Microwave Journal

Agilent, Concilium, University of Pretoria join forces to create computer-aided education center

September 6, 2012

Agilent Technologies Inc. announced that it has worked with Concilium Technologies and the department of electrical, electronic and computer engineering at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, to develop one of the largest electrical engineering training laboratories in the world.

The lab was officially opened yesterday by Cheryl de la Rey, vice chancellor and principal of the University of Pretoria, and Benoit Neel, Agilent vice president and general manager of field operations for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“Agilent is honored and proud to contribute to the education of the South African engineering community,” Neel said. “Students at Pretoria University will be trained on the best scientific test and measurement equipment used in the industry around the world. Working with Concilium, Agilent will contribute significantly to the country’s educational development for engineers.”

“South Africa has a dire shortage of engineers, and Concilium Technologies is committed to the development of technical education in South Africa,” said Steve Alves, managing director of Concilium Technologies. “We have various donor programs from grade 11 science learners, bursaries for promising students in engineering at tertiary level, and life skills and practical work experiential training for technicians completing their studies. For the budding engineers, Concilium works closely with universities in providing lab equipment and support for undergraduates and post graduate students.”

The Agilent-Computer Aided Education Center is a large undergraduate laboratory that has 144 workstations, each fitted with an Agilent DSOX2002A digital oscilloscope with a built-in function generator, a U3401A 41/2 digit dual-display digital multimeter, an E3630A triple output DC power supply and various RF design and analysis software programs. It is the largest laboratory of its kind in South Africa.

First and second year engineering students across all disciplines of engineering perform internships here as part of their training in electronic circuit theory in a number of different undergraduate modules. Around 2,000 undergraduate students per semester will benefit from this laboratory.

Agilent instruments were selected to ensure students benefit from being exposed to the highest quality industry-standard equipment from the first year. Five years of promised technical and maintenance support from Concilium Technologies will enable the department to have an optimally functioning facility.

Equipment for lab that was donated by Agilent includes U3401A digital multimeters, vector signal analysis software, WLAN analysis software and Advanced Design Software, including SystemVue and EMPro. The networked software will benefit senior undergraduate and postgraduate students as they can use it in their project design simulations and research. The approximate commercial value of this software is $15 million.

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