IT center joins students, industry

University of Virginia students will analyze Dominion Semiconductor's production

process in a collaboration that will hopefully give students information

technology experience and help Dominion increase productivity.

The university, the company and the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology

(CIT), partnered to create the Semiconductor Manufacturing Information Technology

Center, allowing university students and faculty to use data mining and

warehousing software to analyze the production process. Because of the large

number of students, they will be able to better analyze the production process

than Dominion can alone.

There are two major benefits of the collaboration, said Nancy Vorona, CIT's

senior industry director for advanced materials and electronics. "One of

Virginia's premier companies will become more productive and students will

work with a premier company and develop new tools," she said.

The data mining and other information technology will allow students to

analyze how the manufacturing process would respond to certain changes,

ideally allowing them to find ways to improve the process.

SMITC will be at Dominion's facility in Manassas and at a companion laboratory

at the University's Charlottesville campus, staffed by graduate-level UVA

researchers.

Each partner contributed funds for the center. CIT contributed $35,000,

the university gave $25,000 and Dominion gave $35,000 in cash and a "few

hundred thousand in kind" for work, staff and other expenses to build the

center, Vorona said.

From the companion site at the university, students can use the Internet

to access data at Dominion's plant, Vorona said.

The center's mission is to use information technology to analyze and increase

factory production for companies in related fields, not just at Dominion.

Vorona said the program would probably spread to other universities and

companies.

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