CRA-E’s “Undergraduate Research Highlights” series showcases outstanding research done by undergraduate students at universities and colleges across North America.  It is one of a number of CRA-E’s activities that foster and recognize  talented computing researchers with the goal of increasing the research pipeline, promoting graduate education, and advocating research-based careers.

Each article features the story of a successful undergraduate researcher and offers personal insights into their experiences with finding an advisor, undertaking new research projects, and discovering how research can impact their personal and professional futures. In addition to helping students understand the process of getting involved in research, the articles also serve as a venue for students to pass along advice to others who aspire to become involved in research themselves. Students selected for the research highlights include those receiving recognition in the CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award competition.

This series is written and edited by CRA-E Graduate Fellows.

Undergrad Explores Research in Neural Differential Equations

This Q&A highlight features Winnie Xu, a Finalist in the 2022 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program. Winnie graduated from the University of Toronto and is now a Student Researcher at Facebook AI Research (Meta AI). Some of her recent work in the generative learning space includes training generalist multi-game agents, a new model inspired by fractal compression, and a probabilistic framework for composing large language model generations. This interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

Undergrad Talks About Mentorship and Quantum Research

This Q&A highlight features Jay Zou, an Honorable Mention in the 2022 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program. Jay is a senior in a combined B.A. and M.S. program at Northwestern University. He recently finished a term at Apple and is now working as a visiting researcher at Stanford University. He will be returning to Apple this summer as a camera architecture intern, and then beginning his PhD in Applied Physics at Yale University in the fall, focusing on unconventional computing architecture and quantum nonlinear optics. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.