Silicon Valley Project Center (MQP)
Silicon Valley, a region of California in the San Francisco Bay area, is home to many dynamic companies in the computer industry and related high-tech fields. Students at the Silicon Valley project center have opportunities to work with companies such as SRI International (a research center), Disney Interactive, NVIDIA, and others. Several students have taken full-time positions with sponsors and other companies in Silicon Valley following their projects.
During their stay in Silicon Valley, students can also explore area attractions including theme parks, vineyards, gardens, sporting arenas, shopping centers, and more. Silicon Valley is home to San Jose, the third largest city in California, and provides a gateway to both urban and natural points of interest.
Students will be housed in apartment complexes, located within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and public transportation. All apartments are completely furnished, include all necessary kitchen / cooking / serving utensils, and include phone, cable TV service, and high-speed internet. More information will be provided in the prep term.
Students must arrive on or before the posted start date and stay through the posted end date of the program. Dates will be posted at the top of this page. WPI housing will be available from the start date to the end date. If students plan to arrange any personal travel before or after the program, they will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own housing.
Students participating in the Silicon Valley Project Center conduct a Preliminary Qualifying Project (PQP) in the term preceding the project. During their PQP, students perform background research in their project areas, learn about the companies and industries they will be working with, and hold discussions with their company mentors.
Projects are completed during C Term in Silicon Valley. Students work full-time at sponsors’ sites for approximately nine weeks. Each team works with a mentor from the sponsoring company and a WPI faculty advisor. Project work includes the completion of an MQP report and a presentation to the sponsoring organization.
Admission to the Silicon Valley Project Center is based on judicial and academic standing and performance, essay response, evidence of maturity and independence, availability of projects in a specific area, qualifications relevant to the project offered, and an interview.
Projects may be available in Computer Science and Interactive Media and Game Development. Past examples include the following:
- Game development - Creating Memory Dash, a multiplayer puzzle-based iPhone game that provided entertainment for users and product feedback data for eBay
- Computer Science - Creating a hypervisor that can run Windows with a minimal loss of performance and no loss of functionality for the NVIDIA Corporation
- Nano-Satellite Radar - Constructing a simulation of the bi-static satellite-radar system of SRI International’s Radio Aurora eXplorer mission and producing synthetic data
Students will be billed the following fees by WPI for the WPI semester they are away. These will be billed to you on the regular WPI billing cycle (i.e. Fall semester, and Spring semester).
- WPI Tuition and Fees
- WPI Housing Fee (if applicable)
- WPI Meal Plan (if applicable, reduced for term away)
- Global Projects Program Housing and Program Fee (for applicable programs)
In addition to this, students should budget for the following while away:
- Local transportation
- Airfare (if applicable)
- Tourist activities and incidentals
- Project related incidentals
A breakdown of all estimated expenses for Silicon Valley can be found here: Silicon Valley Estimated Expenses
WPI is committed to the health, safety, and security of all students who participate in our programs. While off-campus study can present unique challenges and inherent risks, we believe that careful research and diligent planning are keys to a safe and rewarding project experience. WPI utilizes several key resources to understand the risks of travel in the countries where we operate, and we urge you to consult these same resources as you research your intended destination. You can also discuss questions and concerns about your travel plans with on-campus resources such as the IGSD, the Student Health Center, the Office of Disability Services, and the Student Development and Counseling Center. It very important that you consider your own health requirements as you review what sites are most interesting to you.