IPAM Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics UCLA NSF
Skip Navigation Links
Main Page
Opening Day Schedule
Projects Day Schedule
RIPS-LA Sponsors and Projects
Instructions for Referees
Program Poster PDF
RIPS Beijing Poster in Chinese
Young Women in Mathematics Poster PDF

Research in Industrial Projects for Students (RIPS) 2007

Introduction | Projects | More Information

Industry Sponsors & Faculty Mentors | Application | Contact Us


The Research in Industrial Projects (RIPS) Program provides an opportunity for high-achieving undergraduate students 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 a real problem of serious interest to the sponsor and that offers a stimulating challenge to students. 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. Industry mentors provide regular contact between the team and the sponsor, monitoring and helping to guide student work. Ultimately, RIPS provides valuable real-world technical and managerial experience for students as well as valuable R&D for sponsors.

New: In 2007, in addition to our annual RIPS program held on the UCLA campus, we will also debut RIPS-Beijing. In collaboration with Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA), ten U.S. students and ten Chinese students will work on cross-cultural teams on 5 projects, each sponsored by an MSRA research group. The dates and basic format of the program are the same as RIPS-LA. English is the only language required for participation. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply through IPAM; the application form will allow you to indicate your interest in RIPS-Beijing. Chinese participants will apply through MSRA. More information will be posted soon.

RIPS Program Director: Michael Raugh, Ph.D.

Comments from former RIPS students:

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

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

RIPS is such an incredible experience. It allowed me to have a taste of applied math without having to make a drastic life choice. Furthermore, it has helped me grow immensely, not only professionally and intellectually, but also socially. It has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Margarita Echavarria (Cornell University), RIPS 2006

I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the participants. I was used to being the only person crazy enough to hang around late at night working on things but at RIPS a lot of others were like that too. I got to do real work in the field of computer vision and I could go on about that more, but the most important aspect of RIPS was the environment created by the IPAM staff. They provided me with the opportunity to really show what I am capable of.

Efrem Rensi (San Jose State University), RIPS 2006

Before RIPS, when people learned what my major was they would ask “what do you do with a math degree?” Now I have a list of answers for them.

Ellie Grano (North Carolina State University), RIPS 2006

I gained lots of presentation skills from RIPS. The critiques from others were especially helpful, and now I know how to make slides concise and clear, and I am more confident about speaking in public.

Jeri Xu (Yale University), RIPS 2006

Visit the RIPS2006 web page to see more information about last year's program.

Back to Top


Projects are selected to have a major mathematical component and to be something that will pose an interesting challenge to talented undergraduates. Recent projects have included 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 just a sampling of the types of projects assigned to RIPS teams. New industrial sponsors join the RIPS Program each year and the same projects are never repeated. RIPS 2006 sponsors were Arete, Hewlett Packard, Jet Propulsion Lab, Lawrence-Livermore National Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Los Alamos National Lab, Pixar Animation, Symantec, and TimeLogic. Read the 2006 project descriptions.

Projects for RIPS-Beijing will be sponsored by five of the MSRA research groups, which may include Internet Media, Web Search and Mining, Visual Computing, Wireless and Networking, Internet Graphics Speech, Natural Language Computing, Media Communication, and Incubation.

Please contact IPAM at the email address below if you would like to discuss an idea for a RIPS project.

Back to Top


Who should consider applying to RIPS?

RIPS is a program for students who are enrolled in or have just completed an undergraduate (bachelors) degree. 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 to apply for RIPS-LA.

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. Each project is assigned to a team consisting of four students and each team is assigned a faculty mentor as well as an industrial mentor (someone who represents the industrial sponsor and is responsible for the project at the industrial site). For many RIPS students, this is their first experience working in a team environment. In addition, RIPS provides students an opportunity to explore careers in mathematics, science and technology. They learn about the specific company that is sponsoring their project through interaction with their industrial mentor, as well as about the sponsors of other projects through final presentations and through discussions 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 experience, give students an edge that makes them more competitive in today’s career marketplace.

What is it is like to participate in RIPS?

RIPS students form close professional and personal relationships and live, work and socialize together over the summer. Each student receives lodging, board and a stipend. Students stay in university dorms. Each student has an office and computer; other computing resources are available, depending on the project, as well as tech support.

The location (Los Angeles or Beijing) will have an obvious impact on the experience. Both are large cities with many cultural attractions. UCLA is located approximately four miles from the Santa Monica beaches and is within close proximity to other popular tourist destinations. Beijing in northeastern China offers numerous cultural and historical monuments, including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and Tiananmen Square.

Back to Top


To apply to become a sponsor or a faculty mentor for the RIPS 2007 Summer Program, contact IPAM at .

In summer 2006, nine companies and national labs sponsored projects through the RIPS Program. They were: Arete Associates, Hewlett Packard, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Pixar Animation Studios, Symantec, and TimeLogic. IPAM is always looking for new sponsors with interesting projects, and looks forward to the opportunity to familiarize prospective sponsors with IPAM’s mission, work and educational opportunities with undergraduate students.

A faculty mentor is assigned to each team. IPAM seeks faculty mentors in mathematics who will have a doctorate in hand by June 30, 2007. 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 applied research and have previous experience teaching or training undergraduate students, please contact IPAM about faculty mentor openings in RIPS 2007.

Click here for information about becoming a sponsor

Click here for information about becoming a faculty mentor

Back to Top


We are no longer accepting applications.

Back to Top

Contact Us:

Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM)
Attn: RIPS2007
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/rips2007/

Back to Top

NSF Math Institutes   |   Webmaster