California Science & Technology News

Tech-Savvy Facility

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology will debut its $44 million state-of-the-art facility at the University of California, Irvine. The university celebrated the opening of the institute's 120,000-square-foot, four-story research building Friday, Nov. 19, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and distinguished roster of speakers, including UC President Robert C. Dynes and retired Rockwell CEO Donald Beall. The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology -- known familiarly as Cal-(IT)² -- is a joint venture between UCI and the University of California, San Diego, with dedicated research facilities in both locations. The Irvine Cal-(IT)² building is the first to open among the California Institutes for Science and Innovation, which were chartered by the state in late 2000. The San Diego division's Cal-(IT)² building is scheduled for completion in spring 2005. "The two-campus Cal-(IT)² endeavor provides a research base in the so-called 'Tech Coast,' a Southern California concentration of telecommunications and information technology companies that are expected to stimulate major economic growth in the state over the next decade," said UCI Chancellor Ralph J. Cicerone. "The research conducted in this facility will produce the foundation to generate new products, services and expertise that will shape tomorrow's marketplace." The technologically advanced facility will provide a multifaceted environment in which faculty, students, visiting scholars and industry partners can conduct collaborative research in sensors, devices, communications, information technologies, digital arts and related applications that will benefit California's -- and the nation's -- economy. "The California Institutes for Science and Innovation are about research, development and delivery -- of new products, processes, industries and jobs. Therefore, they are about creating economic value," said UC President Robert C. Dynes. "Cal-(IT)² and our other three institutes are working to keep California competitive and improve the quality of life -- here in California, in the nation and around the world." The institute's distinctive approach integrates cross-disciplinary academic intellectual capital and industry expertise. More than 130 leading California telecommunications, computer, software and applications companies, including Orange County-based firms Emulex, Broadcom and Conexant, are partnering with Cal-(IT)². Together, they are conducting research in areas as diverse as transportation, emergency response, public safety, the environment, security, health care, business, education, the arts and entertainment. "Innovation is a key concept of Cal-(IT)²," said Albert Yee, director of the Irvine division. "The institute is pursuing a unique and complex research agenda that will lead to a new way of applying information technology with broad implications for our entire society." The UCI structure was designed by Johnson Fain Partners and constructed by PCL Construction Services; Leo A. Daly served as executive architect. The building contains a 3,700-square-foot clean room that provides a filtered-air environment suitable for micro- and nano-fabrication, and materials characterization. It includes a separate bioMEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) clean room for research on biomedical micro-devices. Other features include a large-scale visualization laboratory, a network laboratory, and labs for optical devices, nanotechnology measurement and media arts. The building is equipped throughout with high-speed wireless Internet access, UCI's first Voice-over-IP phone system and customized ad hoc in-house networks. In addition, the facility includes high-capacity access to statewide and nationwide high-speed fiber optic networks, as well as the ability to handle internal fiber optic networks in the future. In collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey, Cal-(IT)² researchers have equipped the building with more than 40 seismic sensors -- the first such installation in the nation that can measure ground motion and building motion with the same system. Based on a philosophy that is unique for an academic institution, the building's open research space will be assigned to multi-disciplinary teams, adapting easily to accommodate evolving projects. Cal-(IT)² researchers will employ a pioneering collaborative approach to address today's technology issues while prototyping information solutions for the future.

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