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.

7/29/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Thomas W. Malone

Project Title: An iPhone/iPad Application for Crowdsourced Medical Image Analysis

Project Description: The MIT Center for Collective Intelligence has built a simple iPhone/iPad application for soliciting diagnoses on medical images such as mammograms. The goal of the project is twofold: 1) to improve how medical students learn to diagnose cases, and 2) to determine whether groups of medical students and machine learning algorithms can outperform experienced radiologists. In order to do this, we will run a number of A/B tests on the app. The job of the UROP will be to help improve the existing application, work on additional features, and work on implementing those A/B tests under the supervision of PhD students at the Center for Collective Intelligence. If you are interested in hands-on experience building, maintaining, and managing an iPhone app with real-world potential, this would be a great learning experience.

Required skills: Please only apply if you have experience with X-code / Swift programming language

Time requirements: Flexible, to be discussed. 5-10 hrs/wk sounds reasonable.

Contact Name: Erik Duhiame
Contact Email: eduhaime@mit.edu


7/29/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Tomaso Poggio

Project Title: MIT CBMM Machine Learning Team

Project Description: We would like to recruit MIT undergraduate and MEng students with excellent programming skills to implement state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms on various tasks. Hopefully we will jointly develop better understanding of the versatility of intelligence by working on a large number of tasks together as a team. We provide sufficiently large amount of computing resources (e.g., GPUs).

Potential projects include but not limited to:
1. language modeling, machine translation, conversation modeling with Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) and Memory Networks
2. question answering and reasoning with Memory Networks
3. visual recognition and segmentation using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs)
4. visual question answering with RNNs + CNNs
5. reinforcement learning with games
6. various machine learning challenges (e.g., ILSVRC, Microsoft COCO, WMT, etc.)

Prerequisites:
- Good programming skills with any of the following languages: Matlab, Python, Lua(Torch7) or CUDA/C++.
- Interest in Machine Learning.

Contact Name: Qianli Liao
Contact Email: lql@mit.edu


7/29/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Civil and Environmental Engineering (Course 1)
Faculty Supervisor: Markus Buehler

Project Title: Hack the MIT Roof by Building an Algae Farm

Background: Solar energy in the form of sunlight represents a clean and environmentally friendly form of a sustainable energy source. However, the power of sunlight is relatively low and typically needs a large space to collect the energy. While solar cells can be used to convert the solar energy to electricity, agriculture, as what has been used by our ancestors for thousands of years, provides another efficient way to collect solar energy. Recent development of the hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technique makes it possible to convert agriculture products into bio-crude-oil, which provides a feasible way to collect and store solar energy, and address energy needs in transportation, infrastructure, and manufacturing. Compared to batteries and capacitors that can only store energy up to ten years, crude oil can store the energy for tens of millions of years with much higher energy density. Another advantage is that it can be used with existing technologies including personal vehicles, airplanes, trains, manufacturing, and power generation.

Main tasks: For this study, the UROP student will work with other researchers in our laboratory to build a modern algae farm on the roof of Building 1 (the Pierce Laboratory). The project involves training in and use of laser cutter, 3D printers, machine shop, and Arduino (an open-source electronics platform) to achieve the design, manufacturing and control of the complete life cycle and operation of the algae farm. The innovative algae farm is designed to be self-supportive and self-optimized in terms of both energy and water usage. For energy usage, the major elements include air/water pumping and rotation, to be driven by electricity produced by a solar panel. Water will be cycled through different parts in the system and algae will be collected at the final container with minimum water content. All valves, pumps and servo motors will be centrally controlled by the Arduino chip. The production rate of algae will be optimized by controlling the air/nutrition/cycle-time as variables by the control software. The resulting algae product will be used by a HTL reactor to obtain further bio-products such bio-asphalt, bio-crude-oil, and other products.

This platform provides an example to achieve high-efficient, low-cost and low-waste agriculture production using purely solar energy. The platform, once built and operating, will be the first to be automatically running and producing algae in a sustainable and optimized way.

Prerequisites: We will offer rigorous training in all areas required. Interested students should have a strong desire in getting involved in innovative engineering system design, to improve the efficiency of energy harvesting, agriculture and environmental sustainability. Should have some basic knowledge of electronic and mechanical machine design and building, and most importantly, interest to learn. Some familiarity with simple hand and power tools will help. Experiences in a programing language Java, C, C++ or python will be desirable but not mandatory. We will train students through staff in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Location: The research will be conducted in the Laboratory for Atomistic and Molecular Mechanics (LAMM), in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), under the direction of Prof. Markus Buehler and Dr. Zhao Qin.

Contact: Please contact Dr. Zhao Qin if you are interested (qinzhao@mit.edu).


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Biological Engineering (Course 20)
Faculty Supervisor: Roger D Kamm

Project Title: Microfluidic models of cancer-immune cell interactions during metastasis for cancer immunotherapy

Project Description: Most conventional therapies have limited success in containing metastasis, which is responsible for 90% of cancer-related deaths. Recently, immunotherapies have shown promising results for reducing metastasis in patients with several types of cancer. This warrants further research to develop new similar immunotherapies by using improved models that can better recapitulate metastasis. We propose that microfluidics systems are particularly powerful tools to replicate the metastatic environment; in this project, the student will work with a post-doc using microfluidic models to study interactions of cancer cells and immune cells. The student will learn to fabricate microfluidic devices, culture different cell types in 3D in the microfluidic assays, isolate immune cells and perform confocal imaging. More specifically, the student will routinely form 3D microvascular networks in the microfluidic platforms; subsequently, cancer and immune human cells are perfused in the networks, so as to image and analyze the cells migration through the vessels, as they would in metastasis in vivo. This system will enable investigation of the poorly understood role of immune cells in metastasis as well as screen for therapeutic agents that could modulate these interactions as a means to reduce metastasis.

The ideal applicant would have experience in cell culture and general biological experiments and an interest in cancer and microfluidics.

Contact Name: Alexandra Boussommier
Contact Email:abouss@mit.edu


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor 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.

URL: https://edelmanlab.mit.edu/

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


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Professor 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.

URL: https://edelmanlab.mit.edu/

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


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ramesh Raskar

Project Title: Optics at MIT Media Lab

Project Description: Light is a wave. When two beams of light collide they may interfere, constructively or destructively. Devices called interferometers analyze the interference patterns of light waves to do cool things (for example, interferometers are the world's most accurate ruler, are used in biology, and played a pivotal role in the famous LIGO project). Due to their optical complexity, interferometers are generally expensive and fragile instruments. Here at the Media Lab, we want to use math to simplify the optics, leading to the design of practical interferometers for everyday life. Please schedule an interview with the Camera Culture group at the MIT Media Lab to learn more about the project.

Prerequisites: A passion for optics. Experience with either optical or electronic hardware. Candidates interested in a multi-semester UROP are particularly encouraged to apply.

URL: http://web.media.mit.edu/~achoo/

Contact Name: Achuta Kadambi
Contact Email:achoo@mit.edu


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Ann M. Graybiel

Project Title: Experiments on brain activity and behavior (projects available starting now)

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 at least 12 hours per week during fall and spring semesters for at least a year and at least 20 to 40 hours per week during IAP and summer. 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)


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Brain and Cognitive Sciences (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: John Gabrieli, PhD

Project Title: Linking children's language exposure to brain development

Project Description: In this project we are investigating the effects of children s early language exposure on the neural mechanisms underlying their language development. Research shows that there is a strong, positive correlation between the quantity and quality of a child s linguistic input and his/her language abilities throughout childhood and into adulthood. Furthermore, cognitive neurosicence provides increasing evidence that early experience shapes key brain architecture. However, at this point in time there is little to no research examining the effects of individual differences in children's language environments on the structure and function of their brains.

Thus, the goal of this project is to (1) link the quantity and quality of children s parental language exposure to the neural structure and function in critical language regions, and (2) determine if there are differential susceptibilities to language exposure across socioeconomic backgrounds, thus highlighting the importance of targeted early intervention for at-risk populations.

Recently, we have acquired a large data set from nearly 100 families with young children, including behavioral assessments and questionnaires, structural and functional MRI scans of the children, and both video and audio recordings of parents and children interacting. Students will help researchers clean and analyze this data. The two main responsibilities will include transcribing short conversations between participating parents and children, and pre-processing structural MRI images. After pre-processing is complete, students will assist in all stages of analysis.

Prerequisites: A basic knowledge of neuroanatomy is recommended, but not required. Minimum is 6 hours per week.

Contact Name: Rachel Romeo
Contact Email:rromeo@mit.edu


7/26/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Evan P. Apfelbaum

Project Title: Studying the Effects of Diversity on Team Performance

Project Description: We are studying the effect of diversity of team performance. For this project, we are looking into data from trivia competitions like Jeopardy! and LearnedLeague. The task of the UROP will be to help gather and manipulate data for our analyses, and perhaps later in the semester to help with literature review. This UROP is targeted for someone who wants hands-on experience working with large, publicly available, fun datasets like the Jeopardy! dataset and/or who wants experience researching diversity and team science.

Required skills: Experience with manipulating large datasets. Web scraping experience a plus. Most of all, a willingness to learn with a hands-on project

Time requirements: Flexible, to be discussed. 5-10 hrs/wk.

Contact Name: Erik Duhiame
Contact Email: eduhaime@mit.edu


7/14/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Health Sciences and Technology (HST)
Faculty Supervisor: Jonathan Polimeni, PhD

Project Title: Neuroimaging Technique Development and Analysis (MRI)

Project Description: Our neuroimaging laboratory is looking for a student with an interest in neuroscience and engineering to work on several ongoing projects related to human MRI and functional MRI software development. Specifically, we are developing cerebral cortical reconstruction and modeling software in the Freesurfer environment for use with high-resolution ultra-high field MRI data. If available, the successful candidate may begin before the fall term.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of MATLAB and/or C/C++ programming is required. A background in signal processing or computational geometry would be highly desired.

Contact Name: Ned Ohringer
Contact Email: nohringer@mgh.harvard.edu


7/13/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Broad Institute (BR)
Faculty Supervisor: Guoping Feng

Project Title: Development of Behavioral State Scoring System in Sleep Studies

Project Description: We are currently conducting sleep studies using mouse models of psychiatric disorders at Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research in Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Many psychiatric patients suffer from sleep problems, which in turn affect learning and memory. To understand when and how mice sleep or are active in our recordings, it is essential to decode behavioral states (wake, REM sleep, and non-REM sleep) from brain and motor activities using in vivo EEG (electroencephalogram) and EMG (electromyography) recordings from freely moving and sleeping mice. You are responsible for manual classification of behavioral states combined with power analysis. Our ultimate goal is to develop an automated behavioral scoring system.

Prerequisites: Prior experience of data analysis and Matlab programming. Background with signal processing and/or bio-engineering is plus.

Contact Name: Kazuo Imaizumi
Contact Email: imaizumi@mit.edu


7/13/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center:Research Lab for Electronics (RLE)
Faculty Supervisor: M. A. Srinivasan

Project Title: Development of Blood Pressure Imager

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-circulatory system and conduct experiments to validate BPI Help optimize the GelSight Hardware and software

Contact: You can contact the overall project PI Mohan Thanikachalam, (M.D.) mohant@mit.edu


7/12/16
Department/Lab/Center: Urban Studies and Planning (Course 11)
Faculty Supervisor: Mariana Arcaya

Project Title: A community-based study of neighborhood and health

Project Description: The Community Innovators Lab (CoLab) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning supports the development and use of knowledge from excluded communities to deepen civic engagement, improve community practice, inform policy, mobilize community assets, and generate shared wealth. CoLab is collaborating with community organizations and resident researchers in nine Boston communities to research the relationship between urban development and community health as defined by neighborhood residents. We take a participatory action research (PAR) approach in which the lived experience and local knowledge of residents of low-income communities of color facing significant levels of urban development, gentrification and potentially displacement guides all steps of the research design.

Responsibility: Currently we are collecting neighborhood survey data, and your primary roles will be to input and organize this data, assist with basic data analysis, and assist with community meetings in or near Boston. We are prototyping new ways of analyzing and disseminating the data with local residents to ensure that the data speak what they know about their communities, and would encourage your input throughout this data analysis phase.

Prerequisites: Comfort with emergent research design process, data entry and analysis

Contact Name: Mariana Arcaya
Contact Email: marcaya@mit.edu


7/6/16
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Julia Ortony

Project Title: Synthesis of amphiphiles for nanoscale soft materials

Project Description: The goal of this project is to create new amphiphilic molecules whose purpose is to self-assemble into nanoscale spheres, filaments, or lamellea upon exposure to water. This project requires prior experience and proficiency performing organic syntheses and chemical characterization. This project will contribute to a larger goal of developing new and important nanoscale soft materials for biological applications.

Prerequisites: Prior experience performing organic synthesis and chemical characterization. Completion of organic chemistry coursework and lab work.

URL: ortony.mit.edu

Contact Name: Julia Ortony
Contact Email: ortony@mit.edu


6/30/16
Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Christian Catalini

Project Title: Using Machine Learning and Big Data 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 basic statistics are a plus.

URL: http://crowdfunding.mit.edu

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


6/30/16
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Harry Asada

Project Title: Optimization of computational model for cell migration in 3D Extracellular Matrix (ECM)

Project Description: This is multi-disciplinary research opportunity for undergraduate students within the d Arbeloff Lab under the supervision of Dr. Min-Cheol Kim (Research Scientist), Jacob Guggenheim (PhD student) and Professor Harry Asada. Dynamic interactions of cells with the surrounding Extracellular Matrix (ECM) are an essential mechanism for understanding a broad range of biological and pathological phenomena, including cancer metastasis, wound healing, development, angiogenesis, etc. Today s computational models for predicting 3D cell migration in 3D ECM microenvironment are still in an early stage, lacking in critical functionality of real cell behaviors. We have been developing a multi-scale computational model for predicting 3D cell invasion into the surrounding ECM.

As the computational modelling tool develops, we would like to allow other labs outside of our own to utilize its unique capabilities. Therefore, we intend to optimize the codebase for use on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and provide a framework under which users can interact with the computational model. If you choose to join this project, your focus will be to perform this optimization including the use of openMP or MPI and design this framework.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with large-scale projects, openMP or MPI, and AWS preferred.

URL: http://darbeloff-lab.scripts.mit.edu/darbeloff-lab/?page_id=562

Contact: If you are interested contact Dr. Min-Cheol Kim (mincheol@mit.edu) and Jacob Guggenheim (jguggenh@mit.edu).


6/14/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Materials Science and Engineering (Course 3)
Faculty Supervisor: Cem Tasan

Project Title: Distortion-free diffraction-based imaging in the scanning electron microscope

Project Description: Advanced imaging techniques in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) are necessary tools to develop new structural metallic materials. At the microstructure level, they provide information on deformations fields, orientations fields and dislocation contents. In this project, you will evaluate the performance of different state-of-the-art SEMs to perform advanced imaging such as BSE crystalline contrast, EBSD, ECCI and DIC. You will develop a method to overlap images obtained using different detectors.

Prerequisites: Knowledge about diffraction phenomena and image correlation techniques would be an advantage to apply for this project.

Contact Name: Emeric Plancher
Contact Email:emeric@mit.edu


6/14/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof T. Sapsis and Prof. K. Turitsyn

Project Title: Loadability analysis for power grids with high penetration of renewable generators

Project Description: The scope of this project is the implementation and testing of new computational algorithms for characterizing resilience of power system that contain renewable energy sources. The project will utilize geometrical techniques for determining critical loading levels and risks of destabilization.

Prerequisites: The candidate is expected to have some experience of Matlab and/or Mathematica as well as strong interest in on numerical analysis. The project will start as a paid UROP over the summer and ideally will evolve to a super UROP project and a thesis.

URL: sandlab.mit.edu

Contact Name: T. Sapsis
Contact Email: sapsis@mit.edu


6/14/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Stephen Graves

Project Title: GUI for modeling Material Recovery Facilities

Project Description: The goal of this project is to improve the recovery of recyclable materials from mixed-waste streams. The current phase of the project is to develop a user-interface for the front-end of a modeling tool for Material Recovery Facilities. This will build upon an existing engine which computationally models and optimizes different configurations of the equipment layout in such facilities. In particular, we are looking to build on an applet for user visualization in the modelling of Material Recovery Facilities. You will work with Mechanical Engineering graduate students and the collaborating industry partner managing such facilities.

Prerequisites: Seeking creative students with programming experience, familiarity with JAVA, JavaSwing or JavaFx preferred.

Contact Name: Karine
Contact Email: karineip@mit.edu


6/14/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Joi Ito

Project Title: OpenAg Initiative | Characterization of Vegetation Structures with Depth Image Sensors

Project Description: At the OpenAG group we are developing controlled-environment agriculturedevices using robotic systems to control and monitor plant growth. Recentadvancements in computer vision and image processing have the potential toassist plant optimization methods, achieving more autonomous, efficient andintelligent plant growth models. The purpose of this project is to conductresearch on depth image sensor integration (e.g. Microsoft Kinect) to obtainquality-related metrics such as plant biomass or plant structure.To obtain these metrics, the UROP will participate in the design of thecomputer vision and machine learning models as well as the testing andimplementing phases in real-hardware.

Prerequisites: The UROP should be comfortable with experimental work. Previous ex-perience in OpenCV, ROS, Python/C++, PCL and Matlab is highly rec-ommended. Applicants should be self-motivated and pay great attention toexperimental details.

Contact Name: Hildreth England
Contact Email: hildreth@media.mit.edu


6/10/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Joi Ito

Project Title: OpenAg Initiative | Closing Environmental Control Loops in a Cyber-Physical System

Project Description: At the OpenAg initiative we are developing controlled-environment agriculture devices using robotic systems to control and monitor plant growth. Recent advancements in open source hardware and software communities have made automation technologies available to a wider audience. The purpose of this project is to conduct research on the integration of environmental control loops that extend the range of programmable environmental conditions in food computing devices. To extend device capabilities, the UROP will participate in the design of robotic control loop(s) as well as the testing and implementation phases in real-hardware.

Prerequisites: Creating programmable environments blurs the line between software and hardware so having the ability to reason about both cyber and physical systems is required. Experience with hardware fabrication tools (standard machine shop equipment), open source hardware technologies, and programming in C++ is highly recommended. Applicants should be self-motivated and pay great attention to detail.

URL: openag.mit.edu

Contact Name: Hildreth England
Contact Email:hildreth@media.mit.edu


6/10/16
Summer 2016
Multiple Positions
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: inForce

Project #1: We are seeking assistance in integrating advanced force sensing and controls with our Shape Display technology. This project involves developing new hardware, electronics, and software control algorithms for custom Series Elastic Actuators for use in haptic interfaces. Strong candidates should have considerable experience in controls engineering, sensors and instrumentation, or machine learning. Knowledge of sensor filtering and estimation, and experience with embedded systems are also valuable.

Tasks include:
1) Designing a new low-cost, compact highly accurate force sensor for shape display pins This includes hardware integration and circuit design
2) Characterising the response of force sensors
3) Sensor signal filtering and processing
4) Designing force control algorithms for series-elastic actuators using the force sensors
5) Implementing these algorithms on an embedded system using CAN communication

Prerequisites: considerable experience in controls engineering, sensors and instrumentation, or machine learning. Knowledge of sensor filtering and estimation, and experience with embedded systems are also valuable.
____________

Project #2: Software Systems UROP. Want to help developing the next generation of our famous Shape Display technology? These are complex mechatronic systems where timing, efficiency, and reliability are critical, presenting many engineering challenges. Strong candidates should have experience working with large mechatronic or robotic systems, embedded programming (Arduino, C), and software development. Knowledge of CAN and serial communication are bonuses.

Tasks include
1) High-level system performance requirements analysis for an array of
2) haptic motorized pins ( Shape Display )
3) Software and communications system design
4) Implementation in Arduino in C language and in C++ (OpenFrameworks)
5) System performance characterization/validation

Prerequisites: Experience working with large mechatronic or robotic systems, embedded programming (Arduino, C), and software development. Knowledge of CAN and serial communication are bonuses.

URL: http://tangible.media.mit.edu/project/materiable/

Contact Name: Luke Vink
Contact Email: lajv@media.mit.edu


6/10/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Joi Ito

Project Title: OpenAg Initiative | Heads-Up-Display for Robotic Adaptive Environment Agriculture

Project Description: OpenAg is developing Food Computers robotic adaptive environments for agriculture that monitor and control plant growth. Advances in open hardware and software have recently made it possible to develop open source robotic farming tools that anyone can build, hack and improve upon. The purpose of this project is to build a heads-up-display for Food Computers can show status and be used for configuration. While building the heads-up-display, you ll work hands-on with open hardware like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, develop REST APIs, and help build and adapt UI controls.

Prerequisites: The UROP should be comfortable with experimental work. Previous experience with JavaScript, Python, GTK or other UI development tools is highly recommended. Experience with HTTP APIs and Git is recommended. Applicants should be excited to learn and build things.

URL: openag.mit.edu

Contact Name: Hildreth England
Contact Email:hildreth@media.mit.edu


6/8/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Alex 'Sandy' Pentland

Project Title: Understanding social influence in human behavior via big data analysis

Project Description: We are looking for summer UROP students who 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.

The specific analysis tasks include two steps:
1. Develop a model that quantifies social influence using individual transaction data;
2. Study how such influence affect people making specific decisions such as accepting campaign offers.

Required Skill: Proficients in Python, Basic knowledge in machine learning and statistics, Basic experience in data analysis and visualization.

Contact: Xiaowen Dong (xdong@mit.edu) with your CV/resume and a short description (~200 words) that explains why you are interested and summarizes your relevant experience.


6/8/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Faculty Supervisors: Suzanne Lane

Project Title: UI Designer

Project Description: Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP) recently received funding from the MIT Alumni Funds to develop a multi-layered video annotation tool, called Metalogon, aimed at supporting rhetorical instruction, feedback and evaluation of oral presentations. Specifically, we aim to address the problem of specific and actionable feedback on oral presentations by having students upload videos of their presentations into the Metalogon environment. These videos can then be made available to instructors and TAs for feedback and comments through annotations, falling under course-specified categories, and will be tagged for rhetorical features. Although a prototype of Metalogon already exists, our goal is to redesign and more fully develop a prototype to be used in the Fall of 2016 for a Course 3 class, with a beta version planned to be deployed to multiple classes in the Spring of 2017.

Responsibility: You will work with the directors of WRAP, a technical lead and a front-end developer to design Metalogon, a process which includes a significant research component on identifying user needs, existing solutions, available tools and technologies to address them, and providing user-centered solutions (through prototype testing and analysis of user interaction). As the UI designer, your role will also be to think through and implement key design points such as ease of use (e.g. fewer clicks to key functionality), an intuitive interface (e.g. avoiding guesswork or excessive messaging, making it easy to understand), and a minimalist approach (e.g. avoiding too many interaction points in any single view, focusing on key objects on each view).

Commitment: Full-time (40 hours/week) over the summer, possibly continuing through the fall semester and, depending on your availability, during IAP.

Key qualifications:
Familiarity with key design concepts and processes:

· Customer Analysis
· Design Research
· Branding and Graphic Development
· User Guides/Storyline
· UI Prototyping
· Interactivity and Animation
· Adaptation to All Device Screen Sizes
· Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
· Ability to meet deadlines and work independently

Contact: Andreas Karatsolis (karatsol@mit.edu) or Suzanne Lane (stlane@mit.edu)


6/8/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Comparative Media Studies/Writing
Faculty Supervisors: Suzanne Lane

Project Title: Front end developer

Project Description: Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP) recently received funding from the MIT Alumni Funds to develop a multi-layered video annotation tool, called Metalogon, aimed at supporting rhetorical instruction, feedback and evaluation of oral presentations. Specifically, we aim to address the problem of specific and actionable feedback on oral presentations by having students upload videos of their presentations into the Metalogon environment. These videos can then be made available to instructors and TAs for feedback and comments through annotations, falling under course-specified categories, and will be tagged for rhetorical features. Although a prototype of Metalogon already exists, our goal is to redesign and more fully develop a prototype to be used in the Fall of 2016 for a Course 3 class, with a beta version planned to be deployed to multiple classes in the Spring of 2017.

Responsibility: You will work with the directors of WRAP, a technical lead and a UI designer to design and develop Metalogon, a process which includes a significant research component on identifying user needs, existing solutions, available tools and technologies to address them, and providing user-centered solutions (through prototype testing and analysis of user interactions ). As the Front-end developer, your role will be to employ web technologies which will support both a synchronous and an asynchronous interaction with the application for different class sizes and instructional models.

Commitment: Full-time (40 hours/week) over the summer, possibly continuing through the fall semester.

Key qualifications:
Familiarity with web technologies such as

· HTML5 / CSS3 / Javascript
· MVC / REST / AJAX
· Bootstrap / Flexbox
· AngularJS / BackboneJS / Socket.IO
· Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
· Ability to meet deadlines and work independently

Contact: Andreas Karatsolis (karatsol@mit.edu) or Suzanne Lane (stlane@mit.edu)


6/2/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Hiroshi Ishii

Project Title: HydroRobot

Project Description: This project will be looking at the idea of shape synthesis and motion synthesis using dielectric materials at human-scale. We will investigate the actuation mechanisms for levitation and transportation of dielectric materials (such as water) from one location to another on an addressable electrode array. The electrode array will be used as a platform to create inter-material interaction, to synthesize shapes, to synthesize motion, to synthesize simple machines. These material interactions will potentially lead to applications in physical displays, micro-actuators/sensors and micro-machines.

Prerequisites: Electronics and circuits (must have). Physics (good to have). Digital fabrication (good to have).

Contact Name: Udayan Umapathi
Contact Email:udayan@mit.edu


6/2/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Laboratory
Faculty Supervisor: Ethan Zuckerman

Project Title: Introducing Mobile App Development to Spark the Civic Imagination

Project Description: Code4Rights is a Media Lab research endeavor that investigates impact coding and inclusion through facilitating the development of social impact applications. We are developing learning materials and app starter kits using introductory platforms like App Inventor. These learning materials will include interactive online learning tutorials that introduce computational creation through storytelling.

Essential Skills:
* Experience with web development (minimum : HTML/CSS/JS)
* Experience/interest media production (Screencasting/ Video Editing)
* Experience/interest with introducing novices to coding

Desired Skills: Experience/interest in App Inventor

URL: www.code4rights.org

Contact Name: Joy Buolamwini
Contact Email:joyab@mit.edu


6/1/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Media Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Chris Schmandt

Project Title: Learning to Juggle With Virtual Reality

Project Description: We will develop a system that teaches people how to juggle through virtual reality. A user will employ an existing VR headset such as Oculus Rift to view virtual juggling balls that can be thrown with hand movements. The system will present haptic feedback when a user holds, throws, or catches a virtual juggling ball.

Desired Skills:
-Experience working with Unity3d and writing scripts in C#
-Experience with object oriented programming
-Experience/interest in mechanical design or haptics is a plus

Contact: Please send your portfolio and/or resume to Andres Calvo (andresc@mit.edu)


6/1/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL)
Faculty Supervisor: Lin-wen Hu

Project Title: Building a Reactor Core with Randomly Loaded Fuel Pebbles

Project Description: Some High Temperature Reactors (HTRs) use pebble fuel to achieve on-line refueling. The downside is the difficulties of locating a large number of fuel pebbles in the reactor core and of performing exact simulations. Due to steady advances of computer power in recent decades, tracking each individual pebble in the reactor core becomes realistic. We are now developing algorithms to load fuel pebbles into a well-defined volume. Experimental measurements are currently being carried out in parallel, providing validation data-sets. This UROP project will work on the simulation side.

Prerequisites: Basic programming skills, elementary nuclear engineering knowledge helpful but not required

Contact Name: Kaichao Sun
Contact Email: kaichao@mit.edu


6/1/16
Summer 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL)
Faculty Supervisor: Lin-wen Hu

Project Title: Refueling Strategy for the MITR using Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel

Project Description: We are working on converting the MIT Reactor (MITR), which currently uses high-enriched uranium (HEU), to a low-enriched uranium (LEU) core. A new type of LEU fuel based on a high density alloy of uranium and molybdenum (U-10Mo) has been developed for this purpose. We have a convincing LEU fuel design dedicated to the MITR core. It satisfies all the limits in terms of steady-state operation and accident scenarios. Now, we would like to evaluate the transition cycles from a 22-element all-fresh LEU core to a 24-element equilibrium core. (The MITR has 27 in-core positions, where typically three of them are used for experiments.) This is an excellent opportunity to review the current MITR fuel management schemes. Optimizations will lead to a more efficient and fix-pattern refueling strategy. The UROP project will require basic programming skill. (Python will be the working language.) Some nuclear engineering knowledge will be an asset.

Prerequisites: Basic programming skills, elementary nuclear engineering knowledge helpful but not required

Contact Name: Kaichao Sun
Contact Email: kaichao@mit.edu


6/1/16
Term: Summer 2016 or Fall 2016
Department/Lab/Center: Mechanical Engineering (Course 2)
Faculty Supervisor: Ahmed Ghoniem

Project Title: UROP for renewable energy and rural development

Project Description: In many parts of the developing world, agricultural and other biomass waste is simply burned in the open air, creating much toxic pollution. Thermochemical treatment is a process whereby this waste can be converted into solid fuel. This has the potential to provide renewable energy, create new income and jobs, reduce waste, and in some cases cut down pollutions and greenhouse emissions. You will help carry out chemical and thermal analyses of the fuel to help determine the optimal reactor conditions. You will learn the fundamental process of engineering design, and laboratory experimental techniques that are widely applicable to other areas of engineering. Successful projects will have potential follow-on travel opportunities (India, Kenya, etc.) to test viable prototypes. Please send CV to kkung@mit.edu in case of interest.

URL (if applicable): http://tatacenter.mit.edu/portfolio/torrefaction-reactor/

Contact Name: Kevin Kung
Contact Email:kkung@mit.edu


6/1/16
Term: Summer
Department/Lab/Center: Sloan School of Management (Course 15)
Faculty Supervisor: Valerie Karplus

Project Title: Investigating administrative causes of air pollution in China

Project Description: This project is focused on understanding the causes of severe air pollution in China's densely-populated urban centers, and its response to policy and institutional changes over the last five years. The UROP position will involve accessing, scraping, and compiling data from web sites that allow linking of administrative events and environmental outcomes. Attention to detail, strong work ethic, interest in the subject as well as a passion for economic detective work are required, along with Chinese language ability, programming ability, data scraping software and techniques, and basic knowledge of Stata, R, or another statistical package. Please send a resume and one-page cover letter to Valerie Karplus (vkarplus@mit.edu) to apply.

Prerequisites: Chinese language ability; programming ability; data scraping software and techniques; basic knowledge of Stata, R, or another statistical package

Contact Name: Valerie Karplus
Contact Email:vkarplus@mit.edu

Visit the Research section of the MIT website