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The Media Lab is about people, computation, and quality of life in a digital age. True to the vision of its founders, the lab continues to focus on the study, invention, and creative use of "enabling technologies for learning and expression by people and machines." Its work is rooted in modern communication, computer science, and natural and human sciences, and its academic program is intimately linked with research. Media Arts and Sciences, the academic program linked to the lab, can be thought of as exploring the technical, cognitive, and aesthetic bases of satisfying human interaction as mediated by technology.
Computers and computation are the most prominent common denominators of this multidisciplinary merger of previously separate domains. The birthplace of multimedia computing, the lab is engaged in research that includes computing culture, electronic publishing, software agents, multi-modal interfaces, structured audio, digital and networked video, constructionist learning, conversational computing, pervasive computing, tangible media, personalized media, gender- and age-based computing, metadata representations, common-sense computing, personal fabrication, affective computing, and silicon biology.
The activities of the lab revolve around a core of learning, perceiving, and expressing. Current foci include both the means of expression (the underlying science and technology needed to merge the bits of the digital world with the atoms of the physical world) and its meaningful application to the arts (performance and the study of the principles of analysis and synthesis in computational media). Furthermore, the lab aims to address major social challenges (improving education, enhancing health care, and supporting community development) through the innovative design and use of new technologies.
Many of the lab's research activities are conducted within the context of corporate-funded programs. The focus on corporate support reflects the lab's commitment to collaborative research: a dialogue with industry (and other non-academic) partners provides a forum for ongoing professional critique; technology transfer moves research results out of the lab and into worldwide use. Drawing upon a broad, international base, industries represented range from electronics to entertainment, furniture to finance, and toys to telecommunications.
The graduate academic Program in Media Arts and Sciences is based within the School of Architecture and Planning. Students work closely with faculty members as well as with lab sponsors.
For further information, contact Joichi Ito, director, Room E14-245, 617-324-3818.