”Promising example of university-industry cooperation”

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Educational computer technology device for the fast processing of multimedia content jointly developed by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (VIK) and NI Hungary Kft.

The new hardware will have a major impact on several academic programmes at BME: BSc students will have the opportunity to learn the basics, MSc students can work with the device, while PhD students can participate in its development, stressed Rector János Józsa on the occasion of around 100 FPGA cards (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, that is reprogrammable silicon chips), being donated by NI Hungary Kft. (NI) to six higher education institutions with the aim of supporting academic programmes in electrical engineering and IT and meet the challenges of Industry 4.0. The device was developed jointly by the Department of Measurement and Information Systems (MIT) of BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (VIK) and the experts of NI. The Member of the Hungarian Academy spoke highly of the relationship between the university and industry, adding that such forms of cooperation have increased BME’s reputation and the already high quality of its programmes, “therefore they have provided the basis, on which we can build continuously ”.

The new hardware will have a major impact on several academic programmes at BME: BSc students will have the opportunity to learn the basics, MSc students can work with the device, while PhD students can participate in its development, stressed Rector János Józsa on the occasion of around 100 FPGA cards (Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, that is reprogrammable silicon chips), being donated by NI Hungary Kft. (NI) to six higher education institutions with the aim of supporting academic programmes in electrical engineering and IT and meet the challenges of Industry 4.0. The device was developed jointly by the Department of Measurement and Information Systems (MIT) of BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics (VIK) and the experts of NI. The Member of the Hungarian Academy spoke highly of the relationship between the university and industry, adding that such forms of cooperation have increased BME’s reputation and the already high quality of its programmes, “therefore they have provided the basis, on which we can build continuously ”.

László Ábrahám, Managing Director of NI Hungary Kft. stressed: “using the device in an academic environment is very important, since it opens up new prospects in IT and electrical engineering education”. Apart from cooperating in developing these devices, the company also decided to donate FPGA cards worth almost HUF 40 million, out of which the most (60 in total) were given to Budapest University of Technology and Economics. He added: “I believe that using this hardware will lead to good engineering solutions and excellent patents”.

The FPGA laboratory at the Department of Measurement and Information Systems of BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics has developed an educational hardware with the help of NI Hungary Kft’s experts, which is able to process multimedia content at high speed or manage the parallel analysis of Big Data. One of the cooperating partners of the programme was the National Council for Telecommunications and Information Technology (NHIT). The devices have been certified by TÜV Rheinland InterCert Kft.

FPGAs were added to the curriculum at BME as early as 1992 with the support of the National Committee for Technological Development (OMFB). Several higher education institutions participated in the project and thanks to a “greenfield investment” the work started at the research organisations. During the past 25 years the FPGA lab at BME’s VIK MIT has provided state-of-the-art FPGA devices, thus allowing continuous access to the latest generation devices, development environments and the practical implementation of high-level developments. In recent years the FPGA educational technology, developed by the department, has provided the opportunity for hundreds of students studying electrical engineering and information technology to gain practical knowledge and experience in using the device.

The use of FPGAs has intensified over the past 25 years in almost every field where there is a need to process a large amount of data quickly without using a final algorithm or where an extremely small consumption is required (e.g. Google, Amazon, NASA, artificial intelligence). Among others, such devices serve as the basis for NI’s industrial and educational products, which are also used for testing and measurement by the company’s affiliate in Debrecen.

Gergely Hidas, Head of Corporate Development at TÜV Rheinland InterCert Kft highlighted the importance of being able to use and learn about state-of-the-art devices in higher education.  He stressed that the hardware, developed jointly by BME’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics and NI Hungary Kft, is such a device, which is why it received the CE certification. (Editor's note: Since 1993 CE marking has been required for all products exported into the European Economic Area. This certification verifies that the product has been examined and conforms with all EU-level health, safety and environmental protection standards.)

The event was also attended by László Jakab, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics, Tamás Dabóczi, Head of Department, associate professor and Béla Fehér, associate professor, both representing VIK MIT and János Pakucs, Chair of the Board at Pro Progressio Foundation.

As a result of the donation, VIK MIT’s electrical engineering programme received 60 FPGA cards, worth over HUF 24 million, presented in special decorative boxes. The Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of the Institute of Physics at the University of Debrecen received a further 20 cards, while the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Informatics at the University of Miskolc was given 5, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Pannonia, the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Pécs and the Kandó Kálmán Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Óbuda University each received 3.

– GI –

Photo: János Philip