‘Visionary endeavor’ elevates Arizona in high-tech field

April 18, 2001

ASU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), Intel Corporation and Motorola announced a first-of-its-kind collaborative program focused on the advancement of education programs and research to assist industry in building the next generation of embedded communication systems.

This high-tech environment will establish Arizona as a worldwide center for embedded systems technologies. The new center will fuel the common vision held by Motorola, Intel and ASU that millions of connected and communicating devices, such as personal computers, cellular phones, music and movie players, and automobiles, will connect and interact through a futuristic, lightening fast and intelligent network infrastructure.

The network, which is invisible to the consumer, will provide the connectivity between multimedia devices and the information that exists within corporations and those on the Internet. Since this computing intelligence is hidden from the consumer, it is often referred to as “embedded computing.”

The collaboration is designed to address a national shortage of engineers with the expertise necessary to develop the technologies for embedded systems in general, and those required for Internet working and communications systems, in particular.

“This collaboration is designed to create an infrastructure to greatly enhance the interaction of students and faculty with the private sector, and address the critical long-term needs of high-technology companies in the embedded systems area,” said Peter Crouch, dean of ASU’s College of Engineering.

Crouch said the strategic collaboration among the university, Intel and Motorola “will allow us to focus on key issues, limit organizational complexity, and increase both the quality and quantity of graduates coming into the industry. The collaborative effort – through its interaction between industry and academia will position CEAS as a leader in this highly specialized area.”

Once the consortium is established, participation will be broadened to include other companies and other universities.

The collaboration involves a number of elements, beginning with a focused embedded computing systems curriculum being introduced within the College of Engineering. A key component of this is a new kind of credit bearing internship program in which students and faculty members will work alongside industry on projects that build the products and technologies for the next generation Internet.

The collaboration will also:

  • Establish a multi-industry, multi-university consortium to combine energies and focus on next-generation embedded computing technologies and their application;

  • Recruit top-quality students to ASU by providing scholarships, a superior educational experience through the focused curriculum, and for-credit intensive internships at Phoenix-area Intel and Motorola facilities;

  • Secure top-quality faculty through funding of research and industry partnerships;

  • Focus curriculum development in embedded systems technologies to prepare graduates with required skills; and

  • Address the Arizona legislature’s focus on high technology advancement to enhance the state’s economy in conjunction with Proposition 301.

Wayne Sennett, senior vice president and general manager of the Motorola Computer Group in Tempe called the new cooperative relationship with ASU and Intel “a visionary endeavor.”

“The embedded systems program,” Sennett said, “will serve the needs of two of the country’s leading suppliers of embedded computing technologies and help position the ASU College of Engineering as a national academic resource in this emerging and important field.”

Thomas R. Franz, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Network Processing Group, said “networking and the Internet, significant growth areas for embedded computing solutions, have created an insatiable need for sophisticated services and high bandwidth connectivity along with the need for highly specialized engineering skills.”

Crouch said three departments within the college, Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering, along with Computer Engineering Technology at ASU East, will play key roles in the evolution of the project.

“Our interaction with Intel and Motorola,” Crouch said, “has helped us prioritize the restructuring of some of our curriculum within these three disciplines. We are confident that industry experts can play an integral role in developing new ideas for curriculum development and research projects that will better prepare our graduates in the embedded systems environment.”