RIT Opens Lab for Applied Computing with Gala Ribbon-Cutting;
Lab will Advance Strategic Growth, Partnerships for IT R&D in Region
June 25, 2002
by Bob Finerty or Mike Saffran
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Rochester Institute of Technology has taken another big step in a plan to partner and grow R&D in information technology (IT) in Western New York.
On Wednesday, June 26, RIT and invited dignitaries officially opened the Lab for Applied Computing (formerly known as the IT Lab), a cutting edge facility in IT research and development for upstate New York.
The Lab for Applied Computing (LAC) is the result of Sen. Jim Alesiís efforts, working with Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, in securing $1.5 million in New York state funds to build the facility. The Lab will play a key part in developing regional strength in IT jobs and businesses, and an important step for RITís Information Technology CollaboratoryĖa STAR Center funded last year by $14 million from the state. "IT is it . . . and RIT is a very appropriate place to build an IT lab," said Sen. Alesi.
"This lab is a key building block in our comprehensive Information Technology CollaboratoryĖthe recently designated New York STAR Center," explains RIT President Albert Simone. "It affirms in a very direct and visible way Rochesterís and RITís position as a hub of IT and computing expertise."
The LAC has already begun its work, focusing on research, technology transfer and workforce-development programs. Firms the LAC is partnering with include Xerox, Frontier, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.
Investigating new technologies not yet in use, LAC serves as a testbed for new-product development and product enhancement, takes part in collaborative research with industry, and offers training programs. It provides hands-on experience with industrial projects and problem solving for RIT students and faculty. The Laboratory for Applied Computing also brings opportunities for important new work in areas such as bioinformatics, cyber security, new media and visualization.
The two-story, state-of-the-art structure is part of a major complex at RIT dedicated to computing and IT, telecommunications and related fields. New facilities to house the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences, now under construction, will link to the LAC. The Labís 8,600 square feet offers facilities for industry, state and RIT collaboration. The Senate funding provided design, construction, equipment and infrastructure costs for LAC.
Sen. Alesi, chairman of the state Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, said, "Rochester is on its way to becoming the center for the growth of information technology. The Senate, led by Sen. Joseph Bruno, sees the potential for upstate economic development in partnership with our higher education facilities."
The new facility will serve as a learning laboratory for RIT's more than 3,000 students majoring in computer and information-related fields and will be a magnet for attracting new industry to this area, says Simone. "We will work with our state and local officials to help make that happen. We are grateful to Sen. Bruno and Sen. Alesi for this tremendous commitment to support our IT research activities. The Lab for Applied Computing will help to capitalize on our collective assets and provide an auspicious beginning for the STAR Center here at RIT."
NOTE: Industry executives and government leaders who took part in RITís Lab for Applied Computing opening event include:
Ford Greene, Regional Vice President, Frontier Corp. Susan Puglia, Vice President of E-Server Design, IBM, and RIT Trustee Richard Ottalagana, Executive Vice President, PaeTec Communications Sen. Jim Alesi, Chairman of New York Stateís Senate Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business RIT President Albert Simone
Firms involved with RITís Lab for Applied Computing include: Frontier, PaeTec, Cisco Systems, Excellus, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Xerox.
Projects underway or completed include:
- Students from RITís B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences and College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with Xerox Corp., have developed a platform called "alphaAve.com" that makes alpha-level software technologies available on a licensed trial basis. The objective is to quicken technology transfer from industrial and academic laboratories to the marketplace. (*See brief on new software technologies just uploaded by RIT.*)
- As a result of work sponsored by IBMís Microelectronics Division, RIT is developing a research capability in "active networking," a leading edge concept in communications networks that offers opportunities for new network services and network protection mechanisms. This project has involved students from computer engineering and information technology.
- Wireless networking is another area of strategic interest to the lab. In one project, supported by Sun Microsystems and Xerox, students from computer science and software engineering are working on the development of software for collaborative applications. The combination of this software, together with wireless devices such as cell phones, PDAs and laptops, will enable new ways for individuals to receive and share information.
- RITís Department of Computer Science and Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science are collaborating on a different type of problem ó creating photo-realistic images on laser printers. Solving the challenge involves issues related to the interactions among ink, paper and light, as well as human visualization. This work is being done in cooperation with Hewlett-Packard.
- The emerging field of bioinformatics is one that may create the greatest demand yet for the capabilities that this lab affords us. With the infrastructure and bandwidth support generously provided by Frontier, we will have the ability to develop within this lab an extensible, high-performance computing environment for bioinformatics, specifically for evolutionary and comparative genomic analysis. This work will involve faculty and students from biological sciences, computer science, information technology, software engineering and imaging arts and science.