Building Quantitative Quality

Fujitsu logo$30K Fujitsu gift modernizes math lab

It's the kind of gift that helps where it really counts - specifically a $30,000 gift from Fujitsu Laboratories of America, Inc. , to Humboldt State University's Quantitative Sciences Laboratory.

The gift helps fund a major upgrade to the lab that will include 25 new computers and other equipment. The lab, housed in the Forestry Building, supports a variety of mathematical research by faculty and students in image processing and mathematical modeling of complex systems. It is also home to classes in statistics, computer information sciences and biometry. According to David Marshall, an information technology consultant and math instructor at Humboldt, the lab is also "used to challenge students to explore appropriate use of technology in the mathematics education of school children."

With computer visualizations and drawing-board formulas behind them, (L-R) Humboldt State University President Rollin C. Richmond, Fujitsu Laboratories of America Human Resources Manager Fidel Lara and Professor Dale Oliver, chair of Humboldt's math department, look forward to the modernization of Humboldt's Quantitative Sciences Laboratory.With computer visualizations and drawing-board formulas behind them, (L-R) Humboldt State University President Rollin C. Richmond, Fujitsu Laboratories of America Human Resources Manager Fidel Lara and Professor Dale Oliver, chair of Humboldt's math department, look forward to the modernization of Humboldt's Quantitative Sciences Laboratory.
Photo by Sean Kearns

With its "very-high-end equipment," the Fujitsu gift, said Marshall, allows Humboldt to maintain the excellence of its math program by giving students opportunities to stay abreast with computer programming, numerical analysis, dynamic visualization, and advanced statistical analysis. It will make the computing and educational processes "an order of magnitude faster." "It means students aren't limited in their ability to use the latest applications and computer models of complex systems," he said. "It will let students investigate ideas right now and get immediate feedback as to whether, mathematically, it's a good idea or a bad idea." For example, the imaging of a complex process that now takes nearly five minutes will take a few seconds, Marshall said.

For Fidel Lara, who as Fujitsu Lab's human resources manager recruits researchers and engineers, enhancements to the lab have long-term impacts. Made through a university-outreach program he
established, gifts such as this, he said, help ensure that the next generation of scientists will enter the country's labs well-prepared. As an alumnus and former employee of Humboldt, he knew that many
of the university's highly regarded science programs, such as biology and engineering, benefit from the strong foundation of the mathematics department. For example, according to the National Science Foundation, per capita Humboldt is among the nation's leaders as a source of graduates who later earn doctorates in the sciences; and among campuses that do not offer doctorates, Humboldt is ranked first per capita in the number of math graduates who go on to earn their Ph.D. "Fujitsu's philosophy," said Lara, "is based on the message that 'The possibilities are infinite,' and that is particularly true when we enhance mutually beneficial relationships in our communities. It may sound trite, but I've always believed that at Humboldt the possibilities for students truly are infinite."

The gift for the Quantitative Sciences Lab follows other recent generosity by Fujitsu Labs toward Humboldt State, including $4,200 last April to the campus chapter of the Society of Women Engineers to purchase computer equipment for a new sediment-transport flume and to support students' research with it. A year ago, Fujitsu Labs donated state-of-the-art switching equipment to boost the capacity of Humboldt's
computer networking lab (located across campus in Nelson Hall West).

Fujitsu Labs conducts and supports advanced research in very-large-scale integration (VLSI), computer-aided design and Internet technology. (VLSI is the process of placing thousands -- or hundreds of thousands -- of electronic components on a single computer chip, and nearly all modern chips employ VLSI architectures or ultra-large-scale integration.)