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We are no longer accepting applications for summer 2020. However, you can sign up to receive updates on any future workshops here.

🔗 Call for Participants

We are looking to recruit five to ten early-career participants (including undergraduate students) for a ten-week, funded, full-time, fully-remote software development workshop during the summer of 2020.

The goal of the workshop is four-fold:

  1. to help participants advance their careers by skillbuilding through hands-on C++ and/or JavaScript software development in an academic setting,
  2. to catalyze effective science communication and science pedagogy by helping participants develop the know-how to showcase their research through interactive web applications,
  3. to jumpstart software development on web framework and core digital evolution tools in support of the next version of the Avida-ED scientific and educational software, and
  4. to yield software that broadly enriches the digital evolution, scientific, education, and open-source communities.

This workshop is organized in conjunction with the Avida-ED project. Avida-ED extends the full-fledged Avida software, originally developed for digital evolution research, as a freely-available, interactive web application. This web application enables laboratory activities that teach evolution through experiments with self-replicating computer programs. A curriculum of lesson plans and classroom materials, targeted to high school and university students, supports instructors. Outreach and training puts these tools into hundreds of real-world classrooms. From there, the team has used evidence-based methods to evaluate activities’ effectiveness in terms of actualized learning outcomes.

Each WAVES workshop participant will collaborate with an assigned mentor on a software development project related to Avida-ED or the underlying scientific software tools that power it. We will help participants choose projects based on their personal interests and background during the first week of the workshop. We describe several possible project categories below. Participants’ projects will directly contribute open-source software to the foundation of future versions of Avida and Avida-ED. To demonstrate their software, participants will build their own prototype scientific web application/mini research project or contribute to an existing web application/research project. As a culmination of their workshop experience and an exercise in professional communication, participants will publish a blog post describing how their software works and how to use it.

During the workshop, participants will also engage in a weekly software discussion group and a weekly group check-in meeting.

🔗 Logistics

The virtual workshop will take place between May 25, 2020 and July 31, 2020. Participants will be expected to commit to full-time (approximately 40 hours/week) engagement with the workshop. To accommodate multiple U.S. time zones, all group meetings will be held over videoconference between 1pm and 4pm EST (GMT-4). A $6,000 stipend will be disbursed to participants in five bi-weekly installments of $1,200.

All U.S. citizens/permanent residents are eligible to apply, as are international students already enrolled at Michigan State University. The workshop will be aimed at upper-level undergraduates in computer science, but graduate students or other early-career computer scientists are also welcome to apply.

We are seeking participants with prior practical experience in computer science: writing and running software of some sort. Prior experience with C++ and/or JavaScript is expected, but not strictly required. We especially encourage applications from members of underrepresented groups in computer science.

Applications should consist of:

  1. a curriculum vitae or resume,
  2. a brief (appox. 500 to 1000 words) statement that describes
    • your personal background and career goals,
    • your interest in the program, and
    • an interesting coding project you’ve tackled.
      • in any setting: school, hackathon, personal project, research, work, etc.
      • as possible, link us to the code, the deployment, the project website, a writeup, and/or presentation!
  3. and, optionally, two references for your coding ability (include name, email, and relationship).

Applications should be submitted to with the subject line “WAVES Application” no later than May 4, 2020.

We will announce participant selection no later than May 11, 2020.

This workshop is funded through Active LENS: Learning Evolution and the Nature of Science using Evolution in Action (NSF IUSE #1432563). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

🔗 Example C++ Projects:

Build core digital evolution framework tools in the Modular Agent-Based Evolution (MABE) project.

As part of their work, participants will assemble a mini research project that demonstrates their software.

🔗 Example Emscripten Projects:

Build core web framework tools in the current Avida-ED system and in the Empirical C++ library for scientific software development.

As part of their work, participants will assemble an example research, educational, or science communication web application that demonstrates their software.

🔗 Other Example Web Projects

As part of their work, participants will make contributions directly to existing Avida-ED software.

🔗 Who We Are

We are members of the Avida-ED Project and the Digital Evolution Laboratory at Michigan State University.

group headshot collage

🔗 Primary Investigators

🔗 Workshop Coordinator

🔗 Student Project Coordinators

🔗 Project Mentors