The new Paul and Susan Williams Center for Computer Systems Research will soon provide an open environment for research collaboration amongst Michigan Tech’s computer scientists and engineers. Equipment and furnishings for the 10,000‐square‐foot center are made possible by a gift from Paul Williams, a 1961 electrical engineering graduate. Williams, of Torrance, Calif., is a retired engineer who spent nearly all his career with Hughes Aircraft.
Donations from other alumni are underwriting the costs of remodeling the fifth floor of the Electrical Energy Resources Center, which will house the new facility. The space was formerly occupied by the Seaman Mineral Museum. The construction project is funded by gifts from the James Fugere Foundation and the Dave House Family Foundation, along with numerous other donations alumni have made over the last several years.
The Williams Center will support research on real‐time, high‐performance computing and information processing; computer‐aided design of digital systems; and embedded and distributed computer systems. “Our aim is to bring together people from all parts of campus with a common interest in computing systems research,” said Dan Fuhrmann, chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “The Williams Center will be for faculty and students alike, for graduate students and undergraduates. It represents a huge leap forward in realizing Paul Williams’ vision of state‐of‐the‐art facilities in electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science, that were simply not available at Michigan Tech in 1961.”
The Williams Center concept grew from the Strategic Faculty Hiring Initiative in computational discovery and innovation. “It’s helping realize the goals of the SFHI, to raise the level of computing studies campus wide,” Fuhrmann said. “As we develop the resources made possible with this gift, we’ll be reaching out to others on campus for interesting computational problems.”
The dedication ceremony for the center will be held at 3:00p.m., Thursday, August 4, 2011, EERC 5th floor. The facility will house 10 faculty offices, a conference room, a seminar room, two small meeting rooms, common areas for graduate student desks and lab space, and a social area overlooking the Keweenaw Waterway. “It was designed to draw people together,” Fuhrmann said. “And the fact that it was made possible entirely through alumni donations is just phenomenal.”