Historic Donation for Engineer Training

Agilent Technologies Inc. makes a $25.9 million in-kind donation, the largest ever received by USF.




By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2011) – This September, a record-setting gift to the University of South Florida from Agilent Technologies, Inc. of $25.9 million in software, is positioning USF’s College of Engineering among the top schools in the nation offering access to one of the engineering industry’s leading design tools. 


“The USF Foundation is extraordinarily pleased by this historic gift from Agilent Technologies. As the largest in-kind donation in the university’s history, Agilent’s gift speaks volumes about the tremendous growth of both USF and the College of Engineering,” said Joel D. Momberg, senior vice president for advancement and CEO of USF Foundation. “We couldn’t be more thrilled for the college and the hundreds of students who stand to benefit today and well into the future.”


This donation pushes the university’s USF: Unstoppable campaign over the half billion dollar mark.


Agilent software provides the means to speed engineers through the process of turning ideas – even those scribbled on a napkin – into schematics and products. Thanks to the California-based design, test and measurement company, USF’s engineering students will have access to the same software professionals use.    


“Every student who graduates from our electrical engineering program will have had hands-on experience with ADS (Advanced Design System) and that fact strengthens the value of their degree,” said College of Engineering Dean John M. Wiencek. “This training and experience gives our students a skill set and familiarity with an industry-leading software, which will give them an edge in the job market. From an employer’s standpoint, it will eliminate a six-month training period.”


USF graduates approximately 150 students in the electrical engineering program each year. There are 200 juniors and seniors and about 200 graduate students using the software among over 3,800 engineering students.


“Although not all engineers use ADS in their work, learning how to use it will give job-hunting graduates an advantage in the market,” said Wiencek. “So we’re encouraging everyone to give it a try. Not all schools that have this software make it available to all of their engineering students.”


Agilent is the leading provider of communications product design software. The company's EDA software is used by some of the world’s leading corporations, with its primary customers being in the aerospace/defense and telecommunications industries.


“Agilent takes an active role in supporting the development of the next generation of engineers,” said Mark Pierpoint, vice president and general manager with Agilent’s Software and Modular Solutions division. “Training students with the industry standard in design tools improves their understanding of the design process and accelerates their productivity on the job. Our donation of Agilent EEsof EDA software recognizes USF’s commitment to enable every student in their program to successfully compete in the global market.”


Some experts say the United States is one generation away from losing its technological advantage in the world. With wireless technology’s use expanding at a rapid rate and American ingenuity so highly valued, this should not be the case.


Upwards of five billion people are subscribing to mobile phone services, according to the blog Digital Buzz – that’s more than 70 percent of the world’s population. In addition, wireless technology is being incorporated into devices as diverse as refrigerators and eyeglasses. It is a key component in satellites and is being used more and more in transportation and shipping. Clearly there is plenty of work for emerging electrical engineers who join the ranks each year to help make such technology smaller, lighter, faster and cheaper – the Holy Grail of engineering research. 


“Microchips are simply too small to work on directly by hand. So you’ll find this software being used to design antennas for microchips and the like,” said associate dean for research and electrical engineering professor Thomas Weller who also serves as director of USF’s Center for Wireless and Microwave Information Systems (WAMI). “Schematics help us to predict performance of high frequency electronics and to develop working prototypes. This software allows us to work out the kinks on the computer without having to make prototypes at every stage of improvement or change, saving time, resources and money.”


WAMI’s labs throughout the Engineering II building are humming with activity where undergraduate and graduate students build three dimensional models of antennas and similar devices based on schematics they’ve fine-tuned using ADS. This EDA software can be accessed through the network or downloaded via the multitude of licenses made available through Agilent’s gifts.


Electrical engineers are among the highest paid in the field of engineering starting at salaries upwards of $60,000 a year. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are only roughly 157,000 electrical engineers in the United States. More are needed. Many companies are looking outside of the country for engineering expertise.   

“There are two types of research – experiential and theoretical,” said Weller. “This EDA software helps with both. Our students will graduate from USF ready to work in the real world on existing products and ready to help create new ones. We’re excited about helping to provide the workforce our country needs.”

About Agilent EEsof EDA Software

Advanced Design System is the leading electronic design automation software for communications applications. ADS pioneers the most innovative and commercially successful technologies, such as X-parameters* and 3D EM simulators, used by leading companies in wireless communications and networking as well as the aerospace and defense industries. For more information about Agilent ADS, visit www.agilent.com/find/eesof-ads.


About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world’s premier measurement company and a technology leader in chemical analysis, life sciences, electronics, and communications. The company’s 18,500 employees serve customers in more than 100 countries. Agilent had net revenues of $5.4 billion in fiscal 2010. Information about Agilent is available at www.agilent.com.