Frequently Asked Questions from Prospective Students

Are you interested in doing research in artificial intelligence and machine learning? I am always open to working with undergraduate, M.S., and Ph.D. students on research projects. However, I receive many email inquiries and don't have time to write personalized responses to every one. Here are some answers to common questions.

Q: I'm thinking of applying to the M.S. or Ph.D. program. Are you looking for students?

A: I'm always looking for fantastic Ph.D. students to join my research group. The number of Ph.D. students I try to recruit each year depends on the number of students I'm currently advising and the amount of research funding I have available. In most years, I try to recruit 1 or 2 students. I generally don't have funding to support M.S. students, but I'm happy to advise them on research projects or theses if they take courses with me and do good work.

Q: What do you think of my resume? What are my chances of working with you as a Ph.D. student?

A: If you're interested, go ahead and apply! If you list my name in your application, then I'll be sure to take a close look. I'm looking for hard-working Ph.D. students who are passionate about machine learning research, with strong skills in math, writing, and programming. When evaluating potential students, I look at the entire application: coursework and grades; GRE scores; research experience and publications; statement of purpose; and letters of recommendation. Your chances of being admitted to work with me depend on the strength of your overall application, how well it fits with my ongoing research projects, and the relative strengths of the other applicants.

Q: Do you have funding available for students?

A: All Ph.D. students at the UO Computer and Information Science department are supported as either teaching or research assistants (with rare exceptions). This support includes a tuition waiver and a stipend to cover living expenses. I try to support all of my Ph.D. students as research assistants for as much time as possible, so that they have enough time to do great research and complete their degrees. Most Ph.D. students have to work as a teaching assistant for 1-2 years sometime during their degree, and are supported as research assistants for the remainder of their studies. When there is extra funding available, some M.S. students receive support as well. However, this is not guaranteed, and I can't predict availability in advance. My own research funds continually change, as grants begin and end and students come and go. If you want to learn more about my current projects and funding, feel free to email with a specific question.

Q: I'm already a student at the University of Oregon. Can I do research with you?

A: Probably! Send me an email and come to a meeting with my research group. You'll get to know the projects we're working on, the people working on them, and probably have a chance to get involved in one of them. Many students start out by processing data, coming up with new features from the data, and testing different models trained on the data. If you want to come up with new machine learning algorithms and publish them in top conference and journals, please take one or more courses with me (such as CIS 472/572: Machine Learning), impress me, and be prepared to devote lots of time. Original, publishable research is slow.

Q: I have more questions, and I want an answer from you!

A: Great! If you want a personalized response, please send me a personalized email. I tend to ignore generic emails. Simply copying text from my web page or publications into your email doesn't indicate a specific interest. (Tip: If you put the word "moose" in the subject of your email, I'll know that you read this page and take your email more seriously.) If you sent a personalized email and I don't respond within a few days, feel free to email again.