Research Labs represent a different type of experience for students that can supplement the undergraduate curriculum. Students involved in undergraduate research work on cutting-edge scientific problems as part of a team comprising research faculty, PhD students, MS students and undergraduates. For undergraduate research, the Computer Science department has implemented a centralized approach to announcing projects, collecting students’ applications, and matching students to the projects.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
There are several ways students can participate in research:
The student and professor agree on standards for how much the student must contribute to the project to receive a passing grade. See your degree requirements for limitations on how much research credit can be applied to your degree.
Undergraduates wishing to graduate with department honors must complete some number of research credits under the supervision of a faculty mentor. Graduation with honors in CS is possible even for students who are not enrolled in the Honors College. See your degree requirements for limitations on how much thesis credit can be applied to your degree.
Some professors have grants that support student researchers. The limitations on paid research are part of the specific grant and also subject to UO student employment policies; however, paid research cannot also be used for academic credit. Paid positions are usually offered to students who have done well in a seminar class or shown a particular aptitude toward the research. The department does not maintain a list of paid positions, and decisions about hiring are left entirely to the individual professor. The best way to be considered for a paid position is to participate enthusiastically in a lab or research project.
Most students do some research that is not covered by either academic credit or pay. Students use the opportunity to generate good recommendations, network with other students on and off the UO campus and have their names on published works.
Research and Thesis credits
To enroll in research or thesis credits, the CS department requires an Individualized Study Approval Form be on file before the research begins.
Most professors have additional requirements for student researchers. Usually, a student pursuing honors will find a thesis advisor and explore the research area before pinning down the specific thesis topic, but students should have a fairly well-developed interest in the field before contacting the thesis advisor.
Professors have widely varying expectations and demands of students who participate in their research. Before contacting a professor regarding research opportunities, a student should visit the professor's website to become familiar with the projects, have completed at least CIS 313, and be a major in good academic standing. Most professors consider it polite to get an email requesting a meeting, rather than a visit during office hours. In the email, you should include a brief mini-resume that explains your preparedness for research. In addition to these general guidelines, some professors have specific guidelines that should be considered when approaching them about research.
CS Department Opportunities
For information about research groups within the Computer Science Department, please visit our research page. You will find a comprehensive list of active research groups along with related faculty and links to online materials.
Colloquia offer an overview of several faculty members' research projects. They are offered about once per term on the colloquium schedule.
University of Oregon Collaborations
There are several research institutes and centers with collaborative research ties to the Computer Science Department at the University of Oregon. The University of Oregon posts a comprehensive listing of research institutes.
National Summer Research Opportunities
The National Science Foundation funds a number of "Site REUs" where groups of undergraduates are brought together for summer research experiences. Many of these programs are open to all U.S. undergraduates.
- NSF Computer Science REU Sites
- CRA Computer Science Undergraduate Research Opportunities Zone
- Additional opportunities can be found at many campuses and government labs.
- Computing Research Association's Distributed REU Program
- For women and under-represented minorities, this is an excellent program.
- Computing Research Associations Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates
- Again for women, this fund works during the academic year at your home institution.
- RISE Summer School
- Oregon Programming Languages Summer School
- NSA Summer Research
- The National Security Agency/Central Security Service is America's cryptologic organization. The NSA offers well-paid, highly theoretical internships.
- DIMACS Summer Research
- If you like theoretical Computer Science, this would be terrific.
- Haystack Observatory
- Haystack Observatory invites undergraduate science, engineering and computer science students to apply for summer research positions. The program extends from mid-June to mid-August. Support is provided by the National Science Foundation's REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program. Women, minorities, and students with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Undergraduate Research Guidelines
Professors have widely varying expectations and demands of students who participate in their research. Before contacting a professor, a student should visit the professor's website to become familiar with the projects, have completed at least CIS 313, and be a major in good standing. Most professors consider it polite to get an email requesting a meeting, rather than a visit during office hours. In the email, you should include a brief mini-resume that explains your preparedness for research. In addition to these general guidelines, the list below contains statements from professors that should be considered when approaching them about research.
Artificial Intelligence, Data Mining, Data Integration, Health Informatics
If you are interested in working in the AIM Lab please send me your resume.
Students can contact me by email. If you would like a lab tour, contact my lab manager, Jason Prideaux via email (jprideau).
Human-Computer Interaction, Cognitive Modeling, Eye Tracking and Universal Access
The best way to get started doing research with me is to take (and do well in) CIS 443 User Interfaces. If you are interested, please begin as early as possible so that you have time to make a substantial contribution.
Computer and Network Security, Internet Protocols, and Distributed Computing
Students interested in doing research with me are welcome to contact me via email to set up an appointment to discuss the possibility.
Algebraic Algorithms, Computational Complexity, Symbolic Computation
I am not engaged in research that requires student help, but seniors wanting to get started in theoretical research are welcome to use me as a resource.
Algorithmic graph theory: Discrete Optimization Problems, Graph Classes and Width Parameters
I consider a variety of algorithmic problems on graphs, sometimes related to models of communication networks. Having tutored bright high school seniors, I have respect for the inventiveness of unschooled problem solvers and recognition of their limitations. Students should make first contacts with research early to gain motivation for learning sophisticated formalisms and tools before they can contribute themselves.
Examples of the results of my working with students (undergraduate and Master's): B. McMahan and A. Proskurowski, Multi-source spanning trees: algorithms for minimizing source eccentricities, Discrete Applied Mathematics 137(2) pp. 213-222 (2003); H. S. Connamacher and A. Proskurowski, The complexity of minimizing certain cost metrics for k-source spanning trees, Discrete Applied Mathematics 131(1) pp. 113-127 (2003).
Computer Networks, P2P Networking, Multimedia Networking, Network Measurement
I am always looking for talented and hardworking undergraduates who want to get involved in our research projects. The best way to get started doing research with me is to take (and do well in) CIS 432 Intro. to Computer Networks. If you are interested, please begin as early as possible so that you have time to make a substantial contribution. Feel free to send me an email or stop by my office.
Further information about our research project are available at the Mirage research group. I do provide some funding for undergraduate students who make clear contributions to our projects.
Graduate Research Resources
Below are links to the leading professional societies for the field of computer science.
- Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
- IEEE Computer Society (IEEECS)
- Computing Research Association
- American Mathematical Society
Members of IEEE and ACM provide online searchable repositories of their technical including journals, conferences, and newsletters. To sign up for this service, see the membership links on the home pages of the digital libraries: