FAQs

How do I set up an appointment with you?

If you can make it to one of my office hours, please do so and don’t ask for an appointment. I will ask you to come to my office hour first. If you have classes during my office hours, please contact me with the specific times you’re available. Please also include several alternative days and times. 

What if I missed an appointment?

That’s not good. Please come to my next office hour in that case.

When should I show up for your office hour?

The earlier the better, but you may have to wait. Office hours are always on a first come, first serve principle. Please do not show up less than 15min before the end of the office hour as I frequently have meetings afterwards.

I am interested in a research assistant (RA) position. What does your lab offer?

RA positions are very limited and the demand for them is consistently high, so expect significant competition. This is how things typically work, although exceptions are possible:

  • Apply by completing the following application form.
  • We will discuss your interests and possible research topics/projects.
  • I will then give you some papers to read about the topic.
  • I will ask you to write up a short paper about the reading to test your writing and communication skills.
  • Submit the report, transcripts, and 1-2 references.
  • If your writing skills are insufficient, I will unfortunately not be able to hire you as an RA.
  • If your writing skills are excellent, you will be able to start working on a small project first.
  • If you work well, are productive, and are able to significantly contribute to the lab’s success, we will discuss hiring options after1-2 terms.
  • If I decide to hire you, you will most likely be paid an hourly rate first for some time.
  • We will discuss longer term commitments once I feel confident in your abilities to work as a research assistant.

Also, please note that students who are interested to pursue a Ph.D. thesis are generally given priority.

I’m interested to write a M.S. thesis with you. What do I have to do?

This is a multi-stage and competitive process . The earlier you start, the better. Start early as the process takes some time. This is how the typical steps look in the beginning, although exceptions are possible:

  • If I don’t know you yet, please send me your CV and come to the next office hour.
  • We will discuss your interests and possible research topics/projects.
  • I will then give you a few papers to read about the topic.
  • I will ask you to write up a short paper about the reading to test your writing and communication skills.
  • Submit the report, transcripts, and 1-2 references
  • If your writing skills are insufficient, I will unfortunately not be able to work with you on a thesis.
  • If your writing skills are excellent, you will be able to start working on a small project first.
  • If all goes well, this project will lead to a thesis.

Will I be able to use your lab resources?

Sure, once you are hired you will get access to the lab and its computing resources as long as there is enough room for all students.

What do I expect from students who work on projects?

Here is a list of some of my expectations:

  • Be productive. Make progress every week and keep track of it carefully on the wiki. Learn something new every week.
  • Be reliable. Assume responsibility, be honest, be on time, deliver on a promise.
  • Be creative, inventive, and be willing to take some risk.
    • E.g.: If you are stuck, do a bit of research, ask lab mates.
    • E.g.: Propose a solution, implement it, test it, show it to me.
    • E.g.: Don’t ask me to test your solutions, instead provide me with enough evidence that makes me believe it works.
  • Be passionate about your work.
  • Be connected. Connect with lab mates, help to build a creative and inspiring team. Attend the lab meetings. Stay informed. Check the wiki for news and updates, subscribe to the lab calendar.

What kind of skills do I have to have to be able to work with you?

First and foremost you need a lot of passion and curiosity for research and to solve challenging problems. Second: writing and communication skills. This is not an optional skill but a must. I have very high expectations in this respect. If you want to write a thesis and do research, you need great writing skills. No exceptions. Overall, I’m less interested in your current expertise and knowledge but more about your ability to quickly learn new things.

How long will it take to complete a M.S. thesis?

That depends on your skills and the time you can invest. In the very best case, count at least 3 terms. On average, a thesis probably adds one additional year. If you are interested in a M.S. thesis, please come and see me early in the process so that we can discuss and plan accordingly. 

Do you have any VLSI projects?

Not at this point and probably not in the future. Please check with Prof. Daasch or Prof. Song.

Do you have any practical/applied projects?

Most of the lab’s research is based on models and computer simulations. Our research typically addresses fundamental research questions. 

Do you hire students from abroad who are not at PSU already?

Only in very rare circumstances.

Can I get credits for a research project?

Yes, you can get 1 or more credits for a research project. You will need to sign up for a 401 or 501 class. As a general rule of thumb, 1 credit corresponds to about 10h of work per week. However, I generally only sign up students for research credit if they want to write a thesis under my supervision.

How do you hire new students?

The following diagram summarizes the hiring procedure.

 

What factors do you consider when hiring students?

I consider a multitude of factors, such as the academic credentials (individual grades, GPA), the resume/CV (contents, presentation), the selection of classes, the quality of the report (language, completeness, presentation), the professional expertise (projects, internships), the impression a student makes during one-on-one meetings (enthusiasm, knowledge, vision, punctuality, reliability) and during e-mail conversations, and the interpersonal skills (language, ability to listen, ability to explain, respect, politeness).

Do you care about grammar and spelling in e-mails?

Yes, very much so! The lack of care for spelling and grammar in e-mails does not make a good impression. You want to make the best possible first impression when you contact me. So please turn your spell checker on and show me that you care about how you communicate. It’s simply a matter of professionalism. You may want to check this article.

I did not pass your entry test. Will you make an exception? I really want to work with you.

The simple answer is no, I’m afraid. I hear this a lot. Students regularly come back and ask for a second chance and argue they could improve. I clearly told you to give your best the very first time. If that’s not enough, it’s not enough. I also tell every student to stop by in case of questions. So it’s quite a lame excuse if you stop by afterwards and claim you didn’t know how to proceed.

Do you care about how my resume/CV looks?

Yes. I get lots of resumes/CVs and a large part of them are unacceptable in form and content. If you have not polished your resume/CV recently, I highly recommend you to take a look at the PSU Career Center’s resume examples and guidelines. You want to make a great and professional first impression, and that starts with a polished and flawless resume/CV.

What file formats do you prefer for e-mail attachments?

pdf! Please don’t send me Word files. Word means trouble and you cannot assume that everybody has and/or uses Word.

Can I ask you for a reference letter?

I’m happy to write reference letter for students who had an A in my classes and/or for students who worked with me. Please give me enough advanced notice and send me a copy of your CV/resume, transcripts, and information about the position you are applying for.

How big are my chances to get a RA position?

That depends on a number of factors, the most important ones being how well you work and how much money I have available. If you do great work, chances are very good you’ll get an RA or a TA position. I make every effort to pay all students and to reward great work, but the resources are sometimes very limited and unpredictable.

Does my GPA matter? If yes, how high does it have to be?

Yes, your GPA matters. Ideally, you should have a 4.0 GPA. If your GPA is below 3.8, I am unlikely to consider your application.

How much support will I get?

As a general rule of thumb, you get support that is proportional to your engagement, productivity, and motivation. If you are highly motivated and productive, you can expect lots of support, if you are lazy and unproductive, I will adjust my resource and time investment accordingly, or in the worst case, I will ask you to look for another advisor.

I am a CS or SySc student. Can you be my thesis adviser?

Yes, I have a joint appointment in both Computer Science and the Systems Science Graduate Program.

How do you pronounce your name?

Teuscher is pronounced “toy-shur.”

How do I e-mail my professor?

Please read these two articles: article 1 | article 2.

Next Generation Computing Models and Architectures