INSTITUTE AMONG SELECT GROUP TO TAKE PART IN NSF-FUNDED RIPS PROGRAM
Institute working with top students in UCLA's IPAM RIPS program
August 9, 2010
The USC Shoah Foundation Institute is one of a select group of organizations invited to take part in UCLA's IPAM RIPS (Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics, Research in Industrial Projects for Students) 2010 Program. IPAM is a National Science Foundation (NSF) Math Institute, and many of its programs, including the RIPS program, are funded by the NSF.
The RIPS program provides an opportunity for high-achieving undergraduate students to work in teams on a real-world research project for a company, lab, or organization. This year, participating organizations are:
The Aerospace Corporation
The Los Angeles Police Department
Standard and Poor's
USC Shoah Foundation Institute
The RIPS program recruits its students from all over the world. A team of four students is working for the Institute, attempting to create new ways of looking at the metadata associated with each segment of testimony—keywords, names, images, and latitude and longitudinal points—and presenting search results. Their goal is to build a new word-space model for the keywords and establish relations and measures of relevance between keywords in order to suggest new keyword results based on what a user enters as his/her search query. The students on the team are:
Kelsey DeMott, University of Florida
Michael Hintze, Herbert H. Lehman College
Vardan Verdiyan, Jacobs University
Alyssa Mensch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The team is working under academic mentor Kryztof Urban of UCLA. Since earning his PhD from UCLA in 2004, Urban has worked as a Senior Research Scientist for Overtone, Inc., doing natural language processing and social media analysis.
The students have been working on this project for the Institute for the last two months. Their final presentation will be made on August 13. Check back for an update on the results of their project.
About the RIPS program
Each RIPS team is comprised of four students, an academic 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 academic 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.