graduateFacebook is using a tried-and-true Silicon Valley tactic to lure top engineering talent from graduate schools around the country. The social network just launched a fellowship program offering a $30,000 stipend, $5,000 for travel and conference attendance, another $5,000 for a personal computer, and an opportunity for a paid summer internship.

Offering to pay for graduate school to strengthen university ties and recruit the best technical talent has a long history in Silicon Valley. Google also offers its own graduate fellowships. Applicants to Facebook’s program have to be full-time Ph.D students in computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, system architecture or a related area. They have to be nominated by a faculty member. The application itself is pretty standard: CV, a research summary, two letters of recommendation and the faculty sponsor. It is due on February 15.

They’re interested in the following areas:

  • Internet Economics: auction theory and algorithmic game theory relevant to online advertising auctions.
  • Cloud Computing: storage, databases, and optimization for computing in a massively distributed environment.
  • Social Computing: models, algorithms and systems around social networks, social media, social search and collaborative environments.
  • Data Mining and Machine Learning: learning algorithms, feature generation, and evaluation methods to produce effective online and offline models of behavioral signals.
  • Systems: hardware, operating system, runtime, and language support for fast, scalable, efficient data centers.
  • Information Retrieval: search algorithms, information extraction, question answering, cross-lingual retrieval and multimedia retrieval