Advice to Applicants for Graduate Studies in CS at USC

Like most professors here at USC I receive various electronic letters expressing interest in graduate studies at USC and enquiring as to the potential for graduate support. I'm a little bit angry at the fact that students seem to perceive that you need to make direct contact with the professors to "beat the system".

Unless you are admitted through the formal process of admission to graduate studies in the Computer Science Department here at USc there is nothing that I can personally do to help you. Furthermore, if you are admitted to graduate studies in CS here you are almost certain to receive some kind of support (in the form of teaching assistantships or fellowships) in the first year, in which case you do not need my help or particular attention anyway!

So the key point is to get admitted through normal channels. Beyond good grades, good GRE scores, and positive recommendation letters, the one thing that can improve a students chances of admission into our program is a track record of research publication. A publication in a reputable conference in the area of Compilers or Parallel Programming (e.g., PLDI, POPL, PPoPP, SuperComputing or IPPS) or in Computer Aided Design (e.g., ICCAD, DAC) really makes an application stand out.

Once you are admitted to the program and arrive in the Fall we will have plenty of time to explore research interests together.

Regards and best of luck!!!