Carnegie Mellon University

Practicum Project

Bridging the gap between theory and practice

In the practicum project, bicoastal information security and mobility student teams at Carnegie Mellon University's (CMU) Silicon Valley campus tackle problems, pilot new ideas and develop solutions for corporate, government and research sponsors.

Projects span a variety of topics in computing, mobile systems and security, and range from fundamental research to software development. By assisting sponsors in scoping a project, the INI strives to maximize return on investment.

Sponsorship of INI Practicum projects is done under a CMU Educational Project Agreement and requires a financial contribution to the INI, the amount depending on the sponsoring organization as:

$40k for-profit entities
$25k for non-profits and small businesses (as defined by SBA)
$0 for government organizations

Negotiation of the agreement's terms and conditions are subject to an increase in sponsorship fees and must be initiated as soon as possible. Please note that certain terms are non-negotiable.

Potential sponsors are invited to submit their project proposal for consideration in the fall 2018 practicum cycle beginning in early spring 2018.

Upon review, select sponsors will be asked to pitch their project to CMU Silicon Valley faculty and students at Pitch Night in late July. Student teams will be matched according to skill sets and interests by the start of the fall semester.

CMU students retain ownership of their intellectual property. At the above levels of sponsorship, sponsoring companies receive a non-exclusive, royalty-free, commercial-use license to use the student work product from the project course. Additionally, the teams share an archive of their work with the sponsor at the end of the semester. Sponsors interested in additional IP rights can negotiate directly with the students after the end of the academic semester.

Why Sponsor?

Meaningful Impact

Practicum projects are an outstanding way for companies to work with the smartest minds at CMU in order to develop and improve ideas. Students leverage their background and experience to provide novel approaches to a project that will have meaningful impact on the company.

Recruitment Opportunity

Sponsoring a practicum grants companies early access to exceptionally qualified INI students. From pitching project proposals to the entire pool of talented INI students to working closely with a small project team, the practicum environment is ideal for evaluation and recruiting.

How It Works

3-5 Students Per Team

Matched according to skill sets and interests.

14 Weeks

During CMU's fall semester from August to December.

280+ Hours of Work

Logged by each team member throughout the semester. 

Bitclave Practicum Team


"User Anonymity and Activity Unlinkability in Blockchain"
Topic Areas: Blockchain, digital advertising, Zcash, zkSNARKs, cryptography

Working alongside BitClave to develop the next generation of personal privacy, decentralized search, and digital advertising, this team worked on several technologies to ensure selective user anonymity, selective unlinkability and zero knowledge transaction protocols. 

Read More About Research Collaboration with BitClave

Students demonstrating the fling-to-display gesture at Google's headquarters.


"Fling-to-display device gesture using Google Chromecast"
Topic Areas: Peer-to-Peer embedded, networking, Chrome browser

Students researched the "fling-to-display device gesture" experience using Google Chromecast, connecting physical location and gestures to make devices better understand human intentions.

Cisco Cyberwarfare Practicum Team


"Cyberwarfare Defense Assessment" 
Topic Areas: Enterprise router security, cyberwarfare defense, research analysis, network security

This project compared the integrity and trustworthiness of two enterprise routers - the Cisco ISR4331 and the Huawei AR1220. The primary deliverable was a comprehensive report detailing the team's analysis.

NASA Practicum Team


"Optimization of Surface Planning and Scheduling" 
Topic Areas: Optimization algorithms, simulation tools

Created a generic airport simulation tool (applied to the San Francisco International Airport), added uncertainty to the simulation and explored different auto-scheduling methods to improve surface operations and scheduling.

CMU Practicum Team

Carnegie Mellon University

"Privacy Preservation in ML Algorithms" 
Topic Areas: Deep learning, machine learning, security, privacy

To protect user's privacy, this project implemented a novel privacy-preserving deep learning technique that is highly accurate and difficult for an attacker to reverse.

SLAC Practicum Team

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

"Visualization and Analytics of Distributed Energy Resources (VADER) Data Collection & Analytics"
Topic Areas: Data collection, analytics, distributed energy, visualization

This team performed analytics on various data, including electric vehicle and smart home energy data, to determine the penetration of solar energy and help utilities decrease costs by relying more on cleaner energy.

Quin Practicum Team


"Identity on Blockchain"
Topic Areas: Proof of concept, blockchain, trust management

This team actualized an idea to a proof-of-concept for a trust management platform powered by blockchain.

Sponsor Testimonials


"Practicum gives us an opportunity to explore projects from a perspective that we normally wouldn't be able to take. This is essentially the number one goal, along with creating better future tech employees!"

Trevor Pering


"The students completed the proof-of-concept to validate the idea, added features and resolved issues along the way. That's tremendous help for me to take the next step for my work."

Yen-Ming Chen

SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

"The value for us is to meet and benefit from the contributions of top students, who bring an amazing energy and enthusiasm, and an amazing set of skills and new tools."

Sila Kiliccote


"From a sponsor's perspective, the value of the practicum is influence. Sharing the Cisco brand and culture, inspiring the next generation, giving back - all while improving our recruiting pipeline."

Chris Dorros