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12-16-2005

George I. Alden Trust Donates $175,000 for Clarkson University Applied Computing Laboratories

A grant from the George I. Alden Trust of Worcester, Mass., will support renovations to Clarkson University's Applied Computing Laboratories. The $175,000 grant will help modify the innovative Virtual Reality Laboratory, the Internet Teaching Laboratory, and the Clarkson Open Source Institute.

Established in 1912 by Mr. Alden, a college educator and successful entrepreneur, the Trust has a major focus on supporting worthy causes in higher education, particularly initiatives that advance scientific and technological education for serious-minded youth.

Clarkson's Virtual Reality Laboratory provides students with the opportunity to experiment with modeling the world in software and interacting with it by means of virtual reality head trackers and display units, gloves, specialized joysticks, and other immersive devices. Projects undertaken in this lab focus on creating virtual worlds; a particularly noteworthy recent example is the Virtual Reality Wheelchair project which combines many aspects of computing (virtual reality, intelligent tutoring systems, 3D graphics programming, and Internet and wireless network communications), with mechanical and electrical engineering (for wheelchair platform and its control systems), and physical therapy.

"The new laboratory configuration will continue to help transform the way science and computing are taught, learned, and assimilated into useful knowledge to positively affect and improve human lives. Contemporary teaching methods enhance the skills our students need to succeed in the technology-focused world they will face upon graduation," said Clarkson President Anthony G. Collins. "We are extremely grateful to The Alden Trust for its long-standing partnership with Clarkson, further strengthening Clarkson's scientifically-rich curricula and providing our students with technologically excellent facilities."

Since the mid 1990s, Clarkson University has earned a national reputation for defying convention by combining ingenuity from across academic disciplines leading to multidisciplinary, team-based research and learning. Examples include a number of initiatives in problem-based learning and undergraduate projects, including the highly successful Clarkson Open Source Institute. Students use open source software to learn and develop software and to contribute to the open source community. The global open source community produces, supports and debugs software that is freely available to anyone. Well-known examples of open source software include the Linux operating system and Apache Web server software. In recent years, Clarkson students have been winners in a number of prestigious computing contests including the 2001, 2002 and 2004 IBM Linux Challenge, the 2005 IBM North American Grid Scholar's Challenge, and, most recently, the 2005 Unisys TuxMaster competition.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York, is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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