Here are some useful links that may answer your questions:

If you're already at Brown, no matter what you are interested in applying for (summer research, etc.), please come by and meet me in person.

If you're a Brown student applying for a master's program, talk to me in person.

If you're applying for a master's from outside, please note that I am unlikely to fund a master's student. If I do fund one, it's only after they have been at Brown and have demonstrated significant expertise in my courses and can contribute something to my work in the short term.

If you want to write to me anyway, please follow the instructions for PhD students below, adapted accordingly.

I don't generally take non-Brown summer interns who require funding. I will only consider students who have exceptionally good preparation to work with me. If you think this matches you, please make a case for yourself just as a PhD student would.

Brown Computer Science funds all PhD students in full. Therefore, funding is not an issue: only admission is.

I welcome strong applicants, though the bar is much higher in years when I already have several students and post-docs (as I do right now). Your best bet for being considered by me is to have genuine interest in and preparation for my work. The goal of your application should be to demonstrate both of these.

If you are reading this page, you presumably intend to email me before applying. I very much like to correspond with students. However, like many professors, I get far too many applicant emails, most of them form letters. Therefore, I need a way to distinguish between those whose interest is deep and meaningful from those who are effectively just spamming me.

The way to indicate you are genuine is:

  1. do not attach a CV/vita/etc., and
  2. do:
    • summarize your preparation (academics, work experience),
    • describe highlights: particularly tough courses you took, especially profound texts you read, etc.,
    • explain what you know of my work (which papers you've read, or what you've done with my software), and
    • include the phrase “parens rock”.
Ideally you will have read a few of my papers—and not just the “light” ones—and have understood them. This will help me confirm both your interest and preparation. This will also help you confirm that you truly are interested in what I do!

I realize I'm asking for a lot: you may have a form letter and attachment you've been sending out, and it probably doesn't fit the criteria above. But remember that you're asking for a lot, too: right now you're asking for my time, and implicitly you're asking me to commit several years of time, funding, and emotional energy. Don't you think that kind of commitment deserves more than a form letter?

I am interested in postdocs and research scientists. I'm opportunistic, and will work to accommodate outstanding candidates.

If you're close to completing a PhD or already have one, you should know how to establish communication with a scientific colleague, so I won't belabor the point. Nevertheless, you would do well to glance quickly at the instructions for PhD applicants, above.