WRITTEN BY: Matt Busekroos

Born and raised in New York City, Luke Murray spent his early childhood studies splitting his time between academics and classical music. He eventually attended Brown University for his undergraduate studies. Murray initially wanted to study architecture, but during his sophomore year, he started writing code to help him with his math homework. Soon after, he started writing code for fun and building virtual reality experiences.  

While looking for an internship one summer, Murray applied to work in Andy van Dam’s graphics lab at Brown. Murray was afforded the opportunity to work in the lab after showing van Dam some VR demos he created. Over the next two years, Murray went from building small non-essential features for projects in the lab to leading a 10-person undergraduate team where they developed a fully-fledged application.  

Murray’s first introduction to MIT and CSAIL occurred when Professor Stefanie Mueller invited the Brown graphics lab to visit her group and give talks about their group’s projects. Murray gave a talk about Dash, which is inspired by the Haystack Project

Murray now works alongside Professor David Karger and the Haystack Group.  

“I want to normalize the fact that being a grad student at MIT is hard, and it’s not always a smooth and easy road,” Murray said. “When I first got to MIT, I definitely had imposter syndrome and found it tough to engage in my research. My group was incredibly helpful during this period since I always had more senior students to reach out who could reassure me that slow progress is normal!” 

Murray said he thinks the biggest impact of the group comes from weekly critiques of his research, and constant exposure to the broad research interests everyone else in the group brings to the table.  

Murray is currently reimagining Electronic Health Records (the systems doctors use to record and access patient information) as intelligent, interactive, and user-friendly experiences.  

“Electronic Health Records today are clunky, slow, complicated, and are thought to be a leading cause of physician burnout,” Murray said. “My hope is that my research can improve patient outcomes, and make it much easier for doctors to treat patients and manage their complex information needs.” 

Murray said he is interested in making software more malleable for users.  

“I’m very inspired by the increasing adoption of public APIs, extensions, and plugins, which, while common in tools for programmers, is now showing up more and more in consumer software,” Murray said. “However, I believe we can go further and make all software more malleable.” 

Murray said he believes there is still a huge gulf in software usability.  

“The computational power we have access to has increased exponentially in the past 50 years, but the interfaces we use for accessing, organizing, and recording information on computers have developed at a much slower rate,” he said. “In my own research, I’m trying to create a virtuous feedback loop which uses machine learning to augment and enhance human decision making.” 

Following his time at CSAIL, Murray’s dream job is working on the future of software – whether that’s in academia, industry, or some research lab in between. 

You can find more information about Luke Murray’s current research here: https://arxiv.org/abs/2007.15153