Student projects

If you are an EPFL student looking to work on a semester project (bachelor or masters) or on a masters thesis project with OPTIM: great! Please read the following.

  1. Pretty much all of our projects are related to optimization, hence you should have taken at least one introductory course on the topic such as MATH-329 (for example). Also, pretty much all projects involve both theory and programming.
  2. Some projects involve optimization on Riemannian manifolds. For those, you would need MATH-512 or some other course that provides an intro to Riemannian geometry.
  3. We get more requests for projects than we can handle: feel free to let us know you are interested by filling in this form. Please also contact other groups in parallel as we will only be able to reply around the semester start date, hopefully positively but too often negatively. Please also e-mail Nicolas Boumal so we know: if you received a confirmation e-mail from the google form, then you can trust that we have your info.
  4. If you work on a project with us, then:
    1. We will setup a brief kickstart meeting. If you were given some reference papers, take a good look at them ahead of the meeting. No need to understand everything: just enough so that the meeting can be productive.
    2. One of our group members will be your point of contact. It is habitual to have one 30-minutes meeting each week after the project has started. You are in charge of scheduling these.
    3. More generally: this is your project, and you are the engine. If you do not reach out, we will assume you are hard at work on the project and need no guidance for now.
    4. Come to meetings prepared to give a status report. Take advantage of them to describe what you need to make progress.
    5. The goal is for you to learn a ton. Our hope is that you will teach us things along the way too. That’s why many projects are research-y: a bit vague, prospective, rooted in a hunch. Also, your contact person likely won’t know the details of the papers you study: for your technical questions, provide context.
    6. You need to handle any administrative aspects with your section (the SMA if you are a math student): keep an eye out for forms that need signing and deadlines that need meeting, because we have no clue.
    7. General info on the math wiki page (on EPFL network / VPN); see also: la fiche de cours du projet de semestre bachelor and la fiche de cours du projet de semestre master.
    8. Students write a report and give a short oral presentation of their project at the end of the semester. See some pointers to prepare a math talk (though this one may be too short to get into proofs).