Harvey Mudd College Presents 2024 Clinic Program Milestone Awards

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Three organizations are being honored by Harvey Mudd College for participating in its Clinic Program and for investing in its students and the future of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Honorees CrowdStrike, Factor and ServiceNow are sponsors of the Clinic Program, an internationally recognized hallmark of Harvey Mudd College that engages juniors and seniors in the solution of real-world, technical problems for industrial clients. Each year, more than 40 organizations, many with HMC alumni employees who support the Clinic Program as liaisons and advisors, work with approximately 250 students to develop solutions to business challenges and push forward the industry standard in research and development or build a working prototype. The business value of the Clinic outcomes often leads sponsors to return.

The College celebrates returning Clinic sponsors with the Milestone Award. Each of this year’s awardees has sponsored five computer science Clinic projects.

CrowdStrike has been a Clinic sponsor since 2019. CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity company that provides cloud-native endpoint protection. Its cloud microservices receive requests from many internal and external clients, making it crucial to allocate resources equitably to ensure all clients receive timely responses, regardless of their request frequency or complexity. The 2023–2024 CrowdStrike Clinic team conducted research and simulated various fairness techniques through its custom API for CrowdStrike’s use in multi-tenant systems. Mudd alums Julius Lauw ’20, Thomas Fleming ’22 and Luke Hunter ’03 have served as liaisons for CrowdStrike Clinic projects.

John Benediktsson ’01 founded Silfur Capital and Factor and has served as liaison for five projects with the two companies since 2011–2012. The Factor Programming language is an open-source, stack-based, general-purpose programming language. It offers performance often found only in low-level languages while still providing high-level features (e.g., functional programming paradigms) and a rich standard library. It has native support for x86 machines and could previously only run on ARM machines via an emulator. The 2023–2024 project was to develop a compiler to enable Factor to run natively on ARM machines.

ServiceNow is a software service provider that has sponsored Clinic projects since the 2018–2019 academic year. For the 2023–2024 Clinic project, the challenge was to improve the performance of ServiceNow’s Java-based virtual machines. The Clinic team explored the way memory allocators affect performance factors, such as speed and memory usage in the context of Java virtual machines (JVMs). Through investigating how JVMs allocate memory and running a variety of tests with different memory allocators, the Clinic team sought to determine which memory allocator best suits ServiceNow needs. 

HMC Clinic Program

Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and a company liaison, students work in teams of four or five to develop solutions to unsolved problems presented by sponsoring organizations. Applying their learning in creative ways, HMC students then present their solutions. Companies retain all intellectual property rights that arise out of the project, and it is not uncommon for HMC students to be named on patents. During the 2023–2024 academic year, students undertook 45 Clinic projects related to engineering, computer science, mathematics and physics. With funding from an endowment from the Fletcher Jones Foundation as well as a private donor, 2023-2024 was the first year that the college offered fully funded Clinics for organizations working toward climate solutions. The funding facilitated conversations with new and returning sponsors to explore projects related to climate technology.

Since 1963, Harvey Mudd students have tackled challenging problems in nearly 1,700 Clinic projects for more than 500 clients, many of them Fortune 1000 companies. Clinic has been expanded to other HMC academic departments and copied by institutions worldwide. The National Academy of Engineering recognized the program and three HMC faculty members—Clive L. Dym, M. Mack Gilkeson and J. Richard Phillips—with the 2012 Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education “for creating and disseminating innovations in undergraduate engineering design education to develop engineering leaders.”