NCSA hiring undergraduates for summer research experiences

04.27.10 -

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is hiring undergraduate students for summer 2010 to work with researchers and educators as part of the National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program. Undergraduate students from multiples disciplines—including chemistry, biology, computer science and engineering, and education—will have the opportunity to actively participate in research conducted by NCSA and its partners.

Projects in which students can participate include:

  • Augmented reality for understanding social and environmental science. Augmented reality (AR) is an exciting emerging technology that overlays geographically registered three-dimensional computer graphics on the real world. Recent 
improvements in cellular telephone technology have enabled the potential to use a smart phone for AR, creating a portable AR experience. This project will create a demonstration of how augmented reality can aid in understanding and teaching social and environmental science. The research team will develop and demonstrate a sample scenario for using AR environments to teach archeology at the collegiate level.
  • Cyberenvironments: Web 2.0 application for image and video management. In this project, students will work with the Medici repository—a Web 2.0 application built by NCSA for image and/or video management, and/or adding LinkedData support to our middleware.
  • Computational Biology. In this project the student will explore the differences between probabilistic stochastic and continuum differential equation models of natural phenomena. The differences are expected to arise when complex systems are "deciding" on which trajectory to follow. The stochastic models capture the unpredictability of natural systems, ranging from weather to the spread of disease. A student working on this project would gain an understanding of the underlying relationship between probability and calculus, and how that relationship can be used to make a computer model of a natural system that provides probabilities for different phenomena in complex systems.
  • Building the TeraGrid community for professional learning. This project involves development and analysis of social networking based on Elgg for a community of informal learning on TeraGrid education and training materials. The development may include adding code or plug-ins for Elgg or Elgg's MySQL database to obtain data for analysis. The analysis focuses on mapping the social network interactions and 
determining the roles some participants assume in the network.
  • Cybereducation: computational chemistry, biology and/or physics research tool development. This research experience will engage undergraduates in the development of user-friendly interfaces to a number of computational tools, which will be used in K12 and/or undergraduate classrooms. Students will develop tutorials and then conduct and evaluate surveys of the users to redesign/repurpose the tools.
  • Cybereducation: Educational research. In this project, the student will work with graduate students in educational research, with researchers in social networking analysis to collect, analyze, and visualize data from a course development tool (Moodle) in use by the Institute for Chemistry Literacy through Computational Science (ICLCS). Educators use this virtual learning community for collaboration, content enhancement, mentoring, and resource sharing.

Applications are due by MAY 15. For complete details on the positions and how to apply, go to