Last month, Autodesk, an international software design company headquartered in California, gave Cornell one of the largest gifts-in-kind it has ever received: 3-D design, engineering and entertainment software. The software is commercially valued at $51.4 million.
“This donation will provide powerful opportunities for exploration and education,” said Provost Kent Fuchs. “We’ve been handed an amazing set of tools by Autodesk, and I look forward to seeing what Cornell’s students and faculty can create using them.”
The software will be available for use on hundreds of machines beginning in December.
“The multifaceted impact of great design on our lives is clearer than ever in today’s competitive and globalized economy,” said Tom Joseph, head of Autodesk’s education division. “By putting the latest design software innovations in the hands of the next generation of creative leaders, we hope to inspire the best and brightest to take on the new challenges facing our planet, and to provide them with the technologies to imagine, design and create a better world.”
The donation gives Cornell students, faculty and staff access to Autodesk’s complete portfolio of design software, including programs used in engineering manufacturing and digital animation for feature films.
Specifically, the gift includes Autodesk’s Education Master Suite; the Entertainment Creation Suite; Vault Pro; VRED Pro, 3-D visualization software; and Moldflow Insight Premium, a simulation software that facilitates injection mold and plastic parts design.
Researchers at Cornell’s Wilson Synchrotron Laboratory have been using Autodesk products since 1993 to design and test parts. “The gift is invaluable to our research programs,” said Tim O’Connell, the lab’s engineering manager. “It is our main design tool – powerful, easy to use, and the gift will afford us the opportunity to put it in the hands of the people with the ideas, Ph.D.s, researchers, engineers, technical staff and faculty physicists all working collaboratively.”
O’Connell added that with Autodesk software, they have “built virtual subsystems of the particle accelerator with 30,000 parts,” and that by making it possible for engineers to test designs before investing in manufacturing them, Autodesk enables Cornell to work more cost effectively on federally funded projects.
Professor Lynden Archer, the William C. Hooey Director of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is one of many members of the faculty already using the software in his classes. “Powerful products such as Moldflow can help satisfy a critical need … for a prototype design and evolution process that eschews expensive infrastructure required for manufacturing new products, without compromising the realism and rigor of the product design experience provided to Cornell chemical engineers,” he said.
Autodesk’s president and CEO Carl Bass ’78 launched Ithaca Software Inc. with classmates when he was a student at Cornell; his company was purchased by Autodesk.
Emily Sanders Hopkins is a communications specialist for Alumni Affairs and Development Communications.