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UTC joins Calif. research consortium

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United Technologies Corp. (UTC) recently announced its participation in a new research consortium that is studying how engineers can better integrate complex software, hardware and mechanical components to create the next generation of systems design.

Besides UTC, other institutions contributing to the program — dubbed the Industrial Cyber Physical System (iCyPhy) — include IBM Corp., which is based in Armonk, N.Y., the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley.

Clas Jacobson, chief scientist of controls for UTC, said the Berkeley-based consortium is the first of its kind in the realm of system and controls engineering. As complex machinery continues to utilize sophisticated software, Jacobson said the group is hoping to identify and develop new techniques to make engineering products more efficient, cost-effective and easier to build.

Officials of the group, which was formed in January, hope to soon publish its research results for the benefit of the entire industry and academia on a continuing basis. Jacobson said he anticipates the company will also hire graduates who contribute to the program.

UTC has several academic partnerships, but Jacobson said the company chose to partner with the California universities as the two are on the leading edge of system and controls research. Additionally, UTC has had a long relationship with the schools though its Berkley-based research facility, he said.

“We’re trying to establish an ecosystem of people working in this area, who are researching the underlying mathematics and methodology that will help with product development,” Jacobson said. “We need to have new capabilities, methodology and tools.”

UTC, which is based in Hartford, is the parent company of aircraft and aerospace manufacturers Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Pratt & Whitney.

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