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Gift to Support Advanced Visualization Laboratory in New Engineering Building

By Mary Cochrane

Release Date: November 29, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences has received a $100,000 gift to name the advanced visualization networking systems laboratory in the school's new building, slated for completion in 2011.

Michael Keller, president of Keller Technology in Tonawanda, N.Y., said he and his family made the donation as an expression of gratitude to UB for the many graduates he has hired to be staff engineers at the company, which provides custom automation systems and machinery design, engineering and manufacturing services.

"Our company has benefited tremendously from hiring highly skilled engineering graduates from the university," Keller said. "We are excited to give back to UB Engineering, which is a vital catalyst for the region's economy and of prime importance to New York State and beyond."

Keller attended Lehigh University, where UB Engineering Dean Harvey Stenger served as dean of the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science before becoming dean at the UB school in 2006.

"We are grateful to the entire Keller family for their generosity," Stenger said. "Thanks to them, the engineering school will be able to provide the top-flight technology and equipment needed to train future engineers who will grow into a robust work force."

Advanced visualization is an interdisciplinary science that "develops effective methodologies to show scientific, medical, interactive multimedia, educational and artistic data to communicate both abstract and concrete ideas," according to Aidong Zhang, professor and chair of the computer science and engineering department.

"It includes techniques for creating images, diagrams, graphs and animations to communicate a data message," Zhang said. "The topics and concepts of visualization are synergies of computer graphics, information engineering, imaging science, human perception and cognition, numerical analysis, animation techniques, pattern analysis and visual computing. The applications are typically in computer graphics, but far beyond as well."

Zhang said the new advanced visualization lab will "significantly leverage the various existing faculty research strengths, such as computer vision, pattern recognition, multimedia computing, human-computer interaction, smart environment and database.

"The lab will also support cutting-edge networking research, in particular, developing distributed robust and resilient wireless sensor network services and applications," she said.

Keller Technology was founded in 1918 by Joseph and his son, Arthur P. Keller Sr. Today, Arthur "Bud" Keller Jr. -- grandson of Joseph and father of Michael, Peter and Kathie Keller -- is company chairman. Peter Keller is vice president of the company and Kathie Keller is treasurer.

Michael Keller's family includes his wife, Marilee, and their children: Mark; Libby, MBA '02; and Scott, BA '01. Michael's children and Peter's son, Barnaby, represent the fifth generation of the Keller family to work for the business.

The new engineering building will serve as a home for two closely allied departments: electrical engineering, and computer science and engineering, which have worked collaboratively for many years.