It was the mid-1960s and Nicholas “Nick” Donofrio G’71, H’11 described it as a “great time” for electrical engineers. They were in huge demand and the young graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute took a job at IBM in Poughkeepsie, New…
Roger Schmidt Joins College of Engineering and Computer Science
Roger Schmidt, a member of the National Academy of Engineers, has joined the faculty at the College of Engineering and Computer Science. A retired IBM Fellow, Schmidt is world-renowned for his expertise in heat transfer, specifically related to thermal cooling of computer systems.
Schmidt was first introduced to Syracuse University in 2008 through a collaboration between SU, IBM and New York State to create a Green Data Center at Skytop. This living laboratory—with its own electrical tri-generation system—was designed to use 50 percent less energy than a typical computer center. The green data center is currently being used as the University’s primary computing facility.
“Every company in the world is using data centers—but they use a ton of power. A large part of my role at IBM in the last few years had been helping our clients reduce their energy and be more efficient, but there is still so much more to be done,” says Schmidt.
Schmidt, who has been serving on the advisory board for the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, is excited to bring his expertise to the college and help train a future generation of engineers and computer scientists to understand complex data centers. Schmidt will begin by teaching a fall, 500-level course called “Data Centers: Infrastructure Design and Energy Efficiency” that will include students with backgrounds in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science.
“There are almost 10 million data centers in the world, using 2-3 percent of the world’s electricity to run them—and there aren’t many places teaching a course on it,” says Schmidt. “I am hoping we can get it started and it will be a learning process for me too.”
Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2005, Schmidt earned his M.S. and Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota in heat transfer under Professor Ephraim Sparrow.