Quick links

Independent Work Seminars

The Computer Science Department offers Independent Work Seminars, which allow students and a faculty adviser with shared interests to meet as a group and work on related projects. 


Background and Motivation

The main motivation for these seminars is to provide a way for students working on similar projects to get assistance and feedback from their peers. 

The IW seminars bring together groups of students working on related problems.  Each student chooses and works on their own project, just as in any other IW. The only difference is that meetings occur with faculty and other students in seminar-style once per week at a scheduled time.  During the meetings, the students discuss what they are doing, provide feedback to other students, and generate ideas for future work.  The seminars provide a great forum for honing small-group presentation and discussion skills that will be essential after graduation.  Individual meetings with the faculty adviser can also occur weekly during agreed-upon times throughout the semester.

Within these seminars, it is possible for groups of 2-3 students to work on different parts of the same large-scale project.  As an example, a few students might work together on a system for collaborative grading of assignments in MOOCs (massive open online courses) with one student developing the user interface, another designing the algorithms for assigning problems to graders, and a third implementing a system for integrating grader responses in the back-end server.  Every student is responsible for writing a paper and making presentations individually, but it might be possible to achieve much more with a collaborative effort than with a set of individual ones (the whole is greater than the sum of parts).  In any case, team efforts could be more fun and engaging for the participating students. 


What are the Topics for the Independent Work Seminars for Spring 2024?

Click here to go directly to the full seminar descriptions, or click on a linked seminar title to go directly to that seminar's full description.


Faculty Adviser

Day and Time 

Rm. #

COS IW 01: Digital Humanities Brian Kernighan Fridays, 11:00am - 12:20pm TBA
COS IW 02: Digital Humanities Brian Kernighan Fridays, 1:30 - 2:50pm TBA
COS IW 03: Invention and Innovation: Entrepreneurial Lessons for Computer Scientists Robert Fish Tuesdays, 3:00 - 4:20pm TBA
COS IW 04: Machine Learning and Algorithms for Medicine Mona Singh Mondays, 1:30 - 2:50pm TBA
COS IW 05: Artificial Intelligence for Engineering and Physics Ryan Adams Mondays, 11:00am - 12:20pm TBA
COS IW 06: Artificial Intelligence for Engineering and Physics Ryan Adams Mondays, 1:30 - 2:50pm TBA
COS IW 07: Reimagining Robotics Through Art Radhika Nagpal Tuesdays, 11:00am - 12:20pm TBA
COS IW 08: Reimagining Robotics Through Art Radhika Nagpal Thursdays, 11:00am - 12:20pm TBA
COS IW 09: Operating Systems Hacking for Fun and Profit Amit Levy Thursdays, 11:00am - 12:20pm TBA
COS IW 10: Molecular Machine Learning Ellen Zhong Thursdays, 3:00 - 4:20pm TBA
COS IW 11: Wrestling with Distributed Systems Mae Milano Thursdays, 11:00am - 12:20pm TBA


Who Should Sign-Up for the Independent Work Seminars?

All students who plan to do independent work for the first time should sign up for an IW seminar.  Specifically, this includes all AB juniors and all BSE students signed up for COS 397/8 or 497/8 for the first time.  Though the seminars are targeted at first-time independent work students, they are open to any COS junior or senior  who is not working on a senior thesis. The content of the IW seminars includes not only independent work on a project, but also guidance about how to choose projects, evaluate progress, design experiments, collaborate with others, make presentations, and other project management skills.  These skills are essential for becoming an effective researcher, and provide great training for working in a company or startup.  Thus, the seminars are perfectly suited for students doing their first semester of independent work.

If you already have done a previous semester of independent work or want to work on a project outside the scope of the topics offered in any of the IW seminars, then you can make arrangements with a Princeton faculty to advise you one-on-one.  To do so, contact the faculty now that you are interested in working with to discuss potential project ideas (probably email is best). If you find a faculty member that agrees to advise you one-on-one, then you can indicate that selection on the IW sign up form by indicating a title, description, and faculty adviser for your project. Please also login to TigerHub and enroll in either COS 397, S99 (BSE juniors) or COS 497, S99 (BSE seniors) for one-on-one projects.


How do I Sign-Up for the Independent Work Seminar?

Enrollment in the IW seminars for the spring is different that enrollment in the fall.

To enroll in a COS IW seminar for Spring 2024:

Students will be assigned to a spring IW seminar. We try our best to accommodate students into one of their top three seminar preferences, but this is subject to available seats and student interest. Students are not guaranteed a spot into a particular seminar. If you have a question about this, please email Mikki Hornstein at mhornstein@princeton.edu.


Past Independent Work Seminars

Learn about more about past Independent Work Seminar offerings.

Follow us: Facebook Twitter Linkedin