Prospective Undergraduate Researchers
I am always interested in having motivated Caltech undergraduates join my group either for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) during the summer, or for projects during the academic year. I prefer to take students during the academic year since then projects can have a longer horizon. Non-Caltech students can also apply for positions through the SURF program as well, or the WAVE Fellows program.
Caltech undergrads who would like to join my research group should send email well ahead of the SURF deadline (or the term in which they would like to start research) in order to ensure that there is time to meet and develop an appropriate plan for the project. This process often takes multiple meetings over a few weeks. Often, it will be necessary to do significant reading as preparation before the research can begin, e.g., via a 3-6 unit CS 90 during the Spring term before a SURF begins.
Prospective Graduate Researchers
I consider applicants in a variety of programs at Caltech. You can apply through CS, ACM, or the CMS PhD programs. I expect that the CMS PhD program will be the most appealing option for most of my students. It is a unique program that sits at the boundary of computer science, applied math, and electrical engineering. To find out more about the program, see my blog post about it from when it was formed.
To apply, contact the graduate studies office. Note that fee waivers are easily available in case the application fee is a burden.
I often receive emails from prospective Ph.D. applicants with requests to discuss my work and the Ph.D. programs before applying. Due to the number of such emails I receive I am not typically able to respond. Instead, please mention your interest in my research in the personal statement included in your application. You can get a good sense of my research from the talks and papers on this website. Note that we schedule virtual discussions and fly our our top candidates to campus for one-on-one discussions with potential mentors, fellow graduate students, etc., before we make final admission decisions. So, there is considerable opportunity to learn about the department and my research as part of the selection process.
Advice on applying. Caltech is a collaborative and interdisciplinary place and so we are especially interested in admitting students who can work with multiple faculty members. This cross-feralization is good for research and for the culture since it exposes students to multiple research styles. Many successful candidates mention 2 or 3 faculty and saw why they are interested in those specific faculty’s research areas. Your research statement can be a powerful place to convey this as part of telling a more complete story about you than your resume. Talking about your research experiences, what you learned from them, and what they motivate you to learn/study next is powerful. Let your personality come through in this narrative.
Prospective Postdoctoral Scholars
I am looking for postdocs in a variety of areas, including but not limited to: (i) power systems & electricity markets, (ii) the interface of control and machine learning, (iii) algorithmic game theory & privacy, (iv) networking & cloud computing.
Nearly all of the postdocs in my group come through the postdoc programs listed on the CMS Department page. These are broad programs that allow flexibility for postdocs to work with a variety of faculty, rather than being tied to a single project. Applicants are encouraged to apply to multiple programs. Most commonly, postdocs in my group come in trhough the CMI, DOLCIT, and Linde programs.
After submitting your application, it is important to make personal contact with me and the other faculty member(s) with whom you are most interested in working in order to directly discuss opportunities. This can allow us to highlight your application to the search committee. Most successful postdoc applications have potential connections to multiple faculty.