The 2003/2004 academic year has been great for students engaged in undergraduate research. Spread among 21 different research advisors, the CS department had 80 undergraduates conducting research that was either funded, for honors or for credit. These researchers had many opportunities to share their work and some have earned the most distinctive recognitions available to undergraduate researchers. Liz Saftalov, advised by Professor Bailey-Kellogg, received the Ruzicka Award for her project "Endonuclease V Recombination for Mutation Scanning"; Stan Luban, Professor Kihara's student, earned a Howard Hughes award for his "Development of a Protein Structure Prediction Method with a Reliability Measure" research; Elian Haliman, who works with Professors Aref and Dunsmore, won the Bruce Helfert Award, the Ice Miller Undergraduate Student Scholarship, and the Intel Student Research Contest for Undergraduate Students; and Erika Shehan, advised by Professor Spafford, and Nina Tang, advised by Dr. Meunier, received Honorable Mention at the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Award Program for their research for CERIAS.
CS undergraduate students conducted and presented honors research projects at the CS497 Presentation event held on April 26th. Honors project topics covered a wide spectrum of computer science. For example, Joseph Simons, advised by Professor Ebert, worked on a system that enables artists to interactively sculpt and animate gases like clouds and smoke; Erika Shehan and Nina Tang, working with Professor Spafford and Dr. Meunier, contributed to the development of "Honeypots", a security tool for identifying intruders on a computer network; Mark Welsh, working with Professor Clifton, developed techniques to automatically identify news stories in which an individual is likely to be interested; and under the guidance of Professor Zhiyuan Li, Jeffrey Kuhn and Daniel O'Malley tackled issues in computing with wireless hand-held devices. The abstract of all projects presented that day can be reviewed on the 497 Abstract page.
CS undergrads also had the opportunity to share their work on April 17th at the 2004 Undergraduate Research Day. CS research projects featured at this event include "Robotic Image Capture" from Professor Aliaga's student, Darin Rajan; Kris Reyes' work with Professor Wagstaff on "An Analysis of Shanks' Square Form Factorization Algorithm "; and the "Evaluation Methods for Internet Security Technology" project from Professor Fahmy's student, Chris Kanich.
CS Undergraduate Research prepares students for a vital component in the student's application to graduate school. Kris Reyes says, "I learned much from the research experience, and it has prepared me for the research I will pursue in grad school. It also allowed me the chance to work with Dr. Wagstaff, who is very prestigious in the field that I did research in." The one on one interaction with faculty is very beneficial to undergrads' future endeavors, plus they get to experience the excitement of developing cutting edge technology for the first time. Mark Welsh said of his research experiences, "It's really amazing to think that you could be looking at a problem in a way nobody ever has."
To explore the possibilities available to undergraduate researchers, visit the Undergraduate Research Opportunities on the Undergraduate Research site. Faculty often prefer that students prepare for funded research positions by taking a research course for credit. Students may explore other student's research done in the past by reviewing the abstracts of previous undergrads. Students interested in pursuing undergraduate research opportunities should contact their academic advisor.