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Cat opens new data innovation lab at U of I

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Caterpillar Inc. on Thursday opened its first data innovation lab in Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The lab brings together resources from key fields for the company’s research and development  efforts, including engineering, computer science, operations research and statistics, to drive innovative development through data analysis.

The announcement builds upon work underway at Caterpillar’s existing simulation center, also located on the Urbana-Champaign campus, which operates in conjunction with the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Work at the new data innovation lab will focus on exploration of emerging and disruptive data-based technologies, as well as advanced analytics technologies, demonstrated through proof of concept projects, the company said in a news release.

“We are thrilled to announce the grand opening of our data innovation lab here at the University of Illinois and look forward to further collaboration with our university partners and researchers,” said Gwenne Henricks, chief technology officer and vice president of Product  Development & Global Technology for Caterpillar. “By examining the world of data analytics, we can uncover hidden insights on how our customers use our products and services, and deliver that feedback to our product and customer support teams to drive better solutions and further our R&D efforts.”

“Caterpillar has been a tremendous partner with the U of I – ours is a strategic relationship that helps drive success at our respective institutions,” said University of Illinois Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Peter Schiffer. “The Research Park is a natural fit for a tech-focused company like Caterpillar, and this new innovation lab will leverage Illinois strengths in computing and data analysis in exciting ways.”

The new lab also expands upon the existing recruitment efforts with the university to engage future science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent through additional research and development opportunities, and is a key component of the company’s innovation strategy.

As work at the data innovation lab evolves, more information will be made available about the various activities that take place there.