Advances of Machine Learning in Theory & Applications

FAQ: For prospective participants

Here you will find answers to typical questions that prospective participants may have. More general questions regarding the project can be found at the FAQ: About AMALTHEA page. Tip: You may use the Find functionality of your web browser and an appropriate keyword to quickly locate specific Q&A items.

Q: How long is the duration of the AMALTHEA summer experience? When does the program start and when does it end?

A: Each participant will join us on a 10-week journey through the landscape of Machine Learning. The summer experience typically starts around mid-May and ends towards the end of July each year. For specific dates please consult our Calendar, which lists other important dates as well.

Q: Who is eligible to participate?

A: Every applicant must meet all four eligibility criteria listed below:

1. be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program and continue being enrolled in an undergraduate program during her/his participation in the program. This means that you must be at least a freshman completing your first semester during this Spring. Furthermore, it means that if you are a senior and graduate from your undergraduate program this May, you are not eligible to apply.

2. be majoring in an Engineering or Science discipline. In case you are not majoring in one of those specified fields, we feel that you will not be able to gain anything substantial out of the program.

3. be in good academic standing. For example, if the prospective student is on academic probation, she/he will not be eligible to apply.

4. be a citizen or a permanent resident of the US, its territories or possessions. This last criterion is stipulated by our program's main sponsor (NSF).

We would like to stress that we strongly encourage students from groups that are underrepresented in Engineering and the Sciences, like women, minorities and the disabled, to apply.

Q: Can I still apply, if I don't meet all four previous criteria? Do you make special exceptions?

A: Nope. Failure to meet even one of them will automatically disqualify you from the selection process. Thus, before you even go into the trouble of applying to the AMALTHEA Program, please make sure you meet all these eligibility criteria.

Q: Why should I apply to participate in the AMALTHEA experience?

A: Gosh! Where do we start from? Well, let us briefly give you 10 compelling reasons:

1. First of all, you will get exposed to the exciting world of Machine Learning (ML) and its applications! You will find out what ML is about! You will see how ML technology is used to solve challenging, complex, real life problems!

2. Don't know anything about ML? No worries; we will train you. As a matter of fact, we have designed a short course to inform and educate you on ML.

3. Join us and work together with experienced ML researchers, which will offer you their expertise and facilitate close student-mentor interactions.

4. Under the guidance of these mentors you will be given the privilege to participate and contribute to cutting-edge, ML-related research!

5. Having experience in research as an undergraduate is very important, especially if you plan to apply to graduate school at some point in time. We will provide you with this competitive advantage. For example, many of our past participants have been featured as co-authors in technical publications.

6. Join us on visits to industrial sites around Central Florida and in attending presentations from leading experts on ML-related topics.

7. Experience full immersion in a very active research environment and see where and how research is done.

8. Join us and we will pay for your travel to and from your home, as well as for your accommodation for the entire 10-week duration of the program. In order to facilitate your participation even further, we will provide you with a stipend to cover your per diem and other expenses.

9. Did we mention that Central Florida offers exciting venues such as the Disney attractions and NASA's Kennedy Space Center? Some of our social activities include visits to places like these.

10. Finally, join us to see new exciting places, meet new people, that may have interests, aspirations and dreams similar to yours, and make new friends!

Q: What about housing? Where will I stay while participating in the summer experience?

A: We've got you covered on that one too. Unless you are a local student (local to the broader Melbourne area) or you would like to make other arrangements on your own, we will find you a place to stay and, on top of that, we will pay for your housing. Also, if you are an FIT student participating in the Program and they are kicking you out of your dorm room in the summer, come and talk to us; we might be able to find a solution for you too.

Q: Will I earn course credits by participating in the summer experience?

A: No, but reason No. 5 just stated above should be sufficiently important to you from an academic perspective.

Q: When is the deadline to apply?

A: For 2013 the last day to apply is April 5th. Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications past this deadline, since we would like to notify students accepted into the program early enough.

Q: Where/how do I apply?

A: You can apply online right here, on this site. The application process is quick and easy. First, though, you have to register with our site by choosing a user name and a password on our Signup page. After you have registered with us, please log in and follow the link to the online application form. Next, you can start filling out your application form. By the way, you do not have to fill it out in a single session. You may save your application and return to complete it at a later time. However, you need to make sure that you submit it before the application deadline. Finally, we will only accept and process online applications. Therefore, please do not send us application material through mail or email, unless we specifically ask you to do so.

Q: What material do I need for preparing the online application?

A: Just a few standard items, like unofficial school transcripts, an updated resume, a goal statement and a couple of reference letters. The rest is just information that you can easily provide. Your school usually has a quick and easy way to obtain unofficial transcripts on the web, so most likely you can get a hold of them in a jiffy. You ought to polish your resume and update it with your latest achievements, accomplishments and credentials. Additionally, take some time and put together a 1- or 2-pager goal statement, that elaborates on your long-term academic and / or career plans and what you want to achieve in life. Finally, get a hold of a couple of faculty that have a high opinion of you and politely ask them, if they are willing to write a recommendation letter for you.

Q: How can I send my resume, recommendation letters, unofficial transcripts, goal statement, etc.?

A: All documents, like the ones just mentioned, must be submitted to us electronically through the online application form on our website. If you obtain any of these documents as a hardcopy (e.g. recommendation letter), please scan them into files in order to submit them online. We stipulate this requirement so that we can process your application as fast as possible by avoiding pitfalls such as lost mail, misplaced documents, etc. For all these documents the preferred format is Adobe PDF. You can notify your recommenders that submissions of reference letters is also done online in a very straightforward manner. More information on this topic is provided on the online application form.

Q: Do I have to pay a fee to apply or participate?

A: Absolutely not. On the complete contrary, once you are accepted and join us in May, we will be the ones paying you a stipend to support your research activities with us. Trust us; the stipend is pretty good and it beats the salary you would get by working at your local salt mine.

Q: OK, I have just applied. Now what?

A: If you have just applied, that is great! Give yourself a pat on your back; you deserve it! We will get in touch with you by Friday, April 14th and we will let you know whether you will be invited to the program or not. You can also track the status of your application by periodically logging in to your account on our website.

Q: Based on what criteria are you going to make the selection of the participants?

A: The most important criterion we will employ is academic merit and potential. The remaining criteria are mastered skillsets, academic/research interests, the contents of your goal statement and the level of recommendation you will receive from your referees. Note, that we pay special attention to the recommendation letters you will provide us with.

Q: How many participants will you accept into the program?

A: Unfortunately, we only have sufficient funds for extending an offer to a maximum of 10 student participants every year.

Q: I am a local, undergraduate student and I attend FIT. If I get accepted into the program, will I be allowed to work on outside assignments / internships or take courses concurrently with my participation in AMALTHEA?

A: No, we will not be able to allow such accommodations. We are a selfish bunch and we want your brain and time all to ourselves.

Q: If I am invited to participate, I will only be able to join the program until after its start date in May. Would that be a problem?

A: Regrettably, yes. We know that some of you may have obligations / constraints that will keep you tied down during a big part (or even the entire month) of May. However, the AMALTHEA experience is on a tight schedule and, therefore, we cannot accommodate late starters. If you come late, you will not be able to catch up. Therefore, you must be at your designated place on the start date of the program.

Q: If I am invited to participate, I will have to leave the program at a date earlier than the official end date. Would that be a problem too?

A: Once again, yes. The last two weeks of the program is when you and your team-mates will be finalizing your work on your research projects; it will be a very crucial time indeed. Hence, you've got to stick with us until the very end.

Q: What a bummer... I cannot make AMALTHEA's dates, but I would still like to take part in a summer REU. What are my options?

A: Well, not all is lost; you can either inquire with us next year or you can search for other REU summer programs that may have more suitable dates. NSF provides a convenient REU Site search interface for this reason. As a matter of fact, REU Sites that are similar (in certain aspects) to AMALTHEA can be found here.

Q: I still have questions regarding the Program and / or the application process. Who can I ask?

A: In this case, do not hesitate to contact us!