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OSM Lab Boot Camp helps build advanced computing skills for policy analysis.

The Becker Friedman Institute is pleased to announce the second year of the Open Source Macroeconomics Laboratory (OSM Lab), which will run an intensive and immersive seven-week computational macroeconomics boot camp from June 18 to August 3, 2018.

The goals of the Boot Camp are to:

  • train advanced undergraduates and graduate students with the computational skills to participate in cutting-edge economic research and public policy analysis;
  • inspire the brightest young researchers to pursue policy-relevant work throughout their careers;
  • spread the ideals of transparency and replicability throughout the economics profession from the ground up; and
  • accelerate scientific progress in economics and policy analysis more broadly.

The program is open to talented and motivated advanced undergraduate students and graduate students, with 25 fully funded student slots available for summer 2018. Funding includes travel to and from the University of Chicago, housing at the University, and a stipend of $4,200 for the seven weeks. Successful applicants will have taken courses or demonstrate proficiency in core microeconomic theory (constrained optimization with Lagrangian), linear algebra, multivariable calculus, real analysis, and writing code in some programming language.

Program Details


The curriculum of this program includes advanced mathematics, economic theory, and computational methods, all with a focus on open source languages, collaboration, and exposition. Programming at the boot camp will be mostly in Python. We will also use the collaborative open source platforms of git and GitHub extensively. Last Summer’s curriculum materials are available in the BootCamp2017 GitHub repository.

The OSM Lab boot camp curriculum will draw from open source curriculum developed by the OSM Lab instructors as well as the resources of QuantEcon.org produced by Thomas Sargent and John Stachurski. We will also use an extensive set of applied mathematics open source training modules and computational labs from the Brigham Young University Applied and Computational Math Emphasis (ACME). Student researchers who complete the OSM Lab boot camp will emerge with a rich set of computational tools, experience in successfully applying those tools to macroeconomic questions, and the ability to collaborate effectively.

The director of the OSM Lab is Dr. Richard W. Evans, senior lecturer in the M.A. Program in Computational Social Science at the University of Chicago, Fellow at the Becker Friedman Institute, Economist with the Open Source Policy Center, and steering committee member of QuantEcon.

A list of the faculty who participated last year as instructors and presenters is here. Instructors for this Summer’s Boot camp will include:


The deadline to apply has passed. Applications are now closed. 


Direct any questions to Richard Evans.



If I am an international student, can the OSM Lab give me the stipend and reimburse my travel? 

International students are eligible to receive the scholarship stipend and travel reimbursement.

Will the camp sponsor a student visa? 

The Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago cannot provide visa sponsorship for international students. Students will travel under a B1/Visa Waiver.

Can I have my recommender send the letter directly to OSM Lab? 

Yes. Please email bficomm@uchicago.edu for more detail.

Can I be working another job or take classes during the OSM Lab Boot Camp? 

No. This boot camp is a full-time commitment and will require all of your bandwidth.

Past Participants’ Experience


Below are comments from past participants in the OSM Lab Boot Camp at the University of Chicago.


I really enjoyed the way computation, math and economics were brought together for a large part of the boot camp. It made what we learnt a lot more useful, applicable and exciting. It was very cool to see esoteric mathematical concepts like SVD and complex matrix operations being applied to the real world of economics or data processing through programming. I don’t think I’ve been through a program in school where what I was learning tied in so well to the real world.

-Bryan Chia, Brigham Young University


I like the fact that it brings a group of highly motivated students together to work collaboratively on learning programming, mathematics and economics. The atmosphere in the camp was really conducive towards ensuring everyone had a good understanding of all of the material.

-Wei Han Chia, University of Chicago


Seeing the interaction among instructors, students, and instructors and students, it made me realize how closely connected the (computational) economics community is. It gave me a lot of perspective on paths that previous students and researchers have taken, and introduced me to a marvelous group of people beyond UChicago, some of which I will definitely stay in touch with.

-Jan Ertl, University of Chicago


My coding skills improved greatly throughout the program and really showed me how the coding could be applied to economic models. The group of students in the program was amazing and I learned a lot from the people around me not only about the topics taught in the course, but also about the other research projects that they are pursuing. I think that I have come out of the program with a very unique skill set that opens up the types of questions that I can ask in my own research and the types of techniques that I have available to answer those questions.

-Geoffrey Kochs, Brown University


The collaborative nature of the lab allowed me to forge great relationships with people, working on meaningful assignments without the stress of examinations. It’s a great format to keep going forward.

-Benjamin Lim, Northwestern University


While the content and inspiration to do research were phenomenal, what I enjoyed most was getting to know everyone in our cohort. During the boot camp I made some of the closest friendships I’ve ever had, and we were only here for seven weeks time. From the (many) long hours working together on problem sets and initiating independent research projects to exploring the wonderful city of Chicago, this has one of the best summer experiences ever (and certainly the most formative). I have greatly enjoyed the content we have learned, and feel that my eyes have been opened.

-Eric Miller, University of South Carolina


The breadth of the materials and topics; witnessing the marriage of theoretical math, computation, and economics. It’s particularly rewarding to combine skills honed in different classes to answer interesting questions.

-Elysa Strunin, University of Chicago