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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2017 can be found here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

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Project:  Data Science Challenge: Measuring Coral Reefs with Airborne Imaging Spectroscopy
Disciplines:  Computer Science, Earth science
Mentor:  David Thompson, (JPL), David.R.Thompson@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (818) 354-2200
Background:  The NASA-sponsored CORAL project aims to better understand coral reef ecosystems, and their sensitivities to environmental challenges such as overfishing, sea temperature rise, invasive species, and pollution. To this end, it will characterize the composition and condition of a representative sample of coral reefs throughout the globe. The campaign is deploying an airborne instrument known as PRISM, which is an "imaging spectrometer" capable of measuring light in hundreds of different wavelengths over wide areas. Interpreting these spectra allows us to map the different constituents of the water surface, column, and seafloor. The PRISM instrument acquires hundreds of Gigabytes of data per day which are subsequently transported to JPL for intensive analysis by a complex scientific data workflow comprised of many interrelated stages: calibrating the instrument both spectrally and radiometrically; aligning measurements in a geographic frame of reference to form maps; estimating and removing the effects of atmosphere; accounting for water column interference to estimate seafloor reflectance properties; and classifying the seafloor into different areas of coral, algae, and sand.
Description:  The project will use computer science and software engineering principles to construct next-generation science data workflows, coding innovations in data science that will benefit the CORAL campaign and enable more timely, efficient, and comprehensive science results. The student will learn about how data is managed automatically within the science data analysis architecture on our state of the art, high performance cluster. The student will characterize the existing methods using metrics of computational and process efficiency, recommend improvements, and implement them in code.
References:  https://coral.jpl.nasa.gov/
Student Requirements:  The ideal student would have a strong computer science background, familiarity with principles of software design and comfort within a UNIX-like environment and the command line. Their coursework would include mathematics (ideally with statistics or machine learning, and linear algebra). Exposure to, and interest in, remote sensing, physics or Earth sciences would be a bonus!
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: No.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.


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