Research center plans 'customer service' program

To get feedback from its primary customers, Mississippi State's National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center is inviting representatives of its affiliates to the university next week.

Some 30 already have announced plans to attend the Sept. 26-27 meeting at the ERC facility in the Mississippi Research and Technology Park. The park is located just off U.S. Highway 82 West and adjacent to the university's North Farm.

"As we evolve our research program and organization, we genuinely desire constructive input from our affiliates and customers," said center director J. Donald Trotter. The annual campus program helps "shape our research focus and approach to providing the best service possible," he added.

Established in 1990, the Engineering Research Center has developed into a major asset for the university, state and nation. One of only 25 NSF centers in the country, it specializes in computational field simulation--the use of high-speed computers to solve large-scale problems for engineering design and applications.

A majority of the center's nearly 45 national affiliates are federal--primarily, Department of Defense--laboratories. Industrial customers include, among others, the Boeing Corp., Cypress Semiconductor, Ford Motor Co., Mississippi Department of Economic Development, and Texaco.

Earlier this year, Mississippi State played a lead role in a national academic-industrial coalition that is providing computer hardware, software and training for three of the Defense Department's four new supercomputers. Two of the supercomputers are located in Mississippi, one at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County and the other at the Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg.