Artificial intelligence is often in the news for the wrong reasons: privacy-penetrating surveillance systems, "deepfakes," racial bias in predictive policing, and more. All hope is not lost, though: when used in a socially responsible manner, AI can be used for good. For example, it can be used to augment the creative capabilities of people, a process often called computational creativity. Creating images, 3D models, writing, games: in these domains and more, AI is offering new and exiting ways for people to realize their creative visions.

This year, Brown CS is proud to partner with Google Research to offer exploreCSR: Socially-Responsible AI for Computational Creativity, a semesterlong immersive research experience program for undergraduate students which focuses on exactly these subjects. We seek applicants from historically-underrepresented groups within computer science, such as women, students of color, first-generation college students, and LGBTQ+ students. No prior research experience required! Our goal is to expose students to what computing research can look like, to help them build self-efficacy and practical research skills, and to encourage them to pursue graduate studies in computer science.

About the Program

Who can apply: Current undergraduate students (including graduating seniors). This year, the program is entirely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so no travel is necessary. We do have a preference for students in the US Eastern time zone, though, as many of our virtual events are synchronous.

Experience needed: Prospective students should have completed an introductory computer science course sequence. Coursework in calculus, linear algebra, and probability are also helpful but not strictly required. No prior research experience necessary!

Research activities: Participants will be paired with a faculty mentor and a graduate student mentor who will help guide them through a semester-long research project. There are multiple project options, depending on the experience level and time commitment of each student. These include literature reviews, project proposals, replications of prior work, apprenticeships with existing research projects at Brown, or new independent research projects. The program culminates with participants presenting their work at the Brown CS Undergraduate Research Symposium in late May. Throughout the semester, participants will be full members of a research group at Brown, with access to lab meetings, Slack channels, etc.

Other activities: We have numerous other activities planned to given participants a "behind-the-scenes" look at what graduate study in CS looks like. These include panels on demystifying the graduate application process, Q&A's with current grad students and alumni, attendance at Brown CS lab meetings, and observing formal graduate student presentations such as thesis proposals and defenses.

Time commitment: The program runs roughly the duration of Brown's spring 2021 semester: January through May. We expect research group meetings, mentor meetings, and project work to take a minimum of 5 hours per week.

Stipend: We recognize that participating in this program takes time. To help offset this opportunity cost, each participant will receive a $500 stipend.

Faculty Mentors

Students who participate in the program will be mentored by one of the following Brown CS faculty members:

Recent Research Projects

Here are just a few examples of research projects recently carried out by our faculty:

Tentative Program Schedule

The table below shows the major events planned as part of the program. Throughout the semester, participants will pursue their own research projects under the guidance of their faculty and grad student mentors.

November 18 Applications open
January 1 Application deadline
January 15 Admission decisions announced
January 29 Program kick-off meeting
February Workshop on the graduate school application process
March Observe research comps proposal
Graduate student Q&A panel
April Observe thesis proposal
Observe faculty candidate talk
Leadership Alliance alumni panel
May Observe comps defense
Observe thesis defense
May 5 Participate in Brown CS Undergraduate Research Symposium
How to Apply

To apply for the 2020-2021 program, fill out the online application form.

The application deadline is January 1 2020.

Contact Us

Questions about the program? Send us email at explorecsr@lists.cs.brown.edu.