UCLA Computational and Applied Math REU, Los Angeles, CA
This summer, I had the privilege of working as a research intern for Professor Jamie Haddock as a part of her linear systems research group at UCLA. I conducted machine learning research on a group of methods known as “Kaczmarz Methods” for solving large, linear equations. Kaczmarz Methods are iterative, which means they do not solve for an exact solution but rather iterate through a few steps over and over (usually a couple thousand times) until an answer is converged.
This research project was very applicable to me because I hope to attend graduate school for mathematics with a specific focus area in machine learning. I greatly enjoyed my time doing research with this group as I connected well with the members on the team and thought we had a good working environment/culture. I also plan to continue to do research with them as a collaborative project going forward, and ultimately publish a journal paper to add to all our résumés as we are all planning on going to graduate school.
In addition to the research experience, UCLA also offered several opportunities to prepare for graduate school. One key element of these offerings was the twice weekly GRE prep sessions. The standardized test for graduate school is known as the GRE and currently a prerequisite for most top-level grad schools. UCLA offered courses to go over all the math material, which is the part of the GRE they require (there are more sections for other disciplines), to help us prepare as well as possible. I found this to be a valuable use of time as I review many concepts from Williams and high school, as well as having an introduction to some mathematical concepts I have not yet been exposed to. The extensive time we had with professors also offered a great opportunity to learn more about grad school and career paths.
After this wonderful summer experience, I would be remiss if I did not thank the people who made this possible including Dawn Dellea, the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, Professor Jamie Haddock, and the friends and family of James Kellogg.