The Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) offers a 10-week summer research program for undergraduates in interactive virtual experiences. A multidisciplinary research institute affiliated with the University of Southern California, the ICT was established in 1999 to combine leading academic researchers in computing with the creative talents of Hollywood and the video game industry. Having grown to encompass a total of 170 faculty, staff, and students in a diverse array of fields, the ICT represents a unique interdisciplinary community brought together with a core unifying mission: advancing the state-of-the-art for creating virtual experiences so compelling that people will react as if they were real.
Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of ICT research, we welcome applications from students in computer science, as well as many other fields, such as psychology, art/animation, interactive media, linguistics, and communications. Undergraduates will join a team of students, research staff, and faculty in one of several labs focusing on different aspects of interactive virtual experiences. In addition to participating in seminars and social events, students will also prepare a final written report and present their projects to the rest of the institute at the end of summer research fair.
This Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
For questions or additional information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you apply, we will ask you to rank your top three interests from the labs listed below. We encourage applicants to explore the lab websites to learn more about the individual research activities of each group.
Research areas: virtual reality, interactive media, human-computer interaction, gestural user interfaces, spatial illusions, human perception
Research areas: image-based lighting, 3D scanning, surface reflectometry, image-based modeling, 3D displays
Research areas: human communication, machine learning, facial and body gestures, verbal content, prosodic signals
|Natural Language Dialogue Group
Research areas: human-human and human-machine dialogue, dialogue management, speech recognition, natural language understanding, natural language generation, expressive conversational speech synthesis, information retrieval
Research areas: social media, information retrieval, natural language discourse, storytelling, triangles
|Virtual Worlds and Avatars Group
Research areas: activities in virtual worlds that promote health, avatar identity, avatar emotions, web-based virtual worlds, social support spaces
|Computational Emotion Group
Research areas: affective computing, emotion and decision making, cognitive modeling, virtual humans, human-computer interaction, media psychology
|Embodied Cognition Group
Research areas: studying the relation between cognitive and emotional processes and physical behavior with the goal of creating more life-like animated virtual humans
Research areas: resilience training, allostatic load, psychophysiological assessments, advanced statistical analysis, post-traumatic stress disorder
Location and Housing
The ICT facility is located in the Playa Vista community of West Los Angeles, about 10 miles west of the main USC campus, and includes a 150-seat theater, game room, and gym. There are numerous restaurants and stores within walking distance, including the Westfield Culver City mall, and the beach is only a 10 minute drive away. The university also provides free shuttle service between the institute and the downtown USC campus.
Since ICT is located in its own separate facility, summer students typically live in apartments near the institute rather than on-campus dorms. We will direct accepted students to a number of resources for locating nearby housing and provide a stipend to support the cost of living.
- Participate in a unique multidisciplinary community that combines academic research with the creative talents of Hollywood and the video game industry.
- Work with some of the leading researchers in human-computer interaction, computer graphics, and virtual humans.
Receive a total of $5000 over the ten week program, paid as an hourly wage.
- Receive an additional $2800 stipend for housing and living expenses.
- Travel will be reimbursed up to $600 for students living 95 miles or more outside of the Los Angeles area.
- U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required.
- Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate program.
- Students must not have completed an undergraduate degree prior to the summer program.
- Application deadline: April 7, 2013 (extended)
- Notification of acceptance begins: April 12, 2013
- Notification of declined applicants: April 30, 2013
- Start Date: June 3, 2013
- End Date: August 9, 2013
How to Apply
Step 1: Application Form
The application period for summer 2013 has ended. We will begin accepting the next round of applications in spring 2014.
Step 2: Submit Additional Materials
Email the following materials to email@example.com:
- The most recent unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate institutions you have attended.
- A one page personal statement. This may include your research interests and how you came to be interested in them, your previous research experiences, your reasons for wanting to participate in the research at the ICT, and how this participating in this experience might better prepare you to meet your future goals.
Step 3: Recommendation Letter
Please direct a faculty member to email a letter of recommendation directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.