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SMART Lab Opens

The new engineering MathWorks Systems Modeling and Radio Technology (SMART) Laboratory will be home to the next developments in high-tech simulation and advanced computing.


A new engi­neering lab at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity will be home to the next devel­op­ments in high-​​tech sim­u­la­tion and advanced com­puting. The Math­Works Sys­tems Mod­eling and Radio Tech­nology (SMART) Lab­o­ra­tory offi­cially opened this week at the Egan Engi­neering Sci­ence Research Center, with a ribbon-​​cutting cer­e­mony on Tuesday afternoon.

The opening of the lab marks the latest research devel­op­ment in the suc­cessful col­lab­o­ra­tion between the uni­ver­sity and the software-​​development firm, based in Natick, Mass.

The latest col­lab­o­ra­tion between North­eastern and Math­Works builds on a strong rela­tion­ship that includes co-​​op place­ments and research fellowships.

“This is the kind of rela­tion­ship we look for — a true part­ner­ship,” Mel Bern­stein, Northeastern’s senior vice provost for research and grad­uate edu­ca­tion, said at the opening cer­e­mony. “It is one that is able to draw the best from both sides. As we are edu­cating this new gen­er­a­tion of engi­neers, they have the tools to do things that we could only imagine when we were starting out.”

“This part­ner­ship allows me and fellow North­eastern researchers to con­tinue impor­tant work on engi­neering sim­u­la­tions and advanced com­pu­ta­tions that rely on Math­Works tech­nolo­gies, and apply them to new dis­ci­plines,” said engi­neering pro­fessor Miriam Leeser, who works with Math­Works to accel­erate its appli­ca­tions by using spe­cial­ized hard­ware such as graphics pro­cessing units and field-​​programmable gate arrays.

In addi­tion to con­tin­uing the sup­port it pro­vides for Leeser’s work, the agree­ment sup­ports research and cre­ates grants for North­eastern pro­fes­sors to explore new uses for Math­Works soft­ware in research and the class­room. North­eastern and Math­Works have also cre­ated a new posi­tion for a teaching assis­tant, who will staff a ded­i­cated help desk to assist stu­dents and fac­ulty to make the best use of Math­Works programs.

“Through our col­lab­o­ra­tions with Miriam and other researchers, we’re having dis­cus­sions with fac­ulty about how we can pro­vide the tools that will enable the next gen­er­a­tion of engi­neers to solve the prob­lems of tomorrow,” said Tom Gaudette, Math­Works’ prin­cipal aca­d­emic evan­ge­list, who earned a master’s degree in elec­trical and com­puter engi­neering at North­eastern in 1998.

A rela­tion­ship between the soft­ware com­pany and North­eastern is impor­tant not just because it helps bring forth new and improved uses for existing tech­nolo­gies, but also because it helps pre­pare stu­dents for careers in fields like engi­neering, where Math­Works pro­grams are an industry stan­dard, Gaudette said.

“We’re trying to under­stand how we can better pre­pare stu­dents for the future,” Gaudette said, “and we’re excited to see some really inno­v­a­tive work come out of this collaboration.”

Diane MacGillivray, Northeastern’s senior vice pres­i­dent for uni­ver­sity advance­ment, said the new part­ner­ship is the ideal way to pair fac­ulty research with industry leaders.

“The Math­Works SMART Lab rep­re­sents a deep­ening of this rela­tion­ship, one that already includes co-​​ops, research, fel­lows and sup­port,” MacGillivray said. “It’s cer­tainly a model for the ways we want to partner and work with the cor­po­rate world.”


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Related Faculty: Miriam Leeser

Related Departments:Electrical & Computer Engineering