Acuna lab is looking for students to optimize science using machine learning

2 minute read

About the lab

Dr. Acuna is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. He currently works on mathematical and computational models of scientific discovery, predictability, and integrity. Please take a moment to look at his background, research, and recent grants.

Professor Acuna teaches courses for the Applied Data Science and Information Management graduate degrees. He is currently the teacher and Professor of Record for the course IST 718: Advanced Information Analytics.

Past Master’s students have done internships in Silicon Valley (e.g., Airbnb), are working in major consulting companies (e.g., Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs), and are broadly working as data scientists. Please see the People section.

About the position

Professor Acuna is looking for Ph.D. and first-year Master’s students to work on an exciting new project around the mathematical and computational modeling of scientific peer review. The ideal candidate should have an undergraduate major in Computer Science, Engineering, Applied Statistics, Mathematics, or a similar quantitative field. The work to be done revolves around a recently-awarded NSF grant.


  • Develop reproducible software and tools to optimally match reviewers and manuscripts based on mathematical objective functions
  • Write method and result sections for scientific manuscripts
  • Have advanced computer programming skills in languages such as Python and R. SQL is also desirable
  • Understand linear algebra, calculus, probability and statistics
  • Understand machine learning software tools and pipelines in scikit-learn, R, or Spark ML
  • Understand basic concepts of software engineering
  • Have good communication skills


  • Undergraduate (for MS students) or graduate degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Applied Statistics, Applied Mathematics, or similar quantitative fields
  • Minimum of 2 years of experience with coding in a major programming language such as Python, R, C, C++, or Java. Experience with handling big data with Apache Spark is a plus.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of linear algebra, calculus, probability, and statistics


If you are an SU’s iSchool student, use the Faculty Assistantship application and look for the position entitled Multiple Data Science positions available for first-year Master’s students.
Faculty Assistantship application

Otherwise, send an email to deacuna AT syr DOT edu and include:

  1. A short introduction of yourself and why you want to work with me
  2. A short CV or a 1-page resume
  3. Your Github repository, preferably with code from a personal project rather than a “class project”.
  4. Your transcripts
  5. Your GRE, GMAT, or equivalent (e.g., gaokao) scores

If you have any questions, do not hesitate in contacting me. If you are thinking of applying to the Ph.D. program, we have a very competitive fully-funded program, and you should contact me first. Otherwise, apply to the Ph.D. program and mention my name in you materials.

Part of the funding for these positions has been generously provided by the National Science Foundation awards #1646763 and #1800956