Catalogue of Cool classes in IAP

MIT 6.S099: Artificial General Intelligence

This class takes an engineering approach to exploring possible research paths toward building human-level intelligence. The lectures will introduce our current understanding of computational intelligence and ways in which strong AI could possibly be achieved, with insights from deep learning, reinforcement learning, computational neuroscience, robotics, cognitive modeling, psychology, and more. Additional topics will include AI safety and ethics. Projects will seek to build intuition about the limitations of state-of-the-art machine learning approaches and how those limitations may be overcome. The course will include several guest talks. Listeners are welcome.

Course Information:
Time/Dates: Every day, 7pm, Jan 22 - Feb 2
Duration: 60-90 minutes
Location: MIT, 54-100 (location details) with some exceptions.
Instructor: Lex Fridman

MIT 6.S094: Deep Learning for Self-Driving Cars

This class is an introduction to the practice of deep learning through the applied theme of building a self-driving car. It is open to beginners and is designed for those who are new to machine learning, but it can also benefit advanced researchers in the field looking for a practical overview of deep learning methods and their application.

Course Information:
Time/Dates: Every day, 7pm, Jan 8 - Jan 19
Duration: 60-90 minutes
Location: MIT, 54-100 (location details) with some exceptions.
Instructor: Lex Fridman


Carmen Varela, Felix Sosa
Lindsey Williams
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
IAP 2018
Course Level:
Graduate, Undergraduate
Location: MIT Building 46-6199
Background on memory and/or systems neuroscience preferred
Course Website:
Course Description:
Enrollment: Send resume to

Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions

Motivation: Research in science is driven by frameworks and hypotheses that determine the design and interpretation of experiments and how the field evolves. A critical discussion of these hypotheses can: raise awareness of the current state of the field, gain familiarity with terminology and concepts, sharpen critical thinking skills, and develop intuition to design effective experiments to tackle key open questions.

Objectives: One goal is to achieve an intuitive understanding of the current state of two major sub-areas in memory research: how are memories encoded and how are they processed at the cell population and systems level? Another goal is to experiment with a complementary way of discussing the literature, in which we will focus on a critical discussion of the big picture and context for current research, instead of the traditional journal clubs, which primarily target single-papers to discuss methods and design.

Structure: We will discuss two sets (4-6 each) of relevant papers that review contrasting hypotheses that are the basis for active areas of research in the field of memory.

A Brief History of Kanye

Max Gold

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions

Imma let you finish, but this is going to be the best IAP course of all time. In this class, we will discuss the music, life and influence of Kanye West, one of today's most polarizing celebrities. We will journey chronologically through Kanye's life, analyzing his evolution as a person and as an artist; we will cover personal events that impacted Kanye’s music and how his albums and persona influenced hip hop and pop culture. Each class will be split into two halves:

First Half: Discussion of one of Kanye’s albums and specific songs from that album

Second Half: Discussion of important events in music, pop culture, and Kanye’s life that led up to the next album

Whether you love Kanye or just love to hate Kanye, come take a break twice a week and learn more about one of the most influential hip-hop artists of all time.

Classes will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays during IAP (1/9 - 2/1) from 5:00 - 6:00 PM in room 4-370.

If you are interested, please sign up here so you can email updates and so I can get a sense of potential class size .

Contact: Maxwell Gold, MPGOLD@MIT.EDU

The Rollercoaster Ride of RNA Biotech Companies: From Obscurity to a $20B Industry

Tod Woolf, MIT Technology Licensing Officer

Add to Calendar Jan/17 Wed 12:30PM-02:00PM 3-370
Enrollment: Unlimited: Advance sign-up required

Novel therapeutic platforms usually go through the phases of initial enthusiasm, followed by a trough of disappointment to meet the initial hype, and then after years of solving the technical challenges commercial clinical success is achieved.

Nucleic acids drugs targeting RNA and the genome provide excellent examples of these cycles.

Tod Woolf (Technology Licensing Officer) will describe work of his biotech teams and other biotechs in the area of antisense, RNAi and therapeutic editing that reflect phases of these boom bust cycles, with an emphasis on how chemical modification of nucleic acid drugs contributed to the enablement of nucleic acid therapeutic platforms.

This session is part of the Intellectual Property Lunch and Learn Series co-sponsored with the MIT Libraries. Food will be served.

To register for this event please contact Katrina Khalil via email:

Sponsor(s): Technology Licensing Office, Libraries
Contact: Katrina Khalil, NE18-501, 617 253-6966,

Consciousness, Computation, the Universe

Andrew Kortina, Rob Cheung

Enrollment: Limited: Advance sign-up required
Sign-up by 01/19
Limited to 20 participants
Attendance: Participants must attend all sessions
Prereq: Short readings before each seminar:

This will be a 3 part seminar (roundtable discussion format, not a
lecture). We'll discuss recent work in artificial intelligence and
philosophy, and ask questions like: How can we use principles of software
and computation to better understand our own minds? Is AI an existential
risk? What are its implications for human dignity?

There are selected, short pre-readings for each of the 3 sessions, online.

Sponsor(s): Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Contact: Andrew Kortina,

RACECAR (Rapid Autonomous Complex-Environment Competing Ackermann-drive Robotics

Sertac Karaman, Professor, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Michael Boulet, Assistant Group Leader, Lincoln Lab, Ken Gregson, Senior Staff, Lincoln Lab

Modern robots tend to operate at slow speeds in complex environments, limiting their utility in high-tempo applications. In the RACECAR course, you will be tasked with pushing the boundaries of unmanned vehicle speed. Participants will work in teams of 4-5 to develop dynamic autonomy software to race a converted RC car equipped with LIDAR, a stereo camera, an inertial measurement unit, and embedded processing around a large-scale, "real-world" course. Working from a baseline autonomy stack, teams will modify the software to increase platform velocity to the limits of stability. The course culminates with a timed competition to navigate a racecourse. Classes will provide lecture overviews of relevant algorithms and lab time with instructor-assisted development. Participants must attend every class and should plan on 4-10 hours per week of self-directed development. Students must have experience with software development. Past exposure to robotics algorithms and/or embedded programming will be useful.

To sign up, preregister on websis and send an e-mail by Jan 5 to with a brief description of your programming/robotics experience.

Also offered for credit as 6.S184.

Sponsor(s): Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Contact: Michael Boulet,

David Sun Kong, Ph.D., Director, Community Biotechnology Initiative, MIT Media Lab

Enrollment: Please email
Sign-up by 01/15
Limited to 25 participants
Attendance: Preference will be given to individuals able to attend all sessions


What does your microbiome sound like? The Media Lab, in collaboration with EMW Street Bio, a local community bio lab, has developed a hardware-software-wetware interface called BIOTA BEATS. Inspired by the DJ turntable, Biota Beats converts data about microbes from the body into music!

Biota Beats jas been covered in NPR, the Washington Post, and Scientific American, but to take this project to the next level we need YOU!

In this four-day IAP workshop, we will work in teams to design the next generation of Biota Beats. We will explore questions such as: what kinds of data can we gather about an individual's microbiome? How can we effectively visualize and sonify the data? How can we make the process interactive for users?

We are looking for creatives and nerds of all stripes, including biologists, hardware and software hackers, interaction designers, musicians, artists. Each day will feature speakers including experts in the science of the human microbiome, interaction design, and musical performance. Participants will work in teams to develop new concepts for Biota Beats to explore for 2018 and beyond!

To apply please send a short description of yourself, your technical / creative skills, and your interest in the project to, Director of the Community Biotechnology Initiative at the MIT Media Lab.

Sponsor(s): Media Lab
Contact: David Kong, DKONG@MIT.EDU

The Trolley Problem (Or: How and When to Push Large Men off Bridges)

Thomas Byrne, Daniel Munoz

Jan/24 Wed 01:00PM-03:00PM 32-D831
Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Prereq: No

An overview of the ethics (and psychology) of the most notorious thought experiment of the 20th century: the Trolley Problem.

Sponsor(s): Linguistics and Philosophy
Contact: Thomas Byrne,