Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROPs)

You learn by doing, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities are how you do research at CMS/W as an undergrad.

MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROPs) are meant to connect students with faculty research. Arranging one for yourself with CMS/W can take a couple different paths. The most common is to have a great idea, related to CMS/W research or faculty interests, and approach a faculty member directly about his or her becoming your UROP sponsor. The other is to check out the list of available UROPs proposed by faculty—think of them as job openings—and apply.

A UROP can be for pay, for credit, or as a volunteer. Whichever it is, your work and CMS/W’s obligations to you use the same standard: the research done “must be worthy of academic credit”.

UROP proposals are welcome all year long, though there are deadlines.

Current UROP Openings

Project Title: Creation of Large-Scale Data Visualizations To Reveal Patterns In News Media

Project Description: The Media Lab s Center for Civic Media has built a massive online news aggregator and tools to understand language use, media bias, and trends in how topics and controversies are talked about online. We have been running the project for close to a decade and have a huge and constantly updated data-set with which to ask questions about how the media operates. We are looking for two talented javascript developers / creative technologists to help us build out the web-based data visualization components of this project. This will involve working with 3D web graphics platforms to render data from our API, and allowing navigation through words, entities, and more.

Prerequisites: Strong working knowledge of Javascript, experience with WebGL, javascript graphics libraries. Strong experience with Three.js strongly preferred. Experience working with JSON APIs. Experience with network visualizations preferred. Strong design and aesthetic sense strongly desirable. Experience working with javascript web application frameworks such as Redux and React preferable. Enthusiasm for beautiful, intuative, interactive web projects!

Contact Name: Sands Fish
Contact Email: sands@mit.edu

Project Title: TaleBlazer: Location-based Augmented Reality on Mobile Devices (Android/iOS)

Project Description: Interested in location-based technology? Interested in games? Want to play with mobile devices? Apply to work on TaleBlazer for credit as a UROP! TaleBlazer is a location-based Augmented Reality game creation platform. Game designers build interactive games using the TaleBlazer Editor web application. Similar to Starlogo TNG, Scratch or AppInventor, the TaleBlazer Editor includes a blocks-based programming environment that allows the game designer to specify the game logic. Game players use the TaleBlazer mobile application to download and play TaleBlazer games on GPS enabled smartphones (Android or iOS). As the players move around the real world, they meet virtual characters or objects in the game world that the game designers have built for them. TaleBlazer is intended for educational purposes the players explore subject matter in a new and exciting way in a real world context. We have worked with zoos, schools, after-school clubs, etc. to design and launch various professionally developed games with science, math, and history content. The TaleBlazer Editor can also be a valuable teaching and learning tool for student game designers, who learn programming skills and game design, while delving deeply into subject matter to create games about specific topics.

Technology: The TaleBlazer Mobile application is built using Appcelerator Studio, a 3rd party toolkit which allows the programmer to write a single codebase in JavaScript that is then compiled into native iOS and Android applications. The TaleBlazer website is based on a CakePHP/MySQL backend with a JavaScript/HTML/CSS fronted.

Requirements: While these positions require a strong programming background, experience with specific programming languages is not required.

Single semester UROP projects (available for credit) for the Fall semester 2016 include:
– Improvements to UI design on the Mobile
– Adding game features to the platform

Projects are suitable for a variety of levels of coding experience.

URL: http://education.mit.edu/portfolio_page/taleblazer/

Contact: If you are interested in any of the above positions, please send an email to tep-jobs@mit.edu and include:
* an overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
* a summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume if you have one)
* a short description of why you are interested in working on this project
* Please put TaleBlazer UROP” in the subject line

What Do Past UROPs Have to Say About Their Experience with CMS/W?

Christine Yu: past UROP, major in Writing - Digital Media Studies, minor in Biology, and MIT class of 2012

Christine Yu: past UROP, major in Writing – Digital Media Studies, minor in Biology, and MIT class of 2012

My work with the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Lab on Project Mimesis and AIR (Advanced Identity Representation) enhanced my experience as an undergraduate at MIT by allowing me to work directly with graduate students in the CMS department. I had previously UROP’ed for the Biology department, and so transferring over to CMS was quite the change; I found the CMS UROP experience to be more teamwork-based. I also enjoyed the change in scenery of the labs, and it has fostered my interest in the human experience in avatar generation and gaming.I would highly recommend UROP’ing for any undergraduate in fields of interest because it helps an individual to think about post-graduate plans, and it allows them to meet the future professionals of that field. While my post-graduate plans are currently medical school-based, I’ve been asked during interviews about my experience in the ICE Lab, and it’s always very fun to be able to talk about a broad range of my interests. I feel like my experience in the ICE Lab enhances my applications because it allows me to present myself as very personable, instead of just sitting behind a lab bench pipetting all day.