The Capstone project course engages a wide range of partners across academia and industries. Projects selected typically:
Center around computational or engineering challenges;
Concern a business or organizational challenge;
Have a partner point-of-contact who has domain expertise;
Include complex or large-scale data;
Project outcomes may include any combination of data visualization, modeling, algorithm development and/or software development. Project development usually involves one or two meetings between the course instructor and the lead partner contacts during which the scope and content of the projects are built out to fit the curriculum.
As a partner for the Capstone, your organization will have the opportunity to work with talented Harvard students (a team of three or four students) and faculty, as we collectively apply modern computational methods and analytics to your real-world problems. The rich relationship sometimes results in students joining the partner organization as an employee upon graduation.
It's not uncommon for projects to be so successful that all parties involved decide to continue the work beyond the semester, in pursuit of publishing a research paper. For example, in Fall 2020, three out of the ten projects continued, with papers submitted to Nature and IEEE.
The overall time commitment from the partner organization is light and tends to be between 10-12 hours, in total, across the entire semester.
Partners are expected to have an initial meeting with the student team at the beginning of the semester. Thereafter, the Harvard teaching staff are responsible for advising and mentoring the students. The frequency of the subsequent meetings with the partner is completely decided by the partner and students, and it's typically once every 1-2 weeks. Students will provide regular technical reports and summary emails to the partners, but partners are not required to make additional time commitments, unless they wish to. Many of our partners in the past have enjoyed interacting with students and providing frequent feedback.