The Intel Corporation recently donated 15 high-performance computer workstations to the Department of Engineering.

The Intel Corporation recently donated 15 high-performance computer workstations to the Department of Engineering.

The powerful graphics-handling facilities of the new workstations makes them particularly valuable for three-dimensional modelling and visualisation, as well as for a full range of graphic-intensive design activities.

A Comberton Village College pupil putting one of the Engineering Department's new Intel computers through its paces during National Science Week.

The computers were put to immediate use as part of the Engineering Department's contribution to National Science Week in late March. Schoolchildren were invited to use interactive software, developed by Cambridge University engineers, to take apart and rebuild a virtual jet engine.

The new computers will also be used to demonstrate key developments in interactive modelling and distance learning, as part of a special multimedia presentation being produced for the Engineering Department's 125th anniversary in July 2000. Parts of this presentation can be previewed at the special web site which has been set up for the purpose.

Intel Scholarships

At the dedication ceremony in mid-March, David Poston, Nathan Dimmock and Simon Newbold, three students from the university's Computer Laboratory, were presented with Intel Scholarships. Worth £3,000 per year for each of the students during their second and third undergraduate years, the scholarships also offer the students the opportunity of summer placements at Intel, for the mutual benefit of the students and the company. This is the fourth year that Intel has run this scholarship programme.

According to Intel's Director of Operations, Mr Steve Poole, the company typically donates US$15million a year to universities world-wide. Mr Poole unveiled a plaque in the Engineering Department to commemorate the occasion, and was thanked by the Head of the Department, Professor David Newland, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Alec Broers. Sir Alec, himself an engineer, commented on the value of such links with industry, and the importance of access to high-performance equipment to enable students to fulfil their potential.

Computer-Aided Design

Plans are now in hand for the new computers to play a key role in the Department's teaching of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) skills.

Next term, third-year engineering students will use them in a series of computer-based projects. Using professional design software, they will explore key stages in designing and verifying miniature integrated circuit chips.

The new machines will also be central to the teaching of mechanical CAD using several industry-standard programs - including 'Delcam' software, which was originally developed within the department. This is already being used by both students and staff to model complex surfaces, such as prototype turbine blade designs for use in aircraft engines. Undergraduates will also have increased opportunities to design, analyse and manufacture a range of mechanical components, as part of a series of integrated CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) projects.

Further information:
Department of Engineering home page
The Department of Engineering's 125th anniversary web site

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