Are there distinct fields or types of problems which have contributions that are realistic to achieve for an undergraduate?

  • $\begingroup$ I don't think there is any simple answer to this question. Everyone has a different experience. Sometimes undergrads work on research problems with a professor that they had for a course. Or, they apply for REU's. Or, they just read and talk about problems with friends. Or, they work on challenge problems from kaggle. I find that I learn a lot doing kaggle and I hear that some undergrad and grad students enjoy it. I've been working on the Quora Question Pairs problem for several weeks now. :) $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2018 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ Probably the most important thing is that while you're working on problems, don't isolate yourself. I think it's quite valuable and fun to continue talking with others and expand your network. $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2018 at 9:41
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelWehar even if it doesn't have a clear answer what if we could create a resource for this? $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2018 at 17:41
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelWehar Create an list using this github template github.com/sindresorhus/awesome $\endgroup$ Jan 2, 2018 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelWehar Ok fork this gist gist.github.com/zitterbewegung/ecc5e0f52c7d565f950fd59dc06d452b and add something to the list. Every time you add it then msg it to me and I will add them back to my copy of the gist. $\endgroup$ Jan 6, 2018 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


Yes, ask your professor to give you a problem that you may solve as an undergraduate. You can also look for publications that say that the problems are appropriate for undergraduates.

I think that a research project that you could do that would be interesting would be to create a language that would compile to the EVM (I suggest scratch https://scratch.mit.edu/).

Another would be to explore user interface design for voice systems like making an Alexa App or one that you create yourself to solve some problem that you face.

A good example can be found at http://www.ics.uci.edu/~theory/269/020125.pdf

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    $\begingroup$ "look for publications that say that the problems are appropriate for undergraduates" Could you provide examples? $\endgroup$
    – user46169
    Dec 20, 2017 at 16:41
  • $\begingroup$ I added an example. Do you have a field in mind ? $\endgroup$ Dec 25, 2017 at 21:13
  • $\begingroup$ Theory of Computation (Recursion and Complexity theories). Also, Machine Learning. Could you pave me the way? $\endgroup$
    – user46169
    Dec 27, 2017 at 6:56
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    $\begingroup$ @MustafaTouny Oh, you should just go on kaggle and do some social network analysis of emails. Download kaggle.com/kaggle/hillary-clinton-emails and then use the techniques in this paper ww2.amstat.org/publications/jse/v23n2/hardin.pdf $\endgroup$ Dec 28, 2017 at 13:33

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