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REU Symposium

These meetings are held at the end of semester and showcase the research that is being done by undergraduates in our department.

Fall 2018 REU symposium will be held on December 10, at 12:15 pm in LCB 222. For schedule and abstracts please look here

Archive of the symposium from Fall 2013 and here for pre Fall 2013.

Current projects (Fall 2018)

Eric Allen
Mentor: Lajos Horvath
The effect of good news and bad news on stock volatilities.

Charlotte Blake
Mentor: Yekaterina Epshteyn
Efficient Numerical Algorithms for Automatically Processing Data with Application to Materials Science

Audrey Brown
Mentor: Alla Borisyuk
Analysis of Mice Olfactory Response Data

Dylan Johnson
Mentor: Karl Schwede, Daniel Smolkin, Marcus Robinson
Searching for Rings with Uniform Symbolic Topology Property

Dylan Solleri
Mentor: Anna Romanova
Cracking Points of Finite Groups

How to get involved

The Mathematics department provides the following research opportunities for undergraduate students. Note: You do not need to be a Math major/minor to take advantage of these research opportunities!


Math 4800 Undergraduate Research Topics

These courses provide a research experience in a familiar course setting. Topics vary every semester, but there is usually a Pure Mathematics and an Applied Mathematics oriented course every academic year. Enrollment in this class is usually by permission of the instructor only.

Compensation: $500 (Notice that this is a class, so regular tuition policies apply)

Fall 2019: Financial Machine Learning
Instructor: Jingyi Zhu
In modern day finance, with intrinsic nonlinearities in the models and vast amount of data sets available, machine learning (ML) is destined to transform the financial world as we know it, ranging from customer services and security measures. In this course we will discuss two particular data analysis subjects closely related to traditional quantitative financial analysis: portfolio selection and algorithmic trading. We will begin with a quick survey of a wide variety of data structures available and the challenges presented, and the basic notions of machine learning tools. The nature of finance makes it particularly difficult for standard machine learning tools to apply and yield successful results consistently. The rate of failure in financial ML is rather high and we would like to explain the reasons and provide clues to recognize the shortcomings. One area we would like to address is the assessment of values of strategies, and another is the detection of structural breaks. Regarding models, we will discuss the basic ideas in cross-validation and backtesting. For asset allocation, we will discuss approaches beyond the traditional quadratic optimizers that can compute a portfolio on ill-degenerated covariance matrix that is quite practical in reality.
The format of the course is informal and students are encouraged to form groups to study papers and engage in various projects. Term papers will be required by the end of the semester.
Time and place: MW 4:35-5:55, at JWB 308 For more information or to register please contact the instructor.


Math 4800 class archive

Introduction to Research projects

The student works with a faculty mentor on exploring an area of mathematics not usually taught in standard classes. Mentor and advisor meet weekly throughout the semester to discuss topics from relevant text or journal article readings. These projects may sometimes be appropriate as preludes to independent projects, in cases where the ultimate research area requires a lot of prerequisite knowledge. At the end of the semester, the REU student produces a final expository paper on aspects of their research.

Students are strongly encouraged to take Intro to Research first, before doing an individual project. If you would like an exception, please ask your mentor to comment on your previous experience relevant for your project, in the letter of support.

You may take Intro to Research as a class, up to 3 credit hours. Please specify that in your application
(The course number may be: Math 5910, 5960, 4999, depending on your case. If you register, this would be a course, so normal tuition policies apply. You can count this course towards university upper course requirements, but not as an elective for your math/applied math major. Note that a section needs to be created for you and your mentor, so please apply early!).
Compensation: up to $1000 in Fall or Spring. Up to$750 in the Summer.
Expectations: During the semester meet regularly with mentor (at least weekly), and generate an expository paper summarizing what you learned. You are also encouraged to give a presentation in our symposium.

Deadline: Usually Tuesday on the second week of classes (first week of classes in the Summer). See application instructions below


Independent REU projects

Work on a research project in Mathematics under the mentorship of a faculty member. You must have a member of the Mathematics faculty who is willing to serve as your mentor. Discuss with the prospective mentor the scope and design of your project and prepare a project description.

Time Commitment: 10 hours per week, on average
Compensation: up to $1,500 (for Fall and Spring semesters. For the Summer the amounts are multiplied by 3/4). Continued funding depends on the student's performance in the previously funded REU activities.
Expectations: Meet regularly with mentor, give a talk with slides, and generate an evaluation and a report. Your work, presentation and report will be evaluated by faculty members and 1-2 best projects will be featured on our department website.

Deadline: Usually Tuesday on the second week of classes (first week of classes in the Summer).

See application instructions below

Application for Intro to Research or Independent REU project

Complete the online application form. You also need to submit before the deadline to ugrad_director(AT) math (DOT) utah [DOT] edu the following supplementary material:
  • A letter of support from your mentor (usually sent to the email above directly by your mentor).
  • A current unofficial transcript (generated on CIS). If you have a considerable amount of transfer credits (especially for Math classes), please include an unofficial transcript from your previous institution(s). (If sent by email, please use the PDF format.)
  • A project proposal prepared with your mentor. (If sent by email, please use the PDF format.)
  • If this is a continuing award: your report from previous semester, approved by your mentor.

Other funding sources

The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) which is sponsored by the University of Utah Office of Undergraduate Studies also supports undergraduate research. The support you get is $1200 for the first semester and $600 for a renewal (as of Fall 2015). The deadlines are usually mid July (for Fall support) and mid November (for Spring support), so plan accordingly.

Individual faculty members or research groups may also sponsor undergraduate research through grants. Current department wide grants that provide support for undergraduate research are:

Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation

Students fulfilling certain qualifications may have the designation of "Undergraduate Research Scholar" appear in the awards section of their transcript. For more information visit the Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation webpage.

Why? An independent research project is excellent preparation for graduate school, teaching, research, or a job in industry. It is also fun and challenging. You will learn things in a completely new way when you work independently, but with the help of a faculty mentor.

How? Choose an undergraduate research advisor (a faculty member) and a problem or topic to work on. If you desire, you may apply for funding, either through the Mathematics department REU program (see above) or the Office of Undergraduate Studies' UROP program.

What? Whatever you do --- solve a problem, prove a theorem, develop a computer model, find a new way of teaching or explaining a topic -- you will write up the results in a paper accessible to other undergraduate students.

When? Usually during the junior or senior year.

For more information about research opportunities: consult with a faculty member you would be interested in working with, or the Undergraduate Research Coordinator/Director of Undergraduate Studies:

Alla Borisyuk
LCB 303
801-585-1639
ugrad_director(AT)math.utah.edu

Research Related Links