Summer 2011

High-tech, yet down to earth

Explore the new Engineering and Science Building


Engineering Science BuildingWhat makes the new Engineering and Science Building special? To learn more about the building’s features, scroll or click on the thumbnail links, top, right.
Geothermal heatingWater warmed and cooled by the Earth’s constant 52-degree subterranean temperature helps keep the rotunda, main entrance and bridge warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The water circulates through a closed loop of pipes running between the Earth’s surface and 500 feet underground.
Natural lightNatural light floods the first and second levels of the main hallway and helps illuminate labs and shared spaces located directly off the hallways.
 Light shelvesNearly every office has a window, and south-facing offices use architectural light shelves, which are horizontal light-reflecting overhangs placed just above eye level that help block direct sunlight while reflecting it off the ceiling so it is diffused into the office.
Building materialsWood is Forest Stewardship Council-certified. Carpeting is made from recycled material. Adhesives and paint have low (or no) amounts of volatile organic compounds.
Photovoltaic wallOn the south side of the building, a two-story wall of solar panels converts sunlight to electricity. The wall also provides opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate research on solar technology being developed in the Center for Autonomous Solar Power and the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing. Research in solar-power generation will include performance measurements, monitoring systems, wind load, snow cover, new solar-cell technologies, and power electronics and energy conversion.
Heat recoveryA heat-recovery system uses warm air being discharged from the building to heat fresh air coming in. By tempering the inflowing air, the heating systems don’t have to work as hard to raise the internal air temperature, thus saving electricity.
Green roofSelf-sufficient sedums — flowering plants with water-storing petals — grown on the roof help eliminate runoff during inclement weather and act as insulation, lowering heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.
Server roomWhen fully loaded with computers, server racks can reach hundreds of degrees if not cooled properly. To reduce the temperature of the data center, cool water is piped underneath the floor, which “floats” 2 feet above the ground, and through the back of the racks. The heat that is removed is then recycled into the building for further use. The data center houses an array of computers and storage disks that provide a virtual desktop environment for routine office computing and a state-of-the-art, high-performance computer cluster for advanced computational analysis, modeling and simulation.
Research labsResearch labs are equipped with skycaps, which hang from the ceiling and run the length of a workbench. Skycaps have ports for power and data, as well as color-coded ports for each of the most common gases used in the lab. If a gas is needed but not already available, a tank can be plugged into one of the skycap’s “open” ports.
Chilled beamsA radiant HVAC system in the ceiling uses water to heat and cool air at the source, saving electrical and heat energy. Energy-efficient and quiet, these systems circulate water through pipes inside a “beam” suspended from the ceiling. In heating mode, heat is transferred from a coil of hot water running through the beam to air drawn into the beam. The now-warmer air circulates back into the room. Heating the air at the point of use, instead of on another floor, means no heat is lost in transport. The same concept is used in cooling mode.
Fume hoodsSome labs also are outfitted with tools to facilitate the removal of harmful fumes — such as nozzle exhausts on skycaps and fume hoods — which make for safer experimentation.

Engineering Science BuildingGeothermal heatingNatural light Light shelvesBuilding materialsPhotovoltaic wallHeat recoveryGreen roofServer roomResearch labsChilled beamsFume hoods

What makes the new Engineering and Science Building special?

The engineering and science that make it green, of course. The 125,000-square foot facility, which will accommodate the expansion of the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science, is designed to meet LEED standards by incorporating photovoltaic solar cells, passive solar energy, geothermal heating and cooling methods, natural lighting, and the latest technology for heat recovery and humidity control. It is scheduled to open this fall.

See slideshow at right

Who will use the building?

The new building will be home to the Watson School dean’s office, the departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, the Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR), the Watson Institute for Systems Excellence (WISE) and the Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC). It will feature state-of-the-art, flexible research laboratory space and suites for new business start-ups.

Research laboratories will take advantage of a core model, allowing faculty members who work in similar research areas to share equipment and ideas while limiting duplication of resources and fostering collaboration. The building will include eight core labs:

The Acoustics Core includes an anechoic chamber used by faculty and students to create a sound field that is not affected by acoustic reflections and is isolated from external noises. The high-performance laser vibrometer in the core enables the acoustic characterization of silicon MEMS acoustic sensors being developed by Watson School researchers.

The Materials Testing Core provides for a broad spectrum of testing needs in support of advanced research and development of engineering materials. This facility includes instruments for both synthesizing and characterizing advanced materials at the microscale and nanoscale. Instruments will be available for determining the elements present in material samples, the crystal structure, composition and other key properties, along with tools for depositing and growing advanced materials. This core has a Class 100 Cleanroom containing a full set of tools for microfabrication of MEMS sensors, active electronic circuits and optoelectronic devices.

The Microelectronics Core is for the design and characterization of microelectronics devices. The core includes a wide range of instruments for measuring the characteristics of digital, analog and mixed-signal electronic systems. The facility will contain a network analyzer, high-performance oscilloscopes and a full complement of modern electronic equipment as well as environmental chambers for testing the reliability of electronic circuits and systems.

The Network Security Core features a computer network test bed, providing a comprehensive controlled environment suitable for the safe deployment of modern malicious software and experimental analysis of its interaction with various attack detection/mitigation systems. It facilitates the development, implementation and testing of novel intrusion detection/mitigation technologies, and offers the means of computer forensics and detained visualization.

The Seymour Kunis Media Core provides facilities for research in multimedia, including multimedia security, multimedia forensics, biometrics, steganography and steganalysis, immersive displays, and virtual and augmented reality.  This core will allow researchers to test the security of watermarking and data-hiding algorithms, develop and test new digital forensic techniques, and design novel immersive environments that will shape future trends in human-computer interaction.

The Survivable Computing Infrastructure Core is an environment where researchers design advanced network and computer infrastructure components that continue to provide reliable service despite being under active attack.  Such systems are designed to survive by being resilient rather than defensive, reacting to threats and adapting their operation to survive attacks that would otherwise overwhelm their resources.  As society becomes increasingly dependent on information technology, a survivable computing infrastructure is critical to enable essential services to continue despite terrorism, sabotage, information warfare or natural disaster.

The Transport Sciences Core houses a wide array of state-of-the-art equipment used to conduct fundamental and applied research in the area of transport phenomena (i.e., fluid flow, heat and mass transfer). The core houses equipment for fluid flow metrology, flow visualization, fluid property characterization and multiphase flow analysis. Research specializations include interfacial phenomena, micro- and nano- flows, complex fluids and small-scale thermal analysis.

The Vibration Core contains equipment for testing and monitoring of components and products under vibration and mechanical shock. These tests are sometimes used as qualification tests for products, or for reliability assessment of components and products in support of advanced research and development. Data from these tests can help pinpoint design flaws as well as to help understand product performance under robust environmental conditions.