Purdue Northwest’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation celebrated its 10-year anniversary on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, with a facilities-wide Open House and evening Gala events that featured displays and demonstrations of selected research project collaborations; cutting-edge visualization technologies; a veritable Who’s Who list of steel manufacturing icons, business and community luminaries, and renowned academics; a CIVS 10-Year “Retrospective and Congratulations” video; and a red-carpet setting befitting the pre-eminence of the event.
Eight “innovation stations”* highlighted representative areas of CIVS research and industry/community benefits and outcomes, and drew more than 150 attendees from as far away as Iowa and Ontario (Canada). Numerous long-time faculty and industry research collaborators were in attendance, including top manufacturing industry representatives, service and materials providers, two chancellors, and of course the architect of CIVS, Director Chenn Zhou.
Dean of PNW’s College of Engineering and Sciences Chris Holford donned the Master of Ceremonies role for the evening, welcomed attendees, and introduced the speakers, who represented a diverse range of experiences and perspectives, and spoke insightfully therefrom:
- CIVS staff Research Engineer Tyamo Okosun, who earned his PhD from Purdue University at age 23 and has worked at CIVS since 2011, expressed his appreciation for Zhou’s support throughout his engineering education, particularly for the one-on-one interest and interaction to be found from Purdue Northwest faculty, and recognized Zhou as “somebody who likes to explore innovation in all its aspects.”
- PNW Chancellor Tom Keon invoked the positive outcomes accomplished through CIVS as emblematic of how universities should be assets for the areas they “live in,” and hailed previous Chancellor Howard Cohen and Director Zhou for building a future of innovation for northwest Indiana: “Chancellor Cohen understood her vision, and together, they helped make all this a reality. Thanks for moving all this forward, and for making sure we’re out there in, and working with, the larger community.”
- Mark Lopez, Chief of Staff at the Office of US Representative Pete Visclosky, saluted Chancellor Keon for continuing to build on the vision of innovation begun by Chancellor (Emeritus) Howard Cohen and Director Zhou, and thanked staff at CIVS and the university for their contributions to student education, and to both the public and private sectors, noting: “Jobs are the backbone of our communities, and we’re really here, with CIVS as a wonderful resource for university and community, because of the sheer determination and relentless advocacy for creating such an innovation center. Pete wanted me to take the opportunity to thank you again for your example and leadership.”
- David White, Director of Process Research at ArcelorMittal’s Global Research and Development Center in East Chicago, reflected on ArcelorMittal’s long history of collaborative research with CIVS and on the ever-growing advantages of such a partnership: “The insights we’ve gained on steelmaking processes through modeling, the improved decision-making capabilities, the avoidance of unnecessary upgrades, and the talented students who get a hands-on education in industry issues—we get the benefit of all this work.”
- Executive Vice President and President of NIPSCO, Violet Sistovaris, echoed David White’s “industry insider” observations, and expanded on the CIVS characteristic of adaptability, in that CIVS’s “analytics and modeling can be used to get inside of equipment, systems, and processes, to effect greater efficiency and productivity … And while we provide subject-matter experts, we can reap a ten-fold value-added expertise in return. We are fortunate to have higher education centers like this, and we wish you another ten-plus years of continued success.”
After thanking PNW Events Coordinator Susan Brychell for transforming the CIVS facilities for the event, Zhou herself asked for attendees’ indulgence as she “had a list of collaborators and contributors” she wanted to thank personally. As captured on camera, this may have been the evening’s crowning—and most entertaining—moment:
*CIVS student researchers, faculty collaborators, and staff enthusiastically demonstrated unique advancements and applications in technology and education that included these “innovation stations”:
- immersive, 3D virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality simulators for workforce development, safety, and equipment training (“Safety First” station)
- crime-scene investigation and evidence collection training through a customizable VR environment, which can be coupled with real-world physical evidence for examination and testing (“CSI: CIVS” station)
- interactive virtual firefighting/fire extinguisher training (“Smart Firefighting” station)
- comprehensive and connected visualizations and explanations of steelmaking processes and equipment, for educational purposes (“AIST Steel Wheel” station)
- an interactive, 3D flood modeling simulation program for education in flood planning (eg, infrastructure) and mitigation efforts (“Flood Modeling” station)
- industry process optimization, problem-solving, and energy efficiency research projects using virtual and mixed reality technologies, smart sensors, and data analytics (“Industry 4.0” station)
- game-based educational modules for teaching about online security principles and cyberattack-and-defense methods (“Cybersecurity Education” station)
- key philosophical ideas and values systems are analyzed and applied in a panel-style process of decision-making about which applicants, and on what bases, will be awarded educational scholarship (“Distributive Justice Game” station)
The CIVS 10-Year “Overview and Congratulations” Video can be viewed below:
Further event photos can be viewed at CIVS 10-Year Anniversary Celebration Photos.