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Software donation valued at $22.8 million will help NMSU engineering students

UGS Corp. recently made an in-kind grant of finite-element, solid-modeling software to the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. The software, valued at $22.8 million, is the second largest in-kind corporate contribution ever received by NMSU.

The award was made via the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE), a joint philanthropic initiative of General Motors, EDS, Sun Microsystems and UGS Corp. The group has worked together since 1999 to support key academic institutions worldwide with computer-based engineering tools to prepare mechanical designers, engineers and analysts with the skills to compete in the future.

A PACE contribution last year valued at $112.7 million is the largest in-kind corporate contribution ever made to NMSU.

NMSU is part of the PACE collaboration, which now includes 38 strategically selected universities around the world, including MIT, Virginia Tech, the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech.

The new grant from UGS is for 60 seats of I-deas software for use in digital manufacturing and product design. The software will be used primarily by students and faculty in the mechanical engineering department.

"We are very pleased with the donation of state-of-the-art CAD design tools from UGS. Our students will be well prepared for the work force through the use of these tools incorporated into our curriculum," said Dean of Engineering Steven P. Castillo.

Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor Gabe Garcia will use the software in ME 460, Applied Finite Elements.

"We've used this software before, but couldn't afford to continue using it. As PACE partners we are now able to use it again. It's very powerful software," Garcia said.

"We will use the software to build full three-dimensional models of objects and analyze the conditions the parts would experience in the real world," he said.

The goal of the course is to teach students how to understand modeling using finite elements. There are many software programs for modeling, said Garcia, but I-deas is particularly useful in teaching because it allows students a lot of freedom in what they can do.

"It's easy to get numbers, but students need to know how to determine if the numbers are right," he said.

Finite-element modeling is used in any industry that manufactures a product. Students who understand the concepts, regardless of the software used, can apply them anywhere, said Garcia.

"We are committed to improving the technical stature of NMSU and its ability to develop world-class engineers and technologists for our global communities, customers and business partners," said Hulas King, director, GO PLM and Community Relations, Siemens A&D UGS PLM Software.

"We believe that our combined partnership will increase the skills of the work force, introduce the most advanced technologies and improve product lifecycle management," King said. "We are proud to team with NMSU's strong academic leaders and gifted students to enhance manufacturing in New Mexico and beyond."