The Computer Science faculty have a history of involving motivated students in research projects during the summer or academic year. As a beginning researcher, you will collaborate with one or more faculty members and possibly other students to investigate a research problem.
To provide a strong, mentored research experience, student researchers typically focus on projects linked to current research projects. Recent research projects include automatic word disambiguation for online machine translation, using genetic algorithms to evolve robotic opponents for first-person shooter video games, designing a parallel algorithm for DNA alignment, and creating the ALSOS digital library for nuclear issues.
What to Expect
As a student participating in a research project, you will:
- work independently on a well-defined subproject of a larger research project
- meet regularly with your faculty mentor to discuss progress, issues to be resolved, and directions for the next steps
- interact with the research team members on a daily basis to collaborate in problem solving
- learn how to use various scripting and programming languages, software tools, and software infrastructures inherently helpful in the project
- learn how to read and understand existing software to leverage and modify existing software for a research project
- learn about the research process, particularly research with a significant basis in experimental computer science
- build a mentoring relationship with professor
- establish a valuable record of research experience, knowledge, and skills beyond the classroom experience, increasing your competitiveness for graduate school or post-bachelors employment
There are interesting projects for all levels, from first through senior years. Some possible ways to participate in a research project include
- W&L Student Research Opportunities
- Honors Thesis
- Directed study credit
- Paid research assistant, depending on funding availability
- Volunteer researcher
Often a student starts in one of these roles and then changes to a different role. If you are interested in getting involved in a research project, send an email to the appropriate faculty member. Prior to your appointment to discuss the possibility, think about the time period you want to participate and whether you are interested in course credit, stipend, or volunteering.