AMISTAD Lab: Proving the Limits of ML, AI, and Search Systems!

Lab Page: https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~montanez/amistad.html
Lab Projects: https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~montanez/projects/projects.html
LAB Publications: https://www.cs.hmc.edu/~montanez/publications.html

AMISTAD Lab focuses on understanding ML/AI and other stochastic systems at a fundamental level. We prove limits on these systems, understanding what makes them work from first principles, and leveraging these insights for creating new forms of learning systems. A lot of our work is mathematical, but for summer projects we often have empirical projects which try to understand systems by varying them and examining their outputs. A new set of projects for the summer will be decided closer to the start of summer research. Students participate in every step of the research process: proofs, experimental design, coding, data collection-analysis-visualization, scientific writing, and presentation of results at a conference.

Our summer work resulted in a Best Paper Award at ICAART 2020 (https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2020/03/05/cs-researchers-win-best-paper-at-icaart/), and a CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for Amani Maina-Kilaas based on the work he did as part of our summer research team (https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2022/01/19/cra-recognizes-undergraduate-computing-research/). Most students end up with a publication based on their summer research. Our lab is effective and award-winning.

If you really want to join us: 1) Look over the projects on our website to make sure what we do fits with your goals. 2) Answer the following essay prompt (based on your own perusal of our publications -- find the answer!): In your own words, what is the Algorithmic Search Framework and what are its applications? 3) Mark AMISTAD as your top choice (if it is) and make that clear --- if you apply to many projects or it isn't clear that AMISTAD is your top choice, you likely won't be selected. There are often over 50 applications for AMISTAD with fewer than 6 spots available. Therefore, only students who are completely enthusiastic have a chance of being selected for one of the spots. (Given these numbers, many fantastic and enthusiastic candidates don't get selected simply because of space constraints.)

 

Name of research group, project, or lab
AMISTAD Lab
Why join this research group or lab?
  1. We are an ultra-productive lab: we presented fifteen peer-reviewed publications in 2020-2021.
  2. We produce award-winning research.
  3. Students become well-trained in academic research, having a high degree of project autonomy and responsibility.
  4. You can work on open-ended projects at the frontiers of current scientific knowledge. You must be comfortable with uncertainty and have the grit to persist when the way forward isn't clear.
  5. We have daily meetings to keep you on track and hold our teams accountable. You can work together with great team-members!
  6. You can get articles about your research featured on the Mudd website: 
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2022/01/14/icaart-2022-highlights-hmc-cs-research/
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2021/04/29/harvey-mudd-cs-students-publish-and-present-work/,
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2021/03/16/cs-research-published/
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2020/07/07/cs-clinic-team-publishes-transfer-learning-research/
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2020/03/05/cs-researchers-win-best-paper-at-icaart/
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2020/01/14/cs-researchers-present-findings-in-machine-learning-algorithms/
  7. Prof. George has won awards for the mentoring he provides to students: 
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2021/05/14/2021-harvey-mudd-college-leadership-awards/
    https://www.hmc.edu/about-hmc/2020/05/12/montanez-receives-diversity-mentor-award/
Representative publication
Logistics Information:
Project categories
Computer Science
Mathematics
Artificial Intelligence
Data Science
Machine Learning
Student ranks applicable
First-year
Sophomore
Junior
Senior
Student qualifications

Strong math skills are a plus. Coding skills are good to have as well. Grit and enthusiasm an mandatory -- if you'll treat this like a "job", that you clock in and clock out of as soon as possible, the lab isn't for you. We want passionate students who, while working a standard work day of 8 hours, can't wait until the next 8 hours to continue their research.

Time commitment
Summer - Full Time
Compensation
Paid Research
Number of openings
5
Techniques learned

Mathematical proof techniques, scientific writing, research experiment coding, data analysis, data visualization, and scientific communication.

Contact Information:
Mentor name
George Montanez
Mentor email
gmontanez@hmc.edu
Mentor position
Research Advisor (Lab Director)
Name of project director or principal investigator
Prof. George Montañez
Email address of project director or principal investigator
gmontanez@g.hmc.edu
5 sp. | 29 appl.
Hours per week
Summer - Full Time
Project categories
Machine Learning (+4)
Computer ScienceMathematicsArtificial IntelligenceData ScienceMachine Learning