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MIT student blogger Melis A. '08

UROP Deadlines and Openings by Melis A. '08

The deadline for Fall Direct Funding is September 15, so hurry up and find yourself a UROP!

A reminder: Fall 2005 UROP Direct Funding (Funds from UROP) Deadline: Thursday, Thursday September 15, 2005.

Keep in mind that there are three options when doing a UROP:
UROP for Pay: Up to $1,250 per semester, which works out to $9.00/hour, when you are funded by the UROP office. Need to fill out some paperwork. Your project may also qualify for special funds, for example last year I was funded by the Cathy M. Comeau Memorial Fund which supports women UROP students pursing research in the School of Science. It’s pretty easy to apply for one of these awards, just write that you are applying for the award on your proposal coversheet. If you’re lucky, you can get supervisor funding.
UROP for Credit: Paperwork is due by November 3, 2005. Register on Reg. Day or fill out an Add/Drop form. You can register as a pass/fail UROP or as a graded UROP. But, note that if you are doing a Course 6 or Course 8 UROP or if you are a freshman, then you cannot get graded credit.
UROP for Volunteer: Paperwork is due on November 3, 2005. This is the easiest way to get a UROP, most people will be more willing to hire you and there is not a lot of hassle with filling out timecards.

All of this information can be found on the UROP Guidelines website.

For a list of available Fall 2005 UROPs, click here.

I chose some listings that freshmen might be qualified for.

UROPs that don’t require much prior experience (yes, they do exist!!!):

1) Comparative Media Studies / HyperStudio
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. William Uricchio

Exploration of Early Cinema Through Paper Prints
Seeking an independent and highly motivated student to help (a) animate digital paper prints of early silent Shakespeare films held by the Library of Congress, (b) explore issues of copyright, preservation and restoration of early films, and (c) produce a website to draw in experts on the subject to contribute and discuss their ideas. This UROP project will be for credit or pay.

Prerequisites: An interest in early cinema, silents, or film studies. Proficient in HTML, Flash, Photoshop, and FileMaker Pro. Must be well organized. Previous animation experience a plus.

Contact: Please send CV to Belinda Yung, [email protected]

2) Humans and Automation Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Missy Cummings

Human-System Interface (HSI) prototype development for next generation lunar lander vehicle

Due to technology advancement over the past thirty-five years since the Apollo Landings, the role of the human and automated systems in a new lunar lander system must be reevaluated and redesigned. The Humans and Automation Lab ( is seeking a UROP student to actively participant in the new HSI prototype development for next generation lunar landing vehicle. As a member of MIT HSI team, this person will interact with teams from NASA, Draper, JPL and Honeywell. This is a unique opportunity to directly influence the design of the next lunar lander.

Prerequisites: Skills in interface prototyping (VB6 or, team collaboration, technical writing, and presentation. Programming and User Interface design experiences are highly desirable but not necessary.

Contact: Dr. Enlie Wang, [email protected], 617-452-3038

3) Computional Cognitive Science Lab
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. JoshuaTenenbaum

Bayesian models of learning and reasoning

We study the computational basis of human learning and inference. Through a combination of mathematical modeling, computer simulation, and behavioral experiments, we try to uncover the logic behind our everyday inductive leaps: word learning, generalization of novel facts, learning causal relations, and inferring behavior of intentional agents. We approach these problems through two complementary routes: the development of formal models using Bayesian statistics (and other mathematical tools) and behavioral testing of children and adults. Our work is driven by the complementary goals of trying to achieve a better understanding of human learning in computational terms and trying to build computational systems that come closer to the capacities of human learners.

We are open to UROPs of all skill levels. Most important to us is that you are interested, motivated, and able to work independently. Basic requirements for all UROPs will include helping to test experimental participants. You will also read papers relevant to ongoing projects in the lab, help design experiments, and be given an introduction to computational modeling. Exact details will vary with your interests, skills, and experience.

Prerequisites: Please be interested and motivated. Math and/or computer programming experience are desirable but not necessary.

Contact: Patrick Shafto, [email protected]

4) Fall 2005
Faculty Supervisor:Stefanie Shattuck-Hufngel

Combined Linguistics and EECS/RLE Speech Group UROP:

This project involves identifying disfluent regions in large files of digitized speech, and analysing them as evidence to help evaluate proposed linguistic grammars, theories of sound change, and models of the speech production planning and speech perception processes. Related aspects of the project include learning to label the ‘music’ of spoken language (i.e. the intonation and rhythm, also called prosody), close acoustic analysis of the speech signal, classification of error types, and labelling of speech-accompanying gestures in video recordings of the speaker, in order to align head and hand gestures with the spoken prosody. Some knowledge of phonology/phonetics, acoustics, signal analysis, music, computer science and/or cognitive science will be a plus. Positions available for pay or for credit; some possibility of continuation into IAP, the spring term and a summer position.

contact: Stefanie Shattuck-Hufngel, Speech Group, RLE ([email protected]) or Adam Albright ([email protected]) Between Sept 9 and 13, please contact Prof. Albright

5) McGovern Institute/ BSC/ Kanwisher Lab (Course 9)
Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Nancy Kanwisher

Neuroimaging studies of scene perception

There are two openings for UROPs in the Kanwisher Lab.

1) Network Modeling Software Development:
This project will involve developing software which will enable analysis of functional MRI data using support vector machines and independent component analysis. The individual would need a high level of mathematical and programming knowledge (and a keen interest in statistical learning theories).

2) Functional MRI Analysis:
This project will involve the analysis of fMRI data using existing statistical packages as well as the opportunity to be directly involved in the acquisition of MRI data from subjects. The individual would need to be familiar with Matlab and Unix environment.

Prerequisites: Interest in Neuroimaging, Interest in Perception, Familiarity with Matlab and Unix, Good organizational skills.

Contact: Contact: Mark Williams, [email protected]

3 responses to “UROP Deadlines and Openings”

  1. ajit says:


    i just want to know whether MIT encourage it’s undergraduates(including freshmen) to do theire own research to which he/she do not find a link to the projects in progress by the faculty members(current UROP projects to participate in).thank you.

  2. Melis says:

    Hi. Well, there are a few labs in which undergrads do their own research with an idea that they came up with themselves. One that I can think of off the top of my head is Dr. Angela Belcher’s Biological Engineering lab. So, you just have to come up with a great idea and find a professor who agrees that your idea is great and worthwhile.

  3. ajit says:

    thanks Melis.

    another qoestion- do undergraduate students participate in interdisciplinary research projects?

    thanks again,ajit