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Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROP)

There are several opportunities for undergraduate students to be involved in Computer Science research. Here are some pointers that can get you started.

Why do research ?

A focused research project provides you the opportunity to pursue your interests, sharpen problem-solving skills, learn something new and create something tangible and useful. Some of you may have had work experiences but a research process is different. It involves thinking critically, brain-storming different solutions, evaluating ideas, presenting results and sharing the knowledge with a wider audience. Working on a faculty-mentored research project allows you to learn the research process and an experienced researcher helps steer your ideas and shape your final product. Final products are software, experiments, research papers and presentations.

XKCD shows a common misconception between research in academic setting versus development in the industry setting :)


"Academia Vs Business", http://xkcd.com/664/


Are there special computer science classes that are research project focused ?

Yes! Beginning Spring 2013 there are two highly recommended classes:

  • CS 390 Research and Project Design Principles
  • CS 490 Design Exhibition

Students in the BS CS program can use CS 390 as a CS-related elective and CS 490 as a CS-senior elective.


University-wide Sponsorship Opportunities

OSCAR, the Office of Student Scholarship Creative Activities and Research (Johnson Center room 246), is the home of Students as Scholars. Students as Scholars is your opportunity to participate in undergraduate research and creative activity at Mason.

OSCAR supports undergraduate student researchers:

  • helping them find a project and mentor
  • funding undergraduate research and creative projects
  • providing student travel grants
  • supporting interdisciplinary courses
  • hosting the Celebration of Scholarship
  • sharing information about undergraduate research opportunities

Check out this OSCAR video for information.


Faculty Mentors in the CS department.

Several faculty at the Computer Science Department love to involve students in research projects. Several of these projects are funded by the National Science Foundation in the form of Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Below you will find a list of faculty, along with their areas of interest and a short snippet of their proposed project. If you are interested, please contact them.

Faculty NameInterestProjectNew Hires
Jan Allbeckvirtual humans, game ai, animationxxxxxYes
Sean Lukerobotics, evolutionary computationxxxxNSF REU
Huzefa Rangwaladata mining, bioinformaticsNSF REU Project involves developing a recommender system for drug activity prediction.Yes
Amarda Shehucomputational structural biology, bioinformaticsNSF REU project in protein modelingYes
Chris Kauffmanprotein structure prediction, optimization, programming languagesMentor URSP ProposalsYes
Kinga Dobolyiweb applications, software engineering, software testing-Yes (summer only)
Jyh-Ming Liengeometry processing, roboticscomputational origami folding (NSF REU), tracking and following using unmanned vehicles , point-cloud data processing (NSF REU)Yes
Jessica Lindata miningNSF project on frequent pattern mining and anomaly detection in time series dataYes (summer only)
Jana Koseckacomputer vision, roboticsfeature and object tracking in video, object recognition, 3D modeling with Kinect sensorYes
Yotam Gingoldcomputer graphics, crowdsourcing, creativity, gamescrowd creativity, 3D modeling, gamificationYes