As a Computer Science student, you can become involved in research through summer (paid) internships, honors studies and independent studies. All three either introduce students to research or allow them to explore topics not offered in the regular curriculum.
Through research, you may take your classroom education to a higher level by reading journal articles, designing and conducting experiments, writing up your results and presenting those results at conferences and other public venues. This kind of activity, much of it collaborative, prepares students for independent work in both academic and industry settings, using many of the skills gained through a liberal arts education.
The Computer Science faculty consider research of such fundamental importance to students that we require at least two semesters of research work for the major.
There are several avenues for doing student research:
- Do one semester of independent study with a professor on a particular topic; meet with the professor every week, read papers, and create projects. Sometimes this work is on a topic not taught in the curriculum, and sometimes it is new research that is guided by the faculty member. Students can sign up for an independent study more than once.
- Do an honors thesis in Computer Science. This is done during the senior year and involves a year-long project which counts as one course for each semester; it takes place under the direction of a faculty member. Topics must be approved in advance by a committee, which is also responsible for reading the honors thesis at the end of the year. The thesis is submitted to the College in accordance with regulations for all honors theses. If the student successfully completes the honors thesis with a grade of A or A-, the student will graduate with honors in the major.
- Receive a paid internship from the College in order to conduct research with a faculty member during 8 weeks in the summer. The student lives on campus and enjoys an intense and exciting research experience, often resulting in the publication of original work.
- Do an internship off-campus; these can be at other universities or in industry. These are generally paid internships and can involve fascinating new topics in computer science.
Some examples of student research:
- An independent study in virtual reality way-finding experiments, game development, 3D audio applications, categorization of environmental sounds, tempo tracking in music audio, or real-time audio processing using programmable hardward, musical sound synthesis, multi-modal instrument design, eye tracking for sonification or art, 2D and 3D animation and interactive software development
- Honors theses in speech recognition, correlating audio and haptic (sense of touch) modalities and teaching robots to dance
- Internships and coursework in the Humanitarian FOSS (free and open source software) project, a community of individuals from academics, social service organizations, and IT corporations, collaborating to produce software to benefit humanity
- On-campus internships in constructing virtual environments with avatars, modeling a virtual campus and creating visualizations for physiology and astronomy
- Off-campus internships have included working with motion capture systems, animation at a studio, Web design and computer vision systems
- More examples of research where students can be involved