UW News

January 23, 2004

Gift of Tektronix test equipment gives UW students a jump on the competition

Budding computer engineers at the University of Washington can get valuable hands-on experience early in their academic programs thanks to high-tech testing equipment recently donated by Tektronix Inc.

The equipment, valued at over $400,000, includes logic analyzers, oscilloscopes, function generators and pattern generators. It was given in conjunction with the fund-raising campaign for the new Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering, which opened the end of September and was formally dedicated on Oct. 9.

“This will allow us to introduce a laboratory component in our introductory design class,” said Bruce Hemingway, lecturer and manager of the Allen Center’s Baxter Computer Engineering Laboratory, which received the Tektronix equipment. ” Students now get hands-on test and design experience right from the start, rather than relying solely on simulation.”

Craig Overhage, vice president of the Instruments Business Unit at Tektronix, said the company was pleased to be able to contribute the much-needed equipment.

“Education has been and remains a top priority for Tektronix,” he said. “The instrumentation in these labs will enable students at the University of Washington to gain valuable experience that will help to prepare them for positions in the industry upon graduation.”

Such experience is crucial, Hemingway explained. Upon graduation, many students accept positions as test or validation engineers as their first role within a company. Courses that utilize equipment such as that donated by Tektronix are required of all computer-engineering majors. That makes the Baxter Lab a core component for all the students in the program.

Other benefits that have so far come from the donated equipment include:

  • Development of a new course in which students will learn about the fundamentals of high-speed digital design and signaling. The course would not be possible without the Tektronix donation.
  • The ability to fully equip a senior design lab, where students can use the test equipment for extended periods of time for advanced projects. “Students will get much more experience with test and debugging techniques for complex digital systems,” Hemingway said.
  • The chance to offer explicitly designed laboratory projects that teach the benefits of the logic analyzers. “And the entire class can do the work at the same time, which wasn’t possible before,” according to Hemingway

Tektronix, headquartered near Portland, Oregon, traces it roots to the post-World War II electronics revolution. In 1946, company founders invented the world’s first triggered oscilloscope, an innovation that paved the way for Tektronix to become one of the world’s largest test and measurement companies.


For more information, contact Hemingway at bruceh@cs.washington.edu  or (206) 543-6274.

For an on-line guided tour of the Allen Center, including the Baxter Lab, go to http://www.cs.washington.edu/building/

For more information about Tektronix in the classroom and lab, see http://www.Tektronix.com/discoveryzone