentorship, a supportive community, a design budget, and Toscanini’s ice cream will be provided.

Email Emily Martin (egmartin@mit.edu) for application instructions. UROPs will be interviewed and hired on a rolling basis starting in March, but applications will be accepted through April 6th.

Contact: Emily Martin (egmartin@mit.edu)


3/14/18

Term: Spring

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Justin Steil

Project Title: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

Project Description: The UROP would join a research team analyzing implementation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule, the Obama Administration’s effort to expand access to opportunity and to reduce residential segregation by race, ethnicity, national origin, income, and disability. This team has been gathering cities’ plans to reduce segregation, analyzing the plans, and turning that research into a book. As part of this effort, we are also making a website that will be the first and only site bringing together all of the plans cities have filed thus far to comply with the 2015 Rule so that cities across the country can learn from one another and come up with their own innovative policies to reduce segregation and increase access to opportunity. We have heard from cities that this would be a very valuable resource.

The UROP would help with the research and would also help the team design a website to make available the research materials the team has collected. This would include dozens of plans from cities around the country, papers and overall findings the team has accumulated, lists of innovative goals so cities could use that as a resource, as well as videos from a symposium held at MIT last year on the topic.

We expect the UROP to gain valuable experience learning about research design, affordable housing policy, and website creation.

Prerequisites: Experience in website design and creation.

Contact: Nicholas Kelly (nkelly@mit.edu)


3/12/18

Term: Spring/Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Adrien Verdelhan

Project Title: Machine Learning for Exchange Rate Predictions

Project Description: Exchange rates look like random walks: the best prediction of the exchange rate next period is the exchange rate now. Nothing else seems to matter. This contrasts with the economic models and public discourses (notably central bankers') that link exchange rates to many different variables.  Since the pioneering work of Meese and Rogoff (1983), researchers in international finance have tried, unsuccessfully, to write down models that predict exchange rates better than simple random walks. There is no accepted solution to this long-standing challenge. We have assembled the largest dataset ever used in academia to tackle this challenge. This is our best shot at the FX predictability puzzle. We'd like to work with a student that would be excited about using deep learning in a finance environment. The project encompasses predictability tests and deep instrumental variables for counterfactual predictions. You can work on a flexible time schedule from anywhere. We expect a minimum of 10 hours of work per week, but we are flexible and smoothing across weeks is no problem. This UROP would be a great opportunity for a computer science-inclined student to learn more about international finance. If interested, please send your resume, a list of relevant courses, and a short cover letter to the contact below.

Prerequisites: Relevant skills: enthusiasm and attention to details! Knowledge of Python is necessary; prior experience in machine learning (through a course or a project, for example using TensorFlow) is a big plus.

Contact: Victor Duarte (vduarte@mit.edu)


3/12/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: A. John Hart

Project Title: 2D and 3D Printing of New Conductive (Bio)composites: Machine Control and Calibration

Project Description: The objective of this project is to construct and/or test a three-axis-motion 3D printer with additional controls to create miniature objects and circuitry out of new/unusual materials. The UROP would either be involved in evaluating machine motion performance, writing software to control the machine, and assisting with design of additional mechanical and fluidic hardware, or with finding the best way to handle and print the material inks. The UROP may begin before summer if interested.

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.ed)


3/12/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David E. Moncton

Project Title: Designing novel neutron optical devices

Project Description: Although neutron scattering is widely used and is critical for success in many areas of materials science and engineering, relatively low neutron fluxes severely limit applications of not only laboratory neutrons generators, but also large national neutron facilities. The penetrating power of neutron beams make them well suitable for probing materials properties, but at the same time renders optical devices inefficient in manipulating these beams.

At MIT Nuclear Reactor, we are developing novel neutron focusing optics, which might make popular neutron methods suitable for a wide range of neutron sources.

Prerequisites: The UROP student will work on computer simulation of a neutron instrument equipped with focusing reflecting optics. The project is suitable for students interested in optics, nuclear or materials science, or computational methods. Some knowledge of optics, good programming skills and an interest in code writing are required. Familiarity with Python, a flavor of C, or Matlab will be needed to complete this project.

Relevant URL: https://nrl.mit.edu/research/neutron-beam

Contact: Boris Khaykovich (bkh@mit.edu)


3/12/18

Term: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: David E. Moncton

Project Title: Designing x-ray focusing optics

Project Description: X-rays provide the most useful methods of studying the structure and dynamics of matter. At MIT Nuclear Reactor, we are developing a constructing a novel x-ray source, which will be more powerful than available commercial lab sources. The UROP student will take part in designing x-ray optics for this instrument. The work includes conducting computer ray-tracing simulations and analyzing the results.

Prerequisites: The project is suitable for students interested in physics, optics, nuclear or materials science, or computational methods. Good programming skills and an interest in code writing are essential, including very good familiarity with Python or Matlab.

Relevant URL: https://nrl.mit.edu/research/compact-x-ray

Contact: Boris Khaykovich (bkh@mit.edu)


3/9/18

Term UROP is offered: Summer

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

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Dr. Ann M. Graybiel

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: Min Jung Kim (mjk1028@mit.edu)