Proposal

Introduction

Proposal ID 2015-055
Submitted January 16, 2015
Owner whatguts
Department Mechanical Engineering
Category Machinery & Research
Funding Status Fully Funded
Metric Score 3.55

Contacts

Primary
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Eamon McQuaide
  • Instrument Maker Lead
  • eamonm@u.washington.edu
  • (206) 543-5548
  • 352600
Budget
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Sue Chen
  • Treasury Administrator
  • suechen@u.washington.edu
  • (206) 543- 6835
  • 352600
Dean
  • Name
  • Title
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Mailbox
  • Brian Fabien
  • Associate Dean
  • fabien@u.washington.edu
  • (206) 543-6915
  • 352600

Descriptions

Abstract

COMPUTER LABS – A critically integral element of the UW EcoCAR program necessitates the use of engineering software that can only run on computers with appropriate computing power. Every student involved is expected to be involved in the design, analysis, and testing of an engineering system. Engineering industry employers not only expect that graduates to have some degree of modeling and design experience, but also demonstrate initiative in implementing this work in a real-world project. UW EcoCAR needs new computers not only for engineering work, but also to facilitate communications and business functions in project management and competition deliverable reporting.

UW EcoCAR is the first and only automotive program of its kind offered at the University of Washington, which draws in students from several departments. Engineering students involved in UW EcoCAR prepare preliminary designs, analyze and revise them to fit engineering criteria, and eventually implement the approved design to the vehicle. Following the completion of the vehicle, the car is tested by student-drivers, and vehicle data is collected. The data is used to analyze, optimize, and refine the performance and fuel-efficiency of the vehicle. The vehicle is shipped to the year-end competition location, where the team competes against 15 other nationally ranked universities.

The drawing and design of our vehicle hinges on the use of CAD, stress testing and optimization relies on Siemens NX, and testing our electrical circuits and currents require Simscape. All of these programs critically depend upon high powered computing that is difficult with the majority of computers in UW EcoCAR computer lab. UW EcoCAR hopes to obtain new hardware (e.g. improved RAM, Processors etc.) to maintain the current computers we use, so we do not waste funding on unnecessary costs. Additionally, UW EcoCAR would benefit from installing General Lab PCs to allow greater student accessibility to run smaller scale engineering software and draft competition deliverables.

Category Justification

This proposal falls under the category of Computer Labs. The heavy duty Workstation PCs are specifically used for CAD design, controls, simulation, and modeling. The General Lab PCs will be used for smaller scale engineering work, engineering software training, writing competition deliverable reports, and drafting competition presentations. PC upgrades will better allow us to use our older Workstation PCs without having to spend more money for new computers. Miscellaneous items such as keyboards, mice, and a projector are necessary for the computers we will be building and because our current computer accessories are obsolete and broken.

Background

UW EcoCAR is a student organization competing in EcoCAR 3, a four-year program (2014-2018) in which the U.S. DOE and GM challenge 16 North American universities to redesign a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid electric car following a real-world Vehicle Development Process. The team consists of 101 students from a diverse range of academic backgrounds. UW EcoCAR is supported and endorsed by the Mechanical Engineering Department, Electrical Engineering Department, Communications Department, Art and Graphic Design Department, and the Michael G. Foster School of Business. Students benefit from this program because it challenges students with multi-faceted, real world problems. It is one of the few projects offered at the UW that gives students the opportunity to work with students from a variety of academic disciplines to build a real world product.

UW EcoCAR has enjoyed tremendous success since its inception in 2011, competing against 15 top engineering universities with 30+ years of experience in the Advanced Vehicle Technology Competitions. UW EcoCAR took second place in the EcoCAR 2 competition last year, and won 8 individual engineering awards.

UW EcoCAR markets our program and resources internally in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Art and Graphic Design, Communications, and Business departments. In Fall 2014, UW EcoCAR recruited over 100 students in the first month of the quarter. Also, UW EcoCAR Communications and Business teams are responsible for marketing the EcoCAR program and its resources to students in the school. UW EcoCAR Communications team manages several social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter to market the program to students. UW EcoCAR Business team works with the Art & Graphic Design team to craft hard copy advertisements and fliers to distribute to students.

Engineering a car requires intensive mathematical calculations and simulations. The students utilize specialized software such as CAD, Mathworks MATLAB, Simscape, and Siemens NX to make these functions possible. However, the current computers available in the UW EcoCAR computer lab do not have the processing power to efficiently run the software listed above nor the hard disk space to store the data produced. UW EcoCAR has been using outdated hardware that has been passed down from the ME department and independently purchased by students.

UW EcoCAR needs hardware powerful enough to sustain the software that is required for engineering projects, which is why we are requesting new workstations and computers. Moreover, having new workstations will alleviate the critical shortage UW EcoCAR is experiencing. The older computers can be upgraded to meet the processing demands and will be used more towards training and research purposes. Overall, new and upgraded CAD workstations for UW EcoCAR would allow students to more efficiently conduct their research and complete their competition projects.

Benefits to Students and the University

EcoCAR 3 started in Fall 2014. The current lack of available workstations is a major constraint to student participation, with 14 students sharing one computer for every available computer in the lab. On average, UW EcoCAR students spend 14 hours a week using these computers to run engineering programs and conduct research. Currently, all UW EcoCAR computers are consistently used and fully occupied on a daily basis. Thus, the majority of UW EcoCAR students are forced to watch instead of actively participate in the engineering design work generated on our workstations.

Receiving additional workstations and computer component upgrades will improve UW EcoCAR's ability to compete in the EcoCAR 3 competition. Upgrading the UW EcoCAR workstations with new equipment and parts will drastically reduce the waiting time for analysis to complete, and improve usability of advanced engineering software. The CAD workstations are instrumental to conducting engineering research, and ultimately designing our vehicle architecture for competition. Increasing the number of workstations as well as upgrading current workstations will enable students to more efficiently use engineering software, and produce more research and output to better compete in the competition.

UW EcoCAR will use the requested hardware to not only complete primary vehicle research, but also train incoming UW EcoCAR members on how to use relevant engineering software. With new and faster computers UW EcoCAR can improve engineering participation, allow students to better engage the Vehicle Design Process, and ultimately foster a more effective learning environment.

Departmental Endorsements

As Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, I would like to wholeheartedly endorse the EcoCAR 3 team’s STF proposal for updated PC workstations for high-powered computing for CAD design, controls, simulation and modeling of the team’s car. With the entire car modeled, the team works to make new drivetrain components for potential hybrid-electric drivetrains fit into the existing car. The team currently performs these tasks on two machines from about 3 years ago, and while they were fairly high powered back then, they are not nearly fast enough to handle this level of detail with more than one tiny subsection of the car loaded at one time. This makes the process of fitting their experimental drivetrains immensely more difficult than it needs to be.

UW EcoCAR also requires more updated desktops to handle their increase in new team members. The existing desktops are consistently filled with Mechanical Team members 3D-modeling new components, Modeling and Simulation Team members creating mathematical representations of components for use in simulations, and Controls Team members working on various new controls architectures for our new car design. With about 90 members signed up for these three teams, plus their Business Team and Communications Team and the various team leads all contributing, they would be much more productive with more high-end computers. The team would also like to upgrade their existing desktops in order to increase their performance level to better handle new software packages. This reduces the number of new computers they need to buy, and recycles a substantial portion of existing hardware.

Participating on the UW EcoCAR team is an incredibly enriching experience for students in the College of Engineering. The continued success of the EcoCAR project promotes and elevates the College of Engineering and the University of Washington. We are very proud to house EcoCAR here in the ME department, and are committed to doing everything we can to help ensure the continued success of this project.

Per Reinhall
Professor and Chair
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Installation Timeline

UW EcoCAR will submit parts orders as soon as the funds are received. The set-up of the new equipment will start as soon as possible after the parts arrive. At the latest, the full installation will be complete and operating before the commencement of the next school year.
All UW EcoCAR lab computers have been and will be maintained by the UW EcoCAR engineers. Any time a computer needs repairing, the engineering students will step in. In the case that we need to order spare parts, all expenses will be paid out from the EcoCAR fund account.

Resources Provided by Department

When UW EcoCAR began three years ago, the UW Engineering department provided a lab space, and 7 computers. At that time, UW EcoCAR was just a team of 19. While the size of our team has dramatically increased to 101 students, the quality and quantity of our workstations have remained constant. Because of the strain on resources, some students have found it extremely difficult to utilize these computers, and some have been forced to purchase their own computers in order to fully participate in this program.

EcoCAR students will be responsible for the maintenance of the computers, including both hardware and software maintenance. In the event that UW EcoCAR needs to order spare parts after the expiration of warranty, all expenses will be paid out from the EcoCAR fund account. To ensure long-term operation, all operating costs will be covered by competition funding and grants from the Mechanical Engineering department.

Access Restrictions (if any)

The EcoCAR lab is open 24/7 to EcoCAR student members, faculty advisors, GM mentors. Because of the high level of confidentiality, the EcoCAR lab will not be open to the general public, only to members who have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement with GM. The NDA requirement also applies to information stored on the EcoCAR server.

Student Endorsements

UW EcoCAR sent out a survey to student members asking for their input and valuation of getting newer and better hardware, and we generated 26 responses.

Almost all of the prevalent issues identified by the students were in line with what we have written in the proposal. Also, almost all of the answers provided were detailed and thoughtful, but since the responses are conveying the same information, we have selected a few highlights.

"This year our current resources have been strained by the expansion of our team. With so many more team members the computer lab space is almost always full. This often impedes me from getting my work done while I wait for another member to finish what they are doing. In addition, more powerful computers are needed. The current systems struggle to meet the computing power necessary for high fidelity modeling and simulation. With improved resources our projects could be completed more efficiently and to a higher standard."
Graham Arnald
Junior, Modeling and Simulation

"CAD modeling is an essential element of the work being done by the mechanical team of EcoCAR 3. Every component added to the vehicle as well as every existing vehicle component modified must first be modelled. Modifications are then simulated using CAD technology. The ability to rapidly generate and manipulate 3D models is critical to progressing through every stage of the engineering process. The limitations of our current CAD stations severely hinder progress and may eventually cause project delays. New CAD stations are very important to the future of EcoCAR."
Ryan Ahearn
Junior, Mechanical

"The resources that are available in the lab have a tremendous impact on how much members can contribute, and the quality of work that they produce. Having great technology allows us to explore and create and design in a way that is efficient and conducive to learning and building. Knowing that we have access to these resources also inspires the competitive spirit that drives the EcoCAR program; our members ask themselves, how can we use these excellent tools to ultimately develop the best machine, and grow as team members, students, and engineers?"
Hunter Goforth
Sophomore, Electrical

"I believe EcoCar3 needs much better computers because it takes an absurd amount of time (~20 minutes) to open the full car model on most of the computers, and if you are lucky you can get on a fast one which still takes around eight minutes. All the students I know on the team are all extremely hardworking, and they have very busy academic and extracurricular schedules. That being said, most of them are efficiency machines in order to keep up, and I think the computers in the lab should have the speed to match the users! A lot of my peers do not have a lot of time to spend dawdling around waiting for CAD files to load, and more powerful computers would be so amazing for the team."
Andrea Hatsukami
Sophomore, Mechanical

"Workstation computers will definitely have a huge impact on the work production rate from the Mechanical team because 90% of our work is based on rearranging car components, performing stress finite-element analysis, modifying components, adding & removing components, which are all done with CAD. Due to the immense size of the CAD file that we have received from General Motors, our current computers does not have well-equipped graphical processor to handle such complex CAD structure and so it takes typically 15-20 minutes to simply load the full car model. Majority of our work time consist of waiting for CAD file to fully load. More powerful computers with enhanced processing unit (graphical workstations and processors) will be fully appreciated by the entire Mechanical team and the effect will be felt immediately. Thank you so much!"
Hoang-Quy Ngo
Senior, Mechanical

"Improved computer systems always increases the productivity of the EcoCAR engineering group. Lost time due to long load times, clunky model navigation, and program crashes erode the efficiency of students working lab. It also has an affect on moral. A teams mood can quickly turn sour with repeated crashes and lost data. This in turn squashes the creative drive as students are forced to spend their time in the doldrums reconstructing models instead of creating new ones. Please invest in the teams computer systems to spur on innovation and education in the lab."
Derek Klock
Graduate Student, Mechanical

"Like all university students, I try to keep myself busy. There's only so many hours in a day to do all the things I want to do, and even then I find that there's never enough. When I'm sitting at the computer workstation at the EcoCAR lab, and I'm trying to do something as simple as zoom into a component and then I'm sitting there for 15 minutes waiting for the model to load, it's a lot of wasted time for me and for the team, and a lot of wasted potential for all the things I could be getting done in that time. If we had more powerful computers, and bigger monitors...there's no telling what we could accomplish."
Tracy Tran
Freshman, Mechanical

"The computers with Autonomie and MATLAB/Simulink setup are low on RAM. One of them especially with less than 4 GB RAM. This greatly affects their utility when there are more than one model open, which happens ever so often. Low-res Monitors makes it harder to navigate through large models, so high-res monitors would be preferred. Also its easier to go through documentation on a monitor with a better resolution if the images or text are too small."
Abhijith Rajiv
Graduate Student, Model and Simulation

"Joining the EcoCar3 team has given me the opportunity to get a hands-on experience in applying the fundamental ideas learned in math and science classes on to a real life project. Being able to work with programs such as NX and MATLAB allow many of my peers and I to observe an "holistic" view of engineering as opposed to just learning straight from a textbook in class. But one issue we do face is the lack of more powerful computers and work stations preventing many of us from being able to spend on quality time in the lab in order to work deliverables as well get more practice with CAD. Upgrades to the hardware and work stations will help the team's work go smoothly and would greatly help the EcoCar3 lab."
Emraj Sidhu
Sophomore, Mechanical

Items

Group Funded Item Unit price Quantity Subtotal
Workstation PC

Computer Case

$99.99 3 $299.97
Description

Make & Model: Phanteks PH-ES614P_BK

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811854003&cm_re=Phanteks_PH-ES614P_BK-_-11-854-003-_-Product

Justification

Computer cases are essential for framing the internal components of hardware requested. The computer cases are the base structure of the computers we will build and use for the lab.

Power Supply

$189.99 3 $569.97
Description

Make & Model: SeaSonic SS-1050XM2

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151110&cm_re=SeaSonic_SS-1050XM2-_-17-151-110-_-Product

Justification

Power Supply is an integral component of the computer workstations we will be putting together for our computer lab.

Workstation Motherboard

$534.99 3 $1,604.97
Description

Make & Model: ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813131817&cm_re=ASUS_Z9PE-D8_WS-_-13-131-817-_-Product

Justification

Workstation Motherboard is an integral component to the Workstation PCs we will build. The motherboard holds together sound cards, video cards, network cards, hard drives, or other forms of persistent storage for the PC.

Internal SATA SSD

$149.99 3 $449.97
Description

Make & Model: Samsung 850 EVO 250GB

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147372&cm_re=Samsung_850_EVO%u00a0250GB-_-20-147-372-_-Product

Justification

The blue prints from designing and analysis from model simulations will generate large amount of data. We need these hard drives to store them.

Intel Xeon Octo-Core Processor

$1,150.99 6 $6,905.94
Description

Make & Model: Intel E5-2650

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117266&cm_re=Intel_E5-2650_processor-_-19-117-266-_-Product

Justification

The Core Processors are the computer's source of computing power. UW EcoCAR needs these processors because they are powerful enough to handle the engineering software we use.

Nvidia Graphics Card

$549.99 3 $1,649.97
Description

Make & Model: Nvidia EVGA 04G-2981-KR

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487078&cm_re=EVGA_04G-2981-KR-_-14-487-078-_-Product

Justification

When using CAD software and Siemens NX to design the vehicle, the sheer amount of parts that has to be incorporated into each drawing (down to the nuts and bolts) is very graphic intensive. These graphics card are both powerful and durable enough to handle the workload.

Desktop Memory

$274.99 3 $824.97
Description

Make & Model: G.Skill F3-2133C10Q-32GAB

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231662&cm_re=G.Skill_F3-2133C10Q-32GAB-_-20-231-662-_-Product

Justification

Desktop Memory is crucial for everyday computer use, as it acts as memory that reads and writes data items roughly within the same time of each other. Due to the demanding nature of our engineering software, quick and sizable RAM is necessary for EcoCAR work.

LCD Monitor

$169.99 3 $509.97
Description

Make & Model: Sceptre E285W-1920

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824112026&cm_re=Sceptre_E285W-1920-_-24-112-026-_-Product

Justification

Several UW EcoCAR monitors are old and badly damaged. New LCD Monitors would greatly help student see the work they are producing.

CPU Cooler

$129.99 6 $779.94
Description

Make & Model: Corsair H110

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181035&cm_re=Corsair_H110-_-35-181-035-_-Product

Justification

The CPU Coolers will internally cool down components in the computer case in order to prevent overheating. Each computer needs a cooler in order to function for extensive periods of time without overheating.

Upgrades for current PCs

Desktop Memory

$159.99 5 $799.95
Description

Make & Model: G.Skill F3-2400C10D-16GTX

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231589&cm_re=G.Skill_F3-2400C10D-16GTX-_-20-231-589-_-Product

Justification

Our current computer workstations are unable to the store data generated from running our engineering software. Thus, upgraded desktop memory would greatly help us continue to conduct research and store more collected data.

Nvidia Graphics Card

$349.99 5 $1,749.95
Description

Make & Model: EVGA 04G-2974-KR

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487076&cm_re=EVGA_04G-2974-KR-_-14-487-076-_-Product

Justification

These new graphics card will enable the old computers process graphic intensive CAD drawings with greater efficiency.

Internal SATA SSD

$149.99 5 $749.95
Description

Make & Model: G.Skill Samsung 850 EVO

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147372&cm_re=Samsung_850_EVO-_-20-147-372-_-Product

Justification

The older computers are running out of space on their hard drive. Also, we risk hard drive failure if we continue to put the amount of strain we have been putting on these hard drive.
The blue prints from designing and analysis from model simulations will generate large amount of data. We need these hard drives to store them.

Misc.

Projector

$399.00 1 $399.00
Description

Make & Model: EUG X760+

Source: Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/EUG-Multimedia-Projector-Education-Business/dp/B00P7C6EQ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421445388&sr=8-1&keywords=EUG+X760%2B

Justification

The projector will be used to host team meetings and give presentation to competition inspectors and sponsors.

Keyboards

$14.99 5 $74.95
Description

Make & Model: Microsoft JWD-00046

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823109207&cm_re=Microsoft_JWD-00046-_-23-109-207-_-Product

Justification

The keyboards will be used in conjunction with the new computers.

Mice

$14.99 5 $74.95
Description

Make & Model: Zalman ZM-M200

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826501009&cm_re=Zalman_ZM-M200-_-26-501-009-_-Product

Justification

The mice will be used in conjunction with the new computers.

Shipping

$177.80 1 $177.80
Description

This is the shipping fee for 4-7 business days.

Justification

To get these products we need to get them shipped to us.

General Lab PC

Computer Case

$39.99 5 $199.95
Description

Make & Model: Cooler Master Elite 110

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811119299&cm_re=Cooler_Master_Elite_110-_-11-119-299-_-Product

Justification

Computer cases are the frames that store all internal computer components.

Power Supply

$124.99 5 $624.95
Description

Make & Model: Seasonic SSR-650RM

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817151118&cm_re=Seasonic_SSR-650RM-_-17-151-118-_-Product

Justification

Power Supplies will keep the lab PCs running, are are important to a system's stability and long-term reliability.

Gigabyte Desktop Motherboard

$137.99 5 $689.95
Description

Make & Model: Gigabyte GA-Z97N

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128720&cm_re=Gigabyte_GA-Z97N-_-13-128-720-_-Product

Justification

The motherboard holds together sound cards, video cards, network cards, hard drives, or other forms of persistent storage for the PC.

Intel Core i7 Quad-Core Processor

$349.99 5 $1,749.95
Description

Make & Model: Intel i7-4790K

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117369&cm_re=Intel_i7-4790K-_-19-117-369-_-Product

Justification

The Core Processors are the computer's source of computing power. UW EcoCAR needs these processors because they are powerful enough to handle the engineering software we use.

G.Skill Desktop Memory

$159.99 5 $799.95
Description

Make & Model: G.Skill F3-2400C10D-16GTX

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231589&cm_re=G.Skill_F3-2400C10D-16GTX-_-20-231-589-_-Product

Justification

Desktop Memory is crucial for everyday computer use, as it acts as memory that reads and writes data items roughly within the same time of each other. Due to the demanding nature of our engineering software, quick and sizable RAM is necessary for EcoCAR work.

Internal SATA SSD

$149.99 5 $749.95
Description

Make & Model: Samsung 850 EVO

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820147372&cm_re=Samsung_850_EVO-_-20-147-372-_-Product

Justification

The blueprints from designing and analysis from model simulations will generate large amount of data. We need these hard drives to store them.

ASUS LCD Monitor

$159.99 5 $799.95
Description

Make & Model: ASUS VN248H-P 

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236335R&cm_re=ASUS_VN248H-P-_-24-236-335R-_-Product

Justification

Several UW EcoCAR monitors are old and badly damaged. New LCD Monitors would greatly help student see the work they are producing.

Nvidia Geforce Graphics Card

$349.99 5 $1,749.95
Description

Make & Model: EVGA 04G-2974-KR

Source: Newegg.com
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814487076&cm_re=EVGA_04G-2974-KR_graphics_card-_-14-487-076-_-Product

Justification

When using CAD software and Siemens NX to design the vehicle, the sheer amount of parts that has to be incorporated into each drawing (down to the nuts and bolts) is very graphic intensive. These graphics card are both powerful and durable enough to handle the workload.

Total requested: $24,986.82

Total funded: $24,986.82

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