Education - College Courses

Computational Astrobiology Summer School Honolulu, Hawaii July 24 August 11, 2006

Course Schedule

The University of Hawaii Astrobiology Institute (UH-NAI) is hosting the Computational Astrobiology Summer School from July 24 until August 11, 2006. This is an excellent opportunity for graduate students in computer science and related areas to learn about astrobiology, and to carry out substantial projects related to the field.


The first two weeks of the program will be an intensive introduction to the field of astrobiology. NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) scientists will present their work, and the group will discuss ways in which computational tools (e.g. models, simulations, data processing applications, sensor networks, etc.) could improve astrobiology research. In the final week, participants will define their projects, with the help of the participating NAI researchers. Suitable projects will be significant team or individual programming efforts that result in useful tools for astrobiology research.

On returning to their home institutions, participants will begin work on their projects, under the supervision of a mentor. The amount of time required to complete a project will vary, but the effort should be roughly equivalent to a one semester, three credit-hour course. Indeed, we anticipate that most participants will arrange to earn credit for their project at their home institution. When the projects are completed, participants are expected to submit a poster to an astrobiology-related conference (to be determined).


Participants will typically be graduate students in computer science or a related field, with a strong interest in astrobiology. Students who are currently in field unrelated to computer science may also participate, but must be comfortable using at least one programming language, and must have completed at least one significant programming project in the past. Only the most qualified applicants will be invited to participate. Students who are enrolled at one of the NAI Team institutions (see for a list) are particularly encouraged to apply.


Each participant must have a mentor at their home institution who is willing to supervise the participant’s progress on the project in the fall of 2006. A mentor will typically be either a faculty member in the participant’s department and/or a member of a NAI Team.

Costs and Funding

There is no registration fee for this summer school, and on-campus accommodation will be provided at the University of Hawaii. However, participants are responsible for their own travel, food and other expenses. Some travel funding may be available for the top applicants. Participants are strongly encouraged to seek funding from their home institutions and/or other sources.

Application Process

Your application should be submitted online, by clicking here. Required materials include:

  • An up-to-date resume, including short descriptions of any significant programming projects, related coursework, and any other relevant background.
  • A letter from your mentor at your home institution, confirming his or her willingness to supervise your progress on the project in the fall of 2006.
  • A commitment from the participant to complete the project by May 2007, and to submit a poster to the selected astrobiology-related conference.

Applications are due at 5pm HST on April 17, 2006.
Please email Kim Binsted at if you have any questions.