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Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010

IU hosts collaborative IT conference with Crane Warfare Center at IU Innovation Center

Representatives from IU and NSWC Crane spend the day discussing ideas to benefit Indiana

Nov. 11, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A successful research and development program that includes opportunities for collaboration between Indiana University and the federal government's Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, was just one of the topics broached during the Indiana University-NSWC Crane Information Technology Collaboration Conference held Nov. 4 at IU.

IU Innovation Center

Photo by Aaron Bernstein

The IU Innovation Center was the site for a recent conference to identify collaborative opportunities between the university and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division.

Print-Quality Photo

Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and IU's chief information officer, and Brian Blackwell, NSWC Crane's Applied Science and Demand Management Department director, kicked off the conference that was hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Engagement and held at the IU Innovation Center.

Individuals from both organizations deeply engaged in developing innovative information technology solutions for important real-world problems spent the day discussing ground-breaking technology and future collaborative opportunities. The goal for the conference was to discuss the two organizations' technology needs and solutions, and find some specific areas in which NSWC Crane and IU could develop meaningful, long-term collaborations.

"The IU Innovation Center was happy to host this conference, which represents an ideal opportunity for leading IT specialists at both IU and NSWC Crane to learn about each other's capabilities and explore potential collaborative opportunities in the future," said Kirk White, assistant vice president for strategic partnerships at Indiana University. "Both institutions possess deep and broad IT resources and working together we can benefit the state and nation in myriad ways."

IU was represented during the conference by the School of Informatics and Computing, Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, Pervasive Technology Institute, and the College of Arts and Sciences. Crane and IU personnel discussed needs and emerging technologies that were particularly focused on data analysis, sensor technology, data mining, cybersecurity and statistics.

"Combining the research and development capabilities of both institutions not only expands our collective intellectual capital, but will ultimately provide the leading-edge technical advantage necessary for use in Department of Defense systems," Blackwell said.

IU presentations began with Geoffrey Fox, an associate dean and professor in the School of Informatics and Computing who is also director of PTI's Digital Science Center, providing an overview of the School of Informatics and Computing and its programs and research strengths. PTI Executive Director Craig Stewart, also an associate dean of research technologies at University Information Technology Services, UITS/PTI, then gave an overview of IU capabilities that focused on supercomputer and storage systems as well as the capabilities of the Pervasive Technology Institute.

"PTI is especially charged to take new information technology and informatics innovations and deploy them in ways that benefit our state and the nation as a whole," Stewart noted.

Jean Camp, another informatics professor, provided an overview of the school's cybersecurity program in education and research, and IU statistics professor Michael Trosset, representing the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed ways in which IU's expertise in statistics could aid NSWC Crane. Other presentations focused on ways IU's educational programs might be utilized by NSWC Crane personnel.

NSWC Crane's presentations focused on its work in remote sensing and data analysis challenges. NSWC Crane's mission is "to support the Warfighter," noted David Acton, NSWC Crane Chief Technology Office's university liaison. "There is much work that we can do with IU, using their innovations to address problems that are important to our mission, yet not classified."

Acton noted the many specific opportunities discussed by NSWC Crane and IU, and said, "At the end of the day we have found several areas for specific actions we can take in which Crane can benefit from having IU experts collaborate with our experts."

IU Vice President of Engagement Bill Stephan wrapped up the conference, saying NSWC Crane and IU are among two of the largest employers in south-central Indiana, and that both have much in common in their mission: Developing innovations that benefit U.S. global competitiveness and working within Indiana for economic growth and new opportunities for Hoosiers, in particular. Stephan, White, and Acton all noted at the end of the conference that NSWC Crane and IU had successfully identified concrete next steps that will allow both institutions to move forward in deepening collaborations.

About the Pervasive Technology Institute: The mission of Pervasive Technology Institute is to improve quality of life in Indiana and the world by inventing, developing, deploying and delivering innovations in information technology. Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) at Indiana University is a world-class organization dedicated to the development and delivery of innovative information technology to advance research, education, industry, and society. Supported by a $15 million grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., PTI is built upon a spirit of collaboration and brings together researchers and technologists from a range of disciplines and organizations, including the School of Informatics, the School of Law, University Information Technology Services, and the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology at Indiana University.