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Carnegie Mellon Taps Private Gift for Engineering Simulation Center

Carnegie Mellon University has launched a new collaboration with Ansys, a global company that produces software for engineering simulation. Under the terms of the agreement, the company will endow a new "Ansys Career Development Chair" in the College of Engineering and help fund a new building dedicated to the study of Industry 4.0. That facility will bring together faculty, students, researchers and corporate participants.

Industry 4.0 is the name given to a movement that uses sensor, robotic, simulation and other innovative technologies to shrink development cycles and transform product design, development and manufacturing.

The new 30,000 square foot facility, which will be known as the Ansys Building, is intended to expand the "making" capabilities of the college by adding a simulation and collaboration lab and a large open bay facility for undergraduate students to build full-scale projects. That open bay facility will be next door to the fabrication and machining facilities of the Hamerschlag Hall MakerWing, announced in December, where students will be able to make their components and then assemble them into larger systems.

Additional features of the new building include collaboration areas, conference rooms, training and lecture space and office space.

Students will also gain access to Ansys software for use on their engineering work, accessible through their own computing devices or within the collaboration space.

The endowed chair will be awarded to a faculty member who is conducting education and research in areas related to engineering simulation software, an area of study that's changing how engineering is done. The traditional "build and break" practice, for example, where engineers build product prototypes and test them to identify design flaws, is morphing into the use of simulation-based product development, in which engineers explore the properties of design options up front in virtual form and then commit to specific material and design choices.

The Ansys gift will "transform our teaching and research across multiple disciplines and scales," said James Garrett, dean of the College of Engineering, in a video on the project. "Our students and faculty will have access to the world-class simulation software products from Ansys and a building that will provide ample space for them to build their innovative projects and encourage hands-on learning."

Ansys CEO, James Cashman, noted that his company needed to place "continued attention" on "preparing the next wave of students," who will be the ones "filling the engineering ranks going forward." "What better way to do that than if you link the world's top simulation company with one of the absolute top academic institutes for everything from engineering to computer science to business?" he said.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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