NCSA plays a key role in a new Chicago-based Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI). This public-private partnership, called the Digital Lab for Manufacturing, is an applied research institute that will develop digital manufacturing technologies and commercialize these technologies with key industries. These technologies will be used to make everything from consumer products to heavy machinery to equipment for the military.
This effort is backed by $70 million from the U.S. Department of Defense and more than $250 million from industry, academic, government, and community partners. The University of Illinois’ Top 5 College of Engineering and NCSA are key partners in the Digital Lab, with William King, an Abel Bliss Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, serving as the Digital Lab’s Chief Technical Officer.
Many of the Digital Lab’s industry partners already have strong connections with NCSA. Boeing, Caterpillar, Deere, Dow, GE, P&G and Rolls-Royce are all members of NCSA’s Private Sector Program, which has served nearly 60% of manufacturers in the Fortune100. These collaborate with NCSA’s expert staff, as well as with hardware and software vendors, to address their digital challenges, such as:
“We’ve been helping the nation’s most sophisticated manufacturers with some of their biggest problems for more than 25 years, and our work with the Digital Lab is an extension of that,” says Merle Giles, head of NCSA’s PSP.
NCSA also provides partners with access to powerful computing and data resources. The Private Sector Program has built and tuned the iForge cluster to address the specific needs of “power users” at leading manufacturing companies. Partners also have the opportunity to use the extreme-scale Blue Waters supercomputer, which offers hundreds of thousands of compute cores and can work with massive data sets.