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Prof. Susan E. Martonosi Harvey Mudd College Mathematics Clinic Director Senior Capstone Projects: A Taste of the Real Word HMC Olin Science Center, Claremont,

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Presentation on theme: "Prof. Susan E. Martonosi Harvey Mudd College Mathematics Clinic Director Senior Capstone Projects: A Taste of the Real Word HMC Olin Science Center, Claremont,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Prof. Susan E. Martonosi Harvey Mudd College Mathematics Clinic Director Senior Capstone Projects: A Taste of the Real Word HMC Olin Science Center, Claremont, California

2 Todays Workshop Brief overview of HMC Clinic Brainstorming: How might you start a similar program? Pole pole: Other ways to incorporate real-world modeling 2

3 Harvey Mudd College Highly-selective liberal arts college of science and engineering –Undergraduates only –Curriculum and post-graduate opportunities similar to a university Math major emphasizes theory and application –Required courses in pure and applied math –Students choose an elective track (OR is one option) –Capstone 3

4 What Is a Capstone? Project conducted during students final year –Synthesizes material learned in courses –Typically involves a final report and/or presentation to develop communication skills Thesis: –One-on-one with faculty advisor –Often (but not always) theoretical research –Topic comes from student or advisor Clinic: –Team project with faculty advisor and liaison –Often (but not always) applied research –Topic comes from a sponsor (Industrial, Non-profit, Government agency, …) 4

5 Clinic Is a Sponsored Student Capstone Project Tackling a Real-World Problem 5 Sponsor Research Problem Liaison(s) Funding (flat fee) Harvey Mudd Students (4-5) Faculty Advisor Infrastructure Clinic Team Original Research / Education in Professional Practice Deliverables (Final Report, Prototypes, Models, Software, Intellectual Property Rights) Nine Months

6 Clinic Was Founded as an Engineering Education Innovation in 1963 -Over 1300 projects since! -42 projects in 2011-12 -Programs in: -Computer Science -Engineering -Mathematics -Physics -Global Clinic 6

7 Global Clinic Started in 2006 7 Partnerships with universities and sponsors in Puerto Rico, Singapore, Iceland, China, Japan and India

8 There Is No Typical Clinic Project Math clinic sponsors have included: –for-profit corporations, entrepreneurs, national labs, defense contractors and nonprofit organizations Mathematical areas of contribution: Statistics and ProbabilityFluid dynamics Optimal controlOperations research Algorithm designSimulations Numerical methodsImage processing Financial mathematicsResource management Given a problem description we help sponsors scope it for project duration and difficulty 8

9 Operations Research and Probability Modeling

10 Pairs Trading and Statistical Arbitrage

11 The Clinic Program Has Two Primary Goals Give advanced students the opportunity to solve real-world problems –Synthesize all they have learned –Training environment for solving important real- world problems professionally and in a controlled and mentored setting. Provide value to the sponsoring organization in return for funding the project –Patents, prototypes, ideas –Recruiting opportunities 11

12 Clinic Directors Are Tasked with Recruiting Project Sponsors Good potential sponsors: –Local and regional companies, non-profits and government agencies –Alumni network –Successful projects lead to repeat sponsorships Curricular requirement pressure to find good projects in sufficient numbers 12

13 The First Step Is Identifying a Problem Sponsor provides a written problem statement –1-2 revision cycles with Clinic Director to ensure project scope is appropriate for students background and 9-month project timeframe Sponsor appoints a liaison to –monitor team progress, –provide domain expertise, and –ensure project direction is consistent with sponsors objectives Sponsor/HMC sign Letter of Understanding Faculty advisor assigned to project based on interest and expertise At start of fall semester, students are assigned to teams based on their preferences 13

14 Each Student Spends ~10 Hrs/Wk on the Project Throughout Academic Year Sept: Orientation Day Oct.: Statement of Work Fall semester: Site Visit End of fall: Mid-year report Spring semester: Weekly Clinic-wide presentations May: Projects Day and final site visit 14

15 The Year Culminates in Projects Day Sponsoring organization invited to campus Presentations and poster sessions by all teams Celebration of student work and the end of an exciting year 15

16 Project Deliverables Are Sent to Sponsor Bound final report CD-ROM containing –Final report –Software installation and code –User documentation –Relevant data –Final presentation –Poster –Statement of Work –Mid-year report All hardware or prototypes Final site visit 16 Low-thrust Orbit Raising

17 Quotes from Students: Knowledge Synthesis [T]his project was a very interesting mesh between theory and application.... Applying some of our control theory from classes to getting [good results in the lab] was quite a challenge and provided a lot of useful (and frustrating) experience. 17

18 Quotes from Students: Teamwork We each had different strengths and weaknesses. Yet, they seemed to complement each other well. Where I was weak, my teammates were strong, and vice versa. 18

19 Quotes from Students: Professional Preparation Clinic has been … good in terms of giving me job experience. 19

20 Clinic Gives Sponsor Fresh Ideas on an Important Problem Students gain technical expertise and develop professional skills Team of sharp, motivated and creative students working for a whole year –Many projects lead to patents –Many results are implemented –Many clients come back in subsequent years Excellent recruiting opportunities 20

21 Significant Support Infrastructure Is Not Necessary at First Sponsorship fee –Covers equipment, staff, overhead, site visit, recruiting –Sponsor expects results –Blessing and curse: non-profits cant afford fee –At first, not necessary Graduation requirement –Need enough projects for students –Could offer as an extracurricular option –Could have multiple teams on same project Sponsors across the country –Start locally 21

22 Getting Started Assessing your students strengths Identifying potential sponsors Approaching sponsors Choosing projects Obtaining institutional support Running the projects 22

23 Assessing Your Students Strengths Think, Pair, Share: What is your programs specialty? How are your students successful? What other skills do they have? –Computing? –Communication? –Research? –Job experience? How much time can you expect students to spend on the project? 23

24 Identifying Potential Sponsors Think, Pair, Share: Are there companies or organizations near you who might have interesting O.R. problems? –Industry –Hospitals –Non-profit organizations –Offices at your own institution? Do you have contacts at these institutions? Mine your contacts Mine your colleagues contacts Where are your alumni? 24

25 Approaching Sponsors and Choosing Projects Have a clear idea of what you will offer them Cold calls Presentations Successful projects typically lead to more projects! Walking a tightrope: Aim for projects just beyond the students training –Too easy: students dont grow –Too hard: students and sponsor can get discouraged If at first you dont succeed…. 25

26 Obtaining Institutional Support Think, Pair, Share: Who will oversee the program? How many projects do you need to recruit? How many projects can you feasibly staff with faculty advisors? Where will the teams work on the projects? Do you have the computing hardware/software? Will you need funding, and if so, where will you find it? What is a reasonable sponsorship fee? 26

27 Running the Project Think, Pair, Share: What might go wrong, and how do you handle it? –Team dynamics Professional communication training Intervene early and often –Team loses interest in project Graduation requirement –Sponsor loses interest in project Can you continue without input from sponsor? Is there another sponsor with similar interests? –Project is not successful Hakuna matata: Redefine success 27

28 Pole pole: Other Real-World Opportunities Project of choice –Students define a real-world problem of interest and identify their own sponsors Modeling contests –COMAP International Mathematical and Interdisciplinary Contests in Modeling (MCM/ICM): –Entrance fee of $100 US per team Modeling workshop –All previous COMAP problems are available online –Can even run your own local MCM contest! 28

29 Asante Sana! 29

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