New master’s program cutting edge

Published in the Post-Tribune on July 20, 2012
By the Wes Lukoshus, Post-Tribune

Wes Lukoshus

One of the great challenges facing 21st-century higher education and this rapidly-changing society is preparing students for innovative jobs and careers that have yet to emerge.

But Purdue University Calumet is on it. In fact, debuting in August at PUC’s Hammond campus is a new master’s degree in modeling, simulation and visualization. The program will expose students to sophisticated technological concepts and help them develop problem-solving skills for virtual analysis of work-place challenges. Approved last spring by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the new graduate degree is the first in Indiana. The interdisciplinary offering will combine knowledge and expertise from several scientific disciplines.

Niaz Latif, PUC’s dean of the School of Technology and former associate vice chancellor of Research and Graduate Studies, said the new program is in response to “a critical need to educate and develop professionals who can incorporate advance technologies and collaborate with professionals from other disciplines to solve real-world industrial and societal problems.” The MSV degree will equip graduates with skills essential to visualization designers, engineers, technologists, business intelligence developers, software consultants and computer scientists, professionals in transportation, education, marketing and health care, and fields yet to be defined.

Undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, medical-health care and business-management-related fields provide solid preparation for the MSV curriculum. PUC’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation will serve as a laboratory for students enrolled in the program. The center provides state-of-the-art modeling simulation techniques combined with 3D visualization and virtual-reality technologies.

“Students not only will have hands-on experiences in learning these advanced technologies, but also opportunities to apply them to solve real-world problems,” said Chenn Zhou, CIVS director, professor and interim associate vice chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies. Since 2009, industrial clients have used CIVS resources to save more than $30 million in production and operating costs. Admission continues for the upcoming fall semester, which begins Monday, Aug. 20. For more information about graduate-school opportunities at PUC, visit online or contact Joy Colwell, director of graduate studies, at 989-2257 or