Undergraduate/Graduate Research

Xiang Huang


“UIS is not known as a research school; it is a research school if do your research there.”

My Ph.D. advisor told me the above when I was about to start my career here in UIS. I want to use his words to encourage every student/friend who want to do research in whatever circumstances he/she is in.

For those who want to do research with me, I encourage you to read this page carefully to understand the requirements before we schedule a meeting.

Time Commitment

Short answer: Two semesters. Meet weekly. 10-15 hours per week.

Time is the most valuable resource required in research, after perhaps interest. In general, I expect you to work at least two semesters with me. Please understand that time commitment applies both to you and to me. To “buy” you more time to do research, you are asked to take CSC 499: Tutorial to earn credits as an elective.

I wish I can tell you that you can just work with me for a few weeks or a summer and then can have a shinny publication on your CV. But that is not the case. Not for the research I do. Not for the backgrounds my students usually have.


Please find the (incomplete) list of topics on this page.

Generally, there are two types of topics.


Once we start working on a project/topic. I hope you can document your work at different stages (as code, report, slides, poster, video, paper). It will be very useful for your future job/graduate school application, and will be important for me to show off your work, too. You will need to write a formal report using the LaTex template ( Chicago Math REU template) provided below. Read the samples there to get an idea what the report should look like.

Below is a list of useful tools.

  1. Notion for notes taking.
  2. LaTex for final paper/document.
  1. I also use R-Markdown to create webpages and notes.
  2. Jupyter or Google CoLab to write codes.
  3. Use GitHub and constantly commit to your repo to record things.

Current Student(s) Advising



  1. Can I get paid?

    Every person who does his/her work should get paid. But currently I don’t have funding to support that belief. (Now I have a grant for the Chemical Reaction Networks related topics.)

  2. Can I get a letter from you?

    It is my job to write you a letter if you do research with me. It will be hard for me to write a strong one for you if you exit in the middle. I will actually be reluctant in writing you a letter in this circumstance.

  3. How do I exit the project early?

    Just tell me you want to leave. It will save both your time and mine this way.

  4. How do I continue my research with you after a winter break or summer break?

    Just send me a letter to schedule regular meetings for the new semester. I will not initiate that conversation. I tried that before and only to learn that the students had already decided to leave. So I will assume if you don’t contact me early in a semester, you’re leaving.

  5. How many students do you mentor/advise every semester?

    Three. I used to think I can advise every student approaching me. But I’ve learned my lesson.

  6. Do you want a CV/Cover Letter from me? Do I have to have a high GPA?

    I need something that I can learn about you, whatever you believe that can help. Here is a Twitter post that makes some useful suggestion in a funny way.

  7. Do you have any projects in Machine Learning?

    No. I don’t have any machine learning project currently. But that does not mean I won’t have one in the future.

  8. Do I have to take credits from you?

    I would require that you take CSC 499: Tutorial. (Some students can also do IPL (Internship) with me.) That is a way that you can earn credits while doing research with me. More importantly, it buys you some time. You can take it as an elective and it counts towards graduation (at least for undergraduates; for grads, I might need to offer it as CSC 599.). You typically have to have my approval to be able to register the course.

  9. I am an online student, can I do research with you?

    Of Course. Some of my best students are online student. You should definitely try if you are interested in working with me.