The Department of Computer Science (DCS) is introducing the second video competition for all undergraduate Summer Researchers at the department! This is a great chance to show off your research, scholarly activities and your love for computer science. We hope to get interesting and fun submissions about your research experience this summer. Time to get creative!

The results are in!

Last year's competition

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First prize:   $300
Second:   $150
Third:   $100

The video should present and describe the main emphasis of your research this summer in a manner that is understandable and interesting to the general public. We encourage you to also include elements of your research life, summer activities and anything else you think will make the video interesting. You can create the video in pairs or even in a trio as long as you are willing to share the prize.

There's really just one guideline: Be creative, quirky and authentic!


Present your research in a way that is interesting and understandable to the general audience. Probably your mum will eventually watch the video. You want her to understand at least enough so she can brag to her friends.

You can watch a cool example here (the winner of last year's competition), as well as here (the winner of the MIT student research video competition).

Research Experience

You may also want to show something about your summer at UofT. Perhaps shots of your office, fun discussions, playing soccer with colleagues, etc.


  • Do talk about research, persuade the general public you're doing something important
  • Time the video to 2 to 4 minutes. Less than 2 minutes is short, more than 4 minutes is likely to be boring
  • Include any cool results you may have
  • Include high-power music
  • Less equations, more pictures
  • In fact, if you do include equations record them in some funky way so that an innocent observer won't have time to notice
  • Some more guidelines and examples are in this short presentation
  • Academic integrity

  • If you use any material that is not yours you have to cite it
  • Don't use copyright material or we won't be able to put your video online
  • In the credits of the video list all people that have contributed
  • Don't record other people without their consent
  • Check UofT's academic integrity guidelines

    What if ...

    Q: I work in theory or math and my research are only equations.
    A: You seem smart enough, you'll figure it out.

    Q: I can't think of a good idea for my video.
    A: Try talking to your colleagues. You can also send us an email.
    From the top of my head, here are some generic ideas you could try:
  • Take a friend with a camera and go to the street. Present your research to a wide variety of people and ask them for feedback. I'm sure something juicy will come out.
  • Record a full week of your life (some of it should include your work at UofT) and play it fast forward.
  • Record yourself explaining your research. Then record excerpts of your life at UofT until the video submission deadline. Record yourself again explaining your research. Play the beginning explanation, fast-forward of the life in between, and the final explanation. And if you want a cheesy Hollywood ending you can write "2015 -- The summer I got wiser". If you play the video backwards it might be even more fun.

  • Q: I am working hard but I don't have any results yet.
    A: Welcome to research! Don't worry about it, just focus the video on the problem overview, motivation, student life, etc. With the right kind of touch showing the no results can also be entertaining. For example, you can record a couple of long Python scripts from your colleague, side by side with your empty Matlab file. Showing code crashing might be fun too. Just make sure your advisor is in the camera shot when you record this. ;)

    Q: I want to make a serious video.
    A: Please do it! In fact, the video winning the MIT competition was very serious.

    Q: I don't know how to make a video.
    A: Assuming you have internet: try this.

    Q: I really didn't enjoy my summer research.
    A: Record something like this.

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    A committee of 4 faculty and 9 graduate students / postdocs evaluated and ranked the submissions. Criteria used was originality, clarity of presentation, quality of research. All submissions were fantastic and it was very difficult to decide. We recommend you to watch all the videos!

    No video is black (or white or any other uniform color) once it starts playing, so in case this happens try switching to another browser: Safari, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer should work.

    All videos have sound so turn on your speakers!

    First place: Seyed Kamyar Seyed Ghasemipour

    Second place: Mohamed Abdalla

    Third place: Roman Polyanovsky

    Submission is now closed.

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