SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering established at UTC
When the U.S. Department of Defense needs to know how to steer a submarine through rough waters or how an airborne chemical contaminant might spread throughout a city, the computational engineers at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s SimCenter give them the answers.
Armed with this level of expertise and almost $20 million in private support, the UTC SimCenter announced Tuesday, November 20, 2007 that it is becoming the SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering.
As a national center, the SimCenter will utilize integrated multidisciplinary research and education programs to establish next-generation technologies. Through its master’s and Ph.D. programs, the National SimCenter will educate a new breed of engineer for computational solutions of a broad range of real-world engineering problems, with consequent leadership and national impact in critical technology areas affecting sustainable energy, environment, health care, and defense.
"We have been very pleased with the success of the SimCenter since its inception here at UTC," said UTC Chancellor Roger Brown. "The SimCenter has exceeded all of its benchmarks, and taking this next step to become a National Center for Computational Engineering will allow the program to grow, to serve more students, and to be more competitive for research projects."
Computer modeling and simulation is estimated to be a $150 billion industry and growing at a rate of 24 percent annually.
Since its opening in 2002, UTC SimCenter has averaged about $4 million annually in outside research support by agencies like the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as private industrial partners. These projects have been a catalyst for economic development, research, and education in the region.
The creation of the SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering will provide a major focal point for technological advancement in the region and strengthen Chattanooga’s significant role in the Tennessee Valley Tech Corridor. Already, businesses are taking advantage of the computational research opportunities offered at the SimCenter and at least one business is opening an office in Chattanooga so that it can work with the SimCenter researchers.
Huntsville-based Radiance Technologies has announced the opening of a new project office in Chattanooga with an initial staff of eight engineers. In addition to providing systems engineering and technology development services to the government, Radiance has added the capability to design, develop, fabricate, integrate and test both components and systems.
"I am so proud of my city," said U.S. Senator Bob Corker, former mayor of Chattanooga. Calling the announcement "another one of those great chapters in the Chattanooga story," Corker said the Chattanooga community is different "because we continue to build on each other’s successes."
The announcement of the establishment of the SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering is made possible by private support from the Benwood Foundation, the Lyndhurst Foundation, the University of Chattanooga Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga, the Maclellan Foundation, the Tucker Foundation, and several anonymous donor.
"In Chattanooga, all good things happen because people give," said U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp. "As a catalyst, we cannot overestimate the power of these foundations. With these resources, the sky is the limit."
Computational engineering combines engineering, computational mathematics, and scientific computing to create computer simulations for problems such as hydrodynamics, aerodynamics, propulsion, heat transfer, and structural integrity. By providing simulated testing environments, computational engineering helps shorten the traditionally lengthy process of designing and building sophisticated prototypes.
The SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering will operate in partnership with the University of Tennessee and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which will provide access to its next-generation supercomputing resources.
The SimCenter: National Center for Computational Engineering will focus recognition on UT and UTC as top mathematics and engineering research universities, boosting research dollars and attracting new students and faculty members. The new National Center could eventually recruit up to 100 additional Ph.D. and M.S. students to Chattanooga.
"The University of Tennessee is committed to the educational and economic vitality of this state," said UT President John Petersen. "The National SimCenter will help fill a critical need for highly educated computational engineers and move Tennessee forward in science and technology."