Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Computation lies at the heart of understanding all physical and biological systems. Many solutions to the most challenging problems of our lives, our work, and our world, therefore, are based in computation. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) studies this vast, compelling field in an effort to unlock the secrets of human intelligence, extend the functional capabilities of machines, and explore human/machine interactions. We apply that knowledge with a long-term lens to engineer innovative solutions with global impact.
With approximately 50 research groups working on hundreds of diverse projects, our researchers are focused on finding innovative ways to make systems and machines operate faster, better, safer, easier, and more efficiently for the benefit of humanity. Our projects fall into three areas of inquiry:
We seek to understand and develop both living and artificial systems capable of intelligent reasoning, perception, and behavior.
We seek to discover new principles, models, metrics, and tools of both hardware- and software-based computer systems.
We seek to understand the mathematics of computation and its wide-ranging, real-world consequences.
Housed in the architecturally distinctive Stata Center, bolstered by four decades of extraordinary discoveries, and committed to pursuing frontiers almost beyond imagining, CSAIL places computational thinking squarely in the service of human need. In so doing, we strive to achieve an impact as ubiquitous as computation itself.
CSAIL is the largest Interdepartmental laboratory at MIT with over 800 members including more than 90 Principal Investigators from 8 departments and approximately 500 students. Nearly one-third of our PIs are members of the National Academies.
Our legacy of innovation includes time sharing, public-key encryption, bit-mapped displays, workstations, networks, computer architecture, computer vision, robotics, and speech. These technological innovations have spawned nearly 100 spin-offs, such as Akamai, Ascent Technology, Bluespec, Determina, iRobot, ita, Meraki, Open Market, RSA, Sandburst, Sight Path, Scalable Display, Speechworks, StreamBase, Tilera, and Vertica. Over the past four decades, CSAIL has also played a major role in standards setting, including TCP/IP, GNU, X-windows, and the Worldwide Web.
Our current research is sponsored by a broad range of U.S. government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and worldwide corporations including Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Quanta Computers, Nokia, Foxconn, Shell, Ford, and many others. The research they sponsor is as varied as the organizations themselves and includes:
- Automatic, scalable summarization of user opinions
- Developing vehicles capable of safe, autonomous driving in city traffic
- Developing an autonomous voice-actuated robotic forklift
- Developing the foundation for the World Wide Web of the future
- A mobile sensor data management system
- Medical monitoring
- Database and open annotation tool for sharing and annotating images
- New opportunities for user interface customization
- Multicore computing
- Virtualizing the computing, communication, and information environment
- Computer games for second language learning
- Applying sensor technology to traffic congestion
- Developing the future mobile communication ecosystem
- Robotic locomotion and human-robot interfaces
- Interpreting complete genomes and understanding gene regulation