2021 Summer Research Internship Program

While we are hoping to invite our 2021 Summer Research Interns to join us on-site at one of ISI's three locations, the situation remains somewhat uncertain due to COVID-19. If necessary, our intent is to support remote participation for as many of our Internships as possible. We'll aim to make a final decision as soon as USC, California, and national circumstances and policies for summer 2021 become clearer. We'll post more information here as quickly as possible as the situation develops further!

Thank you for your interest in ISI's Summer Student Internship Program!


ISI welcomes enthusiastic, qualified PhD students and highly talented undergraduates as paid interns in our Marina del Rey, California, Arlington, Virginia, and Boston (Waltham), Massachusetts offices. We offer the chance to join in groundbreaking research in convivial, intellectually stimulating environs. Interns work directly with our senior research leaders and their teams, have the opportunity to attend lectures and study groups, and may also mentor others.

In Marina del Rey, CA, ISI inhabits one of the city’s best waterfront addresses. We’re in the midst of the emerging Silicon Beach community of startup and established tech companies, along with bike paths, boating, beaches, diverse restaurants, and the heart of LA's Westside.

In Arlington, VA, our offices are centrally located in the vibrant Virginia Square/Ballston area, an easy metro ride from Washington D.C.’s famed museums and other cultural attractions.

In Boston, MA, our offices are located in the suburb of Waltham, directly off of I-95. Our location provides convenient access to Boston and Cambridge’s many universities, museums, and restaurants, as well as historic Lexington and Concord, the site of the “shot heard round the world.”


Applications for the 2021 program are now open, and will remain open for most research areas through Friday, February 26. However, individual research areas may fill all available positions and close applications earlier, so we strongly encourage you to apply as early as possible. 

Notifications are rolling, and will be made as soon as possible after your application materials and letter(s) of recommendation are received. Internships normally begin in late May and are expected to run from ten to twelve weeks, by agreement between the student and their ISI mentor. Some flexibility of timing is possible for those whose summer terms don't match well with this schedule.

Research Areas

For 2021, we are seeking interns across each of the broad research areas below. We work to match interns with research projects and mentors whenever possible, and encourage you to apply if your interests relate to any facet of ISI’s research.

Natural Language Processing

Machine Translation and Multilinguality, Common Sense Reasoning, Creative Dialogue, Information Extraction, Representation Learning, Unsupervised and Semi-Supervised Learning, and similar areas.

For more information about internships in this research area at ISI, please see this page. To apply for an internship in this area, please use this link. Please note that applications for internships in this area will close on Jan 29, 2021, a month earlier than our general deadline date.

Knowledge Technologies

Research in areas such as knowledge graphs, semantic web, linked data, entity extraction, entity resolution, source modeling, graph construction and querying, and similar concepts.

For more information about our research in this area, please see this page. To apply for an internship in this area, please use this link.

Machine Learning and Data Science

‚ÄčThis research area spans a range of topics from unsupervised and weekly supervised representation learning to more applied research problems in graph analytics, forecasting,  and modeling of complex socio-technical systems.

For a broad overview of ML research at ISI, please see this page. To apply for an internship in the ML and Data Science area, please use this link.

Computing Systems and Technologies

This research area includes Quantum Computing, Sensing, and Information Processing, Tools and Applications for Heterogeneous and Reconfigurable Computing Environments, High performance and Real-Time Cloud Computing, Intrinsically Secure Computing Systems, and similar areas.

For more information about this research area, please see this page. To apply for an internship in the area, please use this link.

Internet and Networked Systems

Our research in this area covers such topics as Internet Measurement, Cyberphysical Systems, Network Architecture, and similar fields.

For more information about this research, please see this page. To apply for an internship in this area, please use this link.

Cybersecurity Research and Experimentation

This area covers cybersecurity research taken broadly, with areas ranging from binary program analysis and vulnerability discovery to the understanding of social engineering attacks and their defenses. Additionally, we maintain a unique research program covering Testbeds, Tools and Methodologies for Cybersecurity Experimentation.

For more information about our research in this area, please see this page. To apply for an internship in this area, please use this link.

Director's Interns

Each year, a small number of outstanding individuals participating in ISI’s summer internship program are named Director's Interns. Director's Interns receive Institute-wide recognition for their work, including the opportunity to present their research at a colloquium honoring their accomplishments. ISI summer interns are eligible for consideration as Director's Interns based on their research accomplishments within the internship and recommendations from their research mentors, with selections made by a committee of senior ISI researchers.

Program Details

How to Apply

Please apply by submitting an application to our website. You may apply using one of the area-specific links in the Research Area descriptions above, or through our general application URL, which will let you pick your areas of interest in the application.

When you apply, we'll ask you for a few details about your current studies, and to upload a brief statement of research interests and your CV. For most research areas, we'll also ask you for the name and contact information of someone familiar with your research background, who would like to write a short recommendation for you. We'll contact that person directly for a recommendation. Once you have these things handy, applying will only take a minute!

Background and Qualifications

ISI looks for strong, enthusiastic students with a wide variety of technical interests. While most of our interns have computer science backgrounds, we're also interested in students with relevant engineering, math, or scientific academic majors. A number of our internship opportunities combine deep intellectual research with practical system development, and we’re particularly interested in working with students whose background, experience, and research interests combine those objectives.

Our summer internships are extremely popular, and many students choose to intern more than once. We encourage you to tailor your research statement to clearly express your specific interests, goals, and desires for a summer internship, so that we may best match you with potential ISI research mentors. If you're interested in working with a particular ISI supervisor, and are familiar with their work and research area, please use your research statement and the application form to let us know! 

Duration and Compensation

Summer Internships typically span a ten to twelve week period starting in late May, and are intended to accommodate the academic schedule of your university or institution. Compensation will be stated in your offer letter should you be accepted, and will be competitive with comparable internship opportunities.

If you're interested in an internship at another time during the academic year, we encourage you to contact the appropriate research area by sending a short email request to intern-program@isi.edu. Openings are more limited, however, and not available under a formal program.

Additional Questions?

Please see our FAQ page for answers to several common questions about our program. If you have a question not answered there, please write to us directly at intern-program@isi.edu. Thanks for your interest in our summer internships program!