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Research Experience for Undergraduates

Computer & Data Science

Research Experience for Undergraduates in Computer and Data Science 

Rice University is now accepting applications for a 10-week summer undergraduate research program in the general area of Computer and Data Science, generously funded by a gift from Google, LLC.

Background

Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) participants will be assigned to a Rice faculty mentor and will work closely with a Rice graduate student or Postdoctoral researcher to perform cutting-edge research in Computer Systems or Data Science. In the summer of 2023, we will be partnering with REUs at Texas A&M University in College Station and Prairie View A&M University. The summer will start with a joint kick-off program and end with a shared research symposium. During the summer there will be workshops on conducting research, reading papers, preparing scientific posters, as well as research, career, and technical talks.

What Is Data Science? 

Data science is an interdisciplinary field of study, encompassing sub-areas of computer science, statistics, electrical engineering, and applied mathematics. It is the science of extracting actionable knowledge from large and complex data repositories, where “complex” may refer to the modality of the data (images, time series, text, as well as traditional tabular data) or other facets of the data in question (data can be complex because they are geographically distributed, or characterized by the ubiquity of missing or inaccurate values). Data Science has quickly become a critical enabling capability in many different fields: science, healthcare, energy, manufacturing, finance, and many others. Data can be used to train algorithms that are more accurate than experienced doctors in recognizing early-state tumors. It can also be used to predict when it is time to do preventative maintenance on a multi-million dollar machine, before a catastrophic failure. Data can be used to detect fraudulent activity in credit card transactions. Furthermore, it is becoming a core enabler for detecting and preventing cyberattacks. 

Research in Data Science could include designing and implementing new machine learning algorithms, applying machine learning algorithms to solve specific problems, or developing methods to manage huge data sets.  

What are systems projects?

Systems projects could include designing and implementing new networking algorithms, new computer architectures, or software systems. 

Eligibility

  • Majors in computer science, data science, statistics, applied mathematics, electrical engineering, or applied/pure mathematics 
  • Some knowledge of computer programming in a language such as Python or Java is required. Python is strongly preferred
  • International students must be enrolled at a US university
  • Students must be at least 18 years old by the time the program starts
  • Students must have the ability to come to the Rice campus 
  • Applicants must be available during full-time business hours and possibly occasional weekends if required by the mentor
  • Students must plan on being at Rice University for the entire duration of the program

Travel to Rice

Participants from outside of Houston will be given $500 to offset the cost of relocating to Houston. Participants will be housed on campus.

Why come to Rice? 

Boasting a 300-acre tree-lined campus in Houston, Rice University is ranked among the nation’s top 15 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has a 6-to-1 undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio. Rice students and faculty discover, create and innovate, and solve real-world problems that make a measurable global impact.

Compensation

  • $6500 stipend
  • Complimentary on-campus accommodations, including room and board 
  • $500 travel expenses (if traveling from outside of Houston)

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: March 1, 2023 (February 15, 2023 priority deadline) 
  • Start Date: May 22, 2023
  • End Date: July 28, 2023

Questions? 

For examples of the research conducted in the past, view the Summer 2022 Project Summary. For other questions, please contact Beth.Rivera@rice.edu

How to Apply

Students can apply to the REU Computer and Data Science Program at reuapply.rice.edu

Recommendations from professors and/or mentors who can vouch for the applicant's intellectual strength and personality are required.

In your application materials, please outline:

  • Research interests: Clearly describe your interests and motivations in computer and/or data science research and any specific areas in which you are most interested 
  • Readiness: State what you would like to gain from the program
  • Contribution: Describe the unique perspectives you bring to computer or data science research and how you would contribute to a diverse, equitable, inclusive and impactful community

Faculty

Risa MyersRisa B. Myers is the program lead for the REU Computer and Data Science program and an Assistant Teaching Professor in Rice's Department of Computer Science Department. She's interested in exploring and innovating in data science pedagogy and teaches Introduction to Database Systems, Big Data and Data Science Tools and Models. Given her extensive industry experience, one of her key teaching goals is to bring real world data, applications, and challenges to the classroom. She earned her PhD in Computer Science from Rice University.