Saturday, September 17, 2005

Sannier Bio

I studied Systems Science at Michigan State University from 1979 to 1982, when I received my Bachelor's Degree. I began my graduate studies in Operations Research at Cornell University in 1983, but returned to Michigan State in 1984 to study at the Case Center for CAD/CAM, and received my Ph.D. there in 1988. My thesis research dealt with speciation and co-adaption in parallel distributed evolving systems driven by a genetic algorithm.

After graduation I began my career as a research engineer with Schlumberger Technologies in Ann Arbor, MI (owners of MDSI and Applicon). Applicon was founded as a spin-off of an MIT lab in 1972 and in 1983, Applicon introduced BRAVO! the first 32-bit VAX-based mechanical design/NC system.. In the mid 80s, Applicon was acquired by Schlumberger and then merged with MDSI, an Ann Arbor based startup was known for its workstation based CAM products. In my two years at Applicon, I was part of the team that created the first line of CAD software for the Macintosh, marketed under the MacBravo brand. I did most of my work on FIT, the Flexible Interface Toolkit. FIT was a c-shell like scripting language that allowed users to create graphical user interfaces and reconfigure them on the fly, a forerunner of languages like Tcl and Visual Basic.

In 1990, I joined Cimlinc, a startup CAD company based in Chicago and Troy MI. Founded in the 1980's by Mike Sterling and John West, Cimlinc reached $40M in 1986 annual revenues selling its own brand of CAD/CAM software on workstation hardware they designed and manufactured. But as workstations became a commodity in the late 1980's, Cimlinc moved to a software only model. Cimlinc's Linkage product was a component of an early ERP implementation at Boeing. I worked in several capacities at Cimlinc, finally as Vice President of Product Development.

While at Cimlinc, I helped design, develop and implement Envelop, a freely downloadable, object oriented RAD environment not unlike Visual Basic. Envelop never caught on commercially, but it was pretty cool all the same. It is still available for download on the web, from Janus software.

In 1995, I left Cimlinc to become Vice President and General Manager of EAI Interactive, one of two business units of Engineering Animation (NASDAQ:EAII). EAI was founded in 1990 by four Iowa State Cyclones: Marty Vanderploeg, Jim Bernard, Jeff Trom, Jay Shannan. Joined by CEO Matt Rizai, they built a dynamic 3D visualization company from the ground up. When I signed on to EAI in 1995, we had about 80 employees. Two years later Engineering Animation had grown to almost 1000, after a successful IPO on the Nasdaq and a string of profitable quarters.

As GM for EAI Interactive, I was fortunate to work with an extremely talented group of programmers, project managers and sales and marketing people. We made everything from litigation animations and educational CD ROMS to museum installations and computer games. At Interactive's peak, with $22M in annual revenue and about 200 employees, we worked on some 70 projects at any one time. Our customers were the leaders in their respective industries: Ford, General Motors, Disney and Hasbro, McGraw Hill and Elsevier to name a few.

EAI was acquired by Unigraphics in the fall of 2000, which was subsequently acquired by EDS in 2001. EDS combined UG and EAI with SDRC later that same year to form UGS the world's largest CAD and PLM company. UGS sold to a private equity group in 2004 for a little over $2 billion.

In 2001, I joined the faculty of Iowa State University as the Stanley Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering. The Stanley Chair was endowed by Mary Jo and Richard Stanley, BSME '55, BSEE '55. The Stanleys, known worldwide for their thoughtful work toward global peace and justice, gave the College of Engineering a gift in excess of $1 million to endow the Stanley Chair in Interdisciplinary Engineering in 1995.

Richard Stanley, from Muscatine, Iowa, is chairman of Stanley Consultants, Inc., international consultants in engineering, architecture, planning, and management. He is also vice chairman of the board of HON INDUSTRIES, and chair and president of The Stanley Foundation, a private foundation that works toward the goal of a secure peace with freedom and justice by encouraging study, research, and discussion of international issues.

I also served as Associate Director for the Virtual Reality Applications Center at ISU. Research at VRAC focuses on the applications of immersive visualization and next generation human/computer interfaces to challenges in science, technology and the humanities. The students who study here are among the best and the brightest.

In August of 2005, I took a position at Arizona State University as University Technology Officer. I’m working out of the Office of the President to implement a long-range technology plan in support of President Crow’s vision for the New American University. I am concentrating on working with folks throughout the University to identify ways to apply new technologies to improve ASU’s academic, administrative and research environments. Some of the ways I have worked to accomplish these goals over the past two years include:

Administrative Computing Systems Replacement: ASU has successfully replaced ASU’s aging Student Information and Human Resource systems with an Oracle-based PeopleSoft system. The OASIS project was executed in a year and a half for a total cost of $30 million. We know of no faster, leaner ERP implementation of similar scale and complexity.

1:1 Computing: By partnering with Dell and Apple Computer, we have helped our students switch to personal computing so they can keep up scholastically and technically with their peers and retain detailed ongoing records of their education.

ASU on iTunesU: In partnership with Apple, ASU has introduced ASU on iTunes U to the ASU community. This library of video and audio educational material allows professors and students to share and listen to lectures, public events, special productions, online courses, research materials, and more.

Google Apps for Education: ASU’s strategic alliance with Google has allowed ASU to introduce Gmail for ASU to its student community, as well as Google calendaring, Google Maps, the Google Personal Start Page, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

Mobile Computing: ASU has partnered with Verizon Wireless to provide discounted cell phones and calling plans to its faculty, staff, and students. We have also introduced wirelessly-equipped buses that allow students to work and study in transit.

Wireless Residence Halls for Students: In partnership with Qwest, students can now access the Internet wirelessly right from their dorm rooms, making student computing and access simple and efficient.


Stephen Kennedy September 26, 2007 at 11:06 AM  

Hello Dr. Sannier,

I was in the audience when you did your presentation at Google regarding technology trends.

One slide struck me as most convincing for our long term development prospects. It was the one that showed the trajectory that Google, Amazon and other are on and the development trajectory that Universities are on. It was compelling. Could you share the source of that slide?

Most appreciated,
Steve Kennedy, IT Services (Email)
UC Santa Cruz

Mike Sterling March 22, 2009 at 11:45 AM  

Hi, Adrian.... I've got some exciting news. I have designed a musical instrument and it will have its debut for an extended visit at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo by Stephen Hawking in the fall as part of a string group.

It is very neat. The main features are its ability to change key mechanically and the fact that every string can be tuned to the same pitch with the frequencies being controlled by a log spiral. Instead of a straight fret, it uses a log spiral. I also use a parabaloid to focus the sound. If I crank up the amp, you can hear it at ASU or I can send/gather Seti information, whichever you choose.

I'd like to do a giant version for a courtyard whereby dancers could play it. It can be plucked or use hammers. I've developed a new form of music notation for it... It consists of ordered triplets, that go like this (clock face number 1 to 12, fret number counted from the center, number of beats).... Therefore a single melody note would be like (2,3,1) ... meaning two o'clock, 3rd crossing of the 2 o'clock string of the fret as counted from the middle, number of beats to let the note sustain)

Every rotation of the spiral goes up or down an octave with of course 12 strings for our 'modern miss named octave'.... because I force the math to to it in the geometry of the spiral. I'll send a picture in a few weeks, when I get the center bridge machined. It's all made of wood except for the bridges and the fret and of course the big paraboloid.

It's very beautiful with the final version being put together now after a prototype. It's large and round. Almost as big as a Harp. I call it the Bernoulli Harp after Jakob B who loved the log spiral.

Mike Sterling