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IPAM gratefully acknowledges additional grant support from the
National Security Agency for this program.

Research in Industrial Projects for Students "RIPS" 2005

A Program for Undergraduates

June 26 - August 26, 2005

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Program Poster PDF

Participants and Mentors

RIPS2005 Opening Day Schedule - June 27, 2005

RIPS2005 Projects Day - August 19, 2005


Visit the RIPS2004 web page to see more information about last year's program and comments from the core participants.


What is IPAM-RIPS?

The Research in Industrial Projects (RIPS) Program provides an opportunity for college and university upper classmen/women, to work in teams on a real-world research project proposed by a sponsor from industry or a national lab. RIPS recruits its students from all over the world. Each RIPS team is comprised of four students, a faculty mentor, and an industrial sponsor. The research problem is developed by the industrial sponsor in consultation with IPAM—it is always something that the sponsor really wants to know the answer to. The students, with direction from their faculty mentor and industrial sponsor, spend nine weeks learning about the problem, mastering the latest analytical approaches and techniques to solve it, and developing report-writing and public-speaking skills to be able to make professional presentations about the progress and results of their work to a scientific audience. Company liaisons provide regular contact between the team and the sponsor, monitoring and helping to guide student work. Projects focus on problems of serious interest to the sponsor and offer a stimulating challenge to students. Participation in RIPS provides valuable real-world technical and managerial experience for students and valuable R&D for sponsors.

RIPS Program Director: Michael Raugh, Ph.D. (Harvey Mudd College)


What kinds of projects are suitable for students at this level of academic preparation?

Projects are selected to have a major mathematical component and to be something that will pose an interesting challenge to talented undergraduates. Students selected to participate in RIPS are usually college or university upper classmen either majoring in mathematics or in disciplines which require a strong mathematics background. Recent projects have ranged from how to do a physics-based animation of a lava lamp, how to stitch together two images, how to analyze cancer data using microarrays, statistical data assimilation methods for weather data, modeling particle transport phenomena in reactors, and designing missions to the moons of Jupiter. This is only a sampling of the types of projects that have been available for RIPS students. New industrial sponsors join the RIPS Program each year and the types of projects are different from year-to- year. Last year’s sponsors were Arete, BioDiscovery, Jet Propulsion Lab, Lawrence-Livermore National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, National Center for Atmospheric Research and Pixar Animation. Please contact IPAM at the email address listed below if you would like to discuss an idea for a summer project.

Click here to review RIPS 2004 projects


Who should consider applying to RIPS?

RIPS is a program for students who are enrolled in or have just completed an undergraduate degree-granting program. Students with a strong background in mathematics and who are interested in seeing how mathematics is used in the real world are encouraged to apply. Competition is strong for the limited slots available and participant selection is based on academic standing.

What does RIPS have to offer a student at my level of preparation?

Most summer research experiences focus on an academic problem where students work closely with an academic mentor. RIPS is unique in that students learn how to apply their mathematics knowledge to a real-world industrial problem (such as the ones described in the previous section). For many RIPS students, this is their first experience working in a team environment. Each project is assigned to a team consisting of four students and each team is assigned a faculty mentor (typically a UCLA faculty mentor or someone from another Southern California university) as well as an industrial mentor (someone who represents the industrial sponsor and is responsible for the project at the industrial site). RIPS students have an opportunity to explore careers in technology before having to make a career decision. They learn about the specific company that is sponsoring their project through communication and interaction with their industrial mentor and at least one site visit to their company. They also learn about the companies sponsoring other projects through presentations and discussion with other RIPS students. Throughout the summer, RIPS students learn report-writing and public presentation skills that will be invaluable to them should they chose to continue with an academic or professional career in an industrial setting. These latter skills, combined with real-world research know-how, give students an added edge that makes them more competitive in today’s career marketplace.

In addition, UCLA and West Los Angeles are the perfect place to spend your summer. RIPS students form close professional and personal relationships and live, work and socialize together over the summer. Each student receives on-campus lodging, board and a summer stipend. An office and computer are assigned to students at the IPAM Building in order to conduct their work. Other computing resources are available, depending on the project. Westwood Village is located approximately four miles from the Pacific Ocean and is also within close proximity to other popular local attractions.

Click here for information about RIPS Industrial Sponsors

Click here for information about RIPS Faculty Mentors

Comments from RIPS 2003 Graduates

RIPS 2004 Group

Young Women in Mathematics Poster (18 MB)


To apply to become a sponsor or a faculty mentor for the RIPS 2005 Summer Program, contact IPAM at .

In summer 2004, seven companies and eight faculty mentors were involved in the RIPS Program. They were: Arete Associates, Inc., Biodiscovery, Inc., The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, The Los Alamos National Laboratory, The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), and Pixar Animation Studios. IPAM is interested in adding more research project experiences to its 2005 program and looks forward to the opportunity to familiarize companies with IPAM’s mission, work and educational opportunities with undergraduate students.

IPAM seeks faculty mentors in mathematics who will have a doctorate in hand by June 30, 2005. Serving as a faculty mentor provides a unique opportunity to work with gifted college and university students who are at the formative stages of career development. If you enjoy research, particularly applied research, and have previous background or experience teaching or training undergraduate students, please contact IPAM about mentor openings in RIPS 2005.


The deadline for applications to the RIPS 2005 Summer Program was February 15, 2005.

Contact Us:

Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM)
Attn: RIPS2005
460 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles CA 90095-7121
Phone: 310 825-4755
Fax: 310 825-4756
Email: ipam@ucla.edu
Website: http://www.ipam.ucla.edu/programs/rips2005/

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