Education - College Courses
Computational Astrobiology Summer School (CASS2010)
August 1-15, 2010

Application deadline extended to: May 7, 2010


The University of Hawaii NASA Astrobiology Institute (UHNAI) will host the invitation-only Computational Astrobiology Summer School (CASS) from August 1-15, 2010. 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 two-week on-site part 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. Also during this time, participants will define their projects, with the help of the participating NAI researchers. Suitable projects are significant team or individual programming efforts that result in useful tools for astrobiology research. Some examples of past CASS projects can be found here:

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 a 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 also have a commitment from a faculty member at their home institution to supervise their project for at least one semester following CASS.

Participant support

CASS is free for invited participants, and on-campus accommodation (double occupancy; single occupancy at additional cost) 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.

How to apply

Application deadline extended to: May 7, 2010

Send an application package by email (preferred) or post to:

Kim Binsted
POST 317
Information and Computer Sciences Department
University of Hawaii
1680 East-West Road
Honolulu HI 96822

The package should contain:
  • A cover letter, including:
    • A description of your research interests
    • An indication of whether or not you are seeking travel support from UHNAI
    • A commitment to continue working on an astrobiology-related project for at least one semester following CASS, and to complete the project by May 2011.
  • An up-to-date resume, including short descriptions of any significant programming projects, related coursework, publications and any other relevant background.
  • A recent transcript (copy OK).
  • A letter from a faculty member at your home institution, including a commitment to supervise your CASS project for at least one semester

If you have any questions, please contact Kim Binsted by email ( or phone (514-880-0534).