DALLAS, Texas, and ORONO, Maine – A new state-of-the-art lab for electrical and computer engineering students opened Tuesday at Barrows Hall at the University of Maine.
Texas Instruments invested $60,000 in the project and TI and UM opened the new lab together.
“The opening of the TI Undergraduate Circuits Laboratory is about engaging with students early on in their engineering courses,” said Steve Lyle, director of engineering workforce development for Texas Instruments. “We invest in education in many ways at TI, one of which is by helping to provide exciting spaces like this that helps to nurture and grow the best engineering talent, building a pipeline for our future workforce.”
Featuring new tools, including analog integrated circuits and embedded processors, students will have the opportunity to work in a creative, lively learning environment. Equipped with 36 Analog System Lab Kits Pro to be used by more than 100 students in the fall; 20 MSP430 LaunchPads; and two TI and Digi-Key parts cabinets for senior design courses, the tools will be used in freshman courses continuing through the students’ senior design projects.
“This laboratory demonstrates the commitment of Texas Instruments to educating the next generation of electrical engineers and to the state of Maine,” said Dana Humphrey, University of Maine Dean of Engineering. “In this lab, students will put circuit design into practice – the heart of an electrical engineer’s education. The University of Maine is so grateful for this partnership with Texas Instruments.”
TI is involved with universities around the world on research projects. Universities are a key part of TI’s ecosystem of innovation. TI partnered with the electrical and computer engineering groups at the University of Maine and University of Maine professor Mohamad Musavi on a project to develop advanced process control algorithms based on neural net logic. The project resulted in a patent and the algorithm is used today in the Maine factory’s process control system.
“The opening of this lab will be a true showcase for both the ECE department and TI,” said Don Hummels, ECE department chair for the University of Maine. “The tools will be invaluable in helping to develop engineers who are ready to tackle the world’s challenges.”
University of Maine alumnae are long standing contributors to Maine’s semiconductor industry, which started in South Portland in the early 1960s. TI employs 30 University of Maine graduates in many engineering disciplines. A good percentage of the engineers started through the TI internship program and continued on as new college graduates. Several have progressed to management positions and all are big part of the TI’s Maine semiconductor manufacturing facility’s success.
TI has a long-standing relationship with the Southern Maine area. National Semiconductor, acquired by TI in 2011, broke ground on its world-class manufacturing facility in South Portland in 1995. Today, the facility is one of the area’s largest employers with more than 500 engineers, technicians and manufacturing specialists. In 2011, TI awarded the South Portland School District a three year Power of STEM grant. The $250,000 provided professional development for local teachers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields.