NSF IRES: Physical AI Design

Summer Research Intern Opportunities at The University of Tokyo and JAIST

Principal Investigator: Prof. Bo Zhu at Georgia Institute of Technology and Dartmouth College

Collaborator: Prof. Takeo Igarashi at The University of Tokyo, Prof. Haoran Xie at JAIST

Sponsor: NSF International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) Program, NSF Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)

What is new?


[10/2024] The application for IRES Physical AI Design 2024 has started!

[09/2023] Three IRES student fellows, Alina Chadwick, Ryan Zesch, and Humphrey Yang have successfully finished their IRES summer projects at the University of Tokyo. Congratulations on the great work, Alina, Ryan, and Humphrey!

What do we do?

Project Overview

This NSF International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) project in Physical AI Design aims to sponsor U.S. students for summer research internships. The focus will be on developing physics simulation algorithms, user interfaces, and AI algorithms at The University of Tokyo and Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST). Funded by the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering, the project is led by Prof. Bo Zhu at Georgia Tech. It is conducted in collaboration with Prof. Takeo Igarashi at The University of Tokyo and Prof. Haoran Xie at JAIST. The research team is focused on developing fast simulation and ML algorithms, interactive design user interfaces, computer graphics applications, and an integrated open-source codebase. Our goal is to create novel embodied AI algorithms for complex physical systems. We have a particular interest in devising innovative AI algorithms and user interfaces to facilitate the simulation, design, and optimization of various physical systems. These include soft and rigid bodies, shells and cloth, fluids, and multi-physics coupling systems. Additionally, we aim to develop AI-based interactive systems that enable novel interactions and control between human users and physical objects. Concurrently, the IRES interns will collaborate with students from Georgia Tech, The University of Tokyo, and JAIST to develop an open-source platform for creating accessible, interactive physical AI designs.

Advisor Team

Each IRES intern student will be advised jointly by Prof. Bo Zhu at Georgia Tech, Prof. Takeo Igarashi at the University of Tokyo, and Prof. Haoran Xie at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST). The three advisors have broad research expertise in computer graphics, physics-based simulation, human-computer interaction, user-design interface, and machine learning.
What ideas will I work on?

Focused Research Areas

The focused research areas of this IRES project include computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and machine learning. We also encourage applicants with relevant research experiences from other neighboring areas (e.g., scientific computing, robotics, VR/AR, etc.).
Dates and Deadlines

Important Timeline

Application Deadline

April 30, 2024

Notification Deadline

May 15, 2024

Internship Period

June - August, 2024
Three months, with flexible starting and ending dates


Apply Now

Internship Description

Once you are selected by the IRES program committee, you will be expected to carry out a three-month summer internship at the University of Tokyo and JAIST. During the internship, you will lead a research project under the supervision of the three program advisors and in collaboration with the researchers in their teams. A detailed description of the internship position is specified as below.

  • Position: full-time summer internship for three months;
  • Location: The University of Tokyo / Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology;
  • Salary: A competitive salary will be offered based on the regulation of the NSF IRES Program;
  • Responsibilities: Each IRES student will lead one research project co-advised by the three advisors. The student is expected to develop the mathematical model, build the code framework, conduct tests and evaluations with other teammates, and finish the technical paper/report writing.
  • Training: During the internship, each IRES student will receive training in their coding, math, or engineering skills during their pre-departure training (remotely, one month before the internship) and their onsite internship (three months in Japan).

Application Qualifications

We expect the applicant to demonstrate the following abilities in their applications:

  • Research: Demonstrated capabilities in conducting cutting-edge research at the intersection of computer graphics, computational design, physics-based simulation, and machine learning;
  • Programming: Solid programming skills in graphics/scientific computing/HCI/ML; Experience in building open-source codebase and/or interactive user interfaces;
  • Academic: The program prefers the applicant to be enrolled in a MS or Ph.D. program in computer science, mathematics, or other related areas. We also encourage strong undergraduate applicants with competitive research and/or development skills to apply;
  • Residency: As per the program's requirement, the applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

How to Apply

To apply for a IRES internship position in 2024 summer, please submit the following documents to bo.zhu@gatech.edu:

  • CV (up to 2 pages, with your previous research/work experience and publication list (if any));
  • Research statement / proposal (up to 2 pages, describing your previous research experience in relevant areas and/or the project you plan to work on in your IRES summer internship).

Application Review Process

We will review applications and make decisions on a rolling basis. The deadline for all applications will be March 31, 2024. If you have any further questions, please send your queries to bo.zhu@gatech.edu.