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National Security Education Center


  • Institute Director
    Charles Farrar
    (505) 663-5330
  • UCSD EI Director
    Michael Todd
    (858) 534-5951
  • Institute Office Manager
    Jutta Kayser
    (505) 663-5649

Dynamics Summer School

Purpose: The purpose of this summer school is to focus a select group of upper level undergraduate students and first year graduate students (limited to US citizens) on the multidisciplinary field of cyber-physical systems. Cyber‐physical systems (CPS) are defined by the National Science Foundation as “engineered systems that are built from and depend upon the synergy of computational and physical components.” To this end, the summer school will focus on adding sensing, embedded processing, controls and information technology to all types of engineered systems in an effort to improve their performance and develop systems with new capabilities.  Because of the multidisciplinary nature of cyber-physical systems research and the broad applications of this technology, we are seeking participants from all engineering disciplines, computer science and mathematics/statistics. Furthermore, we hope that the students will be motivated to pursue this area of research during their graduate studies. We are proposing this summer school concept because the competition for talented individuals with the background necessary to address emerging multi-disciplinary technology fields necessitates a proactive approach of identifying, motivating, and educating students that are embarking on their graduate school career. We believe that the proposed program will not only benefit the students through their educational experience, but will hopefully make them aware of career possibilities in defense-related industries after they have completed their graduate studies. In this regard, the U.S. defense community will directly benefit from this educational program as it can serve to proactively recruit some of the best young engineering talent for careers in defense programs.

The summer school has two focus areas. First, the multi‐disciplinary nature of research in cyber‐physical systems will be emphasized throughout the summer school. The students will be assigned to multi‐disciplinary teams where they will work with a mentor on a research topic that has both an analytical and experimental component. Second, we will strive to develop the students' written and oral communications skills. To develop these skills, the students will be required to give numerous oral presentations of their work as it progresses throughout the summer culminating in a paper written for a technical conference.

Duration and Location: The summer school will last nine weeks (Mid-June - Second week in August). The summer school will be held at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Visit the "How to Apply" page for specific information about this year's summer school.

Students: The program will be designed for upper division (Junior or Senior) undergraduate students or first year graduate students. Students will be given a fellowship that is comparable to the salaries given to regular LANL undergraduate and graduate research assistants and that will cover their travel expenses to and from Los Alamos. Attempts will be made to identify high quality students from diverse backgrounds. Here diversity will include academic diversity, human diversity and geographical diversity. Acceptance into the program will be based on academic record, and letters of recommendation. Every attempt will be made to identify students from universities that emphasize undergraduate education as well as research institutes. The students will be limited to US citizens. A variety of academic disciplines will be sought including all engineering disciplines, computer science, and mathematics/statistics.

Projects: The students will be placed into three-person teams and will be assigned a research activity that can be completed in an intense nine-week time frame. Attempts will be made to develop multi-disciplinary teams. As an example a, mechanical engineer, a nuclear engineer and computer science major may be teamed together. The research activities will have an analytical and experimental component to them. The goal will be to produce results and document their activities in a manner suitable for reporting at technical conferences.

Mentors:Each research group will have a mentor (either a LANL technical staff member or visiting faculty member) assigned for the duration of the summer school. The mentors will spend 25% of their work time each week with the students during the 9-week summer school guiding them on their respective research projects.

Mentors and visiting faculty members will also prepare week-long tutorials (five 1.5 hr lectures) on a variety of subjects. Topics include:

1. Review of probability and statistics
2. Signal processing
3. Modeling dynamics systems
4. System identification
5. Embedded systems
6. Nonlinear Systems
7. Model Validation and Uncertainty Quantification

Visiting Lecturers: Each week we will bring in a prominent guest lecturer to the students about "cutting edge research" in technology and applications related to cyber-physical systems. Subject to availability, the lecturer will be asked to spend time with the students to discuss their projects, provide suggestions and provide additional motivation.

Field Trips: In addition to guest lectures, we will develop field trips for the students.

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