The Stanford Existential Risks Initiative (SERI) recently opened applications for the second iteration of the ML Alignment Theory Scholars (MATS) Program, which aims to help aspiring alignment researchers enter the field by pairing them with established research mentors and fostering an academic community in Berkeley, California over the summer. Current mentors include Alex Gray, Beth Barnes, Evan Hubinger, John Wentworth, Leo Gao and Stuart Armstrong. Applications close on May 15 and include a written response to mentor-specific selection questions, viewable on our website.
Our ideal applicant has:
For the first stage of the program, we asked each alignment researcher to provide a set of questions that are sufficient to select candidates they would be happy to mentor. Applicants can apply for multiple mentors, but will have to complete each mentor’s selection questions.
Over four weeks, the participants will develop an understanding of a research agenda at the forefront of AI alignment through online readings and cohort discussions, averaging 10 h/week from Jun 6 to Jul 1. After this initial upskilling period, the scholars will be paired with an established AI alignment researcher for a two-week “research sprint” to test fit from Jul 4 to Jul 15. Assuming all goes well, scholars will be accepted into an eight-week intensive research program in Berkeley, California over the US summer break (Jul 25 to Sep 16).
Participants will obtain a $6,000 grant for completing the training and research sprint and $16,000 at the conclusion of the program. Furthermore, all expenses will be covered, including accommodation, office space and networking events with the Bay Area alignment community. We are happy to continue providing funding after the two month period to promising scholars, at the discretion of our research mentors. International students can apply to the program, and will arrive in the US under a B1 visa.
We hope to run another iteration of the program in the winter, and possibly in the fall. If you are not able to apply for the summer program, we encourage you to apply for the fall or winter. We may be able to offer different types of visas in future iterations.
This section is intended to explain the reasoning behind our program structure and is not required reading for any applicant. SERI MATS’ theory of change is as follows:
We are happy to hear any feedback on our aims or strategy. If you would like to become a mentor or join MATS as a program organiser for future program iterations, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I frontpaged this post. I am currently confused as to what our policy should be regarding announcements like this – they are not "timeless" which is the usual frontpage criteria , but also I think they are of general interest to a lot of readers. I would feel bad restricting their visibility. In this case, the Theory of Change feels like it's of more lasting interesting and gives me a bit of a loophole to promote this.The frontpage/personal blog distinction has always been a bit confusing. I hope we can refactor it into something clearer at some point.
Maybe have a special "announcements" section on the frontpage?
Application deadlines have been extended to May 22! Feel free message me or Victor if you have any questions.
Hi Ryan, do you still plan for results to come out by May 27? And for those who are successful for the next stage to start June 6th etc.? (That's what is says on the FAQ on the website still).
Yes, that is currently the plan. If we experience a massive influx of applications in the next two days it is possible this might slightly change, but I doubt it. We will work hard to keep to the announcement and commencement deadlines.
Hey, it's now officially no longer May 27th anywhere, and I can't find any announcements yet. How's it going?
Edit: Just got my acceptance letter! See you all this summer!