MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms is an interdisciplinary initiative exploring the boundary between computer science and physical science. CBA studies how to turn data into things, and things into data. It manages facilities, runs research programs, supervises students, works with sponsors, creates startups, and does public outreach.

Facilities

CBA was launched by a National Science Foundation award in 2001 to create a unique digital fabrication facility that gathers tools across disciplines and length scales for making and measuring things. These include electron microscopes and focused ion beam probes for nanostructures, laser micromachining and X-ray microtomography for microstructures, and multi-axis machining and 3D printing for macrostructures. These are supported by instrumentation for processing and characterizing materials and devices. CBA's tools are available around the clock for its users working on projects that integrate these capabilities.

Research

CBA's projects involve collaborations with researchers from across MIT's campus and around the world. CBA personnel have participated in advances at the boundary between bits and atoms including what were among the first complete quantum computations, using nuclear spins in molecules; physical one-way cryptographic functions, implemented by mesoscopic light scattering; microfluidic bubble logic, with bits that transport materials as well as information; asynchronous logic automata, to align hardware with software; intelligent infrastructure, for energy efficiency; recoding the genome; coded folding, for programming matter; and the additive assembly of functional digital materials. CBA's research is illustrated in this presentation ("i" for index).

Students

CBA's students apply to work in participating research groups through associated academic departments, which include MAS, as well as EECS, Physics, Mechanical Engineering, and Architecture. Most of our graduate students are fully funded by research assistantships, and undergraduate students are supported through MIT's UROP program.

Sponsors

CBA is funded by grants, gifts, and sponsorships. Sponsors share access to all CBA research, eliminating internal boundaries based on funding. Supporters include (in chronological order):

VSP
Airbus
Jeff Koons
Aramco Services Company
Ashton Community Trust
MISIS
Innovate America
Quantum Recognition
Autodesk
Moog Inc.
The Manufacturing Institute
Dallah Albaraka
Make A Mind Co.
Spirit AeroSystems
Oracle
b_TEC
Denokinn
Schneider Electric
Cisco
CSIR
Sun Microsystems
Microsoft
UPM
NIH
DARPA
NSF

Startups

New companies started from work done by CBA personnel include (in chronological order):

Formlabs
Otherlab
JoinAfrica
Lyric Semiconductor
Makani Power
ThingMagic
Instructables
Kovio
Eink
Elesys

Outreach

Along with publications and workshops, CBA's work is shared through outreach programs including a global network of field fab labs that provide widespread access to prototype tools for personal fabrication, and initiation of an office to provide scientific advisors for popular media.

For further information you may contact CBA.