Wentworth unveils new undergraduate tech lab

Wentworth President Zorica Pantic in the new server room.
Wentworth President Zorica Pantic in the new server room.

Today, Wentworth Institute of Technology is opening up a new technology lab that aims to serve as a networking training ground to give its students an opportunity to experience, first-hand, the types of situations they will face during careers in IT, cybersecurity, and data management.

The Altschuler Computer Center will allow students to simulate live action issues such as building a network, hacking into it, and applying  patches in a protected environment. Students will have access to 35 Cisco switches, 30 Cisco routers, 20 Dell servers, five Cisco Nexus switches, and one EMC storage array, as well as other various instruments, tools, and supplies. The lab also allows students to build miniature versions of mega data farms that exist at companies like Google and Amazon.

Charlie Wiseman, Wentworth’s assistant professor of computer science and computer networking, said of the Altschuler Center: “The big picture of the new center is to give students practical experience, even more practical, industry-based, hands-on experience than we were doing, by letting them work with the type of computing equipment that you’ll find out there in the industry.”

“The outcome is that students will be far better prepared to go join the workplace from day one,” Wiseman added. “The won’t need to go to a company and spend six months getting trained before they can do their job, they are already going to have the skills that they need.”

The new computer center was made possible by a $1 million donation from Wentworth alumnus Samuel Altschuler and his wife, Nancy.  Altschuler is the president of Altschuler Financial Services in Lexington, and the founder and former chairman and president of Boston’s Altron Inc., a manufacturer of products used in advanced electronic equipment (which eventually merged with Sanmina, a West Coast based electronic manufacturing company).

“To my knowledge, there are no other undergraduate programs that have a computer center or lab space like this,” Wiseman said.

Dennis Keohane was a Senior Staff Writer for BetaBoston.
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