Current IVILAB undergraduate research opportunities

This page describes current research opportunities for undergraduates in the IVILAB, and how to apply. Please be aware that due to overwhelming interest in the IVILAB we need to limit the number undergraduate researchers. Unfortunately, we need to turn away many students.

General qualifications. Undergraduate research students must be able to realistically commit 9 hours a week to research. Currently we favor research for credit (i.e., honors projects or independent studies), and students who start in their second or third year. We have no strict qualifications, but the following counter indications will need to be compensated by other strengths.

  • Mediocre recent academic record. If your academic record is weak, you are likely best served by improving your GPA. Most undergraduates in the IVILAB have GPAs in line with that required for honors students (3.5 or above). GPAs substantively below that will need to be compensated with other strengths.
  • New to university. If this is your first semester in university, that will likely limit the projects that you can have a positive impact on (but we will try to find one and/or have you simply shadow lab activities for a semester).
  • Senior student. Research takes time, and a single semester is barely enough to get started. Seniors will need to address whether they are informally committing to a second semester, and why that is realistic given their load in the final semester.
Most IVILAB projects involve interacting with unix like computer systems (e.g., Linux, Mac OS) using the command line. It is not required that you already know how to do this, but you need to commit to getting up to speed fast. In general, research involves learning methods and tools independently, and aggressive debugging.

Responsiblities (i.e., requirements / delivables).

  • Attending relavent research meetings
  • updating an electronic notebook regularly (at least weekly)
  • committing any software products to the IVILAB repository
  • documenting and curating any data products
  • a short final report that synthesizes material in the notebook.
The above responsibilities, especially the notebooks, will form the basis of evaluation for independent studies and whether IVILAB faculty will write references letters. If you did not get 'A' or 'S' or would not have got 'A' or 'S' had you been doing a formal independent study, then we will not write reference letters.

How to apply. If you are interested in any of the current projects described below, you will need to provide the following PDFs:

  • Unofficial transcript
  • Your CV
  • A short statement of purpose (SOP) describing your academic history, your interest in IVILAB research and whether you are interested in credit, the specific project(s) you would like to be involved in, and relevant prior experience for that project. (If you apply for grad school, you will need to write a good SOP; consider this practice!)
(send them to kobus AT cs DOT arizona DOT edu, and be aware that they may be shared with other senior researchers involved with the IVILAB).

Current projects

(This list is updated before the begining of each semester, when we know which ones need more undergraduate researchers).
  • Games that induce emotion for ToMCAT. The ToMCAT project (Theory of Mind based Architecture for Teams) is about virtual assistants for teams collaborating on missions. This part of the project is contributing to software systems to collect synchronized data from multiple people interacting within a Minecraft based gaming system. One activity is to help build Minecraft based games that will induce emotion in accord with the research plan. Another is integrating the game into an interface to collect data and manipulate the game. This data collection will be extensive, including video, audio, physiologically data such as heart rate, EEG, and fNIRS, which is a state-of-the art recording method of brain activity.

    This is project is a good choice for those that have some experience and interest in game development, building systems, and as well as computational understanding of affect. ToMCAT development will follow strict software development processes.

  • Software development (mostly C/C++) If you are interested in software development in C/C++ for machine learning, computer vision, and scientific programming, the IVILAB has multiple opportunities for contributing in this way. One way is to contribute to the IVILAB code base in general (there is much to do!). A second way is to reimplement software prototypes (typically in Python or Matlab) in C or C++, and/or make existing code make better use of multiple cores. Examples of software needing such attention include image stitching (e.g., making a large image out of hundreds of drone images) for agricultural applications and various astronomy related project.
  • CompTIES This project will contribute to a web interface to a program to model dynamic data. This project is well underway, and involves web development, human computer interfaces, and could include scripting and C++ programming.
  • Detecting eye-blinks from video. Eye-blinks may be indicative of dopamine levels in the brain, and thus detecting them in video can have a number of interesting applications. This project will develop and evaluate methods for doing so, beginning with finishing an implementation of a deep learning method to do so. This is related to the ToMCAT project described above.
  • Evaluating and grounding methods for detecting facial muscle movements from video. This project will involve getting existing software running, and evaluated on multiple data sets. Grounding the performance will involve collecting data in a lab equipped to monitor facial muscle movement. This is related to the ToMCAT project described above.