Aug 232009
 
Authors: Kirsten Silveira

Three CSU electrical and computer engineering professors were granted $1 million by the National Science Foundation to improve computing systems that manage catastrophic situations at a higher efficiency.

For decades H.J. Seigal, Tony Maciejewski and Arnold Rosenberg have been working toward a goal of what they call a “robust computing system,” a system that allows computers to react efficiently to situations where precision is vital.

“We have algorithms to predict robustness, and we take a history about the computer system and its failures to predict how the computers will perform in the future,” Seigal said.

The research project has been in the works for more than 10 years. When the men submitted the proposal, they didn’t expect to get the money. Nationally, fewer than 10 percent of requests in their area of study get funding.

Last month, word arrived that their mission to eliminate uncertainty and a lack of communication in computer systems during crises and was recognized as a project of “national importance.”

The National Center for Atmospheric Research, a Boulder-based organization that uses computer systems to predict severe weather patterns, is one of the first to use the method.

“They’ll prove our concepts on these real systems,” Seigal said.

Other companies around the globe are interested in equipping their computing systems with the methods presented by the three men.

Raytheon, a Denver-based computer software company

IBM

LSI Logic, a Boulder-based computer software company, and

Northrop Grumman, a manufacturer of military technology

The method created by these CSU engineering professors has made what Siegal called a “cutting-edge” breakthrough in the technology of simulation. It has the ability to make improvements in communication on medical, defense and disaster response levels.

“The way we do science and research has changed because of computing and instead of rolling rocks down a hill in physics you can simulate things,” Maciejewski said.

Staff writer Kirsten Silveira can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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