- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2001

Japanese technology firm Fujitsu Ltd. will announce today its plans to spend $3.5 million to open an advanced computer technology research lab at the University of Maryland at College Park.

Scientists at Fujitsu, the world's third-largest information technology company with $6 billion in U.S. sales last year, will work in a private commercial lab. The same facility also will house a second research lab where students and Fujitsu scientists will work together on projects.

"It's a complex exchange, but it works well in terms of developing science on the campus and developing products in the company. This is just what the University of Maryland wants to do," says Steve Halperin, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the university.

It will be Fujitsu's ninth research lab, but its second U.S. facility. The company opened a lab in Silicon Valley in 1993, and the College Park facility is scheduled to open April 1.

Other companies working with universities include Hewlett-Packard Co. and Compaq Computer Corp., both of which have a research lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"It's been a long time since any of the biggies have opened a new research facility," Mr. Halperin says.

Fujitsu's California lab doesn't work closely with either a college of university. In College Park, Fujitsu will work with the University of Maryland to start test environments and carry out field experiments.

Research at the College Park labs will focus on developing technology to advance the evolution of the Internet and develop computers that perform functions people find useful.

The first project at the labs will focus on pervasive computing, said Kazuhiro Matsuo, vice president of Fujitsu Laboratories of America. The Maryland labs also will work on wireless computing, network security, bio-informatics and quantum computing projects.

Mr. Matsuo says some of that research could produce Fujitsu spinoff companies.

Fujitsu says it decided to locate at the College Park campus because it considers the University of Maryland one of America's leading computer technology research institutions. In its most recent survey of colleges and universities, U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Maryland's undergraduate engineering program 22nd among U.S. colleges and universities. The engineering school's aerospace program ranked 11th.

Fujitsu's search for a university it could team up with on research projects led it also to consider MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Princeton University.

Officials at the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development say the department's role was limited to introducing Fujitsu to the University of Maryland and informing the company about worker training programs and the state's research and development tax credit.

"By establishing its new research institute here, Fujitsu both recognizes the state's information technology strengths and is helping solidify our reputation as an important technology center for years to come," David Iannucci, secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, says in a statement.

Fujitsu will have nine employees at the lab when it opens next month. By 2004, the facility in College Park will employ 40 people and have a $10 million operating budget.

About 15 students will work at the lab, Mr. Halperin says.

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