Caterpillar Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary of Champaign Simulation Center at University of Illinois and Announces Expansion Plans

September 09, 2014

Caterpillar Celebrates 15-Year Anniversary of Champaign Simulation Center at University of Illinois and Announces Expansion Plans

Company to establish new  data analytics lab in support of innovation strategy

URBANA-CHAMPAIGN , Ill. – As a tribute to years of innovation through collaboration, Caterpillar Inc. marked the 15-year anniversary of its Champaign Simulation Center today, located in Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In celebration of the milestone, the company is announcing plans to establish a new data analytics laboratory. The expansion will build upon the existing recruitment efforts with the university to engage future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent through additional research and development opportunities, and is a key component of the company’s innovation strategy.

Caterpillar opened the simulation center on the Urbana-Champaign campus in 1999, working in conjunction with the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Since then, the center has not only contributed to Caterpillar’s recruiting efforts, but  also serves as a leading engineering hub for virtual product development, advanced simulation and design solutions. Now, the company looks to the next phase of its research and development efforts on the campus by leveraging the university’s data analytics capabilities and resources.

“Our Champaign Simulation Center has been a crucial component for our product development efforts by bringing in new talent – as evidenced by student teams working with our engineers – and through the use of new technologies to aid in research and development,” said Gwenne Henricks, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Product Development and Global Technology at Caterpillar. “Since the facility’s opening, we have been privileged to have more than 350 students involved with the center, either through the Caterpillar Practicum Program or as interns working at the center. We are proud to say that approximately 100 of those former students now work at Caterpillar. With today’s expansion announcement, we hope to inspire future innovators to dig into technology right in their own backyard.”

“Caterpillar’s new data analytics lab will serve to strengthen an already close relationship between the company, the University of Illinois and the Research Park,” said Peter Schiffer, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Caterpillar’s innovative approach to its Research Park operation started 15 years ago, when it pioneered the Research Park student employment model – one that has been replicated by many other companies. We are looking forward to more productive years ahead.”

Caterpillar and the university will begin efforts for the data analytics lab expansion later this year. The new lab will foster real world innovation by bringing together university researchers and Caterpillar analytics professionals from engineering, computer science, statistics and economics to work on challenges and opportunities raised by technological and cultural change. This investment aligns with the company’s strategy to exceed customer expectations with outstanding products and solutions.

About Caterpillar:

For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. With 2013 sales and revenues of $55.656 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments - Resource Industries, Construction Industries and Power Systems - and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit caterpillar.com. To connect with us on social media, visit caterpillar.com/social-media.