Seeking Solutions

The 54th Projects Day was distinguished by 16 first-time company participants, one huge milestone (85 projects for Northrop Grumman), 44 projects and 122 liaisons seeking solutions to unsolved problems. Eager to help were 44 Clinic teams made up of 225 student participants. Here are details about a few of the projects.


Document Mining EDR Inc.

Liaisons: Paul Schiffer, Richard White, Azch Fisk
Advisor: Professor Weiqing Gu
Team: Vinh The Hoang ’17, Abram Sanderson ’17, Annaliese Johnson ’17, Matthew Bae ’17, Johan Hoeger ’18

Finding important information quickly can be cumbersome. EDR Inc. charged students with tagging key information in state and federal government environmental materials. The team explored classification and search techniques for images and text in order to analyze and tag documents.

Math clinic students and advisor


Secure State Estimation Northrop Grumman

Liaisons: Stephanie Tsuei, Ron Smith ’83, Ken Dreshfield ’80, Ian Jimenez ’11
Advisor: Professor Chris Clark
Team: Aishvarya Korde ’17, Paige Rinnert ’17, Robert Cyprus ’17, Zayra Lobo ’18, Austin Chun ’18, Jesus Villegas ’18

Autonomous vehicle control requires estimating vehicle states from on-board sensor readings. If some sensors are compromised, estimates may not be accurate. Students implemented a secure state estimator (SSE) in simulation and validated it in hardware on a low-cost quadrotor. The team showed that the addition of the SSE to the control loop reduces the real-time tracking error of a quadrotor when using measurements from compromised onboard sensors.

computer generated image of a car

Laparoscopic Surgery City of Hope

Liaisons: Dr. Kurt Melstrom, Dr. Yanghee Woo, Dr. Yuman Fong, Dr. Mustafa Raoof
Advisor: Professor Qimin Yang
Team: Kathryn Jones ’17, Erica Martelly ’17, Leonardo Huerta ’17, Richard Liu ’18, Sean Nguyen ’18, Arthur Reyes ’19, Robin Bendiak ’17

Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgeries use a tethered, expensive system that relies on a single, hot, limited-range incandescent light attached to a lone camera. The City of Hope team designed a set of cost-effective, self-sufficient systems using modern lighting and camera systems that provide improved visibility for surgeons.

Clinic team in scrubs.

RF Drones AT&T

Liaisons: Terence Wu, Chuck Palaganas
Advisors: Professors Albert Dato and Ruye Wang
Team: Patrick McKeen ’17, Siyi Hu ’17, Jesse Joseph ’17, Ramy Elminyawi ’17, Austin Shin ’18, Charles Van Eijk ’18

One way to collect over-the-air digital television systems data—with regard to signal strength, clarity and orientation across location and altitude—is with a drone. The students’ drone-based system includes easy-to-use operation and visualization software, drone selection and onboard hardware.

Students works on drone.


Chromium Tabs Google Inc.

Liaisons: Aaron Gable ’12, Chris Palmer
Advisor: Professor Beth Trushkowsky
Team: Julien Chien CMC ’17, Zoab Kapoor ’17, Thomas Le ’17, Yi Yang ’17

Google’s Chrome browser, based on the open-source project Chromium, is one of the most widely used browsers in the world. Team members researched and implemented strategies for serializing the full state of a tab in Chromium to suspend and restore it with minimal user-visible disruption. Their strategy also helps prevent loss of information during memory-constrained situations.

Three people talking in front of a laptop.

Northrop Grumman Clinic Milestone

Clinic Program co-founder and Professor of Engineering Emeritus Jack Alford aptly said, “Engineering is like dancing, you don’t learn it in a lecture hall, you have to get out on the floor and step on people’s toes.” He would probably agree that whether you are dancing or solving engineering problems, it is very helpful to have a good partner. Harvey Mudd College is very fortunate to have found such a partner in Northrop Grumman Corporation (NGC). Since 1973, NGC (including acquisitions) has sponsored 85 Clinic projects, far and away the most of any Clinic sponsor. This achievement was recognized with a Milestone Award during the 2017 Projects Day program.

Director of Corporate Relations and Clinic Coordinator Barry Olsan credits NGC for its consistency and for bringing in many important and challenging projects. Ron Smith ’83, Northrop Grumman Fellow for digital aerospace technologies, first worked with NGC on a Clinic project during his senior year. He now acts as a champion, fostering collaborations between NGC and HMC, including a project relating to selfdriving car technology (see No. 2, left).

Smith says, “At NGC we take great pride in working on projects that have never been done before, like the James Webb Space Telescope, which are at the core of our mission to preserve freedom and advance human discovery. Harvey Mudd graduates, with their preparation for innovative problem solving, are a perfect match for our most challenging projects.” Smith notes that there are more than 50 Mudders working just in NGC’s Aerospace Systems in nearby Redondo Beach and Azusa, so the motivation to continue Clinics is very strong.