The Multidisciplinary Studies Program of the Department of Computer Science & Engineering is designed to help research projects across the university that can benefit from computing by pairing researchers in other disciplines with students in computer science and engineering (CSE).
Synopsis: Connecting CSE students with cutting-edge computing-enabled research
For the past few decades, computational methods have played central roles in advancing a wide range of scientific disciplines, and even resulting in the emergence of new disciplines such as computational biology, computational chemistry, computational physics, computational linguistics, and computational economics, to name just a few. Computing either already is or is quickly becoming pervasive in virtually every research endeavor. Whether it is detecting highly energetic gamma rays to explore the center of our galaxy or searching social networks to help learn about ourselves and our interactions as humans, computation is at the heart of the enquiry.
The Multidisciplinary Studies Program seeks to pair students and faculty across traditional disciplinary boundaries to enable great research to take place. The program builds a bridge between CSE students (both undergraduates and graduates) and researchers in any discipline that have computing needs, and aims at providing benefits to both:
For external researchers: The program will connect you with students and faculty in CSE to help with computing-related tasks in your research effort. Whether it is improving communication with your colleagues via the development of a webpage or the design and implementation of new algorithms that provide greater insight into data you are attempting to analyze, a CSE student (possibly with oversight by a departmental faculty member) can help address your needs.
For CSE students: The program will put your knowledge of computing to work in addressing exciting research questions that are at the heart of new discoveries. Besides contributing to on-going research projects in the university and learning new things in the process, you may receive an hourly wage, acquire academic credits in the form of independent study or master projects, or find dissertation topics for your graduate program, depending on the nature of the projects.
- Two graduate students and two undergraduate students worked on accelerating biosequence search applications that help us understand the function of genomic data. The graduate students found their dissertation topics, one of the undergraduates received independent study credit, and the other was paid an hourly wage.
- Several students worked with faculty in the Deptartment of Physics helping to analyze data collected from gamma-ray telescopes at the Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona. One of the goals was to understand the fundamental nature of dark matter.
- The health of civil structures (e.g., buildings, bridges, etc.) was being monitored and assessed using a combination of wireless sensor networks and computational methods. The idea was to identify faults prior to catastrophic failure of the structure.
How to get involved:
For external researchers: We welcome researchers and practitioners in any discipline that have computing needs. If you have a project in mind and would like to get help from CSE students, please contact the Director (see information below) with details of the project such as the proposed work for the student, duration of project, expected background/skills of the student, any financial support that might be available, and the contact person(s). You are also welcome to schedule a face-to-face meeting with us where we can answer any questions you may have and help you refine the project.
For CSE students: We welcome participation from both undergraduate and graduate students. Participation could take a variety of forms such as non-credit paid work, independent study, senior thesis, Master's project and Master's thesis, depending on the nature and scope of the project. We will send out emails about new project requests to email aliases. We will go through a selection process among the interested students, and the selected individuals will be put in direct contact with the initiator of the project. If you have a particular interest in certain research disciplinary or type of project work, you are welcome to let us know and we will keep your preference in mind.
Our role: Our responsibility is to ensure a meaningful and fruitful interaction between the students and the external research faculty. We will get in touch with both parties on a regular basis and resolve any issues or needs that might arise.
How do I learn more?
Please contact the Director of Multidisciplinary Studies, Tao Ju, Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Engineering, at firstname.lastname@example.org.