Los Alamos National LaboratoryEngineering Institute
Addressing national needs by fostering specialized recruiting and strategic partnerships

The Twentieth Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School

Focusing on the multi-disciplinary field of dynamics, spanning electrical, mechanical, structural and cyber-physical systems.


  • Institute Director
  • Charles Farrar
  • (505) 665-0860
  • Email
  • Executive Administrator
  • Ellie Vigil
  • (505) 667-2818
  • Email
  • Institute Administrator
  • Sarah Balkey
  • (505) 667-8777
  • Email
“The program .... was one of the highlights of my life - I learned a lot and lived a lot, and it definitely made an impact on who I am today. It makes me happy that other individuals have the same (if not better now) opportunity to attend as I did.”- Dave, past student

LADSS students in Abiquiu, NM

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2019 Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School.  Application acceptance for the 2020 session will open in October.

Program Description

The Los Alamos Dynamics Summer School focuses a select group of students on the multi-disciplinary field of dynamics, spanning electrical, mechanical, structural and cyber-physical systems*. The students’ research will be applied to creating solutions to Los Alamos National Laboratory mission-relevant problems defined by Los Alamos National Laboratory R&D engineers. In addition to this research component, the LADSS also offers formal technical and career –development tutorials.

*Cyber-physical systems are defined by the National Science Foundation as “engineered systems that are built from, and depend upon, the seamless integration of computational algorithms and physical components”


The program is designed for 21 upper division (rising Junior or Senior) undergraduate students or first-year graduate students. We intend to bring in high quality students from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds. Acceptance into the program is based on academic record and letters of recommendation. As a general guideline, students should have sufficient academic achievement that they are, or will be, eligible for graduate school. A variety of academic disciplines are being sought, including computer science, aerospace/mechanical/nuclear/electrical/civil engineering, and mathematics/statistics.


The students will be placed into 3-person multi-disciplinary teams, assigned a research activity to be completed in an intense 10-week time frame, and partnered with a Los Alamos National Laboratory staff member as a mentor. The projects typically have a modeling, experimental and analysis component. The goal is for the students to produce results and document their activities in a manner suitable for reporting at professional conferences. The summer school students will present their research results at an international conference.


Students will participate in weekly tutorials on various aspects of dynamic system engineering and cyber-physical systems such as signal processing, modeling dynamic systems, system identification, embedded systems, model validation, nonlinear systems, and machine learning. In most cases the students will apply the material presented in these tutorials to their respective projects.

In addition to the research-focused tutorials, students are presented with professional development lectures that cover applying to graduate school and applying for graduate fellowships. Over the past 15 years, 60 former LADSS students have successfully competed for highly competitive and prestigious National Science Foundation and National Defense graduate fellowships.


In lieu of salaries, the students will be provided with a fellowship that is intended to also cover relocation and housing expenses. Fellowship amounts range from $7500 to $11,500, depending on academic status and the point of origin for the student’s travel to Los Alamos National Laboratory. Fellowship amounts are intended to be comparable to 10-weeks of salary plus travel expenses to and from the school. To get an idea of your possible fellowship payment, you can check the salary rate tables (PDF) for student employees. Please be sure to look at the Scientist/Researcher category of employee, not Professional. This program is limited to US citizens.

Field Trips

In addition to guest lectures, the students may participate in tours at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the program. Tours are dependent on the availability of facilities and tour leaders.

Post-LADSS Events

As part of their projects, students prepare a conference paper and presentation to be presented at the International Modal Analysis Conference (IMAC) that is held each January. We expect that all students who are able to attend the conference and present their projects. Funding to attend the IMAC conference is provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory.