The Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) on “Using Artificial Intelligence for Decision Making” is an exciting opportunity for students who are interested in software engineering and the application of AI to real-life problems. The project is led by a strong research group consisting of experienced faculty members, PhD students, and post-doctoral researchers.
The supervision group includes myself (Özgür Akgün) and my colleagues Ian Miguel, Ian Gent and Chris Jefferson, Joan Espasa Arxer, Nguyen Dang, Ruth Hoffmann, Andras Salamon and a few more people including PhD students and post doctoral researchers.
As with all VIPs, this project designed to include students from multiple year groups and we encourage students to be involved in the project for multiple years. This provides students with the opportunity to take on leadership roles within the project as they gain more experience.
The VIP has two main strands: software engineering and the development of demonstrator applications. In the software engineering strand, students will use modern software development methods and tools (Rust, Github, CI/CD) to develop an efficient modelling toolkit. In the demo strand, students will develop web-based applications that use the group’s tools to solve real-life problems.
Students can choose which strand they would like to work on, depending on their interests and background. The VIP organizers are happy to talk to students before they choose. We are also open to students changing strands throughout their involvement in the project.
Please get in touch if you are interested!
We are primarily interested in recruiting CS students in the first instance, but we will consider motivated non-CS students as well. Please get in touch and explain your background and interests.
Research the VIP and learn more about the work being done by the group. This will help you understand the scope of the project and the specific areas in which you might be able to contribute. Look at the publications by the staff members listed above. Some of these will be difficult to read for undergraduate students, do not worry if you cannot follow them. Try to get an overall feeling of the work. Look at the software projects Conjure, Savile Row, and Minion.
Consider your interests and skills in software engineering and development of demonstrator applications. This will help you decide which strand of the project would be a good fit for you. You might want to look at CSPLib to get an idea of application domains. We have some demonstrator applications hosted at https://demos.constraintmodelling.org/. Also see the Jupyter notebooks showing simple models written in Essence, hosted at https://github.com/ozgurakgun/notebooks.
Reach out to the VIP organizers and express your interest in getting involved. They may be able to answer any questions you have and provide more information about the project. Email Oz, include VIP in the title.
If you have any previous experience in software development or AI, be sure to highlight this in your communication with the VIP organizers.
If you are accepted into the VIP, be prepared to work hard and collaborate closely with the other members of the group. VIPs are a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and make meaningful contributions to ongoing research projects.