This program gives cadets from VMI experience in the practical applications of applied mathematics and computer science which the classroom cannot provide. For five-ten weeks of the summer, student teams and faculty advisors from VMI are joined with a (usually local) business, industry, or government agency (client). This partnership is beneficial to all involved. The student participants are exposed to the practical applications of mathematics and computer science in a "real world" setting and acquire knowledge which will aid them in their senior capstone project and later in life, including contact with potential employers.
In addition the cadets get the opportunity to work with scientists and clients in a multi-disciplinary setting, a skill that is becoming invaluable in today’s scientific and industrial workplace. The faculty advisors have the opportunity to be involved with a very select group of students in a summer activity, while contributing to research in the fields of applied mathematics and computer science. Clients have the opportunity to tangibly support education and, at a low cost, obtain solutions to problems that would most likely not be addressed internally. Clients also get the opportunity to see first-hand the caliber of VMI cadets which is opportunity for the clients to recruit talented potential employees.
The structure of the program is based upon several research teams which work independently on separate projects, but also come together for discussion of progress. These teams are comprised of students (usually two-three) and a faculty advisor. The faculty advisor involvement is heavy initially as the student team becomes familiar with the project definition. After approximately two weeks, involvement becomes primarily advisory as the students work directly with client representatives and others. Student teams give weekly progress reports in the form of oral presentations, in addition to periodic presentations to their respective clients. Each team also gives a final oral presentation and written report to the client upon completion of the project.