Program in Media Arts and Sciences

For the second year, the Program in Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) enrolled 24 students in its alternative freshman-year program. These students took special MAS recitation sections in two core freshman subjects, pursued Media Lab UROP research projects, and participated in two new MAS undergraduate subjects on graphic design and research methods. We view this program as a first step toward establishing a full-fledged undergraduate program in the future.


For 2000-2001, the MAS program received 318 applications, a four percent increase over last year. From these, 46 new students (including 13 women) were offered admission: 38 for the master's program, and eight for the doctoral program. This brought the total MAS enrollment to 141, which included 37 women, two underrepresented minorities, and 56 foreign students. Of the total, 84 were master's candidates, and 57 were doctoral candidates. Thirty-four advanced degrees were awarded during the year (23 S.M. and 11 Ph.D.). The program offered 32 graduate subjects.

In addition, MAS faculty and research staff collectively advised and supported 42 graduate students from other MIT departments, including Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Materials Science and Engineering, Health Sciences and Technology Program, Technology and Policy Program, and the Sloan School of Management.

The largest undergraduate presence at the Media Laboratory continued to be UROP students, more than 250 of whom participated in research projects. Many of these undergraduates pursued their undergraduate theses under MAS faculty supervision. In addition, the Program in Media Arts and Sciences offered six undergraduate subjects, and five MAS faculty members and staff conducted freshman seminars or served as freshman advisors.

Faculty and Staff

Isaac Chuang, who came to the MIT from IBM's Almaden Research Center in California, was appointed Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences. Dr. Chuang received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California before joining IBM in 1998. The recipient of numerous honors, he was named as one of the most promising Young Inventors by Technology Review Magazine in 1999. At the Media Lab he heads a new research group on quanta-the fundamental building blocks of physical media, information technology, and intelligence.

Bruce Blumberg, head of the Media Lab's Synthetic Characters group, was promoted to Associate Professor Without Tenure. He has been an Assistant Professor in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences since 1996.

Hiroshi Ishii, who has been an Associate Professor Without Tenure in the Program in Media Arts and Sciences, was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure. He heads the Media Lab's Tangible Media group.

Two faculty members published new books:

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Faculty Awards

The Museum of Modern Art in New York mounted a special exhibition, Workspheres, to explore the role of design in our ever-changing work environment. It commissioned six design teams from around the world to present their concepts for new tools and environments for the workplace of tomorrow. One of those teams was headed by associate professor John Maeda, head of the Media Lab's Aesthetics and Computation group, and Joseph Paradiso, head of the lab's Responsive Environments group, in collaboration with Steelcase, Inc. Their contribution, entitled Atmosphere, is a multifaceted communication tool for navigating and organizing information.

Associate Professor Justine Cassell was one of two MIT faculty members honored with the 2001 Edgerton Award presented at the MIT Awards Convocation in May 2001.

Associate Professor Joseph Jacobson was one of nine winners of the 12th Annual Discover Awards.

Associate Professor John Maeda, Associate Director of the Media Laboratory and head of the Aesthetics and Computation group, was inducted into the Alliance Graphique Internationale, one of the world's most prestigious organizations for graphic designers. Professor Maeda also received the 2001 Design Management Institute Muriel Cooper Award.

Associate Professor Pattie Maes, head of the Software Agents group, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council.

Professor Marvin Minsky was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal by The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA.

Student Awards

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) named Randall Pinkett as Graduate Student of the Year.

Brian Hubert, a doctoral graduate in mechanical engineering who worked with Professor Joseph Jacobson in the lab's Molecular Machines group won the seventh annual Lemelson Student Prize for innovation.

Stephen Benton

More information about the Media Arts and Sciences program can be found online at

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