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Company donates $1m for software center

Reinforcing its commitment to technology education, the Lockheed Martin Corp. has pledged $1 million to create the Lockheed Martin Software Learning Center at MIT. The Center will be located in a new complex of buildings to be named for Maria and Ray Stata, founder and chairman of Analog Devices.

A check for $250,000 was presented to MIT by William Ballhaus Jr., Lockheed Martin vice president for science and engineering, on January 29 in the Emma Savage Rogers Room. The remainder of the gift will be donated over the next three years.

Dr. Ballhaus emphasized how important a relationship with MIT is for Lockheed Martin, giving examples of the major role that software development plays at the company. Developing rapport with the faculty through this venture, he said, "leads to a better relationship with the students," whom the firm hopes to recruit as future employees.

Dean Robert A. Brown of the School of Engineering accepted the donation. Also representing MIT at the ceremony were Professor Paul L. Penfield, head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and Professor Edward F. Crawley, head of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Dr. Ballhaus was accompanied by a delegation from Lockheed Martin that included Paul W. Hoff (SB '65, SM, PhD), director of the Microelectronics Center Operations of Sanders/Lockheed Martin in Nashua, NH. Dr. Hoff was the matchmaker between MIT and Lockheed Martin in arranging the gift. Dr. Hoff worked with Rachel Oberai-Soltz, manager of corporate relations, in arranging the gift.

In proposing that Lockheed Martin sponsor the Software Learning Center last August, MIT noted the mutual interest both have in assuring "the highest quality of education in software technology." To achieve this goal, the proposal suggests that Lockheed Martin sponsor a facility that can be used for software classes and a training center with video-conferencing capability that can be upgraded to accommodate future interactive video/multimedia formats.

Work areas will have high-performance network connections and multimedia interfaces. Shared, interactive learning and development will also be possible as a result of reconfigurable work groups.

Lockheed Martin and MIT have a longstanding relationship that involves projects supported by the Advanced Telecommunications/Information Distribution Research Program (run by the Army Research Federated Laboratory) and the University Research Consortium of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

The multi-building Stata complex, scheduled for completion in 2001, will total more than 300,000 square feet on a 2.8-acre site adjoining the Sherman Fairchild Building on Vassar Street. MIT is negotiating with the internationally renowned architectural firm of Frank Gehry & Associates to design the complex.

The computer science faculty will be located in the complex along with the Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS), the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) and the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 4, 1998.

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