This past April, twenty-four UT Dallas Computer Science Undergraduate students were invited to take part in the Spring Computer Science Undergraduate Research Speed Matching Luncheon. The event brought together both UT Dallas’s distinguished computer science and software engineering faculty members and a select group of ambitious CS/SE undergraduate students. Students who attended this exclusive event were invited based on their GPA of 3.8 or higher. The event acted as an introduction to the Undergraduate Research course offered by the UT Dallas Computer Science Department.
Dr.’s Linda Morales and Janell Straach, both UT Dallas CS professors and the course’s supervising instructors, set up a matching event to allow both computer science and software engineering undergraduate students to talk to several different professors in order to help the students make an informed choice when choosing what research project and which team they would like to participate in.
The mission of the event is to allow the students to hear more about different types of research that is being offered by having a more direct discussion with the appropriate professors. During the event, students were offered the opportunity to explore the following areas of research through direct and open dialogue with the following UT Dallas faculty members:
- Networks and Wireless Systems (Drs. Miguel Razo and Nhut Nguyen)
- Cyber Security (Drs. Zhiqiang Lin and Nhut Nguyen)
- Digital Forensics ( Neeraj Gupta)
- Artificial Intelligence (Drs. Vincent Ng and Sanda Harabagiu)
- Data Science ( Ovidiu Daescu)
- Algorithm and Theory (Drs. Sergey Bereg and Daescu)
- Human Language Technology (Drs. Harabagiu and Chris Davis)
- Multimedia and Vision ( Ranran Feng)
The course aims to provide students with the necessary tools they will need when taking part in hands-on research projects and helps pave the path to becoming a PhD student. By taking part in the Undergraduate Research course, students enrolled in the course are provided with research opportunities not available to most students. This includes attending conferences, having hands on research with UT Dallas CS faculty members, and having their work published.
The students, supervised by faculty, develop the necessary and valuable skills that will help them succeed in their future professions as well as academic careers by providing them with opportunities where they can be challenged and have the opportunity to excel. Students also learn how to properly conduct research in many different settings including libraries and labs. In the course of this class, students are required to complete a research plan with their professors and teams, report their progress and findings on a weekly basis, and at the end of the course, make a detailed presentation of their research including a research poster to fellow students enrolled in the course. Through the entirety of the course, students become progressively more proficient when communicating their results.
During the event, Dr. Ovidiu Daescu, UT Dallas CS professor, delivered the opening statements by advising students, “By doing the process of research, you are going to open new doors, and you are going to learn a lot of new things. In turn, you will be learning a lot of things that go beyond the classroom.” He continued on saying, “Now with that being said, at this stage whenever you get involved with a research project that excites you and that you really like to do, I see through working with students, that you are able to think of new ideas and ways to look at things. Through this course you will grow more confident in your work.”
Following Dr. Daescu’s opening remarks were UT Dallas CS/SE students, Shiva Sharma and Michael LoPiccolo, both CS juniors, who joined Drs. I. Hal Sudborough, Sergey Bereg, and Linda Morales research group during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters. Both students addressed the students and faculty sharing their time in the course and gave their individual perspectives and tips from the perspective of students taking part in a professor’s research project.
Undergraduate students enrolled in the research course will gain a skill set not usually available to them in the classroom. Through the course, students gain the necessary experience to conduct future research and knowledge required to create a multifaceted resume. By pursuing the Undergraduate Research course, students who aim to obtain a Ph.D. will have a head start in their studies and research.
ABOUT THE UT DALLAS COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT
The UT Dallas Computer Science program is one of the largest Computer Science departments in the United States with over 1,600 bachelor’s-degree students, more than 1,100 master’s students, 160 PhD students, and 80 faculty members, as of Fall 2015. With The University of Texas at Dallas’ unique history of starting as a graduate institution first, the CS Department is built on a legacy of valuing innovative research and providing advanced training for software engineers and computer scientists.