The WPI International Corporate Leaders Roundtable: The Impact of Evolving Technologies on the Future of Business

Panel of WPI Academicians

Diran Apelian
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Metal Processing Institute
Diran Apelian is Howmet Professor of Engineering and Director of the Metal Processing Institute at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He received his B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from Drexel University in 1968 and his doctorate in materials science and engineering from MIT in 1972. He worked at Bethlehem Steel's Homer Research Laboratories before joining Drexel University's faculty in 1976. At Drexel he held various positions, including professor, head of the Department of Materials Engineering, associate dean of the College of Engineering and vice-provost. He joined WPI in July 1990 as the Institute's Provost. In 1996 he returned to the faculty and heads the activities of the Metal Processing Institute. He is credited with pioneering work in various areas of solidification processing, including molten metal processing and filtration of metals, aluminum foundry engineering, plasma deposition, and most recently, spray casting/forming. Apelian is the recipient of many distinguished honors and awards, has over 300 publications to his credit, and serves on several technical and corporate boards.

Synopsis - Materials of the Future: Manufacturability and the Digital Revolution
Traditionally, civilization and historical ages have been classified by materials such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age, etc. During the last 20-30 years, we have witnessed a tremendous output of novel and innovative materials in a variety of applications such as information, aerospace, automotive, and health. However, the challenge with such innovations is to ensure that the processing and manufacturing capabilities are in place and robust. An additional challenge is to ensure that market needs are being met.

This presentation will highlight the exciting developments in materials science and engineering. The focus of the presentation will be on the processing and manufacturability issues associated with these developments and, particularly, the impact of the digital revolution. The Metal Processing Institute (MPI) at WPI is a global center addressing these critical issues with over 130 corporate partners. An overview of MPI's research thrust efforts will also be presented and discussed.

Nancy Burnham
Associate Professor of Physics
Nancy Burnham graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1987 with a Ph.D. in Physics. Her thesis work concerned the surface analysis of photovoltaic materials. As a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory, she became interested in scanning probe microscopy, in particular its application to detecting materials properties at the nanoscale. After three years as a von Humboldt Fellow in Germany at Forschungszentrum Juelich, she spent another six years in Europe, principally at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, all the while pursuing nanomechanics. She became an Associate Professor of Physics at WPI at the beginning of Y2K. Her international experience also includes sejours at the University of Bordeaux, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (an exchange school with WPI). Invited, tutorial, or plenary speaker at 23 conferences, author or co-author of approximately 50 publications, she is as well active in professional societies as an occasional conference organizer.

Synopsis - Small is Beautiful, Small is Different, Small is Elegant
Ten years ago, no one would have predicted that the US government would sponsor a webpage at Exciting for those of us who have been involved in nanoscience and engineering for some time, it is a sure signal that there is now general recognition that small things promise to strongly affect our lives in the century to come. I intend to demonstrate that not only is small beautiful, but also fundamentally different. If we are able to harness the differences, we may be able to create truly elegant technology.

William R. Michalson
Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
William R. Michalson is an Associate Professor in the ECE Department at WPI, where he also directs the Satellite Navigation Laboratory. The majority of his research focuses on the development, test, and evaluation of GPS and GPS-like systems for both conventional navigation and for indoor and subterranean navigation systems. He was previously with Raytheon Company where he developed high-performance real-time, fault-tolerant computer system architectures for space-based data and signal processing.

Synopsis - Personal Navigation Systems
The rapid evolution of computer, navigation and network technologies will soon allow bring powerful navigation aids to the hands of consumers. Rather than being simple toys that provide street maps and directions to drivers, these navigation aids will play a major role in improving efficiency and quality of life. Once the required computer and communications infrastructure is developed, these next-generation navigation systems may allow users to physically locate friends or family if they become separated, to monitor the health and location of the infirm, to direct or assist emergency personnel, and to save time by checking store inventories and getting directions to sources of hard-to-find items. This presentation will discuss the enabling technologies and required to bring these systems to fruition.

Kaveh Pahlavan
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Kaveh Pahlavan, is a Professor of ECE, a Professor of CS, and Director of the Center for Wireless Information Network Studies, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA. He is also a visiting Professor of Telecommunication Laboratory and CWC, University of Oulu, Finland. His area of research is broadband wireless indoor networks. He has contributed to numerous seminal technical publications in this field. He is the principal author of the Wireless Information Networks, John Wiley and Sons, 1995. He has been a consultant to a number companies including CNR Inc, GTE Laboratories, Steinbrecher Corp., Simplex, Mercurry Computers, WINDATA , SieraComm, 3COM, and Codex/Motorola in Massachusetts; JPL, Savi Technologies, RadioLAN in California, Airnoet in Ohio, United Technology Research Center in Connecticut, Honeywell in Arizona; Nokia, LK-Products, Elektrobit, TEKES, and Finnish Academy in Finland, and NTT in Japan. Before joining WPI, he was the director of advanced development at Infinite Inc., Andover, Mass. working on data communications. He started his career as an assistant Professor at Northeastern University, Boston, MA. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal on Wireless Information Networks. He was the founder, the program chairman and organizer of the IEEE Wireless LAN Workshop, Worcester, in 1991 and 1996 and the organizer and technical program chairman of the IEEE International Symposium on Personal, Indoor, and Mobile Radio Communications, Boston, MA, 1992 and 1998. He has also been selected as a member of the Committee on Evolution of Untethered Communication, US National Research Council, 1997 and has lead the US review team for the Finnish R&D Programs in Electronic and Telecommunication in 1999. For his contributions to the wireless networks he was the Westin Hadden Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at WPI during 1993-1996, was elected as a fellow of the IEEE in 1996 and become a fellow of Nokia in 1999. From May of December of 2000 he was the first Fulbright-Nokia scholar at the University of Oulu, Finland. Because of his inspiring visionary publications and his international conference activities for the growth of the wireless LAN industry he is referred to as one of the founding fathers of the wireless LAN industry. Details of his contributions to this field is available at

Synopsis - What's Next In Wireless Networks
This presentation provides an overview of the evolution of the wireless information network industry. The basic elements of the industry and evolution of the three generations of wireless networks are described. The forces that helped this industry to shape are identified and the lessons that have been learned in the past three decades are addressed. Contribution of CWINS in this field and the trends of the industry are discussed at the end.

Ryszard Pryputniewicz
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Ryszard J. Pryputniewicz, educated both in Poland and the United States, is Professor of Mechanical Engineering and founding Director of the Center for Holographic Studies and Laser micro-mechaTronics (CHSLT) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts, since 1978; previously, a faculty member and Director of the Laser Research Laboratory at the School of Engineering and the Health Center of the University of Connecticut (6 years); member of the Aerospace technical staff (4 years). He has also founded NanoEngineering, Science, and Technology (NEST) Program at WPI, addressing research and education in the field of lasers, photonics, MEMS, and nanotechnology. His research and teaching interests concentrate on theoretical and applied aspects of MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS), smart sensors and structures, and, in particular, nanotechnology, lasers, and holographic interferometry. In this work, he emphasizes unification of analytical, computational, and experimental solution (ACES) methodologies, especially when they can be merged to provide solutions where none would be obtainable otherwise, to ease the solution procedure, or to attain improvements in the results. He is Fellow of SPIE, Fellow of SEM, vice-chair of ASME Committee on Photonics Systems, and Co-chair of the ASME Symposia on Education in Mechatronics and MEMS.

John Zeugner
Professor of History
John Zeugner, completed his undergraduate degree in 1959 at Harvard College. He spent the next eight years free lance writing in Florida, with brief intervals on active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, or editing for American Heritage Magazine, or serving as a tennis pro in Sarasota, Florida. He returned to graduate school in 1967, finishing a masters and doctorate in American Studies and American history in 1971 from Florida State University, when he began as an assistant professor at WPI, teaching 20th century American cultural and diplomatic history.

As a Fulbright Senior Lecturer at Osaka and Kobe universities in Japan from 1976 to 1978 his interest in Asia was vastly increased. He returned to that country as an invited visiting professor at Keio University in Tokyo from 1981 to 1983, and at Kobe College from 1994 to 1995. He initiated and served as a first faculty advisor at WPI's overseas project sites in London (1987, '90, '91), Venice ('89, '90, '97), Taipei, Hong Kong, and Bangkok ('91-'95), Tokyo and Kobe ('95-'96) Melbourne ('94) and Ho Chi Minh City ('94). He did the preliminary exploration that led to the WPI Project site in Coimbatore, India in 1996. He was director of the Asian project efforts from 1989 to 1996. Seven times teams he has advised have won the President's IQP award competition at WPI. He won the Trustees Outstanding Teaching Award in 1985, and was the first recipient of the Trustees Advising Award in 1991. His publications include fiction, journalism, and scholarly articles. He has been awarded a National Endowment For the Arts Discovery Grant for fiction, and has been listed in Who's Who in America since 1985.

Synopsis - Globalization, Technology, and Culture
An inquiry, through anecdotes, of the practice and theory of globalization, technology, and culture. Although much as been attributed to information technology-the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Asian Economic Crisis of 1997-2001; the mummification of the Japanese Economy-this globalized technology's most lasting impact may be its reconfiguration and packaging of what has been called "knowledge." Utilizing the writings of Bell, Rifkin, Barber, Iyer, Friedman, Hoogevelt, Rosecrance, Johnson, and McLuhan the paper provides a post-industrial, post-modern, probe of the sentiment, "We've got algorithm, we've got music - who could ask for anything more?"

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Last modified: Jan 14, 2005, 15:46 EST