Wednesday, March 02, 2022

REU programs in general, and two at Univ of MD this summer.

REU stands for Research Experience for Undergraduates. 

REU programs are funded by the NSF. The NSF website of REU programs is here

Univ if MD at College Park dept of Comp Sci is running two REU programs this summer:

I (William Gasarch) am running  REU-CAAR (Combinatorics and AI Applied to Real problems) whose theme is applying theory to practice. The website for it is here.

 Jacquelyn Michaelis and Mihai Pop are running REU-BRIDGe (Bioinformatics Research In Data science for Genomics) which, as you can probably tell from the name, is in bio-comp. The website for it is here.

Most REU programs have the following: 

1) There is an admissions period where many people apply (I had around 200 applicants last year) of which only about 10 get in. Some have money for a few extra students. This year both REU-CAAR and REU-BRIDGe have applications due March 22; however, in the past I have admitted students before then, so students who apply March 21 may be at a severe disadvantage. 

2) Students apply from across the United states and these programs are competitive, so good to apply to several that you would definitely goto. Students ask me how many- I'll say 10 though temper that with only applying to those you REALLY would goto, and if there are MORE THAN 10 that look awesome, you could apply to more. 

3) Students stay in the dorms (the last two years some programs cancelled, and some were virtual- mine was virtual) and get stipend of $6000, and a meal card. The program is 10 weeks.

4) Students work on projects in teams of 2-5. Some programs have the students pick what projects they would be happy to work on when they apply (mine does that) while others assign projects once students arrive (REU-BRIDGe will do that). The later makes sense if the program is very focused so the projects do not differ that much. 

5) These programs are excellent for giving ugrads a chance to do research (NSF wants at least half of the students to come from non-research schools) and a sense of what grad school is like. So I recommend students thinking of grad school, or just want to do research, to apply to these programs. 

6) Some students get papers out of the research. In these cases the research usually continues after the program is over. 

7) It is healthy for a student to go to an REU program that is at a DIFFERENT school then where they are an ugrad for broadening. There may be mitigating circumstances where this is not possible. 

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