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Undergraduate Research Topics

 

Suggested Undergraduate Research Topics

Links to many research areas in the department may be found at http://www.cs.princeton.edu/research/areas/ while links to projects may be found at http://www.cs.princeton.edu/research/projects/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Contact Faculty for IW/Thesis Advising

Look on wase.princeton.edu to see if the professor has a calendar with any open slots available in a time frame soon enough to be of use to you; if so, sign up there.   Then (at the appointed time) contact them on princeton.zoom.us. (Note: If you sign up with less than 24 hours notice, then the professor might not notice it in time to meet with you!)

Otherwise, send the professor e-mail. When you write a professor, be clear that you want a meeting regarding a senior thesis, and briefly describe the topic or idea that you want to work on.

 

Computer Science Faculty:

Ryan Adams - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Andrew Appel - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Sanjeev Arora - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

David August - Available for Fall IW advising

Jack Brassil

Mark Braverman - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Bernard Chazelle - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Danqi Chen - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Jia Deng - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

David Dobkin - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Robert Dondero - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Zeev Dvir - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Barbara Engelhardt - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Christiane Fellbaum - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Edward Felten - Available for Spring IW advising

Adam Finkelstein - No longer available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Robert S. Fish - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Michael Freedman - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Tom Griffiths - Available for Fall IW advising

Aarti Gupta - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Elad Hazan - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Felix Heide - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Kyle Jamieson - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Alan Kaplan - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Brian Kernighan - No longer available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Zachary Kincaid - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Gillat Kol - Available for Spring IW advising

Amit Levy - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Dan Leyzberg - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Kai Li  - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Xiaoyan Li - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Wyatt Lloyd - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Jérémie Lumbroso - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Margaret Martonosi - Available for Fall IW advising

Jonathan Mayer - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Christopher Moretti - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Chris Musco

Soohyun Nam Liao - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Karthik Narasimhan - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Arvind Narayanan - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Iasonas Petras - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Benjamin Raphael - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Ran Raz - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Jennifer Rexford - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Szymon Rusinkiewicz - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Olga Russakovsky - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Robert Sedgewick - Available for Spring IW advising

Sebastian Seung - Not available for IW or thesis advising

Yoram Singer - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Jaswinder Pal Singh - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Mona Singh - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Sahil Singla

Kathrin Stark - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Robert Tarjan - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Olga Troyanskaya - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

David Walker - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Kevin Wayne - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Matt Weinberg - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Mark Zhandry - Available for single-term IW and senior thesis advising

Opportunities outside the department:

Branko Glisic, Engineering Quad, Room E330
Mihir Kshirsagar, Center for Information Technology Policy, 315 Sherrerd Hall
Sharad Malik, Engineering Quad, Room B224
Prateek Mittal, Engineering Quadrangle, Room B236
Ken Norman, PNI 137 Neuroscience Institute
Caroline Savage, Office of Sustainability Phone: (609) 258-7513, cs35@princeton.edu
Janet Vertesi, Sociology Dept, Wallace Hall 122 
David Wentzlaff, Engineering Quadrangle, Room 228

Ryan Adams, Room 411

Available for senior thesis advising

Research areas:

  • Machine learning driven design
  • Generative models for structured discrete objects
  • Approximate inference in probabilistic models
  • Accelerating solutions to partial differential equations
  • Innovative uses of automatic differentiation
  • Modeling and optimizing 3d printing and CNC machining

Andrew Appel, Room 209

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Formal methods, programming languages, compilers, computer security.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Software verification (for which taking COS 326 / COS 510 is helpful preparation)
    • Game theory of poker or other games (for which COS 217 / 226 are helpful)
    • Computer game-playing programs (for which COS 217 / 226)
    •  Risk-limiting audits of elections (for which ORF 245 or other knowledge of probability is useful)

Sanjeev Arora, Room 407

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Theoretical machine learning, deep learning and its analysis, natural language processing. My advisees would typically have taken a course in algorithms (COS423 or COS 521 or equivalent) and a course in machine learning.
  • Independent Research Topics: 
    • Show that finding approximate solutions to NP-complete problems is also NP-complete (i.e., come up with NP-completeness reductions a la COS 487). 
    • Experimental Algorithms: Implementing and Evaluating Algorithms using existing software packages. 
    • Studying/designing provable algorithms for machine learning and implementions using packages like scipy and MATLAB, including applications in Natural language processing and deep learning.
    • Any topic in theoretical computer science.

David August, Room 221

Available for Fall IW advising

  • Research Areas: Computer Architecture, Compilers, Parallelism, Security, Performance.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Containment-based approaches to security:  We have designed and tested a simple hardware+software containment mechanism that stops incorrect communication resulting from faults, bugs, or exploits from leaving the system.   Let's explore ways to use containment to solve real problems.  Expect to work with corporate security and technology decision-makers.
    • Parallelism: Studies show much more parallelism than is currently realized in compilers and architectures.  Let's find ways to realize this parallelism.
    • Any other interesting topic in computer architecture or compilers. 

Mark Braverman, 194 Nassau St., Room 231

Not available for IW or thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computational complexity, algorithms, applied probability, computability over the real numbers, game theory and mechanism design, information theory, applications of machine learning in healthcare and medicine. 
  • Independent Research Topics: 
    • Topics in computational and communication complexity.
    • Applications of information theory in complexity theory.
    • Algorithms for problems under real-life assumptions.
    • Game theory, network effects, and mechanism design.
    • Computation involving dynamical systems, fractals, and cellular automata. 
    • Game theory applied to problems in healthcare.

Bernard Chazelle, 194 Nassau St., Room 301

Not available for IW or thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Natural Algorithms, Computational Geometry, Sublinear Algorithms. 
  • Independent Research Topics
    • Natural algorithms (flocking, swarming, social networks, etc).
    • Sublinear algorithms
    • Self-improving algorithms
    • Markov data structures

Danqi Chen, Room 412

Available for senior thesis advising

Research areas: Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning

My advisees would be expected to have taken a course in machine learning and ideally have taken COS484 or an NLP graduate seminar.

Independent Research Topics:

  • Representation learning for text and knowledge bases
  • Pre-training and transfer learning
  • Question answering and reading comprehension
  • Information extraction
  • Text summarization
  • Any other interesting topics related to natural language understanding/generation

Jia Deng, Room 423

Available for senior thesis advising

  •  Research Areas: Computer Vision, Machine Learning.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • 3D Vision
    • Object recognition and action recognition
    • Deep Learning, autoML, meta-learning
    • Geometric reasoning, logical reasoning.

 

David Dobkin, Room 419 

Not available for IW or thesis advising

  • Research areas:  processing and machine learning in public data sets, information visualization
    • Visualizing and learning from public data sets
    • Sports analytics
    • Development of interesting mobile phone apps

 

Robert Dondero, Corwin Hall, Room 038

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas:  Software engineering; software engineering education.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Develop or evaluate tools to facilitate student learning in undergraduate computer science courses at Princeton, and beyond.
    • In particular, can code critiquing tools help students learn about software quality?

Zeev Dvir, 194 Nassau St. Room 250

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computational complexity, pseudo-randomness, coding theory and discrete mathematics.
  • Independent Research: I have various research problems related to Pseudorandomness, Coding theory, Complexity and Discrete mathematics - all of which require strong mathematical background. A project could also be based on writing a survey paper describing results from a few theory papers revolving around some particular subject.

Barbara Engelhardt, Room 322- On sabbatical during the 2019-2020 AY. 

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Machine Learning, Statistics, Statistical Genomics
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Development of statistical and ML models for large scale data analysis
      • fMRI data analysis
      • genetic, epigenetic, and organismal data
      • medical data: EMRs, time series, longitudinal studies
      • Other: music, movie ratings, recipes, text
    • Statistical models for specific questions:
      • Causal inference and instrumental variable analysis
      • Model checking with posterior predictive checks
      • Inference of undirected network from observational and time-series data

 

Christiane Fellbaum, 1-S-14 Green

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: theoretical and computational linguistics, word sense disambiguation, lexical resource construction, English and multilingual WordNet(s), ontology
  • Fall 2017 IW Seminar:
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Anything having to do with natural language--come and see me with/for ideas suitable to your background and interests. Some topics students have worked on in the past:
    • Developing parsers, part-of-speech taggers, morphological analyzers for underrepresented languages (you don't have to know the language to develop such tools!)
    • Quantitative approaches to theoretical linguistics questions
    • Extensions and interfaces for WordNet (English and WN in other languages),
    • Applications of WordNet(s), including:
    • Foreign language tutoring systems,
    • Spelling correction software,
    • Word-finding/suggestion software for ordinary users and people with memory problems,
    • Machine Translation 
    • Sentiment and Opinion detection
    • Automatic reasoning and inferencing
    • Collaboration with professors in the social sciences and humanities ("Digital Humanities")

Edward Felten, Sherrerd Hall -  Room 302 

Available for Spring IW advising

  • Research Areas: Computer security and privacy; Internet software; technology law and policy.

  • Independent Research Topics:

    • Technology for open government.
    • Computer security and privacy.
    • Digital media distribution.
    • Copy protection and peer to peer technologies.
    • Electronic voting.
    • Technology, society and public policy.
    • Any other interesting or offbeat topic.

Adam Finkelstein, Room 424 

Not available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computer graphics, audio.
  • Spring 2020 Seminar: Deep Learning for Audio
    • Note: No individual single-term advising is available outside of the seminar for Spring 2020

Robert S. Fish, Corwin Hall, Room 037

Available for senior thesis advising

Michael Freedman, Room 308 

Not available for IW or thesis advising

Aarti Gupta, Room 220

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Formal methods, program analysis, logic decision procedures
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Finding bugs in open source software using automatic verification tools
    • Software verification (program analysis, model checking, test generation)
    • Decision procedures for logical reasoning (SAT solvers, SMT solvers)

Elad Hazan, Room 409  

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research interests: machine learning methods and algorithms, efficient methods for mathematical optimization, regret minimization in games, reinforcement learning, control theory and practice
  • Machine learning, efficient methods for mathematical optimization, statistical and computational learning theory, regret minimization in games.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Implementation and algorithm engineering for control, reinforcement learning and robotics
    • Implementation and algorithm engineering for time series prediction

Felix Heide, Room 410

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Computational Imaging, Computer Vision, Machine Learning (focus on Optimization and Approximate Inference).
  • Potential Topics for Independent Research include:
    • Computational Optics for Domain-specific Cameras
    • Optical Neural Networks
    • Hardware-in-the-loop Holography
    • Zero-shot and Simulation-only Learning
    • Object recognition in extreme conditions
    • 3D Scene Representations for View Generation and Inverse Problems
    • Long-range Imaging in Scattering Media
    • Hardware-in-the-loop Illumination and Sensor Optimization
    • Inverse Lidar Design
    • Phase Retrieval Algorithms
    • Proximal Algorithms for Learning and Inference
    • Domain-Specific Language for Optics Design

Kyle Jamieson, Room 306

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: Wireless and mobile networking; indoor radar and indoor localization; Internet of Things
  • See other topics on my independent work ideas page (campus IP and CS dept. login req'd)

 

Alan Kaplan, 221 Nassau Street - Room 105 -

Available for senior thesis advising

Research Areas:

  • Random apps of kindness - mobile application/technology frameworks used to help individuals or communities; topic areas include, but are not limited to: first response, accessibility, environment, sustainability, social activism, civic computing, tele-health, remote learning, crowdsourcing, etc.
  • Tools automating programming language interoperability - Java/C++, React Native/Java, etc.
  • Software visualization tools for education
  • Connected consumer devices, applications and protocols

Brian Kernighan, Room 311-

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: application-specific languages, document preparation, user interfaces, software tools, programming methodology
  • Fall 2017 IW Seminar - Computer Science Tools and Techniques for Digital Humanities 
  • Independent Research Topics: 
    • Application-oriented languages, scripting languages.
    • Tools; user interfaces
    • Digital humanities

Zachary Kincaid, Room 219

Available for senior thesis advising

Research areas: programming languages, program analysis, program verification, automated reasoning 

Independent Research Topics:

  • Develop a practical algorithm for an intractable problem (e.g., by developing practical search heuristics, or by reducing to SAT, or by identifying a tractable sub-problem, ...).
  • Design a domain-specific programming language, or prototype a new feature for an existing language.
  • Any interesting project related to programming languages or logic.

Gillat Kol, 194 Nassau Street, Room 230

Available for Spring IW advising

Amit Levy, Room 307

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Operating Systems, Distributed Systems, Embedded Systems, Internet of Things
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Distributed hardware testing infrastructure
    • Second factor security tokens
    • Low-power wireless network protocol implementation
    • USB device driver implementation

Dan Leyzberg, Corwin Hall, Room 034

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Computer Science Education, Learning Sciences
  • Independent Research Topics: Please contact me if you have an interest in using computing to model the knowledge or skills of others. My favorite projects to advise are those that examine misconceptions learners have with highly technical material, but I'm open to working with you on any project that treats people as individuals and aims to understand more about their frame of reference or way of thinking.

Kai Li, Room 321

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Distributed systems; storage systems; content-based search and data analysis of large datasets.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Fast communication mechanisms for heterogeneous clusters.
    • Approximate nearest-neighbor search for high dimensional data.
    • Data analysis and prediction of in-patient medical data.
    • Optimized implementation of classification algorithms on manycore processors.

Xiaoyan Li, 221 Nassau Street - Room 104

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: Information retrieval, novelty detection, question answering, AI, machine learning and data analysis.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Explore new statistical retrieval models for document retrieval and question answering.
    • Apply AI in various fields.
    • Apply supervised or unsupervised learning in health, education, finance, and social networks, etc.
    • Any interesting project related to AI, machine learning, and data analysis.

 

Wyatt Lloyd, Room 323

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: Distributed Systems
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Caching algorithms and implementations
    • Storage systems
    • Distributed transaction algorithms and implementations

 

Jérémie Lumbroso, Corwin Hall, Room 035

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: Probabilistic algorithms (data streaming algorithms & random generation), data analysis, data structures, analysis of algorithms,  analytic combinatorics.
  • Possible Independent Research Topics:
    • Develop new algorithms for the distinct sampling problem (useful to in data analysis to get fast representative histograms of a large set of data).
    • Extend existing universal random generation framework (such as Boltzmann Samplingdemo here), or improve their implementation.
    • Design an optimized algorithm for a specific combinatorial class.
    • Analyze an algorithm using precise analytic combinatorics.
    • Text (or data) clustering and processing; linguistic analysis (especially with French, German, Spanish, etc.).
    • ...
  • I am also coordinating the development of new grading and assessment infrastructure at Princeton, that will eventually be open-source and deployed at other universities. These projects focus on automation, using various techniques - such as OCR or OMR -, smart heuristics, and creative UI design, to streamline most tasks associated with a university. The goal is to be more efficient, to collect more data, and to better understand what makes a good course. You would have the opportunity to contribute to something that will be used at Princeton's CS department (of which the intro course has the highest enrollment on campus) and beyond for years to come. Here are some example projects:
    • Design/improve an OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) project that is currently being deployed for the computer assisted grading of exams.
    • Integrate handwritten character recognition to the OMR component.
    • Analyze large quantities of secondary data collected (for example, do students that do the programming assignments in pairs do better in the course or not? how many hours in COS Lab are helpful on average, and when do we hit a point of diminishing returns).
    • Design heuristics and interfaces to spot students in difficulty much earlier in the term, when there is some hope of helping them.
    • Extend the COS Lab Queue so it may be used out of the box in all labs accross campus.
    • Develop a robust testing infrastructure using virtual machines, secure threads, and intelligent feedback to supplant the run-script system currently used.
    • Develop an interface to make grading of assignment done online.
    • Integrate hardware solutions (cardswipe, barcode scanning, etc.) to many of these tools to make them even more frictionless.
    • Some related crowd-sourcing projects...
  • A lot of these projects can include some Big Data component, and involve analyzing data and drawing some observations from it.
  • Finally, I am always up for any ambitious coding project, or survey project in preparation (or not) to an undergrad thesis.

Margaret Martonosi, Room 208

Available for Fall IW advising

  • Quantum Computing research, particularly related to architecture and compiler issues for QC.
  • Computer architectures specialized for modern workloads (e.g., graph analytics, machine learning algorithms, mobile applications
  • Investigating security and privacy vulnerabilities in computer systems, particularly IoT devices.
  • Other topics in computer architecture or mobile / IoT systems also possible.

Jonathan Mayer, Sherrerd Hall - Room 307 

Not available for IW or thesis advising

  • Research areas: Technology law and policy, with emphasis on national security, criminal procedure, consumer privacy, network management, and online speech.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Assessing the effects of government policies, both in the public and private sectors.
    • Collecting new data that relates to government decision making, including surveying current business practices and studying user behavior.
    • Developing new tools to improve government processes and offer policy alternatives.

Christopher Moretti, Corwin Hall, Room 036

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: Distributed systems, high-throughput computing, computer science/engineering education
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Expansion, improvement, and evaluation of open-source distributed computing software.
    • Applications of distributed computing for "big science" (e.g. biometrics, data mining, bioinformatics)
    • Software and best practices for computer science education and study, especially Princeton's 126/217/226 sequence or MOOCs development
    • Sports analytics and/or crowd-sourced computing

Soohyun Nam Liao, Corwin Hall, Room 032

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: computer science/engineering education
  • Independent Research Topics: crafting a new teaching material supported by a scientific evidence, evaluating an existing or new teaching practice with proper analysis techniques, implementing a platform that supports a new teaching practice
    • I am particularly interested in the following topics in the academic year 2020-2021
    • Design (and evaluate) different versions of COS126 material that explain the CS concepts in different themes (e.g. biology, social science, etc.)
    • Conduct user study on the self-paced precepts of COS126 and find a way to better support the students
    • Refine the list of learning goals of COS126 and conduct a student intervention study using the list
    • Perform literature review on AI literacy and craft a relevant teaching material for undergraduate courses

Karthik Narasimhan,  Room 422

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: Natural Language Processing, Reinforcement Learning
  • Independent Research Topics:

Arvind Narayanan308 Sherrerd Hall 

Available for senior thesis advising

Research areas: privacy, fairness in machine learning, cryptocurrencies & blockchains,.

Some topics and questions I'm interested in:

1. What can be inferred about people based on publicly available online data?
 
Did you know that computer vision techniques are capable of analyzing YouTube videos to infer the heart rates of people in the videos? This can be done by extracting the subtle, humanly imperceptible head motion caused by the influx of blood at each heart beat. What other sensitive information can be inferred based on publicly available data using clever algorithms?
 
2. How does machine learning absorb human biases and what can we do about it?
 
Machine learning captures patterns from training data, and that includes societal prejudices such as racial and gender stereotypes. Unsurprisingly, machine learning methods used for automated screening of resumes or automated risk scoring of criminal defendants turn out to be biased against some groups. How can we mitigate such biases?
 
3. Blockchain analysis with BlockSci
 
The Bitcoin blockchain is an unprecedented public log of financial transactions — 150 gigabytes and growing quickly. It holds many secrets. Can we do a forensic analysis of well-known thefts of bitcoins to discover where the money went? How anonymous are Bitcoin users? What does the wealth distribution look like? My research group has built a research tool called BlockSci to help answer these types of questions.

 

Iasonas Petras, Corwin Hall, Room 033

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Information Based Complexity, Numerical Analysis, Quantum Computation.
  • Prerequisites: Reasonable mathematical maturity. In case of a project related to Quantum Computation a certain familiarity with quantum mechanics is required (related courses: ELE 396/PHY 208).
  • Possible research topics include:

1.   Quantum algorithms and circuits:

  • i. Design or simulation quantum circuits implementing quantum algorithms.
  • ii. Design of quantum algorithms solving/approximating continuous problems (such as Eigenvalue problems for Partial Differential Equations).

2.   Information Based Complexity:

  • i. Necessary and sufficient conditions for tractability of Linear and Linear Tensor Product Problems in various settings (for example worst case or average case). 
  • ii. Necessary and sufficient conditions for tractability of Linear and Linear Tensor Product Problems under new tractability and error criteria.
  • iii. Necessary and sufficient conditions for tractability of Weighted problems.
  • iv. Necessary and sufficient conditions for tractability of Weighted Problems under new tractability and error criteria.

3. Topics in Scientific Computation:

  • i. Randomness, Pseudorandomness, MC and QMC methods and their applications (Finance, etc)

Benjamin Raphael, Room 309  

Available for senior thesis advising

Research interests: Computational biology and bioinformatics; Cancer genomics; Algorithms and machine learning approaches for analysis of large-scale datasets

Fall 2017 IW Seminar - Computational Genomics
Research projects:

  • Implementation and application of algorithms to infer evolutionary processes in cancer
  •  Identifying correlations between combinations of genomic mutations in human and cancer genomes
  •  Design and implementation of algorithms for genome sequencing from new DNA sequencing technologies
  • Graph clustering and network anomaly detection, particularly using diffusion processes and methods from spectral graph theory

Ran Raz, Room 240

Not available for IW or thesis advising

Research Area: Computational Complexity

Independent Research Topics: Computational Complexity, Information Theory, Quantum Computation, Theoretical Computer Science

Jennifer RexfordRoom 222

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research areas: networking, software-defined networks, network management
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Enterprise and data-center networking solutions built on Software Defined Networking (SDN).  For example, middleboxes like firewalls, NATs, intrusion detection systems, and load balancers, adaptive measurement of network traffic, networking in challenged environments (e.g., developing regions, emergency situations, etc.).
    • Research on better programming abstractions for SDN.  Projects could combine computer networking with other areas like programming languages, network optimization, algorithms, and distributed systems.
    • Any interesting project in computer networking.

Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Room 406

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computer graphics; computer vision; 3D scanning; 3D printing; robotics; documentation and visualization of cultural heritage artifacts
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Research ways of incorporating rotation invariance into computer visiontasks such as feature matching and classification
    • Investigate approaches to robust 3D scan matching
    • Model and compensate for imperfections in 3D printing
    • Given a collection of small mobile robots, apply control policies learned in simulation to the real robots.

Olga Russakovsky, Room 408

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computer vision, machine learning, deep learning, crowdsourcing, fairness&bias in AI
  • Independent Research Topics (from AY 2017-2018):
    • Design a semantic segmentation deep learning model that can operate in a zero-shot setting (i.e., recognize and segment objects not seen during training)
    • Develop a deep learning classifier that is impervious to protected attributes (such as gender or race) that may be erroneously correlated with target classes
    • Build a computer vision system for the novel task of inferring what object (or part of an object) a human is referring to when pointing to a single pixel in the image. This includes both collecting an appropriate dataset using crowdsourcing on Amazon Mechanical Turk, creating a new deep learning formulation for this task, and running extensive analysis of both the data and the model

Robert Sedgewick, Room 319

Available for Spring IW advising

  • Research Areas: Scientific analysis of algorithms, Analytic combinatorics
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Professor Sedgewick is willing to advise any student who comes up with an idea for independent work from his books, papers, courses, or in his current areas of active research.  Send mail or stop by to discuss possible topics if you are interested.

Sebastian Seung, Princeton Neuroscience Institute - Room 153

Not available for IW or thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computational neuroscience, connectomics, "deep learning" neural networks, social computing, crowdsourcing, citizen science
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Gamification of neuroscience (EyeWire  2.0)
    • Semantic segmentation and object detection in brain images from microscopy
    • Computational analysis of brain structure and function
    • Neural network theories of brain function

Jaswinder Pal Singh, Room 324

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Boundary of technology and business/applications; building and scaling technology companies with special focus at that boundary; parallel computing systems and applications: parallel and distributed applications and their implications for software and architectural design; system software and programming environments for multiprocessors.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Develop a startup company idea, and build a plan/prototype for it.
    • Explore tradeoffs at the boundary of technology/product and business/applications in a chosen area.
    • Study and develop methods to infer insights from data in different application areas, from science to search to finance to others. 
    • Design and implement a parallel application. Possible areas include graphics, compression, biology, among many others. Analyze performance bottlenecks using existing tools, and compare programming models/languages.
    • Design and implement a scalable distributed algorithm.

Mona Singh, Room 420

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: computational molecular biology, as well as its interface with machine learning and algorithms.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Whole and cross-genome methods for predicting protein function and protein-protein interactions.
    • Analysis and prediction of biological networks.
    • Computational methods for inferring specific aspects of protein structure from protein sequence data.
    • Any other interesting project in computational molecular biology.

Kathrin Stark, Room 207

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Formal methods, programming languages, functional programming
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Mechanization of mathematics: Formalize a classic paper-based proof from some area of mathematics in an interactive proof assistant.
    • How can we make formal proofs more accessible? How can we automate parts of proofs? (Formal methods combined with natural language processing, learning)
    • What is the best way to teach people how to use proof assistants?
    • There are a few topics I can imagine: statistical evaluation of mistakes during a course, simplified tools for teaching purposes…
    • Any other interesting topic from functional programming or applications for formal methods

Robert Tarjan, 194 Nassau St. Room 308

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Data structures; graph algorithms; combinatorial optimization; computational complexity; computational geometry; parallel algorithms.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Implement one or more data structures or combinatorial algorithms to provide insight into their empirical behavior.
    • Design and/or analyze various data structures and combinatorial algorithms.

Olga Troyanskaya, Room 320

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Bioinformatics; analysis of large-scale biological data sets (genomics, gene expression, proteomics, biological networks); algorithms for integration of data from multiple data sources; visualization of biological data; machine learning methods in bioinformatics.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Implement and evaluate one or more gene expression analysis algorithm.
    • Develop algorithms for assessment of performance of genomic analysis methods.
    • Develop, implement, and evaluate visualization tools for heterogeneous biological data.

David Walker, Room 211  On sabbatical during the 2019-2020 AY. 

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Programming languages, type systems, compilers, domain-specific languages, software-defined networking and security
  • Independent Research Topics:  Any other interesting project that involves humanitarian hacking, functional programming, domain-specific programming languages, type systems, compilers, software-defined networking, fault tolerance, language-based security, theorem proving, logic or logical frameworks.

Kevin Wayne, Corwin Hall, Room 040

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: design, analysis, and implementation of algorithms; data structures; combinatorial optimization; graphs and networks.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Design and implement computer visualizations of algorithms or data structures.
    • Develop pedagogical tools or programming assignments for the computer science curriculum at Princeton and beyond.
    • Develop assessment infrastructure and assessments for MOOCs.

Matt Weinberg,  194 Nassau St. Room 222 

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: algorithms, algorithmic game theory, mechanism design, game theoretical problems in {Bitcoin, networking, healthcare}.
  • Independent Research Topics:
    • Theoretical questions related to COS 445 topics such as matching theory, voting theory, auction design, etc. 
    • Theoretical questions related to incentives in applications like Bitcoin, the Internet, health care, etc. In a little bit more detail: protocols for these systems are often designed assuming that users will follow them. But often, users will actually be strictly happier to deviate from the intended protocol. How should we reason about user behavior in these protocols? How should we design protocols in these settings?

Mark Zhandry, 194 Nassau St. Room 242

Available for senior thesis advising

  • Research Areas: Cryptography, Privacy, Quantum Information and Computation
  • Example research topics:
    1. Quantum and Post-quantum Cryptography: Quantum computers can break much of the cryptography used today. "Post-quantum cryptography" aims to develop new quantum-secure cryptosystems that provably remain secure even against quantum computers. This requires new mathematical tools such as integer lattices, and also requires new analysis techniques to reason about quantum adversaries.  Looking into the future, "quantum cryptography” will harness the strange features of quantum mechanics — superpositions, entanglement, etc — to achieve never-before-possible cryptographic functionalities. Prominent examples include quantum key distribution — securely exchanging keys in the presence of an all-powerful eavesdropper — and quantum money, where the unforgeability of banknotes is guaranteed by the quantum no-cloning theorem.
    2. Program Obfuscation: Program obfuscation scrambles a program to hide all implementation details, while simulateneously allowing the program to still be run on inputs of the the user's choice. Obfuscation has numerous direct uses, such as protecting intellectual property in software, and can also be used as a building block for surprisingly powerful cryptographic applications.
    3. Traitor Tracing: Traitor-tracing systems enable content distributors identify the origin of pirate decryption boxes — such as pirate cable-TV set-top decoders — or pirate decryption software posted on the Internet. Once the "traitor" is identified, remedial action can be taken, such as revoking the traitor’s credentials.
    4. Bounded Storage Model: Traditionally, the security of cryptosystems relies on the adversary being time-bounded. In contrast, the bounded storage model leverages the limited storage capacity of the attacker to achieve security. This model can have numerous advantages over the traditional time-bounded model, such as very simple protocols and unconditional security proofs.

Opportunities outside the department

We encourage students to look in to doing interdisciplinary computer science research and to work with professors in departments other than computer science.  However, every CS independent work project must have a strong computer science element (even if it has other scientific or artistic elements as well.)  To do a project with an adviser outside of computer science you must have permission of the department.  This can be accomplished by having a second co-adviser within the computer science department or by contacting the independent work supervisor about the project and having he or she sign the independent work proposal form.

Here is a list of professors outside the computer science department who are eager to work with computer science undergraduates.

 

Branko Glisic Room E330 - Engineering Quad

  • Research Areas: 
    • Documentation of historic structures
    • Cyber physical systems for structural health monitoring
  • Ideas for Independent Research Topics:
    • Developing virtual and augmented reality applications for documenting structures
    • Applying machine learning techniques to generate 3D models from 2D plans of buildings
  •  Contact: Rebecca Napolitano,

Mihir Kshirsagar, Center for Information Technology Policy, 315 Sherrerd Hall

  • Research Areas: Technology, society and public policy
    • Consumer protection
    • Content regulation
    • Competition law
    • Economic development
    • Surveillance and discrimination

Sharad Malik, Select a Senior Thesis Adviser for the 2020-21 Academic YearEngineering Quad, Room B224

  • Research Areas: 
    • Design of reliable hardware systems
    • Verifying complex software and hardware systems

Prateek Mittal, Engineering Quadrangle, Room B236

  • Research Areas: 
    • Internet security and privacy 
    • Social Networks
    • Privacy technologies, anonymous communication
    • Network Science
  • Ideas for Independent Research Topics:
    • Internet security and privacy: The insecurity of Internet protocols and services threatens the safety of our critical network infrastructure and billions of end users. How can we defend end users as well as our critical network infrastructure from attacks?
    • Trustworthy social systems: Online social networks (OSNs) such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter have revolutionized the way our society communicates. How can we leverage social connections between users to design the next generation of communication systems?
    • Privacy Technologies: Privacy on the Internet is eroding rapidly, with businesses and governments mining sensitive user information. How can we protect the privacy of our online communications? The Tor project (https://www.torproject.org/) is a potential application of interest.

Ken Norman,  Psychology Dept, PNI 137

Potential research topics

  • Methods for decoding cognitive state information from neuroimaging data (fMRI and EEG) 
  • Neural network simulations of learning and memory

Caroline Savage, Office of Sustainability, Phone: (609) 258-7513, 

The Campus as Lab program supports students using the Princeton campus as a living laboratory to solve sustainability challenges. The Office of Sustainability has created a list of campus as lab research questions, filterable by discipline and topic, on its website.

An example from Computer Science could include using TigerEnergy, a platform which provides real-time data on campus energy generation and consumption, to study one of the many energy systems or buildings on campus. Three CS students used TigerEnergy to create a live energy heatmap of campus.

Other potential projects include:

  • Apply game theory to sustainability challenges
  • Develop a tool to help visualize interactions between complex campus systems, e.g. energy and water use, transportation and storm water runoff, purchasing and waste, etc.
  • How can we learn (in aggregate) about individuals’ waste, energy, transportation, and other behaviors without impinging on privacy?

Janet Vertesi, Sociology Dept, Wallace Hall 122 

  • Research areas: Sociology of technology; Human-computer interaction; Ubiquitous computing.
  • Possible projects: At the intersection of computer science and social science, my students have built mixed reality games, produced artistic and interactive installations, and studied mixed human-robot teams, among other projects.

David Wentzlaff, Engineering Quadrangle, Room 228

Computing, Operating Systems, Sustainable Computing.

  • Independent Research Topics:
  • Instrument Princeton's Green (HPCRC) data center
  • Investigate power utilization on an processor core implemented in an FPGA
  • Dismantle and document all of the components in modern electronics. Invent new ways to build computers that can be recycled easier.
  • Other topics in parallel computer architecture or operating systems
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