Information for Prospective Students to CASR

 

CASR at UCF is an active research group and we constantly publish impactful research works at top-notch computer architecture and system conferences/journals. We are always looking for highly-motivated, hard-working and talented students to join our lab. If you think you are interested in designing secure and efficient computing systems and feeling excited about solving cutting-edge research problems, consider joining our group! Check out the following for more information about us.

About Our ECE Department. The ECE program at the University of Central Florida is constantly ranked among the top in the US. Our computer engineering and electrical engineering graduate programs are ranked at #51 and #58 nationally among all universities according to US News and World Report 2022. Additionally, in CSRankings.org that offers university ranks using metrics based on publications in top venues in the fields, UCF stands at #52 as of November 2021.

About UCF and Orlando. UCF has over 70,000 students and is the nation’s largest public university in student enrollment. UCF is classified as one of the R1 doctoral universities, which indicates highest level of research activities in the nation. Located in Orlando, Florida, UCF is at the center of Florida High Tech Corridor with an excellent industrial base in telecommunications, energy, computer systems, semiconductors, defense, space, lasers, simulation, software and the world-renowned entertainment/theme park industry. Exceptional weather, easy access to the seashore, one of the largest convention centers in the nation and an international airport that is among the world’s best are just a few features that make the UCF/Orlando area ideal.

Prospective Students. Research areas include but are not limited to: Computer Architecture, Secure Processor Architecture, ML/AI Hardware Security, System Security, Energy-efficient and high-performance computing. All positions will be fully-funded with a salary that covers living expenses, together with health insurance and tuition waivers. Prospective students are expected to have the following qualifications:

  • Strong motivation in working on cutting-edge research problems.
  • Good understanding or prior research experience in one or multiple of the following fields: computer architecture, operating systems and software, machine learning (e.g., deep learning), FPGA programming, program analysis (e.g., symbolic execution) and mathematical modeling.
  • Proficient programming skills (e.g., C/C++, Python, Verilog and Script languages).
  • Hold (or will soon complete) a Bachelor or M.S. degree in (or equivalent to) Computer Engineering, Computer Science or Electrical Engineering with an overall GPA higher than 3.5.

Student Hiring. I typically do not directly give offers to students by just looking at their application profiles in the applicant pool. To join our group, interested students are encouraged to contact me directly (e.g., via email at: fan.yao@ucf.edu) with copies of your CV and all transcripts. I expect that you have taken a look at our CASR website or my personal webpage, and are aware of our research topics as well as requirements for future lab members. In your email, please explain your academic background, research interests and specific research directions of our group that you may want to get involved in. It is always beneficial for you to clearly clarify your key academic strengths in your initial email. Note that I do not handle admission and questions in terms of admission will be best answered by the UCF admission office.

Interview Procedure. Before I make the decision for an offer to our PhD positions, there will be typically at least one round of interviews. After checking your qualifications, the interview process generally starts with the students reading one paper in a top-tier computer architecture (e.g., ISCA, MICRO, HPCA and ASPLOS), system (S&P, USENIX Security, CCS and NDSS), or ML conference. These papers may or may not come from our CASR research group. The students will then write a report with detailed understandings and thoughts about that paper, which will be discussed during the interview. Such an interview procedure is considered as essential since it works well for both sides: For you, you will have a chance to have a deep view of the research going on at CASR; and for us, it can show evidence that you either have good background in the related field or are able to understand new concepts reasonably well in a certain amount of time. Therefore, please consider whether you prepared to spend such an effort before you reach out to me.

Want to meet with us in person? Please stop by our lab or my office.