Passionate on Parallel REU

2013 REU students at the Rockwell Collins flight simulation center
2013 REU students at the Rockwell Collins flight simulation center
The Passionate on Parallel Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) was held at Illinois from 2009-2015; at this time, there are no plans to continue the program. The POP REU encouraged students to consider how parallelism could solve big problems, ranging from how galaxies form to whether a person could control a machine using only their thoughts.

Qualified students spent the summer working with senior faculty in parallel programming, developing their research skills and learning how to apply parallelism to real-world issues.


To be eligible for the program, students had to meet the following criteria:



  • Have completed at least two courses in computer science, including programming fundamentals and data structures.
  • Be undergraduates who completed their Sophomore or Junior years.
  • Hold US citizenship or have permanent resident status and enrolled in a US college or university.
  • Majored in any science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) discipline.

No prior experience with parallel programming was required. However, candidates must have completed courses in programming fundamentals and data structures prior to the POP REU program.

We especially encouraged applications from members of groups under-represented in science and engineering, and from students enrolled at institutions where research opportunities are limited.

Community and Network-Building Activities

  • The POP REU introduced students to parallel programming through a parallel programming bootcamp.
  • Each research team consisted of up to four individuals: one to two REU students, an Illinois faculty sponsor, and an Illinois graduate mentor. The program facilitated working with a partner on the research project and learning to collaborate with other members of research groups, a vital part of the REU experience.
  • Participants attended weekly meetings featuring visiting members of the Illinois faculty and informal seminars on special topics relevant to the research experience
  • Joint seminars were held throughout the summer with REU participants from programs throughout Engineering at Illinois.
  • The POP REU summer experience ended with a poster presentation and celebration with all program participants.

Program Details

•    This REU was co-funded by the ASSURE program of the Department of Defense in partnership with the National Science Foundation REU Site program under Award No. 1004311.