Designing the course and the labs to be accessible to as many people as possible was a big priority for us. So, Lecture 1 focuses on neural network fundamentals, and the first module in Lab 1 provides a clean introduction to TensorFlow, and is written in preparation for the upcoming release of TensorFlow 2.0. Our introduction to TensorFlow exercises highlight a few key concepts in particular: how to execute computations using math operators, how to define neural network models,and how to use automatic differentiation to train networks with backpropagation. Following the Intro to TensorFlow module, Lab 1's second module dives right into building and applying a recurrent neural network (RNN) for music generation, designed to accompany Lecture 2 on deep sequence modeling. You'll build an AI algorithm that can generate brand new, never-heard-before Irish folk music.
The major in course 6-7 (Computer Science and Molecular Biology) is an award-winning researcher, as well as a captain of the MIT Women's Tennis Team. While to some these two sides of her identity might seem unrelated, Soleimany has found that her experience as an athlete has, in many ways, impacted her growth as a researcher. "In tennis, not every practice is going to be your best practice, and not every match is going to be your best match. It's about being as prepared as you possibly can to make sure that when the uncertainties do arise and things don't go as expected, you will be able to handle it," she says. When she's not in the lab or working on her forehands and backhands, Soleimany channels her energy into helping others succeed.
As more than 90 students in MIT's SuperUROP Advanced Undergraduate Research Opportunites Program flowed into a year-end certificates presentation event on May 7 at the Media Lab Skyline Room, they looked quite ready to celebrate a year of work on intense research collaborations with faculty advisors, supported as by the generous backing of industry and private sponsors. Senior Ava Soleimany says she has gained a "much-nuanced understanding of what exactly research involves." With an interest in the computational aspects of synthetic biology and its medical applications, Soleimany applied to be a SuperUROP in spring 2014 in Professor Timothy Lu's Synthetic Biology Group. She was able to extend her existing Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) project into a SuperUROP. "It allowed me to hit the ground running in the fall while many of my peers were still sorting out the details of their projects," she notes.
Question: What does building a 15th-century printing press have in common with using DNA to encode genetic memory in a cell? Answer: Both are recent MIT undergraduate research projects conducted through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) launched in 1969 by Margaret MacVicar, MIT's first dean for undergraduate education. MacVicar created numerous far-reaching educational initiatives and championed the then-novel idea that cultivating collaborative research relationships between students and faculty had great educational value. Nearly five decades later, UROP is emulated at universities around the world and is an indispensable part of the MIT experience. More than 2,600 students participate every year, and 90 percent of the Class of 2016 completed at least one UROP.