Fairfield University's School of Engineering awarded $177,400 grant to benefit Computer Engineering program with high tech tools

Fairfield University's School of Engineering now has a fully equipped digital design laboratory with state-of-the-art technology, thanks in part to a $177,400 grant from the Altera Corporation. The grant was the largest the School has ever received from the San Jose, Calif.-based company that is a pioneer in providing electronic design tools. It will support the School's Computer Engineering program, providing it with the latest software and hardware for teaching the Digital Design I and II and Advanced Digital Design courses.

Douglas Lyon, Ph. D., professor of computer engineering and the Principle Investigator and Project Coordinator for the grant, said, "We now have a fully equipped digital design laboratory, with modern field programmable gate array software and hardware."

Vagos Hadjimichael, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering, said both undergraduates and graduate students will benefit. "These are very sophisticated tools that are not often found in a classroom. Our students will gain valuable skills from using them that will be integral in the workplace."

The Digital Design courses instruct students about the basics and practical aspects of digital design, as well as digital logic, computer organization, and Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Students will get to use advanced technology, a wide range of design projects, as well as sophisticated digital system development. Ultimately in the Advanced course, they will learn about computer architecture, culminating in the ability to design and implement programmable finite-state machines.

Dr. Lyon said, "Basically, the grant enables students to design hardware using software-based tools. These tools use what is termed a "Hardware Design Language" or HDL. The HDL can repurpose the hardware dynamically, computing in parallel algorithms that can be executed faster than any standard computer, even a super computer."

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on June 23, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 365

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