UROP Opportunities

The Haystack group always has projects where there is space for UROPs. We can easily take on UROPs for credit, and often have a small number of positions for pay.


The Haystack group's focus is Human Computer Interaction, and in particular the design of tools (primarily web applications) that help people manage information more effectively. This includes tools for visualizing and manipulating structured data, and tools to improve the quality of online discussion.

We do almost no machine learning and are not a good fit for people interested in building skills there.

Work is available on many of the projects listed on the Haystack group page. The key to a good UROP experience is having a project that excites you, so take the time to find out a little bit about each project and decide which one or two sounds the most interesting to you. There are links to papers about the projects, and most of them are online where you can try them out.

When we speak, I'll ask you to tell me which projects most interest you and why.

Required Background

The group's work is centered on building web applications. Thus, the relevant general background is basic programming (6.0009) plus some experience with HTML/CSS and javascript (although this can also be acquired on the fly).

Work Environment and Expectations

The Haystack group is supportive but anarchic. You won't get a lot of management. To succeed, you need to be able to take some relatively vague guidance about where we want to go, and make a plan for getting there. There are many people in the group who will be happy to help you whenever you ask, but you need to ask. If your habit is to wait for someone to tell you exactly what to do, you won't make any progress.

During the semester, the group has weekly meetings to discuss projects, present ideas and designs and get feedback on them, brainstorm ideas, perform user tests on each other, and get help with technology. You are expected to participate, contributing your insights to everyone else's work while they ocntribute to yours.

You are expected to work a minimum of 8 hours a week, but there are no specific work time or place requirements.


Students interested in UROPing should send a resume and transcript to David Karger (karger@mit.edu).