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project mac 50 years


Looking Back: 50 Years of Computer Science at MIT

Researchers from the early years of computer science reminisce about the founding of Project MAC and the establishment of computer science as an area of research.  Featuring Robert Fano, Fernando Corbato, Jack Dennis, Marvin Minsky, Patrick Winston, Gerry Sussman, and Joel Moses.

PI Reflections: CSAIL Today and the Future of Computing

Current members of CSAIL talk about what research problem they most want to solve, and what makes CSAIL such a special place.

Tomás Lozano-Pérez, L. Rafael Reif, Daniela Rus: Welcome and Opening Remarks

The opening of "Computing the Future," a celebration of fifty years of computer science and artificial intelligence at MIT.

Open Discussion

Attendees of "Computing the Future" are given the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the ideas presented in the talks.

Scott Aaronson
Associate Professor, MIT

Quantum Computing and Fundamental Physics

Scott Aaronson is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. Before that, he did a PhD in computer science at UC Berkeley, as well as postdocs at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the University of Waterloo. His research focuses on the capabilities and limits of quantum computers, and more generally on the connections between computational... read more

Rodney Brooks
Founder, Chairman and CTO, Rethink Robotics

Fifty Years of Robotics; Now the Practical Payoff

Rodney Brooks is the founder, chairman, and CTO of Rethink Robotics, a company that is deploying low cost, safe, and easy to train interactive humanoid robots in manufacturing and packaging applications. He was also cofounder, CTO, and board member of iRobot Corporation (nasdaq: IRBT) and is the emeritus Panasonic Professor of Robotics at MIT, where he was director of the MIT Computer Science... read more

William J. Dally
Professor (Research) of EE and CS, Stanford University and Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Research, NVIDIA Corporation

The End of Moore's Law and the Future of Computing

Bill is Chief Scientist and Senior Vice President of Research at NVIDIA Corporation and a Professor (Research) and former chair of Computer Science at Stanford University. Bill and his group have developed system architecture, network architecture, signaling, routing, and synchronization technology that can be found in most large parallel computers today. While at Bell Labs Bill contributed to... read more

Cynthia Dwork
Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research

On the Benefits of Coordination – Before, During, and Even After the Fact! – in Differential Privacy

Cynthia Dwork, Distinguished Scientist at Microsoft Research, is renowned for placing privacy-preserving data analysis on a mathematically rigorous foundation. A cornerstone of this work is differential privacy, a strong... read more
Deborah Estrin
Professor of Computer Science, Cornell Tech

Small, n=me, data

Deborah Estrin, PhD(MIT 1985), is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech (, Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College, and co-founder of Open mHealth ( Deborah was previously at UCLA directing the NSF Center for Embedded Networked Sensing. She is a pioneer in networked sensing, using mobile and wireless... read more

Polina Golland
Distinguished Alumnus 1964 Career Development Associate Professor, MIT EECS

Modeling Brain Connectivity from Functional MRI

Polina Golland is an associate professor in the EECS Department and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. Her primary research interest is developing novel techniques for image analysis and understanding in the context of biomedical imaging. Polina got her PhD from MIT and her Bachelor and Masters degree from Technion, Israel. She is an associate... read more           
Daniel Huttenlocher
Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech

Graduate Education and Research in the Information Age

Dan Huttenlocher is Dean and Vice Provost for Cornell Tech, Cornell University’s new graduate applied science campus in NYC. In this capacity, Dean Huttenlocher oversees the academic quality and direction of the campus’ research, degree programs and faculty recruitment as well as its entrepreneurial initiatives and early stage investor network. Huttenlocher has a mix of academic and industry... read more

Charles Isbell
Senior Associate Dean, Professor, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

Some Surprising Lessons Learned while Creating a Real MOOC-based Masters of Science

Dr. Charles Lee Isbell, Jr. received his B.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech in 1990 and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from MIT in 1998. After four years at AT&T Labs/Research, he returned to Georgia Tech to join the faculty of the College of Computing. Charles' research interests are varied, but recently he has been building autonomous agents... read more

Yael Tauman Kalai
Researcher, Microsoft Research New England

The Evolution of Proofs in Computer Science

Yael Tauman Kalai received her BA (1997) from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, MA (2001) under the supervision of Adi Shamir at the Weizmann Institute, and PhD (2006) under the supervision of Shafi Goldwasser at MIT. After postdoctoral positions at Microsoft Research and the Weizmann Institute, she is now a Researcher at Microsoft Research New England.


Her honors include... read more

Manolis Kellis
Van Tassel Career Development Associate Professor, MIT EECS

The Analysis Revolution in Genomics and Modern Medicine

Manolis Kellis is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at MIT, a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where he directs the MIT Computational Biology Group ( His group has recently been funded to lead the integrative analysis efforts of the modENCODE project for Drosophila melanogaster, and... read more

Jon Kleinberg
Professor of Computer Science, Cornell University

Everyday Life in a Data-Rich World

Jon Kleinberg received his AB from Cornell University in 1993 and his PhD from MIT in 1996. He is currently the Tisch University Professor of Computer Science and Information Science at Cornell, where his research focuses on the social and information networks that underpin the Web and other on-line media. He is the recipient of awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Nevanlinna Prize,... read more

Tom Knight
Chairman, Ginko Bioworks

The Right Thing: Things We Hit, Things We Missed, Things Still Left To Do

Tom Knight worked in the MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department as senior research scientist and professor until 2010, focusing on the development of novel computing structures at the technology, architectural, and programming levels.  As a computer architect and VLSI designer, he was a founder and technical director at Symbolics, Exa, Polychip, High Speed... read more           
Tom Leighton
Professor, MIT and CEO, Akamai Technologies

Akamai: From Theory to Practice

Tom Leighton is a Professor of Applied Mathematics and a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. In 1998, he co-founded Akamai Technologies, where he is currently the CEO and a member of the Board of Directors.


Professor Leighton is a preeminent authority on algorithms for network applications, and has published over 100 papers... read more

Matt Mason
Professor of Robotics and Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

Tales from the Blocks World

Matt Mason started as a freshman at MIT in 1970, and worked in or around Project Mac from about 1974, with Gerry Sussman, Berthold Horn, and Tomas Lozano-Perez. After finishing his PhD in the Artificial Intelligence Lab in 1982, he moved to Carnegie Mellon University, where he is presently Professor of Robotics and Computer Science, and Director of the Robotics Institute. He is a Fellow of the... read more

Robert Metcalfe
Professor of Innovation, The University of Texas at Austin

How I invented Ethernet at MIT Project MAC 1969-1972

Bob Metcalfe '68 is an MIT engineer-entrepreneur who made it into the Internet Society's Pioneer Hall of Fame based on work started on the 9th floor of Technology Square at MIT Project MAC in 1970. His Harvard PhD dissertation, Packet Communication, was for work done at Project Mac and was first published as MAC TR #114 -- still available at  ... read more

Greg Papadopoulos
Venture Partner, New Enterprise Associates

Turtles All the Way Down

Greg joined NEA as Venture Partner in 2010 after more than twenty years of experience in the technology industry and academia. He focuses on early-stage systems, software and semiconductor companies. Prior to NEA, Greg was EVP and CTO of Sun Microsystems, where he guided the company’s $2B R&D portfolio. Before Sun, Greg was an Associate Professor of EECS at MIT, where he worked on... read more

Marc Raibert
Director, Boston Dynamics

Dynamic Robots

Marc Raibert is Director of Boston Dynamics, a company that develops some of the world’s most advanced dynamic robots, such as BigDog, Atlas, Cheetah, SandFlea and the AlphaDog.  These robots are inspired by the remarkable ability of animals to move with agility, mobility, speed and grace.  Before starting Boston Dynamics, Raibert was Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer... read more

Ray Stata
Chairman and Co-Founder, Analog Devices, Inc.

Reflections of an Entrepreneur on Experiences at MIT Then and Now

Mr. Stata was a cofounder of Analog Devices, Inc. (ADI) in 1965 and served as CEO and Chairman until 1996. He now serves as Chairman of the Board. With sales of $2.7B, ADI is recognized for leadership in the design and manufacture of... read more

Ivan Sutherland
Visiting Scientist, Asychronous Research Center, Portland State University

Time Sharing vs Personal Computing

Ivan Sutherland received a Ph.D. degree from MIT in 1963, He holds honorary degrees from Harvard,,

the University of North Carolina, the University of Utah, and Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Sutherland

is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.  

Dr. Sutherland was the 1988 recipient of the Turing award and the 2012... read more

Latanya Sweeney
Professor of Government and Technology in Residence, Harvard University

Harmonizing Technology with Society

Professor of Government and Technology in Residence, Professor Sweeney creates and uses technology to assess and solve societal, political and governance problems, and teaches others how to do the same. One focus area is data privacy, and she is the Director of the Data Privacy Lab in IQSS at Harvard.  Professor Sweeney is an elected fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics,... read more

Russ Tedrake
X-Consortium Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, MIT

Aerial Robots: Computing in the Sky

Russ Tedrake is the X Consortium Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, and the Director of the Center for Robotics at the Computer... read more

Antonio Torralba
Esther and Harold E. Edgerton Career Development Associate Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT

Teaching Computers to See

Antonio Torralba received the degree in telecommunications
engineering from Telecom BCN in 1994, Spain and, in 2000, the Ph.D.
degree in signal, image, and speech processing from the Institut
National Polytechnique de Grenoble, Grenoble, France. He is an Associate
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Computer
Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (... read more           
Jeannette Wing
Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research

Towards a Theory of Trust in Networks of Humans and Computers

Jeannette M. Wing is Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Research. She is on leave from Carnegie Mellon University, where she is President's Professor of Computer Science and twice served as the Head of the Computer Science Department. From 2007-2010 she was the Assistant Director of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at the National Science Foundation. She... read more

Nickolai Zeldovich
Associate Professor, MIT

The Scalable Commutativity Rule: Designing Scalable Software for Multicore Processors

Nickolai Zeldovich is an Associate Professor at MIT's department of
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and a member of the
Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. His research
focuses on computer systems, including building parallel systems that
can scale to many cores, and building practical systems to improve
security, from operating systems and hardware... read more