BWSI Course Listing

Program Course Overview

The MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute consists of the courses listed here.  As we adapt to requirements based on the COVID-19 pandemic, we will try to offer as many of these as possible.  We are planning on running a virtual program in 2021.

We are running introductory programs for girls this fall for the top 3 courses listed below and look for a spring program soon.  The fall 2020 program will provide introductory material for students to participate fully in the online requisite program and apply for the 2021 summer program.

Autonomous RACECAR

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offerteams of students, each with its own MIT-designed RACECAR (Rapid Autonomous Complex Environment Competing Ackermann steeRing) robot, the opportunity to explore the broad spectrum of research in autonomy, learn to collaborate, and demonstrate fast, autonomous navigation in a Mini Grand Prix to Move... Explore... Learn...Race!

Embedded Security and Hardware Hacking

Beaver Works Summer Institute will cover several cyber security topics with a focus on threats that are especially concerning for embedded systems.  These topics include:  embedded software security, cryptographic protocol attacks, JTAG and UART probing, side-channel analysis and fault-injection, and hardware Trojans. This background will help prepare students for the summer course, during which they will perform security assessments of multiple implementations of an embedded system:  a wireless home door lock.  Teams will compete to see who can find and fix the most security flaws in these systems.

Build a Cubesat

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to select the mission, test components and design a Cubesat. Using a 1U Cubesat (10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm), the four-week course will guide the class through the design trades, assembly, and testing of a Cubesat with an imaging payload. The design will be sent to a NASA competition selecting payloads for future flight.

Autonomous Cognitive Assistance (CogWorks)

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students an opportunity to learn about the cutting-edge in machine learning. Cog*Works consists of project-based modules for developing machine learning apps that leverage audio, visual, and linguistic data. Students will work with experts in these fields to learn foundational mathematical, programming, and data analysis skills, which will enable them to create their own algorithms and neural networks from scratch. Ultimately, they will design their own cognitive assistants.

Serious Games and Artificial Intelligence

Serious Games and Artificial Intelligence

Combine modern methods in machine learning and game-like modeling to quantitatively analyze socially relevant technology and policy questions.  This year’s application will be tactical routing for self-driving ambulances.  We will build an analysis framework in Python to study the technical, moral, and strategic opportunities that new technologies present to that application.  There will also be an emphasis on learning the practical tools and skills for working on a professional software development team.


Beaver Works Summer Institute will give students a chance to explore the exciting intersection of data science and medicine. Students will build a solid foundation in the fundamentals of probability and statistics, and learn the basics of coding and machine learning techniques through a series of online teaching modules.  During the summer, students will work in groups alongside Cambridge-area clinicians and data scientists to gain hands-on experience applying advanced machine learning and data mining to solve real-world medical challenges.

Remote Sensing for Disaster Response

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to explore the exciting intersection of data science and disaster response. During the course, the students will learn to understand the basics of Python, Git, machine learning, and image processing through a series of online teaching modules. Students will explore real world datasets ranging from drone imagery of regions to disaster imagery collected by the human volunteers of the Civil Air Patrol. Students will develop experience in an area of data science that is poised to play a critical role in understanding our world.

piPACT: Independent Project

The BWSI 2020 piPACT Project will provide you an opportunity to explore the technology of Bluetooth and its application to proximity detection for COVID-19 Contact Tracing.   We are hoping that you will find this independent project exciting, and expect that there is a lot of knowledge that will be gained and shared among everyone.

Assistive Technology Virtual

Beaver Works Summer Institute will help students develop product design, rapid prototyping, and product testing skills in the context of building a technology solution for people living with disabilities. We will tackle real problems faced by people in the Greater Boston Area, and learn to work with the end users, stepping through the engineering design process together to come up with personalized, creative solutions.



               Here are additional courses which which we are creating for 2021

Quantum Software (NEW!)

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students a chance to learn about quantum computing and algorithms. Students will learn fundamentals of quantum mechanics that make qubits unique and important to solving hard computational problems and develop algorithms that make use of qubit properties like superposition and entanglement. Students will be able to use quantum computing simulators to test their ideas and algorithms and explore the incredible opportunities with this technology.

Cyber Security for Software Intensive Systems (NEW!)

Beaver Works Summer Institute will help students learn and understand cyber security. Through projects and challenges will learn about network security and cryptography, learn how to use a fuzzer in finding and fixing software vulnerabilities, and how create a software service that can survive a disruption, and why social engineering and the usability of software are all parts of Cyber Security.


Unmanned Air System–Synthetic Aperture Radar

Beaver Works Summer Institute will introduce students to Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging as they build and fly a radar on a small Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and use it to image scenes around campus. Students will work in small teams alongside their instructors to gain hands-on experience building, integrating, and processing data from a radar to generate SAR images. Teams will compete to create the UAS-SAR capable of producing the clearest images possible.

Hacking a 3D Printer

Beaver Works Summer Institute will introduce students to the fundamentals of 3D printing and teach techniques for tuning hardware and software to optimize performance.  Students will modify these components to do something completely new. Along the way students will learn how to tackle a difficult problems.

Autonomous Air Vehicle Racing

Beaver Works Summer Institute will offer students the opportunity to explore some new areas of research and to design their own autonomous capabilities for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). The students will work in teams to develop algorithms for deployment to an advanced quadrotor, the Intel Aero Ready-To-Fly Drone. They will use the Robot Operating System (ROS), popular open-source libraries, and custom algorithms to program the quadrotors to compete in a racing event.