MIT's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
MIT: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Current Research: Project Openings

Below are currently advertised UROP projects available to MIT, CME and cross-registered Wellesley College 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

UROP Project listings are posted for approximately one month before they are removed, unless we are asked to re-post.

1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Wanda Orlikowski

Project Title: Big Data Research on 9-1-1 Emergency Coordination

Project Description: Emergency management organizations play an important role in the functioning of a city. Specifically, these centers manage the coordinated dispatch of police, fire, and emergency medical services, among others. The emergency communication call-takers and dispatchers act as the “first” first responders to emergencies of various kinds. They do this through answering 9-1-1 calls and other requests for help, quickly gathering the required data from callers and other real-time information technologies, synthesizing the data to make sense of what is going on, categorizing the incidents and entering information into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system, and coordinating various activities during emergency response.

Despite the importance of dispatch and emergency communications centers, very few research studies have examined the coordination and decision-making challenges and complexities involved in this work. Moreover, the 9-1-1 emergency field is undergoing several changes due to shifts in the technological and institutional regime. With the profusion of mobile phones in the United States, the volume, type, and pattern of 9-1-1 calls have significantly increased (including a significant increase in the % of redundant calls, prank calls, missed dials, and non-emergency requests) which is impacting both the staffing and management of these emergency centers as well as increasing the percentage of time that police officers and EMTs spend in responding to 9-1-1 calls for service.

Therefore, the motivating question for this research is to understand how does one organize a 24x7 emergency center in the digital age, where the constant connectivity of mobile devices and social media are changing public expectations regarding response times and service levels? As a part of this research, we will be analyzing “big data” related to 9-1-1 call logs and Utilization data to understand the volume, type, and the flow of calls across multiple cities and years. We will also be building models to predict call-volume and call-patterns, which could in turn help the centers to organize accordingly and plan their staffing & patrol deployment.

If you are interested in (a) getting hands-on experience in collecting and analyzing high-volume data (e.g., city-level 9-1-1 calls, crime reports) (b) convert unstructured data into structured data and do analysis, (c) participate in interesting and relevant social science research, this would be a great learning opportunity. UROP will closely participate in research related to a number of questions related to the application of big data/analytics to the field of emergency response. Specifically, we have three types of UROP positions:

Position 1: Candidates with knowledge of intermediate statistics (e.g., regression analysis), and experience with statistical tools (such as STATA or R). Responsibility for this position include managing and analyzing data using statistical software. The ideal candidate is a highly motivated student with strong background in statistics/econometrics and with good data analysis skills.

Prerequisites for Position 1:

Position 2: Candidates with strong programming skills in scripting languages (such as Python), Responsibility for this position include writing code to collect data from a variety of sources, converting unstructured data to structured data, data management, and a sincere interest in the phenomena of big data and analytics.

Prerequisites for Position 2:

Position 3: Candidates with good data management skills – someone who can cleanse and improve the quality of both quantitative and qualitative data.

UROP type: Paid, For Credits, as well as Volunteer.

Contact: Please email arvindk@mit.edu with a brief intro (or with a resume/CV). Also, please include which UROP position you are most interested in, your availability to meet and number of hours per week to work.


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Deep Learning Meta-Modeling

Project Description: You will be working on a follow-up project for the 'Designing Neural Network Architectures Using Reinforcement Learning' project (https://arxiv.org/pdf/1611.02167.pdf). The project includes a combination of machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing. We already have a strong team in place and you will get an opportunity to make substantial contributions to the project.

Required Skills: You need to have strong programming skills in Python, you have taken a class in machine learning or can provide evidence you have equivalent knowledge

Preferred Skills: Experience using a deep learning framework (e.g. Caffe, Tensorflow, Torch), know the basics of reinforcement learning and deep learning

Timeline: Position is available for Spring 2017 with a possibility of renewal based on mutual interests.

Contact: Interested students should contact Nikhil Naik (naik@mit.edu). Include a brief description of your past projects and skills


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Chris Schuh

Project Title: Transparent Ceramic Single Crystals

Project Description: We are developing a bulk ceramic material that is optically transparent that has uses in optics as well as precision consumer/industrial parts. The project involves fabrication of bulk single crystals followed by characterization of the quality and orientation of the crystals. Mechanical and optical tests will also be carried out to determine the strength and quality. We are looking for a student who are comfortable working in a lab and curious to learn a variety of experimental techniques. We will introduce the student to many materials analysis techniques that are critical for modern materials scientists such as optical and electron microscopy, composition spectroscopy, x-ray and electron diffraction methods, and general metallurgical sample preparation. This project will provide a solid basis for many of the most common techniques and concepts in materials science but we are also looking for an independent student who can provide their ideas and input and who can take initiative when needed.

Prerequisites: Prior experimental laboratory experience a plus. Work hours are flexible but ideally looking for at least 10h/week. This project has the possibility to continue into summer and fall semester.

Contact Name: Alan Lai
Contact Email: alanlai@mit.edu


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Bernhardt Trout

Project Title: Machinery for Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Position Overview: The MIT Chemical Engineering Department is seeking mechanical engineering UROP in the Trout Group at MIT as part of a Novartis sponsored project. The successful candidate will work with MIT researchers to develop novel machinery including pharmaceutical material handling and manufacturing devices that can be reconfigured to perform a variety of tasks. A hands-on, motivated engineer is needed to work on the translation team to design, build, and test our next generation of equipment modules and integrated systems.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

Supervision Received: Will report to PI weekly throughout the year

Collaboration: The Mechanical Engineer must be able to function effectively in a multidisciplinary team of engineers and chemists.

Qualifications & Skills:

URL: http://novartis-mit.mit.edu/

Contact Name: Keith Jensen
Contact Email: kdj@mit.edu


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Olivier de Weck

Project Title: Development and Demonstration of Design for In-Space Additive Manufacturing

Project Description: Additive manufacturing technology has the potential to significantly change the way that space missions are designed and executed by enabling in-space manufacturing of useful components. Missions to Mars or other destinations could potentially become much less expensive and less risky when in-space manufacturing is available, and this capability may even enable missions that would not be possible before. The goal of this UROP is to investigate how additive manufacturing can be applied in an in-space manufacturing context in the most effective manner to support maintenance demands for long-duration missions, and to design, manufacture, and test a proof-of-concept component to examine how additive manufacturing implementations impact design choices. The undergraduate researcher(s) will work closely with ongoing graduate research into the application of additive manufacturing for space systems and the quantification of the benefits that this capability could provide. The goal is to inform technology and system design efforts and identify key application areas. Specifically, the UROP will identify space systems components for which in-space manufacturing would be useful and redesign those components to recreate their functionality while minimizing mass requirements and taking advantage of the unique opportunities afforded by in-space manufacturing. The UROP will define requirements, objectives, and a test plan for a specific, proof-of-concept component, develop a design, manufacture the component, and perform tests to characterize the results. Ideally, this design-build-test cycle will be iterated several times.

Prerequisites: Experience with CAD software, hardware design/manufacture/assembly, and additive manufacturing are preferred, but not required. Familiarity with spacecraft systems (particularly environmental control and life support also preferred, but not required.

Contact Name: Matthew Moraguez
Contact Email: moraguez@mit.edu


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Sanjay Sarma

Project Title: Scientometrics

Project Description: The Learning x Scales (LxS) project has been developed under the umbrella of MITili. We seek for an expert in Python with experience in data parsing, data analysis and visualization. The UROP position will focus on mapping data from academic publications across fields. We then want to analyze the data to identify cross-disciplinary collaboration patterns amongst the authors, and present results using a visualization platform such as Gephi.

Prerequisites: Good working knowledge of Python and databases. Knowledge of visualization software would be good.

URL: http://www.gpocgj0rd.com/SigmaOfGephi/BrainEdu/indexBrian.html

Contact Name: Katerina Bagiati
Contact Email: abagiati@mit.edu


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Tod Machover

Project Title: Spaces That Perform Themselves

Project Description: Building on the understanding of music and architecture as creators of spatial experience, this project aims to create a novel way of unfolding music s spatial qualities in the physical world. The UROP will help design a complete embodied experience that changes how we think about sound and its relationship to space. The objective is to create a new type of architectural typology that morphs responsively with a musical piece. Presenting spatial and musical composition as one synchronous entity. The project's goal is to create a multisensory environment where music s perpetually changing characteristics reconfigure the spatial organization of a space, thus creating multiple rooms along the way. The multiple rooms will be constructed by specific choreographies of sound, architecture, light and color. The physical space will be affected by a mechanical system that will move flexible fabric walls, so they can adopt different shapes and positions. The sound will be projected from an array of speakers and the light and color from LEDs that will be embedded on the structure. These will control sound position and intensity, along with light, color and brightness. This system will respond to the input of music, which will deploy a performance by a dynamic Space that is alive and in constant flux. The project aims to give shape to a novel music-spatial aesthetic expression, where the piece is an experience of sound that is choreographed by a dynamic space and embodied in a person s relationship to it. Along with opening the possibilities of a new experimental music composition model, the project will explore the virtues of architecture as a medium not for a purpose, but for an effect.

Prerequisites:

Contact: Please send resume and portfolio (if any) to Sizi Chen sizichen@media.mit.edu.


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Alex Pentland

Project Title: Dynamical analysis of human behavior and its application to credit scoring

Project Description: Most of the studies of human behavior are based on social, mobility or activity features extracted from aggregated static datasets. The idea behind those analysis is that data collected and aggregated from a given window can reveal behavioral patterns in the past that in turn could predict future behavior. For example, the static picture of our social network could reveal something about our future relationships. However, human activity is highly dynamic, constantly evolving to meet new people, visit new places or starting new tasks. Thus, the temporal analysis of the data might reveal new patterns that an aggregate picture blurs and neglects [1]. The purpose of this project is to build those dynamical metrics on the social, activity and mobility data of users to incorporate them in the models to credit risk prediction. There exists some literature that shows the importance of temporal variables in link prediction in social networks, churn in telco/bank! companies, credit card fraud, employment, and, in general, in any CLC (customer life cycle). Our group has a wide experience (see references in [1-5]).

We propose: 1. To build temporal metrics a. on the social behavior (rate of change of social interactions, temporal clustering, temporal diversity, characterization of social explorer/keeper behavior, see [2]), b. activity along the day and weekend (morning activity, eigen-behaviors, see [3,4]), c. mobility (predictability of temporal movements, radius of giration, etc. see [5]). 2. Train new models using static + temporal features.

Deliverables:
1. Report about the importance of temporal metrics in credit scoring.
2. (Ideally) general scientific article about dynamical human behavior.

Required Skill: Proficiency in Python or R, Good knowledge in machine learning and statistics, Experience in big data analysis.

Contact: Please send email to Xiaowen Dong (xdong@mit.edu) or Esteban Moro (emoro@mit.edu) with your CV/resume and a short description (~200 words) that explains why you are interested in this project and summarizes your relevant experience.


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Alex Pentland

Project Title: Understanding social influence in human behavior via large-scale behavioral data

Project Description: We are looking for UROP students for Spring 2017, who would help us conduct research in the subject of understanding social influence in human behavior via big data analysis. Specifically, utilizing a large collection of credit card purchase records made by hundreds of thousands of individuals, we are interested in understanding how social influence might affect people in making purchases, accepting campaign offers, etc. The research outcome of this project may provide guidance in applications such as merchant allocation and campaign optimization, and on understanding urban economy in general.

Required Skill: Proficiency in Python, Good knowledge in machine learning and statistics, Experience in big data analysis.

Contact: Please send email to Xiaowen Dong (xdong@mit.edu) or Yoshihiko Suhara (suhara@mit.edu) with your CV/resume and a short description (~200 words) that explains why you are interested in this project and summarizes your relevant experience.


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Science and Engineering (Course 22)
Faculty Supervisor: Richard Lester

Project Title: Data collection and analysis of socio-economic impact of research universities

Project Description: We are looking for an undergraduate research associate with programming and data-mining skills to join a project analyzing regional socio-economic impacts of research universities. The work will support a detailed case-study of Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi. The research associate will need to create scripts for data scraping and data collection of publications records (from Web of Science, Scopus etc.), patents records (from online databases), LinkedIn web portal and other sources. Basic statistical analysis of results may also be included. This is a paid position.

Prerequisites: Prior programming experience is preferred (Javascript, JSON), familiarity with bibliographic databases and/or LinkedIn APIs is a plus.

Contact Name: Scott Kennedy
Contact Email: sknndy@mit.edu


1/20/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Rebecca Saxe

Project Title: Using neuroimaging to study the cognitive development of infants

Project Description: The Saxe Lab in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences is looking for 2 UROPs interested in neuroscience and cognition, particularly early cognitive development. Our lab uses near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) as well as magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how infants and children learn about the social world. We are especially interested in the brain regions related to social cognition and their connection to social behavior (i.e., face recognition, social preferences, and language development).

Position Description: The UROPs will be responsible for assisting with data collection, participant recruitment, video coding, and preprocessing neuroimaging data. There may also be an opportunity to learn about fMRI data analysis in-depth.

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

URL: http://saxelab.mit.edu/

Contact Name: Lynee Herrera
Contact Email: lyneeh@mit.edu


1/17/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiromi Ozaki

Project Title: Design, Engineer and Build the Future of the Human Body

Project Description: Design Fiction creates speculative, sci-fi design that imagines alternative and evocative futures. If you have a passion for hardware or mechanical engineering, storytelling and design, come join Design Fiction for this unique UROP position. Our research group is designing prosthetics for a future where humans live underwater. Hardware and mechanical engineers have an opportunity to work on a highly polished and functional prototype of this technology. Previous work in Design Fiction has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, BBC and more. Your contributions will be part of a multi-institutional public exhibition in September 2017 and will be highly appreciated.

Prerequisites: Course 2 students strongly encouraged to apply

Contact Name: Miriam Simun
Contact Email: simun@mit.edu


1/17/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: M. A. Srinivasan

Project Title: Development of Blood Pressure Imager Funding: National Institute of Health (NIH)

Project Description: We are developing a new technology to measure blood pressure (BP) called the Blood Pressure Imager (BPI) that does not require cuffs or expensive equipment, and that can be used by untrained individuals. The primary innovation rests on the application of cutting-edge optical tactile sensor technology, the GelSight, to the basic observation that BP has a direct relationship to the outward force on the arterial wall, which, in turn, affects the deformation and forces imposed on the tactile sensor array by the skin surface above, particularly at locations such as the region above the radial artery in the wrist. By integrating high-resolution GelSight optical tactile sensor patch together with signal processing software, BPI can provide precise measurement of skin surface motions and forces exerted by the underlying pressure wave and provide an accurate measure of systolic and diastolic BP. The development and validation of the BPI will be a collaborative project between researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University School of Medicine.

The specific aims of the initial phase of BPI development will include:

Aim 1. Optimize the hardware and software of the BPI: The GelSight hardware and software will be optimized to measure intra-luminal pressure in artificial arterial phantoms encased in silicon rubber (simulating skin and subcutaneous soft tissue), under various hemodynamic simulations in a mock circulatory loop (a bench-top setup that will mimic human circulation). The experiments in the mock circulatory loop will help to (a) standardize the hardware to reliably and consistently image the GelSight surface motions to a precision of a few microns due to skin surface forces, (b) optimize the signal processing and (c) fine-tune the algorithm to derive both systolic and diastolic blood pressures that accurately reflect the intraluminal pressures in various hemodynamic and anatomical simulations.!

Aim 2. Validate the portable BPI in animal models: With the help of animal models, the BPI will be further calibrated and optimized so that the processed signal from the GelSight will provide high resolution measurement of the underlying BP wave continuously all through the beat-to-beat timeline. UROP Role: Help setup the bench-top, mock human circulatory system and conduct experiments to validate BPI. Help optimize the GelSight Hardware and software. Help with animal and human validation studies.

Contact Name: Mohan Thanikachalam (M.D.)
Contact Email: mohant@mit.edu


1/17/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Christian Catalini

Project Title: Using Machine Learning to Predict Startup Success

Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop new code and tools to predict startup growth. Please only apply if you have strong programming skills in machine learning and python. Knowledge of SQL and basic statistics are a plus. Students will have access to a unique, large-scale dataset of startup founding and growth events. They will also learn about the economics of early-stage entrepreneurship and startup fundraising (equity crowdfunding, angel financing, venture capital). If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in machine learning, economics research and data analysis as well as to understand the dynamics of startup success, this would be a great learning opportunity.

Prerequisites: Please only apply if you have strong programming skills in machine learning and python. Knowledge of SQL and statistics are a plus.

URL: http://crowdfunding.mit.edu/

Contact Name: Prof. Christian Catalini
Contact Email: catalini@mit.edu


1/17/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Christian Catalini

Project Title: Predicting Scientific Impact

Project Description: The objective of this project is to develop new code and tools to predict scientific impact (both positive and negative, e.g. retractions and breakthrough ideas). Please only apply if you have strong programming skills in python and databases (e.g. MySQL). Knowledge of XML, natural language processing and machine learning are a plus. Students will have access to a unique, large-scale dataset of scientific articles, and will help gather and process the full text of the articles needed for the analysis from multiple sources (e.g. APIs, PDFs). They will also learn about the economics of science. If you are interested in getting hands-on experience in big data, economics research and data analysis as well as to understand the dynamics of scientific knowledge production and impact, this would be a great learning opportunity.

Prerequisites: Please only apply if you have strong programming skills in python and databases (e.g. MySQL). Knowledge of XML, natural language processing and machine learning are a plus.

Contact Name: Prof. Christian Catalini
Contact Email: catalini@mit.edu


1/17/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)
Faculty Supervisor: 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 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 fronted.

Single semester UROP projects for the spring semester 2017 are available. (There is the possibility of some UROPs continuing for the summer 2017 and beyond). UROPs will work on improvements to UI design on the Mobile side OR add features to the overall platform. A range of projects are possible based on skills/experience.

Prerequisites: While these positions require a strong programming background, experience with specific programming languages is not required.

URL: http://education.mit.edu/portfolio_page/taleblazer/

Contact: If you are interested in any of the above positions, 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 "TaleBlazer UROP" in the subject line


1/13/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Hadley Sikes

Project Title: Protein Engineering for Malaria and TB Diagnostics

Project Description: The Sikes group in Course 10 is seeking a motivated UROP to contribute to the development and validation of thermostable, non-antibody protein reagents to be used in point-of-care rapid diagnostic tests for malaria and tuberculosis. We are looking for a UROP in Chemical or Biological Engineering to participate in various aspects of the project, including recombinant protein expression and purification, DNA cloning, and flow cytometry.

Preference will be given to applicants with relevant biology coursework or prior experience. The UROP projects will be coordinated by an experienced graduate mentor, and general training in molecular biology and protein engineering will be provided. A commitment of at least 10 hours/week is required. Research can count for course credit, or can potentially be funded via a direct funding proposal.

Prerequisites: Introductory biology coursework or relevant prior industry/academic experience

URL: hsikeslab.mit.edu

Contact: If you are interested, please send an introduction and a resume copied to both Hadley Sikes and Eric Miller (sikes@mit.edu and emill@mit.edu). Thanks for your interest - we look forward to working with you!


1/13/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Daniel Blankschtein

Project Title: Molecular Modeling of the Liquid-Phase Exfoliation of Two-Dimensional Nanomaterials

Project Description: Two-dimensional (2D) materials, including graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and phosphorene, are next-generation candidates for optoelectronic devices, sensors, and membranes because of their superior optical, electronic, mechanical, and thermal properties. Compared to scotch-tape exfoliation and chemical vapor deposition, liquid-phase exfoliation provides a scalable manufacturing route for high-quality layers, which is beneficial for synthesizing printable inks and functionalizing the materials in the solution phase. However, precise guidelines for the selection of a good exfoliating agent (for example, solvents, surfactants, or polymers) for a given nanomaterial remain elusive. Our group uses molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and ab initio electronic structure calculations as a tool to garner mechanistic insights into the organization of molecules of commonly employed solvents and surfactants around nanomaterials. We focus on the correlations between the structural features of these exfoliation media and their effect on the energy barrier hindering the aggregation of 2D nanomaterial sheets. The combination of ab initio-based calculation of interaction energies, MD-based computation of the potential of mean force (PMF) between pairs of sheets, and the application of theories of colloid aggregation offer a detailed mechanistic picture underlying the stability of these solutions.

Prerequisites: Willingness to devote 10 hr/week. An understanding of basic principles in Physical Chemistry will be useful. Knowledge of molecular modeling is not essential, but the desire to learn these modeling tools is imperative. Duration: IAP and Spring 2017 through Fall 2017, with the possibility of extension.

URL: http://dbgroup.mit.edu

Contact Name: Ananth Govind Rajan
Contact Email: ananthgr@mit.edu


1/13/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Neri Oxman

Project Title: Swarm Fabrication with FiberBots

Project Description: At a high-level we are working on a robotic swarm manufacturing project. We wish to build ~20-30 identical cylindrical robots (each are roughly the size of a large water bottle) building and climbing structures from fiber composite materials.

Prerequisites: We are seeking a UROP for the IAP-Spring period with extensive previous experience in designing and manufacturing PCBs. Specifically, we wish to redesign and improve upon existing circuits into significantly more compact packages. The candidate should already be comfortable with EAGLE (or alternative PCB CAD), IMUs, motors (experience with fine control over steppers and brushless motors a plus!), noise reduction, SMDs, gerber files, embedded C coding, etc.

URL: matter.media.mit.edu

Contact Name: Kelly Donovan
Contact Email: ked03@mit.edu


1/13/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Mark Harnett

Project Title: Biophysics of computation

Project Description: Using a combination of optical, electrophysiological, computational, and/or anatomical techniques, students will contribute to our mission of understanding how the biophysical features of neurons give rise the remarkable processing power of the mammalian brain.

URL: http://www.markharnett.org/

Contact Name: Mark Harnett
Contact Email: harnett@mit.edu


1/13/17
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Rosalind W. Picard

Project Title: Design of affective games using NAO robot

Project Description: The recent rise of humanoid robots has affected many aspects of our daily lives, bringing a number of medical and wellbeing applications. Specifically, humanoid robots such as NAO have a potential to engage humans in fun and stress-relieving interactions, evoking happiness in the participants. With this aim, an exciting opportunity has arisen for a UROP student to build together with the members of Affective Computing Lab/ MIT Media Lab, machine learning programs to realise a (semi)autonomous interaction between NAO robot and humans. This involves working on machine learning for processing of audio and visual information recorded using NAO s built-in camera and microphones, as well as the design of interactive games. The project start date is ASAP. The initial project duration is 2 months.

Prerequisites: knowledge of basic machine learning, strong coding skills in Python, and, preferably, also in C++ and Matlab.

Contact Name: Dr Oggi Rudovic
Contact Email: orudovic@media.mit.edu


1/13/17
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Rosalind W. Picard

Project Title: Machine-learning for Affective Robots

Project Description: The recent rise of humanoid robots has affected many aspects of our daily lives, bringing a number of medical and wellbeing applications. Specifically, humanoid robots such as NAO have potential to engage humans in fun and stress-relieving interactions, evoking happiness in the participants. With this aim, an exciting opportunity has arisen for a UROP student to build together with the members of Affective Computing Lab/ MIT Media Lab, machine learning programs to realise a (semi)autonomous interaction between NAO robot and humans. This involves working on machine learning for processing of audio and visual information recorded using NAO s built-in camera and microphones, as well as design of interactive games. The ideal candidate would have knowledge of basic machine learning, strong coding skills in Python (preferably also in C++ and Matlab). Depending on the candidate, the project can be funded by our lab or taken for credit.

Prerequisites: basic knowledge of machine learning; knowledge of python (ideally matlab and c++ as well).

Contact Name: Dr Oggi Rudovic
Contact Email: orudovic@media.mit.edu


1/13/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Yasheng Huang

Project Title: Data Identification for Food Safety in China

Project Description: The goal of this project is to find Chinese data sources that will help our understanding and managing of risk associated with the intentional adulteration of food supply chains (i.e., poultry, beef, pork, milk, seafood, and produce) in China. The data sources may go beyond food industry and cover economy, consumer behavior, and trade. In addition, the UROP will perform background research on the Chinese regulatory system and CFDA (related to food). Our aim is to map out potentially contaminated food suppliers using this data, creating a real-time social sensor of food safety in China.

Prerequisites: The focus here will be on identifying Chinese websites so ability to read and understand Chinese is essential and also the ability to write research reports and research summaries will be critical.

Contact Name: Channa Yem
Contact Email: channay@mit.edu


1/10/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: T. Alan Hatton

Project Title: Electrochemically mediated separations

Project Description: Our lab is developing a technology for electrochemical separations of gases, small molecules and nanoparticles. We have demonstrated the separation of CO2 from gas streams and its subsequent concentration using electroactive species, and would like to explore the separation of other molecules and nanoparticles. The goal of this project is to develop various redox materials, ionic liquid electrolytes, and engineer separation units for purification and environmental remediation. The project is multipronged and involves: Electrochemical separation and concentration of CO2 Electrochemical separation of small molecules and nanoparticles Separation of metals via electrochemically mediated regeneration of ionic liquids

The tasks include: Chemical characterization; Electrochemical techniques; Microscopy; Modelling; Data analysis

Prerequisites: At least 15 hour/week commitment Prior engineering or chemistry lab/research experience (UROP or otherwise). Basic understanding of organic chemistry and electrochemistry (preferred). Juniors and seniors are preferred.

Contact Name: Sahag Voskian
Contact Email: svoskian@mit.edu


1/10/17
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kevin Slavin

Project Title: Develop a massively-multiplayer video game with industry pioneers

Project Description: We're looking for software developers in EECS or the arts to rethink multiplayer games at the Media Lab. If you love League of Legends, CS:GO, Hearthstone, come join us! Playful Systems studies the mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics of massively-multiplayer games. This UROP position involves researching and developing a clan-based collectible card game. The objective is to design a game where players are part of each other's journeys through unconventional mechanics. 6.UAP eligible! Will help with proposal.

About us: Playful Systems studies games, working with everyone from the Dalai Lama Center to the Mori Building Co. in Tokyo. The team has experience as executives, designers and developers in the video game industry.

Contact: berman@mit.edu for futher info. Prior UROPs in this position now work at Snapchat and Google.


1/10/17
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Data Driven Regularization and Optimization

Project Description: The task of solving a linear system of equations of the form Ax = b arises in many disciplines of science and engineering. Whenever the problem is ill-posed, some prior knowledge on the unknown vector x is assumed. Some specific priors include smoothness, sparsity and structure. Based on these priors, several black box optimization algorithms have been designed in the literature. In this project, we take a different approach to the problem and argue that in practice, it is possible to learn the prior information.

Prerequisites: Interested candidates should be familiar with foundational topics in mathematics: Linear Systems, Differential Equations and Analysis. Familiarity with algorithm development in Matlab or Python is a must.

Contact Name: Ayush Bhandari
Contact Email: ayush@mit.edu


1/10/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Domitilla Del Vecchio

Project Title: Modeling molecular diffusion in bacterial cells with applications to synthetic biology

Project Description: The field of synthetic biology allows researchers to engineer life. We can program cells to create biofuels 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 biomolecular circuits) are shared within the cell. When these resources become limiting the performance of our circuits is harmed. A stepping stone towards understanding this phenomenon is to determine the spatial organization of these resources (molecules) and how they diffuse within the cell. This project is intended to hone in on this question.

Role: Conduct a literature search to determine and create mathematical models that capture the molecular diffusion process within bacterial cells. At the end of the project, the student should also provide suggestions on possible experiments that validate the model.

Prerequisites: Expertise with ODEs and their solutions, basic knowledge of dynamics, comfortable with using software for coding and solving ODEs such as Matlab, basic familiarity with PDEs, knowledge of basic biology could be beneficial but not expected

URL: https://scripts.mit.edu/~ddv/index.php

Contact: If you are interested in being involved in this project, please contact Carlos Barajas (carlobar@mit.edu) with your resume, hours per week available to commit to the project, and any question you might have.


1/10/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Department of Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)
Faculty Supervisor: Brent D. Ryan

Project Title: Deindustrialization, immigration and residential mobility in Massachusetts

Project Description: Immigration and residential mobility are major forces that shape American cities. Lawrence, Massachusetts is considered in this regard as a “gateway city”, one where immigrants first move when entering the country. Much like Detroit and other cities in the United States ‘Rust Belt,’ Lawrence’s economy developed during the industrial era and has since declined. Recently Lawrence has become known as a city that attracts many Hispanic and Latino residents, further changing its demographic landscape and making the city a center for Latino culture in Massachusetts.

The study, headed by Professor Brent Ryan and Postdoctoral Fellow Emil Israel, will investigate first- and second-generation Latino residents of Lawrence and surrounding towns’ perceptions of their own ambition and life goals, quality of life, aspirations for the future, and valuation of their neighborhoods. Our thesis is that recent immigrants and second-generation Latino residents will have varying perceptions of their life goals and that these varying perceptions will correlate with the neighborhood environments in which they wish to live.

The study, to be carried out during the spring semester, will include personal interviews and surveys, in both English and Spanish, with Latino residents of Lawrence and one or two surrounding cities. The UROP student will work with two Master’s in City Planning (MCP) students to conduct interviews, carry out surveys, and enter and code interview and survey data. Some GIS and database analysis may also be included if there is interest.

Requirements: The research team seeks a self-motivated undergraduate student who is interested in urban planning, social justice, immigration, and or neighborhood revitalization. Spanish language skills are a plus but not required. The UROP student will travel to Lawrence and surrounding areas by train and work will include personal interviews or surveys with residents, so applicants should be interested and committed to speaking with people. The UROP student will be directly supervised by Dr. Israel and will meet biweekly with Professor Ryan and the research team. Desk space will be provided in the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU), located on the first floor of the MIT Media Lab. The position will be 10 hours per week and can potentially be extended into the summer depending on progress during the semester.

Contact: Please send a one-page CV and one-page letter or interest to Emil Israel (emilisra@mit.edu) by February 13, 2017 at 5 PM.


1/9/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Time-Resolved Imaging: Theory, Algorithms and Bounds

Project Description: Time-resolved or Time-of-Flight (ToF) imaging exploits the idea that distance and time are proportional quantities [1]. As the name suggests, ToF is the round-trip time between the source and the destination taken by a particle or a wave. Hence, knowing one entity is equivalent to knowing the other. Nature is replete with examples that rely on the ToF principle. Bats, dolphins, and visually impaired human beings use the ToF principle for navigational purposes. Time-resolved systems such as lidar, ultrasound, terahertz, seismic, and radar technology have been around for decades. But recent breakthrough in sensor design technology has lead to applications of time-resolved imaging in new areas such as optical 3D imaging (Kinect) as well as biology and life-sciences.

Project Goal: The goal of this project is to exploit physical principles of light/sound propagation to devise new algorithms which offer performance within bounds dictated by fundamental limits of the physical process.

Candidate Role: The student will work closely to design new algorithms for Time-Resolved imaging. Exceptional effort may result in journal publications (IEEE Trans./Optica or similar).

Relevant Skills: Enthusiasm for original thinking and a functional knowledge of basic mathematics (Linear Algebra, Fourier Analysis etc.) is a must. The candidate should be proficient with Matlab (or similar). This position is well suited for candidates with EE/CS background with course work in Linear Algebra, Signal Processing and Information Theory related topics.

Relevant Papers:
DOI: 10.1109/MSP.2016.2582218 [1] Signal Processing for Time-of-Flight Imaging Sensors IEEE Signal Proc. Magazine, 2016
DOI: 10.1109/ICASSP.2015.7178753 Super-resolution in Phase Space Proc. of IEEE ICASSP, 2015

Prerequisites: Background in Matlab and functional knowledge of basic mathematics such as Fourier Analysis and Linear Algebra.

URL: http://www.mit.edu/~ayush/Code/SPM_2016.html

Contact: Interested students should contact Ayush Bhandari (ayush@MIT.edu). Include a resume and a list of relevant courses.


1/9/16
IAP-Spring 2017
Department/Lab/Center: MIT Architecture Department
Faculty Supervisor: John Klein

Project Title: Multi-story heavy timber residential building

Project Description: We are seeking strong candidates to design and engineer a multi-story heavy timber project. The project explores prefabricated process and buildings as kit of parts. The UROP position is for credit or volunteer.

Prerequisites: We are looking for candidates (3rd year and up) with structural and environmental engineering backgrounds:

Structural Engineering: Design and engineer the structural heavy timber logic / detailing

Environmental Engineering:

Commitment: Start date is IAP with potential continuance through spring 2017- **Serious candidates only**

Contact: If interested, please contact John Klein (j_klein@mit.edu) with a CV & PDF Portfolio. Interview is necessary and faculty references will be required.


1/6/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Sangbae Kim

Project Title: Cloud enabled interfaces for the next generation MIT Cheetah robot

Project Description: The MIT Cheetah 3 is a next generation version of the MIT Cheetah robot that is being designed to climb stairs, transport loads, and ultimately stand-up to manipulate the physical world. This is a robot we intend to operate alongside human counterparts, helping to augment the capabilities of the human beings it supports. This UROP project will provide initial functionalities that will enable natural interfaces for this new robot through cloud connectivity. We are looking for a motivated undergraduate to help enable cloud connectivity through the following initial goals: 1. Using Amazon Alexa Skills to generate voice interactivity with the MIT Cheetah and 2. Using an IOT-enabled microcontroller to provide remote system monitoring Currently we have used Amazon Alexa skills to demonstrate control of a motor on a microcontroller linked to an Amazon Echo that responds to voice commands. This will serve as a launching point for the project.

Research will take place in the Biomimetic Robotics Lab (biomimetics.mit.edu), under the supervision of Michael Chuah, Patrick Wensing, and Prof. Sangbae Kim. This is a For Credit position that will take place over IAP, with an option for extension into a direct funded position in the spring. UROP researchers will work tightly with the development team for the MIT Cheetah 3, which is currently under construction.

Skills and experience with the following are preferred:

Contact: If you are interested in being involved in this project, please contact Michael Chuah (mcx@mit.edu) with your resume, indicating your year, relevant experience, and any other questions you may have.


1/6/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI)
Faculty Supervisor: Robert Stoner

Project Title: Affordable off-grid electricity access: Estimating the state of charge of a lead-acid battery

Project Description: More than 1.2 billion people around the world live without any electricity and even a greater population does not have access to reliable electricity. This energy poverty results in a lower quality of life and is a significant hurdle in the economic development of these areas. This project is focused on developing a test bed for the world s most advanced microgrid for electricity access. This requires knowing the SOC of the battery at any given time. The goal is to interface Texas Instrument's (TI) battery gauge with a conventional lead acid battery to accurately estimate the state of charge. The accurate SOC estimation allows for better management of generation assets and loads. The solution developed will not be limited only to this microgrid but would benefit many other system using a lead acid battery.

Role: Interfacing a battery gauge with a lead acid battery to get the state of the charge at any given time. Basic code is already available to start with, however, it will require modification, testing and verification on a test setup.

Prerequisites: EECS major (prefer)

Contact Name: Reja Amatya
Contact Email: ramatya@mit.edu


1/6/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (Course 12)
Faculty Supervisor: Sai Ravela

Project Title: Downscaling Climate Risk to Lifeline Networks Using GPUs

Project Description: Hurricanes, the surges waves and floods they produce wreak havoc year after year on our coastal communities. A key question to ask is how climate change might affect this risk. We've done some work in this area, and as it turns out, there is an elevated risk in most places, including in Boston. What we want to know now is how this might affect our lifeline networks; roads, electric grid, buildings, the T. Imagine if we could produce a graph that predicts changes in stresses buildings could face due to flooding at its elevated risk with a changing climate. It could revolutionize planning from long climate scale to real-world engineering value. It would provide information for planning and mitigation planning. Unfortunately, the process of "downscaling" from the large-scale environmental changes to storms to storm surges to floods has stopped at the last mile. What water flooding can do to buildings and other infrastructure is the particular focus of our study. In this project, we will take existing codes for simulating smoothed particle hydrodynamic equations and adapt them to show how floods can impact buildings. Maybe one of our own at MIT. GPUs will perform the simulation; many starting points will help you get off the ground quickly.

If you are a graphics person interested in simulating fluids or a fluids person interested in graphics, either with an ear to our changing climate, you would be perfect. Additional experience with SPH would be fantastic but not necessary. You will be joining the CRISES group's CRISP project. This is a prestigious project, funded by one of our own now near the helm at nVidia. The visibility within MIT, in the industry and academic community, is very high. The project can morph into a senior thesis and possibly beyond into a MEng, but we are at the moment seeking undergraduates, most likely juniors, but others skilled are also perfectly acceptable.

Prerequisites: CUDA programming experience would be great. Knowledge of fluid dynamics, particularly SPH, would be fantastic, but not necessary.

Contact: Please contact Sai Ravela (ravela@mit.edu) with a short one-page Resume and the name of one contact who can serve as a reference.


1/6/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Leia Stirling

Project Title: Analysis of Human Coordination Patterns during Sit to Stand Tasks

Project Description: The sit to stand task is commonly used to access fall risk in many patient populations. These evaluations are typically performed visually by rehabilitation therapists in clinical environments. The MVL is working to explore means of better quantifying patient performance and fall risk. Performance metric development aims to aid clinical decision-making and to improve telemedicine techniques in rehabilitation. This work will explore means of quantifying patient coordination using wearable inertial measurement units during the sit to stand task. The UROP will aid in data collection and algorithm development for data analysis. The UROP will gain valuable experience in experimental design/methods, signal processing, data analysis, and statistics.

Prerequisites: Well-motivated junior or senior. Experience in signal processing is highly desirable.

URL: http://stirling.mit.edu/

Contact Name: Richard Fineman
Contact Email: rfineman@mit.edu


1/6/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hioshi Ishii

Project Title: Toys!

Project Description: Tangible Media Group in the Media Lab is looking to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical worlds using design, engineering, and science. https://www.media.mit.edu/groups/tangible-media/overview/ We are working on a very cool and open ended project that incorporates design and fabrication of new toys that need to have very high standards in terms of safety, originality, element of surprise, material use, shape and color changes and perhaps the ability to incorporate digital augmentation.

As a UROP working on this project you will:

Prerequisites: Must have good hands! preferably a designer with engineering skills or an engineer with design skills. be an active parson that can work alone and explore without needing close supervision. shop access is a big plus, so is programming (mobile) and knowledge of analog electronics.

Contact Name: Penny Webb
Contact Email: pewebb@mit.edu


1/6/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Polina Anikeeva

Project Title: Magnetothermal excitation of biological tissues.

Project Description: The Bioelectronics Group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering is looking for a UROP with interest in material science and/or biological applications. The proposed research focuses on minimally-invasive, injectable platform to enable multi-organ neuromodulation without the need for implants. We use magnetic nanoparticles that when being exposed to alternating magnetic fields, dissipate heat that triggers thermally sensitive ion channels and evokes neuronal excitation. Student will be involved in nanoparticles synthesis and analysis of results from in vitro and in vivo work.

Prerequisites: Students with training in biological engineering, material science, or related fields are encouraged to apply. Experience with general laboratory practices is required

URL: http://www.rle.mit.edu/bioelectronics/

Contact Name: Dekel Rosenfeld
Contact Email: dekelr@mit.edu


1/6/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Daniel Anderson

Project Title: Pooled shRNA library screening for novel lncRNAs involved in liver cancer progression.

Project Description: We are developing a novel nanotherapeutic approach to inhibit liver cancer growth in vivo. To do that we will 1) identify genes involved in liver cancer progression and 2) develop an approach to inhibit expression of these genes in liver tumor. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are non-coding transcripts longer than 200 nucleotides, which emerge as important regulators of gene expression governing virtually all physiological processes in the cell. Mounting evidences has suggested a profound role of lncRNAs in promotion of cancer progression. Pooled shRNA library screenings are powerful tools for studying phenotypes and identifying genes crucial for a variety of molecular mechanisms. Using a pooled library screening approach we will identify lncRNAs important for liver cancer cell survival. Successful candidates will be validated in vivo using nanoparticle-formulated siRNAs specific to the newly discovered lncRNAs. Under the guidance of a postdoc in the lab the UROP will be working on sample preparation for the screens and on validation of the successful candidates. A set of methods of cell and molecular biology will be learned and used during the work on the project, particularly tissue culture, qPCR, WB, RNAi, and molecular cloning. Participation can be compensated via academic credit.

Prerequisites: previous cell culture experience is highly preferred. At least 10 hour per week commitment is expected. Schedule is flexible.

Contact: If interested, please email Yulia Rybakov (rybkayu@mit.edu) your CV/resume and a short paragraph about yourself, your experience and future interests. Also indicate the hours per week you have available and your potential start date.


1/6/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Sangbae Kim

Project Title: Force Sensing Smart Shoes

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

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

The ultimate goal is to use these force sensing shoes to help:
1. Elderly to detect neurologic gait abnormalities, and facilitate earlier treatment.
2. Disabled people for fall prevention and mitigation, when moving about with prosthetics or exoskeletons.
3. Athletes to collect data during trainings to better optimize their workouts.

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

Possible UROP projects include:
1. Improvements to the CAD as well as molding and fabrication methods of the footpad sensors and current shoe prototype.
2. Abaqus simulation of the footpad. Material testing to determine the most appropriate material model.
3. Determining contact position and angle with the footpad. This will require data collection using the CNC mill.
4. Wireless communication between footpad sensor and computer/smartphone through WiFi. This will be done under the supervision of a senior UROP who has developed much of the current codebase.
5. Improvements to the electronics, i.e. making the PCB design modular, wireless charging of the next shoe prototype.
6. Miniaturization of the footpad sensor for shear sensing in the fingers of a robotic hand or on a spacesuit glove
7. Exploration of new piezoresistive materials for sensing.

Prerequisites: Nice-to-haves or interested in learning: Please highlight experience with ANY of the following such as:

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

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


1/6/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Klavs Jensen

Project Title: Kinetics in Continuous Flow Chemical Systems

Project Description: We are looking for a student to help us run chemical kinetic experiments in flow systems. The student will also learn how to analyze and properly deconvolute the data using various statistical methods. The project uses a microreactor and an array of analytical tools to find more efficient methods of collecting experimental kinetic data. Chosen student will learn how to run organic chemistry reactions, use MATLAB and LabVIEW to automate system and fit data to proposed models.

Prerequisites: Prior programming experience. Familiarity with MATLAB is preferred. Some experience in a chemistry lab.

Contact Name: Kosi Aroh
Contact Email: kosiaroh@mit.edu


1/3/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Course 6)
Faculty Supervisor: Mildred Dresselhaus

Project Title: Raman spectroscopy of nanomaterials

Project Description: The student will learn how to prepare layered materials (monolayer, bilayer, few-layer) using mechanical exfoliation and other transfer methods. Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopies will be used to characterize the materials prepared. Data analysis and quantum mechanical models will be utilized for the understanding of the relation between the spectroscopic features and material properties. Based on the above results, the interaction between molecules and nanomaterials will be studied using optical spectroscopies. Sensing and optoelectronic devices will be further explored.

Prerequisites: basic quantum mechanics, optics, numerical methods, statistics. Most importantly, enthusiasm for scientific research

Contact Name: Shengxi Huang
Contact Email: shengxih@mit.edu


1/3/17
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
Faculty Supervisor: Ruben Juanes

Project Title: Visualizing 3D gravity fingering

Project Description: Multiphase flow in porous media plays a fundamental role in many natural and engineered subsurface processes. The interplay between fluid flow, medium deformation and fracture is essential in geoscience problems as disparate as fracking for unconventional hydrocarbon production, conduit formation and methane venting from lake and ocean sediments, and desiccation cracks in soil. Many experimental works study this process, most of them in a 2D geometry. In this UROP project, we propose to conduct experiments in a 3D geometry. We want to study gravity fingering, which is the unstable displacement of a denser fluid raining on a pack of beads immersed in a less dense fluid. We use a laser-induced fluorescence technique to visualize the morphology of the fingers. We determine the key dimensionless groups that control the behavior of the system. We will vary the values of these groups in order to elucidate different regimes of the invasion pattern. The student will be involved in all aspects of the project, from preparing the initial bead pack, to conducting the experiments and performing image analysis on the recorded experiments. It is expected that this research will lead to several journal publications, ideally with the UROP student as first author in one or more of them.

Contact Name: Marie-Julie Dalbe
Contact Email: mjdalbe@mit.edu


1/3/17
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Economics (Course 14)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Ben Olken

Project Title: Stuck in traffic (and how to fix it)

Project Description: Bangalore is one of the cities with the worst congestion in the world. On some routes, peak-time speeds crawl below 6 miles/hour on Every. Single. Day. Tech-savvy drivers often rely on Google Maps to optimize their *own* commutes. However, this ignores a central feature of traffic congestion, namely that each driver's decision affects everyone else. Basic economic theory suggests drivers need an additional push away from traffic congestion. For example, congestion charges.

We are preparing to launch a Congestion Charge pilot project, where study participants will receive real monetary incentives to change their travel times to avoid congestion. The backbone of the project is an Android app that collects GPS locations, together with a (back-end) system to automatically interpret and analyze the incoming data, compute charges, and manage communication with study participants.

We seek an exceptional UROP to make an important contribution to this project during IAP. The work involves a range of tasks: improving and testing the algorithm to automatically code GPS data into trips, using the Google Maps API, calculating the congestion charge, sending notifications and surveys to study participants via the app and logging their status and responses.

Requirements: keen attention to detail and perseverance, excellent coding skills in Python, ability to build on existing code, some basic experience working with data. Full-time time commitment during IAP is ideal. All work can be done remotely.

Up to date information: http://economics.mit.edu/grad/gek/bangalore

Contact Name: Gabriel Kreindler
Contact Email: gek@mit.edu


12/28/16
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Kent Larson

Project Title: bikebump -crowdsourcing + machine learning urban design-

Project Description: Changing Places Group in Media Lab is looking for new ways to shape our living environment. One of them is to democratize the process of urban design to incorporate citizens voices. Urban planning is still top down, and current community engagement methods are broken. Combining collective and artificial intelligence together, we will provide an alternative approach for transforming our physical infrastructure in a bottom-up manner. Bike bump is an attempt doing this by bikes and bike lanes, which is cheap, reversible and effective. We are planning to have a real effect on our backyard Boston-Cambridge area. we will:

Prerequisites: javascript for mobile/web interface development experience in mobile development is a plus willing to learn or know how to develop using React interested or have experience in sound classification using deep learning

Contact Name: Yasushi Sakai
Contact Email: yasushis@mit.edu


12/28/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Economics (Course 14)
Faculty Supervisor: Daron Acemoglu

Project Title: When Castes Collide: Does Competition Mediate Contact?

Project Description: 52% of upper castes in India continue to practice untouchability (discriminating against lower castes). These group relations persist despite castes living in close proximity (albeit in segregated villages). Integration may be a natural policy response, but little is known about how the type of cross-caste interaction might matter. This project is then a field experiment in India which tests whether competitive incentives weaken the effects of interaction. Cricket tournaments (beginning early-January) will be used to integrate men from all castes, with men randomly assigned to teams (giving variation in cross-caste exposure). The teams will then be randomly assigned to individual vs. team pay (competitive vs. collaborative incentives). Once each tournament is over, we will use a variety of games and activities to measure caste prejudice amongst participants and non-participants.

We are seeking UROPs to work with us, carrying out the following US-based tasks:

The time commitment is 6-12 hours/week, during IAP and/or Spring term, with some possibility of extension.

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have a strong background in Economics or Political Science, experience using Stata and the ability to work independently.

Contact Name: Matt Lowe
Contact Email: mlowe@mit.edu


12/27/16
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Evelyn N. Wang

Project Title: Evaporation from ultra-thin nanoporous membrane

Project Description: This is a fundamental study on the interfacial heat/mass transfer during liquid vapor phase change. We experimentally study evaporation from an artificial leaf (a microfabricated ultra-thin nanoporous membrane). It has applications in thermal management, water desalination and steam generation. We are looking for one UROP student who is expected to help design a test rig, characterize the membrane's temperature coefficient of electrical resistance and analyze the experimental data. Working hours are flexible (definitely no more than 10 hours per week) and can be discussed.

Prerequisites: Past experience in mechanical component design (SolidWorks) and some hands-on project is preferred. Basic knowledge in statistics would be helpful.

Contact Name: Zhengmao Lu
Contact Email: zhengmao@mit.edu


12/22/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Characterizing Predictive Control in Autism

Project Description: Motivated by a theory we have recently proposed (Sinha et al., 2014), the overarching hypothesis guiding this project is that individuals with autism exhibit impaired prediction of events as they unfold over time. To put this theory to the test, we probe features of motor behavior of autistic and neuro typical children while catching balls in a naturalistic setting. Difficulty interacting with dynamic objects represents a salient, yet under-studied feature of the autism phenotype, which we hypothesize stems from impaired prediction of trajectory of moving objects. In collaboration with the ActionLab at Northeastern University, this project aims to test whether the difficulties seen clinically in autism result from an underlying impairment in temporal prediction. The project uses motion capture to collect quantitative data regarding movement of individuals relative to the objects in the environment, with simultaneous recording of muscle activation, probing coordination as a potential indicator of prediction of ball motion. Deeper knowledge of the issue holds relevance for adapting environments for autistic children and adults, as well as for designing interventions that acknowledge and address potential underlying neurocognitive issues (e.g., prediction), and not merely the manifestation of the underlying impairment (e.g., difficulty in catching a ball).

Position Description: The UROP will contribute to performing computational analysis of 3D motion capture data and EMG (ElectroMyoGram) signals recorded during ball catching tasks. The student will work closely with others as part of a team, with substantial opportunity to work independently. This position is available for pay or credit.

Application and Deadlines: The deadline to apply through the UROP office for direct funding is February 16; however, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if you wish to apply. We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis starting now until the position is filled.

Visit the UROP website for details about UROP requirements: http://web.mit.edu/urop/apply/deadlines.html

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have some previous programming skills or experience in MATLAB. Able to commit 6-10 hours per week during the spring semester. Background in computer science, engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, or related field.

Contact: To apply, please e-mail Annie Cardinaux, Project Coordinator at anniec@mit.edu, and include your Resume/CV and a letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the project. Please specify whether you would like to do the UROP for pay or credit. *If you are selected and wish to complete the UROP for pay, you will need to create a project proposal for review by a member of our research team several days in advance of the Feb 16 deadline.


12/22/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Pawan Sinha

Project Title: Chracterizing Habituation and Prediction in Autism

Project Description: Sensory sensitivities are a commonly occurring feature in individuals with autism. These difficulties can present considerable challenges for autistic individuals, in addition to the social-communication impairments and repetitive behavior that are typical of the autism phenotype. Motivated by a theory we have recently proposed (Sinha et al., 2014), the overarching hypothesis guiding this proposal is that difficulties in prediction may cause differences in sensory habituation. This project aims to investigate habituation profiles across a range of sensory modalities. Ultimately, we seek to understand whether the sensory difficulties observed clinically result from an underlying impairment in habituation and prediction. The project uses the tools of electroencephalography (EEG) and electrodermal activity (EDA) to obtain rich quantitative data regarding physiological response to repetitive stimuli. Deeper knowledge of the issue holds relevance for more accurate diagnosis, the provision of environments that are more tolerable for autistic individuals, as well as the design of interventions that acknowledge and address potential underlying neurocognitive issues (e.g., prediction, habituation), and not merely the manifestation of the underlying impairment (e.g., sensory sensitivities).

Position Description: The UROP will contribute to electrophysiological data collection and analysis using MATLAB or Python, using sophisticated signal processing methods. The student will work closely with others as part of a team, with substantial opportunity to work independently. This position is available during spring semester for pay (direct funded) or credit. During IAP it is available for credit or volunteer.

Application and Deadlines: The deadline to apply through the UROP office for direct funding is February 16; however, we recommend that you contact us as soon as possible if you are interested in applying. We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis starting now until the position is filled.

Visit the UROP website for details about UROP requirements: http://web.mit.edu/urop/apply/deadlines.html

Prerequisites: The ideal candidate will have previous experience in Python, C , or other programming languages, MATLAB, engineering, and strong analytical skills. Must be able to commit 6-10 hours per week during the spring semester. A background in computer science, engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, or related field is desired. Experience working with children is beneficial, but not required.

Contact: To apply, please e-mail Annie Cardinaux, Project Coordinator at anniec@mit.edu, and include your Resume/CV and a letter describing your interest in and qualifications for the project. Please specify whether you would like to do the UROP for pay or credit. If you are selected and wish to complete the UROP for pay, you will need to create a project proposal for review by a member of our research team several days in advance of the February 16 deadline.


12/22/16
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC)
Faculty Supervisor: Leslie Bromberg

Project Title: Internal Combustion Engines for Manufacturing of Fuels

Project Description: We are looking for a hands-on student to help with an engine-based project. The project will use a conventional internal combustion engine as a chemical reactor to make hydrogen rich gas (through rich-burn). Student will work with staff and other students improving the thermal, electrical and mechanical systems, and will help analyzing the products from the reaction.

Prerequisites: Some hands-on and electrical expertise required

URL: http://www.psfc.mit.edu/

Contact Name: Leslier Bromberg
Contact Email: brom@psfc.mit.edu


12/22/16
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Leia Stirling

Project Title: Exoskeleton Use and Physical And Cognitive Load

Project Description: There is interest in lower-body exoskeletons which will help Soldiers and Marines carry heavy gear over great distances. This project aims at evaluating the physical and cognitive load of powered, lower-body exoskeletons in an outdoor obstacle course environment. To accomplish this, physical and cognitive load will be varied as test participants complete an obstacle course. The testing will take place in the summer of 2017. In order to evaluate the stability and agility of the subjects in each treatment, the investigators are interested in quantifying the amount of time spent in different stages of the gait cycle. To accomplish this, you would help program the pressure insoles in order to capture data while the subject walks through the obstacle course.

Prerequisites: Preferably Junior or Senior

Contact Name: Blake Bequette
Contact Email: beq@mit.edu


12/22/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel

Project Title: The Music of Language: Prosodic Phrasing and Prominence

Project Description: Learn to label, model and understand the music of spoken language. This UROP position involves learning to use a system for transcribing the prosody of spoken utterances, i.e. the pitch, timing and loudness patterns that signal the phrasing and prominences in speech, and applying this system to label the prosody in a corpus of speech that has been developed for evaluating automatic speech recognition systems. Relevant experience might include courses in phonology or phonetics, a background in music, and/or familiarity with audio signals. Training involves taking a course during IAP (two 2-hour class meetings and 6 hours of preparation per week), and the UROP position for the spring term requires a commitment of 8-10 hours per week, at $11.50/hour.

Contact Dr. Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel, sshuf@mit.edu for further information.


12/22/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Mitchel Resnick

Project Title: ScratchJr

Project Description: Want to help develop an app for millions of kids around the world? With Scratch Jr, kids as young as five can get started programing their own interactive stories, games, and animations. In the process they learn to solve problems, design projects and express themselves creatively with the computer. ScratchJr is looking for UROPs to help with the following projects.

ScratchJr project video recording:
Children are very excited to share their ScratchJr creations, and with an adult’s help they can share them by email (or airdrop), but unfortunately the recipient needs to have a device that can run ScratchJr. You would be implementing a feature to make a video recording of a project running in ScratchJr that can then be shared with other people, or embedded on a website etc. This work would include developing the video recording feature for both the iOS and Android versions of the application. Interested students would ideally have experience developing apps for both iOS and Android, but experience with one and a desire to learn the other would be considered. Fluency in Javascript would be a plus.

ScratchJr in Schools
ScratchJr is used in many different settings including schools. This work would include researching how shared iPads and Android tablets are managed in schools, and then updating the ScratchJr project management to work in shared environments so each student can only see their own projects. The ScratchJr team would also like to better understand how ScratchJr is getting used in schools vs other environments, so you would also be adding instrumentation to the ScratchJr Google Analytics to gather data. Interested students would ideally have experience developing apps for both iOS and Android, but experience with one and a desire to learn the other would be considered. Experience with the Google Analytics native libraries for iOS and Android would be helpful along with fluency in Javascript.

URL: https://www.scratchjr.org, https://github.com/LLK/scratchjr

Contact: To apply for either of these projects, please contact Chris Garrity (chrisg@media.mit.edu) with a paragraph describing your interest and relevant experience, a copy of your resume, and include links to any previous projects or apps you created.


12/16/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management
Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Prof. Charles Fine

Project Title: The Evolution of Social Media

Project Description: Looking for a student in management to catalog the introduction of technical and business features, and summarize business models for a selection of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube, over the last 24 months. Part of the assignment will involve designing the catalog template. The research is intended to track the evolution of social media from a platform for personal communications to content distribution. The findings of this research will be incorporated into a larger research paper on the future of video distribution that is a follow on to The Ambiguity of Disruption: Discovering the Future of Video Content (2015). The ideal candidate for this position will have some knowledge of the business, creative, and regulatory dimensions of traditional and new media (including social media). This effort is part of the MIT Communications Futures Program, a joint program between the Sloan School, CSAIL, and Media Lab.

URL: http://cfp.mit.edu

Contact: Please send your CV, a cover letter, and writing sample to chintanv@mit.edu, cc nklym@cfp.mit.edu


12/20/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Aeronautics and Astronautics (Course 16)
Faculty Supervisor: Leia Stirling

Project Title: Design and Development of a Benchtop System for Spacesuit Computational Model Validation

Project Description: The MVL is collaborating with NASA Johnson Space Center and David Clark Company, Inc. to develop computational models for understanding the effects of spacesuit design parameters on human performance. The MVL is looking for a UROP to design and build a benchtop system that simulates features of a spacesuit leg for use with an existing human leg benchtop system. These benchtop systems will be used to provide validations data for the computational models for a variety of hard and soft material suits. The UROP will gain valuable mechanical design and build experience, as well as exposure to experimental methods.

Contact Name: Aditi Gupta
Contact Email: adgupta@mit.edu


12/20/16
Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Elazer Edelman

Project Title: Synthesis of Clinical Data Streams into a Novel Clinical Research Tool

Project Description: The Edelman Lab is seeking a student to assist us in the development of clinical research based software which will integrate multiple clinical data streams (images, signals, electronic medical records data) to facilitate more granular diagnoses of several types of cardiovascular diseases. This UROP will involve optimizing / refactoring existing Matlab and Python code bases as well as developing novel features to advance the projects.

Prerequisites: Applicants should have experience in software development and testing, as well as a background in Matlab, Simulink, Python, and SQL. Experience in computer vision and /or machine learning, would be helpful but are not required. Please provide your resume in PDF form.

Contact Name: Jonathan Brown
Contact Email: brownjy@mit.edu


12/20/16
Summer
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Elazer Edelman

Project Title: Development of Analysis System for Continuous Fitbit Data Streams

Project Description: The objective of this project is to create an automated system to ingest, process, and analyze Fitbit fitness tracker data collected continuously as part of an ongoing clinical trial. The focus of this work will be to design and implement a system that will allow for the creation of visualizations and metrics which can communicate how these devices are being used as well as communicate any relevant physiological changes users are undergoing to physicians and researchers over the course of the trial. This will be a great learning opportunity for those interesting in data analysis and visualization specifically in the medical device space.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of Python and MySQL is a must, as well as some basic statistics knowledge.

Contact Name: Jonathan Brown
Contact Email: brownjy@mit.edu


12/20/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: David Perreault

Project Title: Energy Buffer Miniaturization in Grid-Interface Converters

Project Description: Grid-interface power converters draw AC supply current to supply DC loads, and therefore must buffer energy in a capacitor. Buffering a wide range of currents requires a large capacitor, which places fundamental limits on system miniaturization. The range of currents to be buffered can be reduced by drawing currents at harmonics in addition to the fundamental line frequency. Regulations limit the amount of allowable harmonic content, but do not require perfectly sinusoidal currents either. Therefore, engineers can design waveforms that both meet regulation and take advantage of harmonics to reduce the required buffer size and achieve higher power density. This project will involve mathematical waveform construction to optimize volume within practical and regulatory constraints, followed by experimental validation. The results, useful in themselves, will then also be used to inform circuit and control design, including impacts on electromagnetic interference, efficiency, etc. The student will gain skills in circuit theory, analysis, simulation, and practical electrical engineering laboratory skills. In addition, the student will develop a familiarity with power electronics systems and current research issues.

Prerequisites: Basic background in circuits and signals/systems, as well as proficiency in MATLAB or other scientific computing environment (numpy, etc.). No background in power electronics is required. 6-1 (Electrical Engineering) students preferred; also open to 6-2 (EECS) students

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

Contact Name: David Perreault
Contact Email: djperrea@mit.edu


12/20/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Political Science (Course 17)
Faculty Supervisor: In Song Kim

Project Title: Big Data and International Trade

Brief Description of Project: This Big Data project investigates how the patterns of global trade have changed over time by analyzing more than 10 trillion observations. We have developed a clustering algorithm to group countries with similar trade patterns and policies. This project will advance our understanding of the economic/political determinants of international trade.

Specific tasks for RA: The RA will assist the research team to analyze international trade data using various machine learning algorithms. The ideal candidate will be familiar with scripting languages such as Python, and know how to manage big datasets using SQL. The work will involve automated data collection from various web pages and APIs. Additional processing and computing will be done using the Hadoop ecosystem (Hive, Pig, Spark).

Background and skills required of RA: (1) Intermediate to advanced proficiency in Python -- knowledge and experience using Python web scraping packages such as BeautifulSoup, Scrapy, mechanize, and/or requests; (2) Knowledge and experience using Python database packages such as SQLAlchemy, SQLite, and/or mysqldb; and (3) Preferred: Interest or beginner s proficiency in using the Apache Hadoop ecosystem including Hive, Pig, Spark, and/or Sqoop to process large volumes of data.

UROPs will work approximately 10 hours per week for either or both of the IAP 2017 and Spring 2017 terms.

Contact: Interested applicants should send a short statement of interest indicating preferred start date, along with a resume/CV to Elisha Cohen, elishac@mit.edu


12/20/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)
Faculty Supervisor: Balakrishnan Rajagopal

Project Title: Chinatown Eviction Impact Assesment

Project Description: Boston s Chinatown is the third-largest Chinatown in the nation and serves as the social, cultural, political, and economic center of the broader Chinese community of New England. Today, the neighborhood is one of the most rapidly gentrifying parts of the city, where new luxury residential developments are driving up property values. As a result, hundreds of families have been displaced and many more are at risk of being evicted. Through the application of the Eviction Impact Assessment tool, an internationally recognized methodology for assessing the wide range of losses and costs associated with forced evictions (based on United Nations global standards and guidelines), DRAN is partnering with a long established community based organization in the Chinatown neighborhood to measure the impacts of displacement on area residents. The project phases are threefold: (1) baseline assessment and survey design; (2) survey interviews with Chinatown residents; 3) data analysis and report preparation.

The final outcome of this project will be a research report, which is intended to serve local partners advocacy efforts on housing and land rights policies in the City of Boston. Students will gain experience in community driven research practice, surveying, data and policy analysis as well as be part of a team thinking critically about displacement and land rights issues globally.

Prerequisites:

URL: http://mitdisplacement.org

Contact Name: Diana Bell
Contact Email: dianaxb@mit.edu


12/15/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Rosalind Picard

Project Title: Physiological data measurement / SNAPSHOT study

Project Description: The Affective Computing group, Media Lab is looking for IAP/Spring 2017 UROP students who join us to develop a system to measure physiological data for detecting stress and health conditions, run our SNAPSHOT study together and analyze the data about stress, sleep, and mood. We have run the SNAPSHOT study to measure Sleep, Networks, Affect, Performance, Stress, and Health using Objective Techniques.(wearable sensors and mobile phones) for MIT undergrad students. We aim to understand the associations among mood, stress, sleep and social networks, and forecast/predict and improve mood. http://snapshot.media.mit.edu/

The students must have interests in programming, human experiment and data, sensors and actuators. Experience in python, C++, C#, signal processing, statistical analysis, machine learning or arduino is plus.

Contact: If you are interested, please send an email to Akane Sano at akanes@media.mit.edu with the following information:


12/15/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Experiments on brain activity and behavior

Project Description: Help us do experiments to solve the mysteries of the brain! In this project, you will assist us in performing experiments manipulating and/or recording brain activity and behavior in rodents using cutting-edge techniques such as optogenetics and calcium imaging. You may help us run experiments, perform neurosurgeries, train animals and/or build micro-devices for manipulating and recording neural activity. Students with strong programming and mathematics skills may also assist in 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.

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

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

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


12/15/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Computational/mathematical analysis of brain data

Project Description: This project will help us understand key brain circuitry underlying decision making and behavior. It gives you the opportunity to analyze large datasets collected from the rodent brain using cutting-edge neuroscience techniques. You should have strong programming skills, preferably in MATLAB, and basic knowledge of statistics. There may also be 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.

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

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

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


12/15/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Evelyn N. Wang

Project Title: MIT Lab Energy Assessment Center

Project Description: The Device Research Lab recently won a $5k grant from the MIT Green Labs program to found the Lab Energy Assessment Center (LEAC) at MIT. The LEAC will provide energy assessments free of charge to labs on campus with the goal of identifying ways that the labs can save energy and implement sustainable practices. Each assessment will be conducted by a team of students who use a wireless energy monitoring network based on the Wemo family of devices. This wireless network, to be purchased with the grant money and designed based on a prototype in room 7-021, will be installed in the lab being assessed for period of a few days to collect energy use data. Following the data collection as well as a lab inspection and discussion with lab users, the team of students assessing the lab will compile the data and inspection results in a comprehensive report that details power consumption patterns, recommends energy-saving and sustainable practices that could be implemented in the lab (for example, automatically turning off overhead lighting, changing freezer setpoints, adding a glove recycling program, etc.), and estimates potential economic and environmental impact.

Prerequisites: We are interested in hiring an interdisciplinary team comprised of students who have experience in computer science and networking to operate and maintain the wireless sensor network during assessments as well as students with a background in thermodynamics or energy analysis to analyze data and identify opportunities to save power. This UROP starts as early as IAP 2017 (credit, up to 40 hr/wk) and will continue into spring 2017 (paid or credit, up to 10 hr/wk) and summer 2017 (paid or credit, up to 40 hr/wk).

Contact: Please send a resume and brief statement of interest to Dan Preston (dpreston@mit.edu; web: http://drl.mit.edu), along with your availability to meet and discuss this opportunity to join the founding team of the MIT LEAC.


12/15/16
Term: IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Bevin Engelward

Project Title: Create animations to show how CRISPR works

Project Description: The Engelward laboratory has previously created animations to explain how double strand breaks are repaired in mammalian cells. See http://web.mit.edu/engelward-lab/animations.htm  These animations are very popular, but their impact could be far greater if they were used to show how CRISPR works. The original CRISPR approach, and the most widely used, involves the creation of a double strand break. The reason CRISPR works is because it exploits the normal responses that cells have to double strand breaks.  For this project, the goal is to create new animations that clearly show the various ways that CRISPR can be used to modify genomic sequences. This is a much needed tool for both academia and industry. At present, there is nothing like it, making this an exciting opportunity.  Ultimately, successful animations will be linked to many websites in order to make them broadly useful.

Prerequisites: Need to have the ability to create simple animations. In this case, the animations can be simple line drawings such as those made by Justin Loh and Bevin Engelward http://web.mit.edu/engelward-lab/animations.htm or animations can be hand drawn

URL: http://web.mit.edu/engelward-lab/animations.htm

Contact Name: Bevin P Engelward
Contact Email: bevin@mit.edu


12/15/16
Term: IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Bevin Engelward

Project Title: Website and App for Disaster Preparedness in Boston

Project Description: What would happen if there were a flood in Boston?? Are we ready?  What can MIT do to help?  The goal of this project is to create a website and an app that makes it possible for disaster response personnel (firefighters, police etc.)  to find MIT researchers who can help in the case of a large-scale disaster.   Make a difference - save lives through preparation.

Prerequisites: ability to create an advanced website with data bases and ability to create an app

Contact Name: Bevin P Engelward
Contact Email: bevin@mit.edu


12/14/16
IAP
Department: Department of Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor Anne Spirn

Project Title: West Philadelphia Landscape Project

Project Description: The West Philadelphia Landscape Project (WPLP) has worked in the Mill Creek neighborhood of Philadelphia for over 25 years with the goal of restoring nature through strategic design, planning, and education. The research team currently seeks to extend the historical understanding of the historic Mill Creek watershed of West Philadelphia into the 20th century by analyzing historic documents and translating the information into a public information resource. Resources include information on social and demographic changes related to housing and economic policy, including discriminatory processes. The goal is to provide a more comprehensive understanding of current physical, social, and economic conditions by connecting the various forces that have shaped West Philadelphia’s past. For more information, visit wplp.net.

Prerequisites: Experience working with spatial data using ArcGIS or QGIS is preferred, but not required. Must be able to work independently and on a small team to research and process historical data.

Compensation: hourly rate or academic credit.

Contact Name: Professor Anne Spirn
Contact Email: spirn@mit.edu


12/14/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: R. Rox Anderson, MD

Project Title: Medical coolant prototype

Project Description: The main goal of this project is to design, fabricate, and validate a novel prototype device for producing and injecting a biologically compatible coolant, to be used in pre-clinical studies. This UROP will start during IAP and continue into the spring semester, with the potential to become a long-term appointment.

Prerequisites: Students with training in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, or related fields are encouraged to apply. Experience in applying rheology, heat and mass transport, and thermodynamics principles in research/industrial designs is especially desirable. Preference will be given to candidates who can commit to working at least 20 hours/week during IAP and 5-10 hours/weeks during the school year.

Contact Name: Lilit Garibyan
Contact Email: lgaribyan@mgh.harvard.edu


12/14/16
Department/Lab/Center: Chemical Engineering (Course 10)
Faculty Supervisor: Allan Myerson

Project Title: Impurity study on gypsum crystallization during phosphoric acid production

Project Description: The production of phosphoric acid from phosphate rock involves the addition of the phosphate rock to a sulfuric acid solution. The resulting reaction produces a solution of phosphoric acid and calcium sulfate. The low solubility of calcium sulfate induces its crystallization during the process. Calcium sulfate can crystallize in dihydrate, hemihydrate, or anhydrous forms depending on the conditions employed. Most of the processes that are employed produce the dihydrate form of calcium sulfate and operate at temperatures of approximately 70-80 C and concentrations of approximately 28% phosphoric acid. The filtration rate of the gypsum crystals from solution and the amount of entrained liquid in the filter cake are a function of the size and shape of the gypsum crystals. Particularly for this project, we are interested in studying both the thermodynamic and kinetic effects of metal (and other) impurities on the resulting size distribution and shape of the crystals through both experimental and modeling work. With developed understanding of the process, it allows improvements in filtration rate and reduction in entrainment of phosphoric acid by optimizing crystallization conditions such as concentration, temperature, rate of acid addition, mixing in the reaction vessel. This project will require conducting both solubility tests and crystallization experiments in the presence of impurities and developing models to incorporate their effects.

Contact Name: You Peng
Contact Email: youpeng@mit.edu


12/14/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Chris Schmandt

Project Title: Designing clothing (wearable dress) using conductive fabric and biomaterial

Project Description: We are seeking a student who has experience with fashion designing and wearable. The project aims to design clothing to detect assault using fabric and biomaterials for an exhibition. The current phase involves designing and making.

Prerequisites: Students of all levels are encouraged to apply for this opportunity. Prior experience in art, design and fashion will be preferred. Please feel to share your portfolio, if any.

Contact Name: Manisha Mohan
Contact Email: manisham@mit.edu


12/14/16
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Alex Pentland

Project Title: building segregation maps using big data

Project Description: Looking for UROPs during IAP period to work and conduct research in the Human Dynamics group in the MIT Media Lab. Like many different parts of the world, predictions fail because scientists dismiss or ignore to include a metric that has unclear effect to their models e.g. Brexit, previous US presidential election ...etc. Join us this IAP period to understand what went wrong in the previous election. We will be working on building maps of segregation and see if they can give us a clear understanding of the story. We are looking for passionate UROPs who would like to learn and apply their knowledge to build a segregation map of the US. The skills we are looking are Python (Scipy, Numpy, Pandas, Django) and JS (React, D3).

Prerequisites: Python (Scipy, Numpy, Pandas, Django) and JS (React, D3)

Contact Name: Abdulrahman Alotaibi, Alfredo Morales
Contact Email: alotaibi@mit.edu, alfredom@mit.edu


12/14/16
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Iyad Rahwan

Project Title: Interactive Visualization of Large Datasets

Project Description: The Scalable Cooperation group at the Media Lab is working on analyzing a very large dataset, and is looking for an ambitious and driven UROP for IAP 2017 to help build an online public-use visualization web application that will allow users to explore this data easily. We need back-end development of data cube pre-computation, with fast, caching-enhanced serving of queries from the front-end. We are also looking at additional functionality to export reports to files for download, and a secure API for serving certain subsets of the data to authenticated clients. The UROP joining us for this project will help with implementation and deployment of this system in coordination with the group members, extending and optimizing the existing implementation.

Skills required: HTML, CSS, JS/AJAX, Python, SQL, database management, web application frameworks

Skills to learn: d3, spark, data warehousing, OLAP, API development, caching, cluster computing

URL: scalable.media.mit.edu

Contact Name: Sohan Dsouza
Contact Email: dsouza@mit.edu


12/12/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Spectroscopy and Automated Assessment of Biological Data

Project Description: We are developing novel computer vision and machine learning algorithms for next generation of spectroscopy and fluorescence imaging technologies. We have a volume of images that have been graded by experts which we would like to use as training data for automating scoring. Your role will be to work closely with a biomedical and computer science researcher in the group to use spectrometers and develop image classification algorithms and parameters for real-world use. Examples of techniques, which will be utilized for this project, include segmentation and basic machine learning. Co-authorship on publications and opportunity to apply machine learning to develop deployable solutions. Funding: Lab-sponsored research funds are available to support this project.

Prerequisites: Candidates should have strong programming skills (Python, Matlab, or equivalent), software interface development, and prior experience with biomedical imaging, image processing computer vision and machine learning techniques. Ideally you would start during the IAP and continue into the spring semester. Schedule is flexible a commitment of 20 hours per week during IAP is ideal. Include a brief cover letter, resume, a list of related coursework, and other relevant material (projects, portfolio, etc.).

Contact Name: Pratik Shah
Contact Email: pratiks@media.mit.edu


12/12/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Next-generation algorithms for data visualization and automated grading

Project Description: Numerical measurements, images, and videos from biomedical experiments are available to develop new data visualization and machine learning tools. Your role will be to create additional visualizations that allow us to understand the data along its multiple dimensions and to identify areas for machine learning analyses. This includes creating a landing page for these visualizations and this project in general. You will also implement novel machine learning algorithms to classify this and other publicly available datasets for real-world use. Co-authorship on publications and opportunity to apply machine learning to develop deployable solutions.

Prerequisites: Candidates should have familiarity with data visualization, web programming, computer vision, and machine learning methods. Knowledge in statistics is preferred. Ideally you would start during the IAP and continue into the spring semester. Schedule is flexible a commitment of 20 hours per week during IAP is ideal.Include a brief cover letter, resume, a list of related coursework, and other relevant material (projects, portfolio, etc.).

URL: www.cameraculture.mit.edu

Contact Name: Pratik Shah
Contact Email: pratiks@media.mit.edu


12/12/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Rohit Karnik

Project Title: Nanoporous atomically thin membranes

Project Description: Atomically thin 2D materials like graphene have zero bulk and consist of only a surface. Pristine graphene is impermeable to most molecules unless defects are introduced. This project will focus on controllable defect creation in graphene for making atomically thin membranes. A combination of gas and liquid transport through these membranes will be studied using pressure and diffusion flow experiments. The project offers UROP students the possibility of exploring the ultimate paradigm in length scales in Nanotechnology i.e. probing single atom thick membranes with simple, easy to perform table top Nanofluidic experiments.

Prerequisites: No prior experience is needed and all skills can be easily learned within a few weeks of supervision. However, a willingness to learn new experimental techniques, enthusiasm for research, attention to detail and a scientific work ethic are highly appreciated. Freshman undergraduates are welcome and encouraged to apply. While the UROP project is listed under mechanical engineering, students from material science and chemical engineering are also encouraged to apply.

Contact: If you are interested, please email Dr. Piran Kidambi (krpiran@mit.edu) with your resume/CV. There are a 2 UROP positions currently available for IAP 2017 and effective co-ordination/teamwork skills is expected. Work hours are flexible and can be discussed in a pre-meeting. There is a possibility of continuing working in subsequent semester(s) and/or summer. In the past we have actively supported IAP-Spring students in writing proposals to secure funding for summer UROP opportunities.

Please note: This position is only available to students from MIT.


12/12/16
Department: Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Faculty Supervisor: David Simchi-Levi

Project Title: Development of an online game to test decision making

Project Description: Often, we make decisions based on intuitions, gut-feeling and experience. The game helps players self-examine the type of decision makers they are. It includes a few questions, each with its own data that require player to make decisions: investment decisions, operational decisions, or healthcare decisions. We have used the game, manually, in many courses with great success. Unfortunately, for a reasonable size class, the manual game takes 20-30 minutes to process the data. In this project, we are seeking qualified students who can automate the game so results can be presented in an effective and timely manner. A qualified student is a student with strong programming, web development and data analysis capabilities. 

Prerequisites: Time commitment of 10 hours per week.

This UROP project brings together CS, Economics and Decision Making.

Contact: David Simchi-Levi (dslevi@mit.edu)


12/9/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Alex `Sandy' Pentland

Project Title: Data Analyst for Rhythm: an Open-Source platform for quantifying and improving in-person and distributed team collaboration

Project Description: Team efficacy is becoming an increasingly important field of study as the nature of work shifts to larger, multi-disciplinary teams. Studies conducted by our group show that team performance can be predicted based on non-verbal social signals, such as turn-taking, response patterns, and conversation balance.

We are developing a platform for quantifying, analyzing and improving team collaboration outside the lab in real-life situations. The system is composed of a variety of components, including wearable devices for quantifying face-to-face meetings, a web-based tool for measuring team behavior during video chats (e.g. Google Hangout, WebRTC), data-analysis core, and visual “coaching” tools that help people and teams adopt better behavior.

We have collected hundreds of hours of meeting data from distributed and in-person meetings as well as team performance measures. We are now looking for exceptional people to help us analyse these data and extract new insights on teamwork and performance.

Skills you need to already have: Python. Experience with data analysis using Python, R and/or Matlab.

Optional skills:

What you will be doing: depending on your exact skills, you will study the relationship between team behavior and performance, implement and test relevant behavioral models, and improve voiced-unvoiced detection.

Other prerequisites: we are looking for students that are able to contribute a minimum of 20 hours per week during IAP.

Contact: Oren Lederman (orenled@media.mit.edu) and/or Akshay Mohan (akshay.mohan@alum.mit.edu) with a short description of your background or resume


12/9/16
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Matthew A. Wilson

Project Title: Computational Video Analysis to Study Sleep Architecture

Project Description: During sleep, mammals and birds cycle through two very different behavioral states (REM and non-REM) that are linked to different functions and neuronal computations (dreaming, memory consolidation). Scientists often use brain activity recorded from electrodes to track REM and non-REM sleep; this method is very precise, but it is not always practical, and it limits sleep detection to the times that the recording equipment can be plugged in. Developing a state tracking method based on video analysis would provide a flexible, low-cost, and non-invasive method to track sleep architecture. This approach would have important applications in sleep research and technology, including human sleep studies. We are looking for motivated students that are interested in applying computational techniques (video analysis) to neuroscience. One of the main goals of this project is to use matlab to test the feasibility of using video to track sleep architecture. As part of this project, you will learn about sleep physiology and computational neuroscience, and you will also explore other techniques used in the lab (primarily electrophysiology). If you have a strong interest in these topics this could be a great match.

Prerequisites: Strong matlab skills. Dedication of at least 12h/week, with the possibility of extending through the Spring semester and beyond.

Contact Name: Carmen Varela
Contact Email: carmenv@mit.edu


12/9/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Tauhid Zaman

Project Title: Social Media Sensor for Food Safety in China

Project Description: The goal of this project is to collect Chinese social media, such as Weibo or WeChat, to monitor food safety issues in China. People may post information on social media about bad food at a restaurant or getting sick from eating something. Our aim is to map out potentially contaminated food suppliers using this data, creating a real-time social sensor of food safety in China.

Prerequisites: The focus here will be on Chinese social media, so ability to read and understand Chinese is essential. Also, we will be using APIs to crawl social data, so familiarity with Python or experience in using such APIs will also be necessary.

Contact Name: Tauhid Zaman
Contact Email: zlisto@mit.edu


12/9/16
Physics (Course 8)
Faculty Supervisor: Lindley Winslow

Project Title: Supernova Neutrino Search with KamLAND

Project Description: This is a great starting project for a UROP with interests in physics and astronomy. Neutrinos are fundamental particles made in the decays of particles and nuclei. In a supernova, so many neutrinos are made that they actually blow apart the star. The ultimate goal of this project will be a joint search for supernova using neutrinos and gravitational waves. The project will start by simple manipulation of candidate lists and comparisons of supernova models and advance towards a more complicated statistical analysis of multiple experiments and gravitational wave data.

Prerequisites: some python.

Contact Name: Lindley Winslow
Contact Email: lwinslow@mit.edu


12/7/16
IAP
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Chris Schmandt

Project Title: Fabricating Electronics Tattoos

Project Description: This project is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly on their skin. Using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear, we demonstrate three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. It draws from the aesthetics found in metallic jewelry-like temporary tattoos to create on-skin devices which resemble jewelry. These on-skin devices enable users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information on their skin while serving as a statement of personal style. The UROP will assist with creating and testing these on-skin user interfaces, and creating demo setups.

Prerequisites: We are seeking a UROP with:
1. Craft and hand-making skills, excellent care with details.
2. Graphic design experience (Illustrator, Photoshop).
3. Arduino and programming experience.

URL: duoskin.media.mit.edu

Contact: To apply: Please describe your experience in the above three categories, along with your resume/portfolio send to Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao cindykao@media.mit.edu


12/6/16
Term: IAP and Summer
Department/Lab/Center: Mathematics (Course 18)
Project Supervisors: Dr. Jeremy Kepner and Prof. Alan Edelman

Project Title: Spreadsheets, Big Tables, and the Abstract Algebra of Associative Arrays

Project description: Spreadsheets are used by nearly 100M people every day. Triple store databases (e.g., Google Big Table, Amazon Dynamo, and Hadoop HBase) store a large fraction of the analyzed data in the world and are the backbone of modern web companies. Both spreadsheets and big tables can hold diverse data (e.g., strings, dates, integers, and reals) and lend themselves to diverse representations (e.g., matrices, functions, hash tables, and databases). D4M (Dynamic Distributed Dimensional Data Model) has been developed to provide a mathematically rich interface to triple stores. The spreadsheets, triple stores, sparse linear algebra, and fuzzy algebra. This projects seeks to strengthen the abstract algebraic foundations of associative arrays. The student will work with the faculty advisor to develop the basic theorems of associative arrays by building on existing work on fuzzy algebra and linear algebra. Participants will be paid.

Website: www.mit.edu/~kepner/

Qualifications: Strong mathematical background (the student should have completed 18.701 and 18.702). Experience with Matlab is helpful, but not a requirement.

Contact: Dr. Jeremy Kepner, kepner@ll.mit.edu


12/1/16
IAP-Spring
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Ann Graybiel

Project Title: Testing the role of striatal processing in learning and decision making

Project Description: Project The striatum is an important brain region for movement, procedural learning and motivation but its exact role and the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. In this project we will record and manipulate parts of the striatal microcircuitry in order to test existing hypotheses about the way the striatum contributes to learning and behavioral control. Requirements We are looking for a highly motivated student who is serious and eager to learn state of the art research methods. Work will take between 9 and 18 hours a week. We strongly prefer a student who wants to commit to this project for at least a year. Credits will be given for this UROP.

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

Contact: Please send you CV and a cover letter to Bernard Bloem (bbloem@mit.edu)

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