Tag Archives: computer science

Research Opportunity: Distributed Trust on Diverse Mobile Devices

Con­tact Name: Brent Lagesse

Con­tact Email: lagesse[at]uw.edu

Depart­ment: CSS


Effective security mechanisms are essential to the widespread deployment of pervasive systems. Much of the research focus on security in pervasive computing has revolved around distributed trust management. While such mechanisms are effective in specific environments, there is no generic framework for deploying and extending these mechanisms over a variety of pervasive systems. In this project, we are seeking to implement and evaluate the Distributed Trust Toolkit as a framework for managing distributed trust across a wide variety of platforms and networks.  The student will assist in refining the framework, implementing its interfaces on a variety of mobile devices, and implementing and evaluating existing and novel trust mechanisms.


Ability to:

  • Write Python (preferred) and/or Java
  • Write code for mobile devices
  • Read research papers and implement the described protocols

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Research Opportunity: Visualization and machine-aided interpretation of cloud patterns in satellite data

Con­tact Name: Robert Wood

Con­tact Email: robwood2[at]uw.edu

Depart­ment: Atmospheric Sciences


Clouds have fascinated us for thousands of years. Behind their natural beauty lies a tremendous complexity that continues to elude complete theoretical understanding. The fundamental role that clouds play in the Earth’s climate system means that it is important that we search for better ways to understand and describe the processes than control their formation, maintenance, and dissipation.

Satellites have been providing a wealth of cloud imagery for decades, and yet our ability to use such data effectively remains very limited. The human eye is an exceptional but time-consuming tool for interpreting cloud structures in satellite data. The research project will examine techniques for improved display, visualization and machine-learning techniques to aid in the interpretation of clouds.

Hours are flexible but to move forward, I would like to find a student who can commit at least 15 hours per week.


The student should have expertise/skills in one or more of the following: computer visualization techniques, computer programming, neural network design. An understanding of atmospheric sciences is not necessary, but a desire to learn about the field would be very helpful. Students majoring in computer science or a related field would be ideal.

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Research Opportunity: Automatic detection and classification of marine mammals

Contact Name: Nicole Nichols

Con­tact Email: nmn3[at]u.washington.edu

Depart­ment: Electrical Engineering


Detection of marine mammals is important for avoiding sonar operations when they are present and for tracking populations. The problem is challenging because of the highly variable noise conditions in the oceans. We have developed some prototype algorithms in Matlab and are looking for someone to work on porting these algorithms to C/C++ and factoring the implementation to leverage parallel processing and allow experimentation with large amounts of data. Once the software is in place, the goal is to explore semi-supervised learning algorithms.


Computer programming skills and experience, including: experience with unix, programming languages such as C, C++ or Java and scripting languages such as Perl or Python. Students should have completed and done well in both CS142 and 143 (at least). Knowledge of probability is very useful for anticipated work on machine learning. Experience with Matlab is desirable.

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Computational Neuroscience Program

Do you want to know how the brain works?

Do you have a taste for or interest in math or programming? Would you like to learn more about how you can apply mathematical methods to analyze the workings of the mind or build neural interfaces? The Computational Neuroscience program is a two-year program consisting of a set of required courses and opportunities to participate in paid research in laboratories working on theoretical and quantitative neuroscience. Our goal is to encourage and enable you to cross disciplinary boundaries to address questions concerning the algorithms of computation in nervous systems—from single neurons to behavior. We are looking for students with a good quantitative background, an active curiosity and an interest in delving into basic neurobiology in a quest to unravel the workings of the brain.comp_neuro

The program will be appropriate for two types of applicants:

  • Students interested in completing the neurobiology major who have or are willing to undertake some mathematical or computational courses to improve their analytical and modeling skills;
  • Students in a quantitative major such as CSE, EE, Applied Mathematics, Statistics or Physics who are willing to take courses to obtain a solid grounding in neurobiology

Special benefits of the program include mentoring and access to research opportunities.

Please visit our website at http://compneuro.washington.edu/ to learn more about the program, our students and the research of faculty who are associated with it. Important dates:

INFORMATION SESSION 4pm October 7th in Johnson 102.

Applications are due OCT 11th.

Research Opportunity: Effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on facial development

Contact Name: Murat Maga

Contact Email: maga[at]uw.edu

Department: Pediatrics


My lab investigates the epigenetic (environmental) factors that influence the genetic control of the facial development. For example, we know that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can trigger a wide range of disorders in the offspring. Among these, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the most extreme and is diagnosed typically by growth retardation, craniofacial malformations, central nervous system impairment and low head circumference. But not every individual exposed to alcohol during gestation gets full-blown FAS. The reasons for these variable outcomes remain elusive. There are simply too many factors to isolate, e.g. the amount of alcohol consumed, when and how long it is consumed, the influence of maternal age, health and the inherent genetic variation in humans all factor in the outcome.

That’s why my lab uses an animal model of voluntary alcohol consumption during pregnancy to determine and measure changes in the facial growth of mouse embryos and pups. This way we can eliminate most of the confounding factors (such as timing, mixed genetic background and so forth) that contribute to the problem in humans. We use a combination of molecular, computational and quantitative approaches to achieve our goal.

We start by visualizing and quantifying the changes in observable traits, skull and face in this case, by using state-of-the-art 4D imaging. Our imaging is 4D, because the time dimension (i.e. the growth of the individuals) also factors into our analyses. We conduct manual and semi-automated shape analysis on these samples to visualize and measure the difference.

We then collect tissue samples from these individuals to see what it is different about their genetic constitution (such as SNPs) and/or functioning of their genes (as measured by gene expression experiments).

The major aim is to tie these two different sets of observations (phenotypic and genomic) together to paint a more comprehensive picture of how alcohol interferes with genetic programming and the normal development.

There are many kinds of research and training opportunities for all levels of undergraduates. These vary from data organization, to animal husbandry and bench work (microbiology), to 3D image analysis and programming. Biology and CSE students are especially encouraged to apply.

Do not hesitate to contact me via my e-mail with your background, and what is it that you are really interested.


The main requisites are: Being genuinely interested, responsible and communicative as well as the amount of commitment. I usually expect 8-10 hrs/wk for at least 6 months (the longer the better).

My lab is located at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute in downtown Seattle (9th and Steward), not on UW campus.

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