Last week we commemorated the 30-year partnership between TI and the Georgia Institute of Technology with a celebration of our recent $3.2M gift toward a new maker space lab and plaza. In the spirit of #ThrowbackThursday, we are taking a look back at this rich history and how it has resulted in industry (and student!) innovation. Here are the 5 ways Georgia Tech and TI fuel world innovation.

5. Georgia Tech was the birthplace of the TI University Program in the United States.

(Left to right) Georgia Tech faculty Russ Mersereau, Ron Schafer and Tom Barnwell work on signal processing filter algorithms in the Georgia Tech labs, circa 1984.

The TI University Program was created in 1982 to support the advancement of engineering education through partnerships with top engineering schools across the world. 

The relationship between TI and Georgia Tech began shortly afterward, when the first digital signal processor (DSP) evaluation module (EVM) shipped to a university from TI went to professors Tom Barnwell (pictured below) and Ron Schafer at Georgia Tech. The team shared a vision that teaching signal processing using real-time examples on TI DSP EVMs in the classroom would expand on simulation and help students understand the abstract theories they were learning in class. It also led to one of Georgia Tech’s first startup companies, Atlanta Signal Processors Inc. (ASPI).

4. Georgia Tech brought the study of DSP into the hands of undergraduate students.

Tom Barnwell holding a DSP board on the cover of the GATECH Research Horizons magazine.

The group, joined by other faculty — including Jim McClellan, who helped connect both Rice University and MIT to Georgia Tech’s efforts — moved the study of DSP out of the Ph.D.-level courses in mathematics into a hands-on teaching curriculum at the undergraduate level in electrical and computer engineering (ECE).

The “DSP First” curriculum, launched at Georgia Tech, enabled students to study signals and systems in their early undergraduate education.  This allowed students to “get their feet wet” with engineering principles and also produced the pre-requisite needed for teaching real-time DSP hands on systems in third and fourth year undergraduate education.

“Learning DSP was previously very theoretical and abstract, while real-time examples help the student understand, at the next level, what is happening,” said Craig Richardson, one of Ron Schafer’s Ph.D. students and later president of ASPI. “Working with real-time hardware and software reinforced the basic principles and made them come alive.”  Craig came back to Georgia Tech to hire many students with these skills.

Over the years Georgia Tech students have used a variety of analog and embedded systems to discover new areas of innovation in the classroom, leading Georgia Tech and TI into new areas of research and use for our technology.

3. TI & Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering continue to be forward-thinking global leaders and innovators.

Past TI senior vice president Del Whitaker, past provost and vice president of academic affairs Michael
Thomas and past ECE vice chair Al Connelly celebrate Georgia Tech’s participation in the
TI Graduate Fellows Program in Analog Integrated Circuit Design, circa 1998.

Since its beginnings, Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering (COE) has been focused on providing an environment for students that nurtures experiential, project-based learning and professional leadership.  The COE is consistently ranked among the country’s top 10 engineering institutions and ECE ranks in the top five.

Historically, the faculty and instructors at Georgia Tech have worked closely with TI in ground breaking analog advancements.  In 1998, TI helped establish a program to aid the development of new analog designs.  On the embedded systems side, TI established the DSP Leadership Universities Program in 1999 to pioneer advanced DSP research with Georgia Tech, Rice University and MIT to explore new research areas. This program became a new model for industry research collaboration between corporations and universities.  These relationships have grown through the years – uncovering new knowledge that has impacted the industry as a whole.

2. Georgia Tech is producing top engineers who will solve technology design challenges that address global problems.

Students from Georgia Tech’s Opportunity Research Scholars Program.

The future needs great engineers who are world changers, and we’ve seen many of the greats come from Georgia Tech to work as our customers and also to work at TI; in fact, Georgia Tech is the number one out-of-state university with alumni working within TI’s walls.

Like Georgia Tech, TI engineers are changing the world.  For the past 80 years, innovation is a thread that runs through everything TI develops, and since its beginning, the Georgia Tech College of Engineering has kept innovation at the forefront of everything it does.

1. New TI Maker Space will allow for hands-on learning and continuing innovation.

Renderings of the new TI Plaza and Maker Space

While Georgia Tech is important to TI’s history, this institution is also important to our future and the future of innovation in the world.

With this in mind, we have pledged a $3.2M gift to the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which has gone toward the development of state-of-the-art teaching and project labs – the “Texas Instruments Maker Space” – to be housed within Georgia Tech’s Van Leer building, home for its ECE school. The contribution will also aid construction of the new “Texas Instruments Plaza,” to be located near the Van Leer building.

Today, as we celebrate the 30-year history between Georgia Tech and TI, we also celebrate all the future holds as we continue to uncover new technological advancements and push the boundaries of what’s possible through this collaboration.