Project Book


Taylor Hall, built in 1927, occupies an excellent location on the UT Main Campus at Speedway and 24th Streets. The four-story, 36,000 net square foot building houses the Department of Computer Sciences. Taylor Hall Annex, a one-and-a-half story addition made a few years later, was occupied by Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics, a graduate research and teaching center.

TICAM, the Department of Computer Sciences, as well as the Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering have an urgent need for more space. TICAM is one of the nation's leading academic research programs in computational sciences; Computer Sciences is the 7th ranked department in the country--only Berkeley ranks higher among public universities--and outstanding young faculty in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are addressing key problems in software engineering and telecommunications. The limiting factor to their continued progress is space.

The April 1997 University Development Plan assigned high priority to the construction of a $50 million 228,300 gross square feet Digital Sciences and Engineering (DISC) Building. It would provide a badly needed interdisciplinary setting for TICAM, Computer Sciences, Electrical and Computer Engineering. At the time, the University did not have a location or funding for the proposed DISC Building.

The Role of the O’Donnell Foundation

The O'Donnell Foundation obtained the necessary approval from the UT System Board of Regents to execute a lease agreement with the University for the Taylor Hall Annex site.

The foundation demolished Taylor Hall Annex and is replacing it with a five-story 180,000 gross square foot building. Construction will take no more than 20 months. When completed, the O'Donnell Foundation will donate the building, in move-in condition, to the University with the understanding that it be used to house research programs in computational and applied mathematics and computing and computational sciences and engineering being conducted in TICAM, Computer Sciences and Computer Engineering.

The building is intended to give UT the edge in recruiting top faculty and graduate students. In order to incorporate the best features of advanced research facilities, the design team and UT faculty visited Stanford and Berkeley, visited with Deans of Engineering at MIT and Cornell, and toured corporate research facilities, including the Kilby Research Center at TI, Silicon Graphics research campus in Mountainview, California and DEC's Science Research Center in Palo Alto, the Texaco and Exxon Visualization centers in Houston and Dell and Sematech in Austin.

The building will help resolve urgent near-term space needs. It will add significant value to a prime campus location, and do so at less cost and in less time than usual on public campuses. It will be a major step forward in providing a world-class facility for critical interdisciplinary research. However, it is not intended by the O'Donnell Foundation that it replace construction of the proposed DISC Building. The foundation urges the University to give priority to building the DISC Building.

The Faculty Describe their Academic Mission

We believe that the scientific and technological problems of the next century require an approach to research that transcends the traditional boundaries of academic departments drawing freely from a broad pool of intellectual resources. Future advances in science and technology will be made by interdisciplinary teams of scholars and researchers.

Our goal is to organize our resources, human and material, to solve some of the most difficult and important scientific and technological problems of our time.

We believe that the science and technology of computing, and especially its application to scientific and engineering problems, are critical to achieving our goal and that the collective intellectual disciplines underpinning these areas will continue to be essential through the next century and beyond.

To foster interdisciplinary efforts in the computing and computational sciences, we will develop a special university environment in which core computing technologies can be integrated with projects in the computational sciences to obtain highly focused and effective academic and research units. Significant strength exists in the core computing areas and across the computational sciences at The University of Texas. A new facility that brings these intellectual and academic resources together will greatly enhance our ability to achieve our goal.

The Building

The new building is to provide a world‑class facility for interdisciplinary research and graduate study. This building will bring together faculty, graduate students and research resources from three closely related programs at the University of Texas: TICAM, Computer Sciences Department, and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.

TICAM is creating interdisciplinary research groups, drawing specialists in core technologies in mathematics and computation, and specialists in application areas.   Each research group is a research center within TICAM. The number and scope of centers is evolving as technology advances.

Computer Sciences and Computer Engineering, in collaboration with TICAM, provide research and academic groups that will advance the state of the art in software engineering, visualization and graphics, intelligent systems, and parallel and distributed systems. These core technologies are relatively stable areas that encompass many specific research projects. By housing these three groups together, research in both the core technologies and computational sciences will be strengthened through meaningful collaboration on joint interdisciplinary projects.

This exciting interdisciplinary research community will provide a fertile environment for graduate education: training the next generation of scholars, scientists, and engineers. We are confident that this research and educational environment will establish the University of Texas as a leader in Computer and Computational Sciences and Engineering.


To implement our strategy, the building will accommodate the research centers and CS/ECE Core Technology research units shown below. The topics illustrate significant overlap and commonality of purpose.   They provide opportunities for sharing space and facilities. The building includes offices for academic and industrial visitors and post docs, as well as generous use of open discussion areas and open seminar rooms. The building will also house TICAM administrative and technical offices.

TICAM Research CentersCS Research AreasECE Research Areas
Subsurface ModelingSoftware EngineeringSoftware Engineering
Computational VisualizationVisualization and GraphicsTelecommunications
Fluid DynamicsIntelligent Systems and RoboticsIntelligent Systems
Interdisciplinary MathematicsParallel and Distributed ComputationParallel and Distributed Systems
Numerical AnalysisNumerical Analysis
Simulation Based Engineering
Synthetic Environments for Fluid Flow
Computational Finance
Computational Biology

The Concept

“We are in the midst of a great revolution in the practice of engineering. It is a revolution of such scale and significance that it will certainly be recorded by historians of science and technology as one of the most important developments of the twentieth century; one that forever changed the way engineering and science is done and that impacts every facet of our professional and private lives. Precisely, it is the use of computers to simulate physical events and engineering systems and the use of these simulations in engineering analysis and design.”

Mathematical Modeling and Computer Simulation: The Revolution in Engineering Analysis and Design, Dr. J. Tinsley Oden, February, 1994

Application of the Concept

“At Lockheed Martin’s fighter plant in Fort Worth, engineers assemble the plane [a prototype of the Joint Strike Fighter] virtually in seconds, using powerful 3-dimensional modeling software that could make fighter design cheaper, faster and easier."

“Payoffs could be vast, said Mr. Woody Sconyers, director of virtual product development. The cost and time of development could be cut in half, and maintenance time could fall 30 percent.”

Instant Offense: Imaging Software Helps Lockheed Engineers Design Fighter Jet, Dallas Morning News, February 9, 1998


State of the art equipment and systems that stay state of the art

Work on the first day

User friendly

Capacity for growth

Ability to upgrade quickly and economically

Flexibility to efficiently handle change and unexpected developments

Internally the building will function as an interdisciplinary graduate research center in computational science and engineering, mathematical modeling, applied mathematics, software engineering and computational visualization.

Externally the building is to be in harmony with the University of Texas campus.

The building’s most important product will be excellent graduate students.

Corporate Contributions that Make the Difference

The technology infrastructure is the most critical element in a building dedicated to research in computational sciences and advanced computing engineering.

The University of Texas is extremely fortunate that LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES has committed significant and very generous contributions of equipment, as well as their considerable expertise, to ensure the networking and telecommunications systems are the best that can be built.

This building at UT Austin is the first location in the country to receive Lucent’s new state of the art LazrSPEED Fiber Optic Cable which runs at 10 Gbps. Both the LazrSPEED fiber and Lucent’s SYSTIMAX GigaSPEED copper cable (1.2 Gbps) will be available at all desktops throughout the building, as well as in the research labs, conference rooms, auditorium and electronic seminar room. In addition, the building’s sophisticated audio/visual system will operate over Lucent’s SYSTIMAX GigaSPEED network.

Lucent is planning a “just in time” installation, thus providing the most advanced networking and telecommunications systems available on opening day. The cabling will be laid by specially-trained Lucent installers. To ensure continued high performance of the cabling system, Lucent will train the UT technical staff.

General Contractor

Austin Commercial, Inc.
1501 South MoPac
Austin, Texas 78746

Project Manager

Herndon, Stauch and Associates
322 Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701


Susman Tisdale Gale
4330 South MoPac
Austin, Texas 78735

Landscape Architecture

Naud Burnett Partners
5217 McKinney, #202
Dallas, TX 75205

Landscape Lighting

John Watson Landscape Illumination
1933 Regal Row
Dallas, TX 75235

The ACES Building is a state-of-the-art facility that supports interdisciplinary research and graduate study in computational science and engineering, mathematical modeling, applied mathematics, software engineering and computer visualization. Incorporating cutting-edge, user-friendly technology with the capacity for continual upgrading, the building is located in the heart of UT's engineering and natural sciences complex. Here are some highlights of the building:

  • A 196-Seat Auditorium
    • Modeled after the Hewlett Packard auditorium in Gates Hall at Stanford
    • Ethernet ports at every seat
    • Videoconferencing system
    • Wireless network ready
    • Dolby® digital sound system
  • Electronic Seminar Rooms
    • Advanced video teleconferencing facility
    • Capable of remote distance learning supporting up to 42 local participants
  • A Visualization Research Lab
    • 2,900 square foot high performance visualization facility for interactively displaying data from mathematical
    • Graphics displays include a cylindrical front projection screen system driven by three projectors and a multiple screen rear projection system driven by ten projectors
    • Display engines consist of a 24-processor SGI Onyx 2 Supercomputer and a 32-node PC Graphics Supercluster
    • Digital media production facility with digital video non-linear editing workstation and multi-channel digital audio dubbing room
  • Eating Facilities
    • Café with outdoor courtyard dining area
    • Private dining room
    • Kitchens on every floor
    • Full catering kitchen in the faculty lounge
  • 16,500 square feet of lab space designed for maximum flexibility and reconfiguration
  • A 1,400 square foot faculty lounge on the 5th floor designed for meetings and catered events
  • 14 networked seminar rooms, each containing high resolution audio/visual systems and web-based remote control systems
  • Videoconferencing rooms on every floor
  • TV-quality video streaming technology to all desk tops and throughout the building
  • Copper and multi-mode fiberoptic cabling permit the transmission of the SGI Onyx 2 Supercomputer video, audio, keyboard and mouse to any seminar room within the building
  • 25 fully-equipped offices for academic and industry visitors
  • Open discussion areas and collaborative spaces on every floor
  • 32,000 gross square feet of shelled space for future expansion
  • State-of-the-art distance learning systems in auditorium and electronic seminar room

Gross square footage: 179,436 gross square feet (includes a 14,508 s.f. basement)

Beginning construction date: December, 1998

Projected completion date: June, 2000

Allocation of academic space (assignable square feet with 20% reserve*):

Computer Sciences: 29,531 (41%)
TICAM***: 23,079 (32%)
Electrical & Computer Engineering**: 19,453 (27%)
Subtotal: 72,063
Common Areas: 23,079
Total assignable space: 109,143 (66% of gross s.f., excluding basement)

*The third floor will be shelled in to provide expansion space for research labs and academic offices.
**Software engineering and telecommunications components of this department
***TICAM – Texas Institute for Computational and Applied Mathematics

Projected Personnel as of June, 2000 (when four of the five floors are occupied):

Personnel TypeComputer SciencesECETICAMTotal
Graduate Students1057145221
Post Docs862034
ACES IT Staff5

Advanced Research Programs to be housed in the building

  • Visualization and Graphics
  • Software Engineering
  • Simulation Based Engineering
  • Center for Fluid Dynamics
  • Interdisciplinary Mathematics
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Subsurface Modeling
  • Intelligent Systems and Robotics
  • Computational Finance

Here are some highlights of the telecommunication system for the ACES Building:

  • Designed to support bandwidth-intensive computational research
  • Designed to support changing technology
  • Network built around high-performance, multilayer Cisco Network switches
  • “Just in time” fiber and copper cabling systems, contributed by Lucent Technologies
  • Multimode Fiberoptic data ports at every desktop, lab and seminar room
  • Lucent Gigaspeed copper cabling throughout the building
  • Excess conduit risers allow new network cabling to be installed with no interruption to users
  • Cable trays and raceways provide flexibility, expansion capability and ease of installation
  • The building is wireless network ready
  • A separate power generator system to provide increasing amounts of power and cooling for the building as needed
See more below...