International Graduate Students Collaborate on the Future of Smart Manufacturing

In the spring of 2018, Broadcom Foundation continued its renowned University Student Research Workshops to delve deep into smart manufacturing in the era of Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  As machines become increasingly automated, energy use is on the rise, requiring critical thinking and collaboration about sustaining the global economy, the environment and quality of life.

The 2018 Asia Pacific Student University Workshop is an international, interdisciplinary convening of graduate students from the University of California, Irvine, CA, the National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, and the University of Hong Kong, China. The Workshop included 22 student participants of diverse academic backgrounds and skills and guest speakers and judges from industry, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), Syntiant Corporation and OCTANE.

“Climate Change, Energy Scarcity, Cyber Security and Sustainability all require innovation in Smart Manufacturing through collaborative research and development between industry and academia to inspire the next generation to innovate in new ways in order to meet global grand challenges through unprecedented breakthrough solutions,” said Paula Golden, President of Broadcom Foundation.

Student-led teams brainstormed, collaborated and presented on three topics: Smart Manufacturing Operation, Smart Workforce for Manufacturing and Smart Engineering for a Sustainable Environment.

“I was so excited to see the enthusiasm and energy from all the students in tackling these challenges. Their team effort combined with creative and fearless ideas in problem solving inspire me to constantly challenge myself to be a better person,” said G.P. Li, Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UCI and Director, California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).

The Smart Manufacturing Operation team developed new systems that would allow for the growth of renewable energy sources with a minimal increase in energy usage.  The Smart Workforce for Manufacturing team developed new systems that allow for industry productivity growth while facilitating an adaptive life-long learning environment for workers.  Finally, the Smart Engineering for Sustainable Environment team developed new systems that allow for manufacturing growth with minimal increase in materials use and global greenhouse gas emissions. Each team presented their solutions to a panel of judges that included a lively Q&A.

Following rounds of intense debates and constant collaboration to develop a novel approach to a workforce with rapid productivity, the Smart Workforce for Manufacturing team won the big prize!

“They all learned how to apply what they have learned in their graduate studies to solve challenging problems, and how to think outside of a box as a team in coming up with solutions. Most importantly, they learned to be responsible engineers and scientists for meeting global challenging issues,” said Li.

“We are experimenting with the workshop format with our university partners around the word.  In my opinion, this was the best workshop we have had to date in terms of vision for the future of manufacturing technologies, the cross-fertilization of ideas, the successful integration of diversity in student participation and the enthusiasm of the faculty and staff involved,” said Nick Alexopoulos, VP for Academic Programs & University Relations, Broadcom Foundation.  “On top of it all, the social activities were outstanding in helping to create long-lasting friendships amongst all students.”

Watch highlights of the 2018 Asia Pacific Student Workshop here: https://youtu.be/ySuXYNq4Erk