Undergraduate Research

Distributed and Scientific Computing

The Cooperative Computing Lab invites outstanding undergraduates to apply for summer research positions in distributed systems and scientific computing at the University of Notre Dame. We create computer systems that allow many people to cooperate in the solution of problems that are too large for any single machine or person to attack. Using our testbed of 500 CPUs at Notre Dame, students will work with software and develop new techniques for managing computations that harness hundreds of machines at once. These tools are used to attack problems in disciplines such as high energy physics, organic chemistry, biometrics, and bioinformatics.

We strongly encourage applications from women and minorities that are not well represented in computer science. We also encourage applications from students at regional colleges and universities. A summer research position is a great way to develop your skills and prepare for graduate school. This program will accept four applicants that will live and work along side about twenty other REU students working on different research programs in our department.

Summer 2009 Focus: Biometrics and Bioinformatics

Our summer 2009 program will focus on the problems of distributed computing in biometrics and bioinformatics.
  • Biometrics is the study of identifying people from physical observations such as fingerprints, iris images, and motion capture. Researchers at Notre Dame have collected hundreds of thousands of such images and videos, and design new algorithms for identifying and matching people based upon these measurements. To evaluate these data thoroughly, we must distribute images to hundreds of machines for transformation, comparison, and analysis.

  • Bioinformatics is the study of genomic sequences using computer algorithms. Researchers at Notre Dame are generating terabytes of genomic data every few days from modern sequencing machines. To process it in a timely manner, we must find effective ways of rapidly moving large amounts of data, and splitting up assembly tasks among hundreds of computers.
  • In both areas, we must design powerful tools for harnessing distributed systems, but also make them usable by non-experts through web portals. The ideal applicant must be enrolled in a computer science degree program and have skills in one of the following areas:
  • Web Technologies: HTML, PHP, Perl, and databases.
  • Systems Programming: C, Unix, networks, and scripting.
  • Summer at Notre Dame

    Summer research students will be paid a stipend of $6000 for ten weeks during the summer term, 26 May 2009 - 31 July 2009. (Some flexibility in dates is possible if arranged in advance.) Students must register for a zero-credit (no fee) course, which gives access to campus resources such as housing, computing, libraries, and athletic facilites. The stipend should be used to pay for housing, meals, and other costs. Students may choose any housing on or off campus, but are welcome to take advantage of on campus housing in order to meet other students involved in REU programs.

    The Notre Dame campus is a wonderful place to live during the summer. The campus is full of students in summer courses and programs. The city of South Bend offers museums and cultural activities, outdoor concerts and festivals, and a variety of parks and natural areas along the St. Joseph River. Beyond the city, the South Shore Railway provides transportation to Lake Michigan and Indiana Dunes Park, and downtown Chicago, with easy access to museums, parks, and shopping.

    Students may bring a car to campus, but a car is not required. We will arrange pick up and drop off for students arriving by plane, train, or bus.

    Important Dates

  • 26 May 2009: First day of summer research term.
  • 31 July 2009: End of summer research term.
  • How to Apply

    E-Mail the following to dthain at nd dot edu in either PDF or DOC format:
  • Cover letter describing your interests and qualifications.
  • Current resume listing education, experience, and skills.
  • Letter of recommendation from your faculty advisor or the professor of a class in which you have done excellent work.
  • For More Information...

  • Prof. Douglas Thain - dthain at nd dot edu
  • Cooperative Computing Lab - http://www.cse.nd.edu/~ccl
  • University of Notre Dame - http://www.nd.edu