Reporters may contact: Ellen Mayou
SMU News & Information
(214) 768-7659

February 9, 2001


DALLAS (SMU) — What will the computer of 2010 look like?

Dallas-area school children will have an opportunity to design the computer of the future during a special event to be held in conjunction with the 50th annual celebration of National Engineers Week in February.

The event, “Designing the Future,” will be held Saturday, Feb. 17 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center on the SMU campus from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It is being sponsored by the SMU School of Engineering. Co-lead sponsors of the event are Accenture and Texas Instruments (TI). Other sponsors include the Dallas Independent School District and the Infinity Project, an existing program sponsored by the SMU School of Engineering and Texas Instruments that brings a modern high-tech engineering curriculum to high schools throughout Texas. Other corporate participants include i2, EDS, NextJet, Vectrix, esoftsolutions and Gradepoint.

“By exploring with students innovations that will improve the way the world lives and works, we are helping to inspire students to learn more about technology and how it will change the future,” said Glenn Javens, a 1988 graduate of the SMU School of Engineering who is now a partner in the Dallas office of Accenture.

Nobel Laureate Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments, founder and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Dallas Cowboys safety Darren Woodson, former Dallas Cowboys player Larry Brown and 1999 Miss Texas Teen USA Misty Giles are among those scheduled to speak at the event.

The event will include a project in which students will work in teams to design the computer of 2010 as well as corporate booths describing the future world of technology.

More than 600 7th and 8th grade students from DISD are expected to attend the event. Teachers, counselors and parents also will be invited to attend a concurrent event on “Preparing Children for Careers in Engineering and Technology.”

“The combination of technology innovators, sports celebrities and leading high-tech companies based in Dallas makes this a unique and nationally significant event,” said Geoffrey Orsak, associate professor of electrical engineering at SMU and director of the Infinity Project.

Orsak said that kids today like cell phones, MP3 players and other technology, but they are not sure they want to be the ones to design these things.

“This event is intended to show these students that engineering is cool and relevant to their future,” Orsak said.

Torrence Robinson, worldwide university program manager for Texas Instruments, added that the event is designed to show students the value of taking math and science courses that are critical to careers in engineering.

“Too often, middle school and high school students lose interest in mathematics and science because they don’t see how the subjects are relevant to the real world,” Robinson said.

When students break into teams to brainstorm what the computer of 2010 will look like, each team will be assisted by an SMU engineering student, a high school student who is participating in the Infinity Project and a professional engineer. DISD students participating in “Designing the Future” will prepare for the event the week before by studying modern computers.

“In 2010, students who are in the 7th or 8th grade today will be graduating from college,” Orsak said. “We want them to start thinking about what computing technology will be like their first day on the job.”

William Tate, DISD’s assistant superintendent for math and science, said the event is part of DISD’s ongoing commitment to offer a high-tech curriculum to DISD students.

“We are pleased that our students will be able to participate in an event that can have such a meaningful impact on their lives,” Tate said.

For information on “Designing the Future,” call 214-768-4038.