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Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) 2006

A Program for Undergraduates

June 25 - August 25, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Program Poster PDF

RIPS2006 Opening Day Schedule - June 26, 2006

RIPS2006 Projects Day - August 18, 2006



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 during which they learn about the problem, master the latest analytical approaches and techniques to solve it, and develop 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 mentors 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.

Comments from former RIPS students:

When you do RIPS, you’re treated like a pro. RIPS participants effectively own the IPAM building, with their own private offices, workstations, telephone lines, and the wonderful IPAM staff. The projects are cutting edge and it takes a lot of hard work (and creativity) to get anywhere, but you really feel like you’ve done something of lasting value after the end of the program. So if you want to do some cool math that could actually effect emerging technologies (and get a free trip to LA at the same time), get on the horn and apply to RIPS 2002.

James Kelly (Penn State University), RIPS 2001

This was the most rewarding summer I remember. Of course, there were some hard times, but now looking back, I wish it was longer. The program was very close to perfect in all aspects: people, place, work, leisure. It showed me that opportunities that I only dreamed of before are in fact very real! A very encouraging feeling.
PS: this may sound like a commercial ad, but the thing is that I really feel this way :-)
Thank You for everything.

Lucas Kroc (Charles University, Prague), RIPS 2002

RIPS2003 has been an amazing way to spend my summer. The campus is absolutely amazing with so much to do such as tennis, basketball, swimming, Mercedes Benz cup, badminton, a full gym, and even movies being filmed! RIPS wasn't all fun and games though, we did serious work but enjoyed it all. The atmosphere at IPAM is very relaxed. we could come to work as early (or late) as we wanted and leave as early (or late) as we wanted. It is truly an exciting atmosphere in which you can use the level set method and then talk to the person who invented it. Even while we were at work, we definitely had fun with antics such as office chair races.

Neil Kumar (USC), RIPS 2003

Thanks for RIPS, which took me flying across the Pacific ocean, and an interesting culture gulf. I am not sure if I am still in the air at the end of the program, because it opens up infinite possibility to learn. But I would find somewhere to land, someday. It is good to experience the ups and downs in research. I know I totally enjoy those difficult times. In fact, I miss those days when my entire mood was dependent on the project. RIPS provides a good atmosphere to explore - research, friendship, and pastime. Although people keep their individual tastes, but we try our best to group ourselves to many LA spots. Our footprints went from the Hollywood to almost every beach along the coast here. I would say this is totally LA experience. During this program, I met some very impressive figures which enriched my character. I would keep these impressions in my memory as I move on.

Kathy Valentino (Zhekiang College, China), RIPS 2003

The RIPS Program was a great way to work and have fun. I had the opportunity to learn much about doing research as well as to explore new areas of mathematics. I also enjoyed meeting and talking to many interesting people at IPAM and Los Alamos. The other participants in the program were wonderful people and I had really good time with them. I learned to work in a team which I think will be very beneficial for me in the future. In a word I had a great experience this summer.

Mariana Raykova (Bard College), RIPS 2003

My personal profile along with an important help of my last summer RIPS participation allowed me to choose from the best job offers in Czech Republic and even abroad. I have finally decided to start working for Mintel in London, England. I am also waiting for results from WSU, Rensselaer, MIT, and Stanford where I have applied to graduate study.

Petr Svab (Charles University),  RIPS 2004

It (RIPS 2004) was a great learning experience. Not only did I learn about nonlinear dynamical system, which I knew nothing about before the program but am now considering for graduate studies. I also made lots of good friends from around the world (there are very few REU programs in which one gets to interact with students from foreign institutions). There were also lots of emphasis on how to efficiently pace the work, how to communicate technical contents effectively via writing and presentations. From my 3 years of REU experience (first two at Princeton) this is the most well-organized program I've participated.

Huan Zheng (Princeton University), RIPS 2004

IPAM not only showed me how interesting fluid mechanics are but also opened my eyes to the kinds of things which were possible and currently happening around the world. For this I am truly grateful as not only was my stay one of the most enjoyable events in my life it also has shaped my view on life.

Paul-James White (University of Wollongong), RIPS 2004

At IPAM I was exposed to a new field of mathematics: image processing, while I was working on my project offered by Los Alamos National Lab. I was not decided on a specific research interest, so I could freely devote myself to that area of mathematics. After RIPS I became very interested in image processing problems and this year I will participate in a summer program at LANL and I will do research in image/high-dimensional data analysis.

Valentina Staneva (Concord University), RIPS 2004

The program allows for a productive, yet fun summer. It is a lot of fun to be surrounded by people who share the same enthusiasm for math. I will never forget my time at IPAM.

Cassondra Bluemel (Berkeley), RIPS 2005

This summer was a really good experience for me. All is great in this program, the campus, the staff, the projects…I really enjoyed it and I recommend it for all students who want to experience research in applied mathematics and working on a team. Besides if you are a foreign student and if you want to discover what American universities are like, you have to apply to RIPS.

Bruno Galerne (Ecole Normale Superieure), RIPS 2005

This was an amazing summer, spent working on an interesting and challenging problem, making new friends from around the world, and exploring the city of L.A. and beyond.

Sarah Milne (Oxford), RIPS 2005

Visit the RIPS2005 web page to see more information about last year's program and comments from the core participants.


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, Hewlett Packard, Jet Propulsion Lab, Lawrence-Livermore National Lab, Los Alamos National Lab, Microsoft Research, Pixar Animation and TimeLogic. 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 2005 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. International students are eligible for RIPS.

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

Most summer REU 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

RIPS 2005 Participants

RIPS 2005 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 2005, eight companies and ten faculty mentors were involved in the RIPS Program. They were: Arete Associates, Inc., Hewlett Packard, The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, The Los Alamos National Laboratory, Microsoft Research, Pixar Animation Studios and TimeLogic. 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, 2006. 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 2006.


We are no longer accepting applications for RIPS2006.

Contact Us:

Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM)
Attn: RIPS2006
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/rips2006/

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