NSF Funds Computer Science Research Opportunities

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Computer science Professors Zach Dodds and Julie Medero received a National Science Foundation grant for the continuation of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site in computer science. The funding will support 10 undergraduate researchers (five from Harvey Mudd and five from other schools) to undertake a variety of research projects in the Computer Science Department.

For some undergraduates in STEM disciplines, pursuing research opportunities can be an intimidating step into unmapped territory. Harvey Mudd College is committed to providing its undergraduates with hands-on research experiences to help prepare them for the rigors of graduate school and beyond, and the NSF REU Program reinforces this commitment.

REU projects at Harvey Mudd fall under a wide “systems” umbrella, emphasizing hands-on work experience, where theory and practice are balanced to produce tangible results for real-world problems. This year, students performing computer science research at Harvey Mudd will work with faculty members on projects related to transportation algorithms, intelligent music software and pixel-taught robots.

In a typical REU, students work closely with assigned faculty mentors in an immersive approach designed to emulate the best facets of a graduate school experience. The 10-week program takes students through the major steps of the research process, from literature survey and problem formulation to scholarly papers and formal presentations.

The REU expands research opportunities for undergraduates at participating colleges, giving them valuable graduate-level research experience and creating a broader pool of qualified scientists from which graduate institutions and potential employers can draw. This is the fifth consecutive three-year grant the Harvey Mudd computer science department has earned for its REUs.