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Implementing A Computer Laboratory

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.319.1 - 3.319.5

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Paper Authors

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L. Alden Kendall

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Dianne Dorland

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2413

Implementing a Computer Laboratory Dianne Dorland and L. Alden Kendall University of Minnesota Duluth

Chemical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth (UMD) developed an Engineering Computer Laboratory to enhance the quality of undergraduate instruction. The campus-wide computer laboratories at UMD are operated by Information Services, providing computers and software to support the general computer needs of undergraduates in all of the academic programs at a University. This support is targeted at word-processing, spreadsheet analysis, data base needs, general programming languages, and communication needs. Engineering has special computational needs that were not provided by a single computer laboratory facility.

Previously, the Chemical and Industrial Engineering Departments provided limited computer support for undergraduate students by purchasing personal computers and installing special purpose software. The ratio of students to computers was 16/1. In many instances, single user licenses applied and limited computers were used for a specific type of design or analysis task. These computers were not networked to provide an environment where students learn how they may integrate their design and analysis activities in order to perform concurrent engineering for a facility or process design project.

The Departments of Chemical and Industrial Engineering received an NSF Instructional and Laboratory Improvement grant that was implemented between July 1995 and December 1997. The hardware and software provide engineering course support for engineering science as well as design applications for both engineering disciplines. The departmental faculty considered continued maintenance and operation of the computer lab, and chose to work with Information Services (campus level oversight) in the development of this lab. Information Services is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the lab. In addition, Information Services provided part of the match money for the grant proposal.

Laboratory Development

The laboratory was planned and developed through team effort. The team members were technical staff from Information Services and faculty from chemical engineering and industrial engineering. The team met regularly, planned the layout, considered available resources, and projected future needs for the laboratory. Approximately 2100 square feet of space was available for the project. The space was subdivided, utilizing 1800 square feet with 300 square feet in reserve for future development.

Purchasing and installation of the hardware and software was managed by the Information Services staff in consultation with the team members. Hardware installed in the lab includes 31 Pentium computers with CD-ROM and ZIP drives, a scanner, two laser printers, and a data/video projector. Software purchased for use includes Stat-Ease, Kaleidagraph, Promodel Professional Package, TOPDown, HYSYS, AutoCad, EASE, Factory Flow Plan Opt CAD, MS Project and Windows 95.

Kendall, L. A., & Dorland, D. (1998, June), Implementing A Computer Laboratory Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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