Mit Computer Science Research Papers

  • Eric Schmidt provides support to MIT Intelligence Quest

    Gift will help launch new Institute-wide initiative in human and machine intelligence research.

    March 1, 2018
  • MIT rates No. 1 in 12 subjects in 2018 QS World University Rankings

    MIT ranked within top 5 in 19 out of 48 subject areas.

    February 28, 2018
  • MIT and SenseTime announce effort to advance artificial intelligence research

    Alliance will be part of new MIT Intelligence Quest.

    February 28, 2018
  • Private browsing gets more private

    New system patches security holes left open by web browsers’ private-browsing functions.

    February 22, 2018
  • Neural networks everywhere

    New chip reduces neural networks’ power consumption by up to 95 percent, making them practical for battery-powered devices.

    February 13, 2018
  • Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things

    Special-purpose chip reduces power consumption of public-key encryption by 99.75 percent, increases speed 500-fold.

    February 12, 2018
  • Study finds gender and skin-type bias in commercial artificial-intelligence systems

    Examination of facial-analysis software shows error rate of 0.8 percent for light-skinned men, 34.7 percent for dark-skinned women.

    February 11, 2018
  • Eric Schmidt to join MIT as visiting innovation fellow

    Former Google leader offers insights of a storied career to MIT’s entrepreneurial community

    February 5, 2018
  • Automating materials design

    With new approach, researchers specify desired properties of a material, and a computer system generates a structure accordingly.

    February 2, 2018
  • Letter regarding the MIT Intelligence Quest

    February 1, 2018
  • Institute launches the MIT Intelligence Quest

    New Institute-wide initiative will advance human and machine intelligence research.

    February 1, 2018
  • New program from MIT offers refugees a career boost

    ReACT will award credentials in computer and data science through online and in-person instruction.

    January 23, 2018
  • Bots that talk more like people

    AI platform allows chatbots to draw on robust language database to better navigate human conversation.

    January 23, 2018
  • Location detection when GPS doesn’t work

    Theoretical study shows how to make wireless localization much more accurate.

    January 22, 2018
  • Engineers design artificial synapse for “brain-on-a-chip” hardware

    Design is major stepping stone toward portable artificial-intelligence devices.

    January 22, 2018
  • From undisciplined to interdisciplinary

    Math professor Philippe Rigollet, once a “not very disciplined” student, moves between computer science and statistics.

    January 21, 2018
  • 3Q: D. Fox Harrell on his video game for the #MeToo era

    The computer scientist’s group has designed a game that gets players to reflect on sexual misconduct in the workplace.

    January 19, 2018
  • Three EECS professors join leadership team

    Saman Amarasinghe and Joel Voldman are named associate department heads; Nancy Lynch is associate department head for strategic directions, a new post.

    January 12, 2018
  • New depth sensors could be sensitive enough for self-driving cars

    Computational method improves the resolution of time-of-flight depth sensors 1,000-fold.

    December 21, 2017
  • Can computers help us synthesize new materials?

    Machine-learning system finds patterns in materials “recipes,” even when training data is lacking.

    December 21, 2017
  • In recent years, the field of academic publishing has ballooned to an estimated 30,000 peer-reviewed journals churning out some 2 million articles per year. While this growth has led to more scientific scholarship, critics argue that it has also spurred increasing numbers of low-quality “predatory publishers” who spam researchers with weekly “calls for papers” and charge steep fees for articles that they often don’t even read before accepting.

    Ten years ago, a few students at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) had noticed such unscrupulous practices, and set out to have some mischievous fun with it. Jeremy Stribling MS ’05PhD ’09, Dan Aguayo ’01 MEng ’02andMax Krohn PhD ’08 spent a week or two between class projects to develop “SCIgen,” a program that randomly generates nonsensical computer-science papers, complete with realistic-looking graphs, figures, and citations.

    SCIgen emerged out of Krohn’s previous work as co-founder of the online study guide SparkNotes, which included a generator of high-school essays that was based on “context-free grammar.” SCIgen works like an academic “Mad Libs” of sorts, arbitrarily slotting in computer-science buzzwords like “distributed hash tables” and “Byzantine fault tolerance.”

    The program was crude, but it did the trick: In April of 2005 the team’s submission,“Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy,” was accepted as a non-reviewed paper to the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), a conference that Krohn says is known for “being spammy and having loose standards.”

    When the researchers revealed their hoax, calls started coming in from the likes of The Boston Globe, CNN, and the BBC. Stribling’s phone was ringing off the hook thanks to his name being listed first on the paper. (“Randomly listed first,” he adds proudly.)

    In the wake of the international media attention, WMSCI withdrew the team’s invitation to attend. Not to be deterred, the students raised $2,500 to travel to Orlando, Florida, where they rented out a room inside the conference space to hold their own “session” of randomly-generated talks, outfitted with fake names, fake business cards, and fake moustaches.

    At the time the stunt may have seemed like nothing more than a silly “gotcha” moment in the tradition of the “Sokal affair,” in which an NYU physicist wrote a nonsense paper that was accepted by a journal of postmodern cultural studies. But SCIgen has actually had a surprisingly substantial impact, with many researchers using it to expose conferences with low submission standards. The team’s antics spurred the the world’s largest organization of technical professionals, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), to pull its sponsorship of WMSCI; in 2013 IEEE and Springer Publishing removed more than 120 papers from their sites after a French researcher’s analysis determined that they were generated via SCIgen. (Just a few weeks ago Springer announced the release of “SciDetect,” an open-source tool that can automatically detect SCIgen papers.)

    The trio of CSAIL alumni have since moved on to other things: Aguayo is a technical lead at Meraki; Krohn, who co-founded both SparkNotes and the dating site OKCupid, now runs Keybase, a startup aimed at making cryptography more accessible; and Stribling had stints at IBM, Google, and Nicira before joining Krohn’s team at Keybase this month.

    But even a decade later, the team’s creation improbably lives on. Stribling says the generator still gets 600,000 annual pageviews that manage to crash their CSAIL research site every few months. The creators continue to get regular emails from computer science students proudly linking to papers they’ve snuck into conferences, as well as notes from researchers urging them to make versions for other disciplines.

    “Our initial intention was simply to get back at these people who were spamming us and to maybe make people more cognizant of these practices,” says Stribling, before deadpanning: “We accomplished our goal way better than we expected to.”


    For the 10-year anniversary, the team reconvened for a project that’s once again aimed at predatory publishers.

    “SCIpher” lets you hide secret messages inside randomly-generated calls for papers (CFPs) that appear to be coming from (fictional) conferences with names like “the LYGNY Symposium on relational, software-defined technology.”

    Entering a secret message into SCIpher create text for a ready-to-send CFP that the CFP’s recipient can throw back into the generator to recover the original message.

    Stribling says he views SCIpher as a cheeky way to trade secrets — not to mention, to poke fun at conferences’ ridiculous, jargon-filled names.

    “We combined almost-pronounceable acronyms with random buzzwords cribbed from the SCIgen grammar to evoke the kind of niche specialization that results from thousands of concurrent conferences clamoring for authors,” says Stribling. “Plus, while an encrypted email would be a big red flag for some investigators, in our experience when you send out a call for papers, it's very unlikely that anyone will read it.”

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