Dr. Tom Kurfess
Dr. Thomas Kurfess

Making Chips, The Digital Future of Manufacturing

Presentation Time: August 13, 8:00 - 9:00 AM


Manufacturing has been identified as President Obama’s number one priority, as it is critical for the economic prosperity and national security of the United States of America. Dr. Thomas Kurfess, who served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America, was the technical lead for the President on the current federal efforts related to manufacturing. Dr. Kurfess will present an overview of the Administration’s endeavors in advancing manufacturing with a focus on the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) which was discussed in the 2013 State of the Union Address. The NNMI will be presented as it relates to the historic development of interests in manufacturing, and its place in the overall federal manufacturing strategy identifying the technical and cultural strengths of the Nation that can be leveraged to strengthen the country’s manufacturing base.

One of these strengths is the Cyber Physical Systems infrastructure that is currently available and rapidly expanding. Professor Kurfess will discuss how such technologies can be employed to move manufacturing completely into a digital domain by employing digital models, in conjunction with readily available High Performance Computing (HPC) platforms (e.g., multi-core, GPU, and cloud) to enable rapid process and production planning for use in both cost estimation/quoting and, ultimately, production and verification. For cloud manufacturing, this will enable even the smallest and least sophisticated manufacturing node in the cloud to rapidly respond to large number of quote requests for complex parts utilizing low cost cyber infrastructure resources that are currently available and expanding on a daily basis. Furthermore, this capability will enable designers and manufacturers to optimize their performance including minimizing costs, energy consumption, waste generation (scrap and chips), and material utilization (light weight designs), ultimately opening-up new markets and business models for local SME’s that currently employ the majority of many local population segments.

Biographical Sketch:

Thomas R. Kurfess received his S.B., S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from M.I.T. in 1986, 1987 and 1989, respectively. He also received an S.M. degree from M.I.T. in electrical engineering and computer science in 1988. Following graduation, he joined Carnegie Mellon University where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor. In 1994 he moved to the Georgia Institute of Technology where he rose to the rank of Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. In 2005 he was named Professor and BMW Chair of Manufacturing in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research. In 2012 he returned to Georgia Tech where he was appointed the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control and Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 2013. During 2012-2013 he was on leave serving as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President of the United States of America. In this position he had responsibility for engaging the Federal sector and the greater scientific community to identify possible areas for policy actions related to manufacturing. He was responsible for coordinating Federal advanced manufacturing R&D, addressing issues related to technology commercialization, identifying gaps in current Federal R&D in advanced manufacturing, and developing strategies to address these gaps. He has served as a special consultant of the United Nations to the Government of Malaysia in the area of applied mechatronics and manufacturing, and as a participating guest at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in their Precision Engineering Program. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences. His research focuses on the design and development of advanced systems targeting the automotive sector (OEM and supplier) including vehicle and production systems. He has significant experience in high precision manufacturing and metrology systems. He has received numerous awards including a National Science Foundation (NSF) Young Investigator Award, an NSF Presidential Faculty Fellowship Award, the ASME Pi Tau Sigma Award, SME Young Manufacturing Engineer of the Year Award, the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award, the ASME Gustus L. Larson Award, an ASME Swanson Federal Award, and the SME Education Award. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, the SME and the ASME.

Thomas R. Kurfess, Ph.D., P.E.
HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control and Professor
George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia   USA