This course is designed in the style of the Hungarian "TDK" system, allowing advanced undergraduates to become acquainted with research methods and means in detail and acquire additional knowledge beyond their obligatory curriculum. (For a brief English description of the TDK system see a relevant ELTE University homepage.)

In this course, a student can choose from the topics/problems listed below and work with other students and the professor to solve the given problem. All work is summarized in a paper and during the semester there will be opportunities to present your work as well.

This may contribute to the successful beginning of a scientific career: depending on level, the results obtained can be presented at school, statewide or national undergraduate meetings ranging from a local Undergradute Seminar at your home school to MAA's MathFest. Papers may also be published in undergraduate research journals. (such as The Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Mathematics Journal or Involve.

In some US PhD programs, fruitful undergraduate reserach activity is a prerequisite for admission.

At BSM student research is supervised by professors. Research topics are offered by them, but students can also propose topics of their own interest.


The list of research topics and professors proposing them can be seen below. Contact the professor whose problem you are interested in at the Welcome Party, but read everything carefully below first.


  1. Title: Extremal sets of the vertices of the hypercube (over GDF(2))

    Description: We plan to investigate (cases of) the following general question: How many vertices (maybe of certain further property, like of fixed weight) of the n-dimensional hypercube can be picked such that subspace spanned by them - over GF(2) - does not contain or does not intersect certain configurations of the hypercube (vertices, vertices of given weight, subspaces, hyperplanes, etc.)

    In this project you will understand the structure of the hypercube over the reals and GF(2), develop algebraic methods to solve extremal set theoretical problems and establish constructions and will reach - in the worst case - some concrete results.

    Prerequisites: basic combinatorics and linear algebra
    Best for: students who intend to do research in algebra or combinatorics
    Professor: Dr. Dezsô Miklós
    ASSIGNMENT FOR THE FIRST WEEK: exercises and related reading

  2. Title: The Ramsey number of a bow-tie

    Description: click here for the description of the problem

    Prerequisites: basic combinatorics;
    Best for: students who intend to do research in combinatorics
    Professor: Dr. András Gyárfás
    ASSIGNEMENT FOR THE FIRST WEEK:Start working on the exercises given in the description.

  3. Title: Spectral Clustering: Expander Mixing Lemma and its Generalizations

    Description:Networks can be modeled by edge-weighted graphs or contingency tables. We want to find clusters of the nodes or biclusters of the rows and columns so that the information flow between the cluster pairs is as homogeneous as possible. For this purpose, we minimize discrepancy and relate it to the spectral properties of the normalized adjacency matrix or contingency table. First we will study the the Expander Mixing Lemma and its converse, then we will discuss possible generalizations to the multiclass case.
    Basic combinatorics and linear algebra
    Best for:students who intend to do research in networks
    Professor: Dr. Marianna Bolla

    ASSIGNEMENT FOR THE FIRST WEEK: start reading available parts of this book
    more info and reading