Program dates: Summer (May – August 2022) or Fall (September – December 2022)
Deadline to apply: April 4, 2022, 11:59 PM ET
The Reinforcement Learning (RL) Open Source Fest is a global online program focused on introducing students to open-source reinforcement learning programs and software development while working alongside researchers, data scientists, and engineers on the Real World Reinforcement Learning team at Microsoft Research NYC. Students will work on a four-month research programming project for either a Summer (May-August 2022) or Fall session (September – December 2022). Accepted students will receive a $10,000 USD stipend. Selected students will receive their stipend payment at the beginning of their session. Microsoft sends the payment directly to a student’s academic institution, which then disperses funds according to the institution’s guidelines.
Our goal is to bring together a diverse group of students from around the world to collectively solve open-source reinforcement learning problems and advance the state-of-the-art research and development alongside the RL community while providing open-source code written and released to benefit all.
At the end of the program, students will present each of their projects to the Microsoft Research Real World Reinforcement Learning team online.
Vowpal Wabbit (VW) is an open-source machine learning library created by John Langford and developed by Microsoft Research with the help of many contributors. It is a fast, flexible, online, and active learning solution that empowers people to solve complex interactive machine learning problems, with a large focus on contextual bandits and reinforcement learning. It is a vehicle for both research prototyping and driving bleeding edge algorithms to production. RL OS Fest is all about open-source projects in the Vowpal Wabbit ecosystem.
View open-source projects >
To be eligible for the program, students must be enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including colleges, universities, Master programs, PhD programs, and undergraduate programs.
Student responsibilities during the program
Submit quality work: code compiles, has unit tests and documentation, and passes code review
Regularly communicate work completed, what you intend to do next, and blockers
Re-evaluate project tasks if you’re significantly ahead or behind schedule
Regular check-ins with your mentor/collaborator
Listen and respond to feedback
What makes a successful project?
Success looks different for every project. Challenging yourself and developing skills and knowledge are the most important part. Producing some sort of deliverable item is great, but not strictly required. We all know how development and experimentation goes, unforeseen problems can come up and present new challenges and that’s all part of the process. You’ll have a mentor and support along the way.
A successful engineering-oriented project might include pull requests merging your work, a design document, tests, and general documentation
A successful data science-oriented project might involve pull requests, reproducible experiments, datasets, a report, and visualized results
A successful prototyping-oriented project might include an MVP, tests, and documentation
Contact us: If you have questions about this program, please send us an email at [RLOSFEST@microsoft.com](mailto:RLOSFEST@microsoft.com).
*The upcoming program dates are subject to change, and will be finalized and updated here by March 1, 2022
March 1, 2022 | Application period opens
April 4, 2022 | Application period closes
April 25, 2022 | Selected applicants notified
May 9, 2022| Summer projects begin
August 15, 2022 | Summer project presentations
September 12, 2022| Fall projects begin
December 2, 2022 | Fall project presentations
How to submit an application
The below outlines the information necessary to submit your application in our submission portal.
You will be asked to fill out the following questions:
Are you currently enrolled in an accredited university or college? (Please note, proof of enrollment will be required)
Select your country
Upload your resume or a document containing a list of classes completed to date
Upload existing or past personal projects you’ve worked on or open source projects to which you’ve contributed
Choose your preferred project from the list of Open Source Projects
Select a program session date (Summer session takes place May – August 2022 and Fall session takes place September – December 2022)
Upload your proposal for the selected Open Source Project. Include why you want to work on this problem specifically. Provide a rough outline of how you plan to execute on the project selected. This should include a week-by-week plan of what you’d need to learn and the challenges you foresee.
Complete a pre-screening exercise according to the requirements of your selected project. If your exercise requires uploading files, provide a link to a GitHub repository containing these files.
The below outlines important information pertaining to your application:
Proposals submitted to Microsoft will not be returned. Microsoft cannot assume responsibility for the confidentiality of information submitted in the proposal. Therefore, proposals should not contain information that is confidential, restricted, or sensitive.
Incomplete proposals will not be considered.
Due to the volume of submissions, Microsoft Research cannot provide individual feedback on proposals.
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