Lincoln Laboratory

MIT Lincoln Laboratory, also known as Lincoln Lab, is a federally funded research and development center managed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and primarily funded by the United States Department of Defense. Lincoln Lab is located at Hanscom Air Force Base in the town of Lexington, Massachusetts, and was founded in 1951.Lincoln Lab is one of several sensitive locations which have their satellite images censored by Google Maps.

History

In 1950, MIT undertook a summer study, named Project Charles, to explore the feasibility of establishing a major laboratory focused on air defense. The summer study recommended the establishment of a laboratory, named Project Lincoln to be operated by MIT for the Army, Navy and Air Force. The name "Project Lincoln" was chosen because the Laboratory sits near the towns of Bedford, Lexington, and Lincoln, Massachusetts, and the names "Project Lexington" and "Project Bedford" were already taken by other DOD efforts.

In the early years, the most important developments to come out of Lincoln Lab were SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment), a nationwide network of radar and anti-aircraft weapons linked to digital computers conceived by professor George E. Valley, and the DEW Line (Distant Early Warning Line), a radar surveillance system placed along the polar gateway to the United States. In the 1980s the Laboratory explored compensating for the effects of atmospheric turbulence by using adaptive optics and developed a high-power laser radar system.

The laboratory has had a long history with computers and computer systems. Lincoln was the first to develop a real-time computer which was used to process radar data. To make such systems more reliable, the laboratory developed magnetic-core storage. Some of the earliest computer graphics and user interface research was done at the laboratory, including Sutherland's Sketchpad system. Research into "packetized speech," (now VoIP) done in collaboration with other researchers, led to the creation of UDP. More recently, under sponsorship from DARPA, Lincoln conducted one of the largest evaluations of intrusion detection systems, and makes corpora from that evaluation and others available to security researchers.

MIT's relationship with Lincoln Lab has come under intense scrutiny several times. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, growing disaffection with U.S. involvement in Vietnam led to student demonstrations demanding that MIT halt defense research like that being conducted at Lincoln Lab and Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. MIT responded by spinning off the semi-autonomous Draper Labs entirely and moving all on-campus classified research to Lincoln Lab.

In 2000, MIT Professor Theodore Postol accused Lincoln Lab researchers and the MIT administration of condoning research misconduct relating to a technical evaluation of an interceptor for the National Ballistic Missile Defense system. This was later concluded as unfounded and dismissed in 2007. [ [http://web.mit.edu/provost/reports/InvestigationReport01292007.pdf Appendix A ] ]

Research

The laboratory's annual research expenditures in 2006 were $625.3 million, (larger than the rest of MIT's total research expenditures). [Cite web|url=http://web.mit.edu/facts/lincoln.html |title=MIT Facts 2007: Lincoln Laboratory |accessdate=2007-02-14] The laboratory's research is largely classified national defense research, but also contributes to worldwide communications and civil air traffic control.

A feature of the relationship between Lincoln Lab and MIT is that intellectual property generated at Lincoln is owned by MIT and managed by the MIT Technology Licensing Office (TLO). This affects the industrial or commercial practice of applications of research and development at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and the process of creating spin-off companies.

References

External links

* [http://www.ll.mit.edu/ MIT Lincoln Laboratory home page]
* [http://www.ll.mit.edu/publications/journal/journal.html Lincoln Laboratory Journal]
* [http://www.ll.mit.edu/IST/corpora.html Corpora for Researchers]
* [http://epresence.tv/Presentation/3 Video: Early Interactive Graphics at MIT Lincoln Laboratory]


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